As October (pastor appreciation month) comes to an end, I want to express my deep gratitude to the LORD for the first man ever to serve as my pastor. This man has been my pastor longer than any other pastor I have had. He became my pastor before I was even born and has continued pastoring me to this very day. Under God, my life, family and ministry, are direct results of his prayers, his teaching and preaching ministry, his example of faith in the LORD and His devotion to Him and His work. I have learned so much from his strengths and weaknesses; his successes and failures; his joys and sorrows; his moments of triumph and defeat. I have been up close and personal with him more than any other pastor and I have been deeply touched by his robust joy in the LORD. His life contagiously radiates the joy of the LORD which has been and continues to be his strength. Through him, I have seen the grace, love, peace, mercy, power and life of Christ on display in flesh and blood (think Gal. 2:20). He is a man whose heart is filled with a genuine love and compassion for the lost. He will do anything under God, to reach them with the gospel. He has weathered many storms in his life and has continued serving the LORD faithfully in spite of them. He is resilient. He is devoted. 1 Thess. 2:4 perhaps best describes the source of inspiration and strength in his life and continuing ministry. It reads, "But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts." After 40 years in pastoral ministry, we have the privilege of serving the LORD together as he now heads up the work Joy to the World Ministries in Malawi. This man is my Dad. I am very humbled and thankful to have had him as my first pastor and to continue under his pastoral love and care to this very day. Thank you, Dad, for being my first and most faithful pastor. To God be the all the glory!