Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dr. Winter


I don't know what happens when you get to heaven. I think what we can imagine pales in comparison with reality. But I believe God is giving thanks to a faithful servant who passed into that realm last night. 

Dr. Ralph Winter was a distant mentor of mine for many, many years. His youngest daughter and I attended the same high school (in fact it was her invitation to her youth group's winter camp that led me to a deeper and vibrant relationship with God). I would spend many days and nights at the Winter household. After my parent's divorced I secretly looked to Ralph and Roberta as my second parents. I learned about God, praying, the world, and what earnest discipleship looked like by volunteering at the U.S. Center for World Mission. 

Dr. Winter always looked outside the box. He modeled thinking creatively and using all your God-given talents to bring the gospel to those who have never heard the gospel. If there's one thing I could say I learned from the Winters it would be to think big, dream big and pray big. With no money, no prospects of money, no idea of what the future would hold they trusted their future to God and stepped forward to purchase a former college campus in north Pasadena for the sole purpose of being a center whose focus would be bringing the gospel to the "unreached". No idea was too big or too small. God was (is) big and worthy in Dr. Winter's mind. Looking back as a 19, 20 even 21 year old introvert with low self-esteem I did not appreciate or even understand the magnitude of the work at the U.S. Center. But now I see a bit, a glimpse of the greatness of God which Dr. Winter understood and was compelled to see others equipped to bring that understanding around the world. 

He was innovative and never stopped questioning and trailblazing - thinking outside the box. 

I have felt this before, when great men and women of God have passed over - a bit of jealousy, a bit of wonder. Dr. Winter is whole. He is who God designed him to be, in all God's glory. Dr. Winter is at peace. Dr. Winter is home.

3 comments:

Paul Merrill said...

It's great to know that his pain is over. And that he does not have to miss Roberta anymore.

Julie said...

Great tribute to Dr. Winter & to God! Thanks for writing so well, Barb.

Wayne Park said...

There's a gaping hole where he filled a huge presence in missiology, academia, Christianity.

I don't think his shoes / legacy will be easily filled.