By Christopher Noel
I always wanted to write the story of my life. I believe it would be a bestseller. I also believe it would fit into an action-drama-comedy-tragedy-horror-thriller genre. Maybe even script for a Bollywood movie! But I never thought I would write my dad’s life story before mine.
I want to introduce, Stanislaus Mohan Noel, my Dad. He is 74 now. He grew up with 2 brothers and 3 sisters. He was part of a very staunch catholic upbringing. He was one to never back down when it came to serving at church, using all his talents and skills. He would serve in the Legion of Mary; sing in the choir, put up the crib at church and home during Christmas. He was a model member of the Catholic Church, always respecting the clergy.
He was married at the age of 25 to my mom who was 15 then. That was 50 years ago. They had 3 children, of whom; I am the last and only son. My dad and mom separated after living together for 16 years. It was not a divorce or a legal separation. One fine day my mom moved out along with both my sisters and me to my Granny’s (Her Mother) house. She had found out on that day that my dad had been married to another lady for a while.
It took the next 30 years and many miraculous events from God, for them to come together again and live under the same roof, again. After being separated for 30 years, things were rusty and tough to begin with. It was like trying find out about total strangers. It was on and off. During this time I was praying for a miracle that my dad should become a disciple of Jesus Christ. There were times when Bible studies were done and he almost made it. But it was not to be, not yet.
In the month of October 2017, Dad had a stroke. It was mild yet quite effective in draining out his physical and mental strength. He was quite invalid to take care of himself. My mother stepped in being the one who always loves to serve; she took care of him, 24/7. She was there for him. She also encouraged him to study the Bible. His vision was failing therefore she read out the Bible for him.
During January this year, we asked both our sons Clyde (19) and Noah (18), to initiate bible studies with him. They shared from Acts 17 and inspired him to seek God. Dad called me that evening and said, “Since I was proud in past, God has humbled me to learn from my grandsons. It was very encouraging; I am ready to study further.”
Encouraged by this, I and Pearly (my wife) requested Alex, a brother who is close to our family and one who lives near my parent’s place, to teach from the word of God to with him. He was willing. This time around God had moved my Dad’s heart to such an extent, that he now knew the true living God and wanted to be reconciled with him, more than anything else.
While the studies were progressing, Dad had an episode of convulsion triggered by hypertension. That was the day he had called me over phone and said, “I am sorry son, for not being there for you as a Father. Will you forgive me?” I assured him I had, long ago when I became a disciple. But those thoughts had set him on a guilt trip I guess, hence the hypertension and the convulsions. On having a CT scan done, it was noticed that his symptoms were age related. So the advice from the Doctor was to care for him at home and make him comfortable.
The day of he made it was incredible. Due to the fact that he could not bend his knees, a creative method was devised to help him go down the water. My dear friend Nathan suggested we use a tarpaulin (water proof) sheet, fill it with water and immerse him. So the entire family group came together, held the sheet from all sides, started filling water. After filling a bit, Dad was brought in along with me and Noah, my younger son. We lay him horizontally inside, holding his head all the while. After the true confession statements; the entire group brought the sheet from the sides to have the water engulf him while he was immersed and born again! This was streamed live on Facebook!
He told me later that he was scared at that moment. After this, while the group was singing, “I have decided to follow Jesus” my dad started dancing! This was a sight I have never seen in my entire life!
His sharing afterwards to the entire group was about how wrong he had been all his life without knowing God. Now that he was learning from God’s word, he realized how wrong he had been about his wife. He apologized to her for not having understood her and was very happy to be with her. He gave her a hug in front of all of us.
I was longing for such a day. It strengthened my faith and hope. If we continue to share the word of God to people around, on the day stipulated by God, when their time comes, they will turn to Him.
My Dad did. Yours will too.
Remember Genesis 18:14, where God asks of Abraham, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”
Pics from the FB Live streaming of the wonderful event!