Dear Friends,

I just returned from a trip with Ken Boa, my friend, mentor and the president
of our ministry. The trip had several purposes. One was to meet with some of
the men and women who have influenced Ken for Christ. Ken and I had just completed
a review of his spiritual history looking back over his past from his childhood
until the present to see God’s hand working in his life through circumstances
and through other people to capture the “life lessons” God has taught
him. This includes both positive and negative events and good and bad examples
that God used to shape him (even as Joseph’s brothers were used by God
to shape Joseph; See Genesis 50:20) I was blessed to meet several of the good
examples of godly people who touched Ken’s life on this trip. Another
reason for the trip was for Ken to say thanks again for their encouragement
and influence. And I enjoyed seeing where Ken grew up in Dumont and Emerson,
New Jersey and sharing some of his childhood memories and experiences.

Due to space I won’t be able to mention each person but I do want to
particularly mention a few of them beginning with Pastor David Haines and his
lovely wife Roxy who live just north of Philadelphia in Doylestown Pa. After
the hustle and bustle of the flight and renting a car and finding our way through
rush hour traffic in Philadelphia we arrived at the Haines and received their
warm and gracious welcome. Pastor Haines was Ken’s pastor as a young boy
and during his teenage years at Emerson Bible Church. Ken’s parents would
take him and his sister to Sunday School but often didn’t attend with
them. Ken would then stay for the sermon and, as Roxy reminded him, even sit
near the front by himself as he was so interested in the way Pastor Haines taught
the Scriptures. He then would walk home which was a couple of miles away.(Shades
of Abe Lincoln.) Pastor Haines had come to Christ as a young man just after
his service in World War Two and attended Dallas Theological Seminary (which
Ken later attended). Pastor Haines’ passion is to teach the Scriptures
to the “person in the pew” so they can grasp them and apply them
to their every day life as witnesses to Jesus. (He is still preaching today).
This is certainly a gift and strength of Ken’s also. We saw Pastor’s
large library and the binders containing every sermon he has preached since
1961 typed up and cataloged by the books of the Bible. Ken has a very large
library. (Are you beginning to see the power of influence that first marked
Ken?) Pastor and Roxy shared some of the ways the Lord has worked in their lives
– the good times and the hard times. We ended our visit with a delicious breakfast
Saturday morning and some wonderful table fellowship as we discussed the things
of God. A little slice of heaven.

Although our visit with Norm Graft and Tommy Adams was later on in our trip,
I should mention them in conjunction with Emerson Bible Church as they too greatly
influenced Ken as a young boy. As older teenagers who loved the Lord, they took
an interest in Ken and modeled walking with Christ to him as they ministered
through the Christian Service Brigade – a sort of Christian Boy Scouts
ministry. As we shared lunch with them I could see the humble gratitude in Norm’s
eyes as he began to realize how his love for Jesus that he shared with Ken was
now touching thousands of lives all over the world through Ken’s ministry
of speaking, writing and mentoring; of which I am one – and thus-grateful
to Ken, Norm and Tommy and all those who influenced Ken’s life. They are
still attending Emerson Bible Church some forty years later.

Another special time was Ken’s visit with his Aunt Gladys. Unfortunately,
she had fallen and broken some bones and was in the hospital but even this didn’t
dim her bright countenance, her love for the Lord and her joy to see her nephew,
Dale – (Ken’s middle name). She and her deceased husband both had
a great influence for Christ on Ken. She and Ken had a wonderful time of remembering
various family members and catching up face to face. Even though she knew her
time with Ken would be brief she graciously shared some of it with me as she
asked about my family and ministry. Ken and I were greatly blessed by this saint
who is finishing her race so well.

Our last stop was on the corner of 58th and 13th street in an April snow-storm
in Brooklyn, New York. New York City is exciting anytime but driving through
the city (I was driving and Ken was navigating), seeing the Brooklyn bridge,
going through the tunnel under the East River in a snow storm made it even more
exciting. Then we arrived at Nino and Norma Sgroi’s home, a charming second-story
townhouse that is above the new location of the church Ken and Karen attended
while Ken was working on his Ph.D. at New York University and serving as the
college pastor at The King’s College (1976-1979). Psalm 119:75 comes to
mind when I think of Nino and Norma, these faithful saints who love the Lord
and have put all their hope in Him. "May those who fear you rejoice
when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word.
" We rejoiced
to see and be with them and enjoyed a scrumptious meal at a third generation
Italian restaurant as we shared table fellowship with each other and the Lord.
Again, a little slice of heaven. What a great way to wind up our trip to see
the mutual encouragement of faith that has lasted for over twenty-five years
between the Sgrois and the Boas. "I long to see you so that I may impart
to you some spiritual gift to make you strong– that is, that you and I may
be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.
"(Romans 1:11-12) Jesus
is truly the glue that holds relationships together over the long haul as iron
sharpens iron and each one spurs the other on to love and good deeds. (Proverbs
27:17 & Hebrews 10:24)

There are far too many of you to name who have so faithfully encouraged and
strengthened my faith over my twenty years as a Christian and positively influenced
my life even before I was a Christian. As the song says it so well: “Thank
you for giving to the Lord; because of you my life has been changed”-
eternally changed. I thought of C.S. Lewis’ words from The Weight
of Glory
“It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory
hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about
that of his neighbor. The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbor’s
glory should be laid on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry
it, and the backs of the proud will be broken. Remember that the dullest and
most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be (in heaven) a creature
which, if you saw it now, you would be tempted to worship; or else a horror
and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day
long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations.
There are no ordinary people.” Sobering words.

Until He comes,
Len and Kristen

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