While in Australia recently, I asked my elderly mother (she had just turned 87) if I could record her thoughts on video. I wanted to “interview” my mum about her life. It turned out to be a fascinating time.
In particular, I wanted to learn about the influences on her life that allowed her and my father to pass on a wonderful spiritual legacy to me (and my siblings). I also wanted to understand a little more about how, as parents, they were such an influence on countless others.
I only regret not ever having recorded my father. I think of the time, when my father was dying in a hospital 20 years ago, that my late brother Robert asked him why he was so bold in his stand on God’s Word and hated compromise with the Bible. How I wished we had recorded his reflections.
My father told my brother that his own father had died when my father was sixteen. And because he didn’t have an earthly father, he turned to the words of his heavenly father and read and studied those Scriptures over and over again.
Those conversations he had with my brother helped me understand why he took the strong stand on God’s Word that he did. It had a great influence on my own life and ministry.
My recent interview with my mother went for about two hours. I am writing about this interview for four reasons:
- I thought the “interview” would encourage you to consider doing a recording of any of your parents/grandparents. I often wonder about the history of my grandparents in regard to the Christian legacy they left to our family.
- My mother shared some very challenging things with me. For instance, we had a frank talk about death—and the fact that she is near the end of her earthly life. Even one of our video editors at AiG said, as he was going through this interview, that “she really challenged me about the death issue—I had never thought about it like that before.”
- My parents never had much in the way of material possessions, and yet the Lord used them mightily to influence others in regard to salvation in Christ and to stand uncompromisingly on the Word of God. It’s a reminder that it’s a spiritual legacy that is the most important one to leave behind—not a material one.
- I want to give you some insights into how the Lord was working in people’s lives long before I was born in preparation for what the Lord would do in enabling the ministry of AiG, the Creation Museum, and the future Ark Encounter to come into existence.
When I was a little boy (and as far back as I can remember), my mother taught me a prayer based on the hymn Jesus Tender Shepherd Hear Me, written by Mary L. Duncan in 1839. Duncan’s hymns, primarily composed for her children, were written during a six-month period just before the end of her life.
To this day, I can still recite the words (they are below). As we videotaped my mother, I asked her about the hymn of prayer, and she recited it for me. That was one of the most touching moments of our time together, as I heard my mother recite the words she taught me over 50 years ago:
Jesus, tender Shepherd, hear me;
Bless Thy little lamb tonight;
Through the darkness be Thou near me;
Watch my sleep till morning light.
All this day Thy hand has led me,
And I thank Thee for Thy care;
Thou hast clothed me, warmed and fed me,
Listen to my evening prayer.
Let my sins be all forgiven;
Bless the friends I love so well;
Take me, when I die, to Heaven,
Happy there with Thee to dwell.
Now, when you visit our Creation Museum, there is a small exhibit located near the room that represents a first-century synagogue (just off Palm Plaza). It consists of a photograph of my mother and father, my father’s heavily marked up Bible, and a little model of Noah’s Ark that my father built for me many years ago.
This small exhibit helps illustrate the stand that Answers in Genesis (and its various outreaches including the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter) unashamedly takes on God’s Word. Our outreaches would not have been possible without the spiritual legacy that my parents passed on to the next generation.
Because of my mother’s age and her health problems, she has never been able to travel to see the Creation Museum. However, she watches from afar, as I video call her regularly and keep her up to date with the news on the ministry in general, the Creation Museum, and the Ark Encounter.
She keeps current by going on the AiG website and to our Facebook sites (she has learned how to use a MacBook computer to do this!). She reads every AiG book, newsletter, Answers magazine, and watches all the videos I send to her.
My mother also follows my speaking calendar. She knows every flight I’m on, and when I’m travelling she prays for every trip. Mum will often tell me, “I knew you were flying last night, so I was awake praying for you.” She asks me about every conference where I speak—she wants to know what happened and how God blessed.
AiG and the Creation Museum have already touched millions of lives around the world as God has blessed. When the Ark Encounter opens in 2016, millions upon millions more will be reached with the saving gospel.
In the video my mother talked about the Christian faith of her mother (as well as her father). I learned for the first time that my mother was mocked at school by other students because they knew that her mother was unashamedly Christian!
As I listened to my mother, I gained a deeper understanding of what the Apostle Paul said to Timothy: “when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also” (2 Timothy 1:5).