On September 25, I was in a small bus crossing the border from Peru into Bolivia. Lena called with the news that my friend, Mark Randall, had passed away. Mark was one of my closest friends. We worked together in XA since 1989, when I was serving at the University of Louisville (with Joe and Jayne Zickafoose). We worked together on the SALT and SICM planning teams. We also vacationed together. My kids loved going to "Uncle Mark's" lake to go skiing. Mark was one of the friends who continued to call me, long after we moved to Peru. And he was one of the friends that I called whenever I had a hard decision to make. He was filled with faith and had a very good head for business. He was an inspiration, especially in the area of Evangelism.
It was painful to not be able to go to his funeral--especially since I wanted to comfort his many disciples, who were like children to him. Mark never married, but that didn't stop him from having a lot of love in his life. He loved my kids like they were his family. He also loved his XA disciples the same way. He had a gift for encouraging the best in others and steering them to use their gifts for the Gospel. As such, the verse that came to mind when I heard of his passing was Isaiah 54:1, “Sing, barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband," says the LORD. (NIV)”
Since I couldn't be at the funeral, I decided to make a video of what I would have said. I posted that video here.
I'm grateful for Mark and I have no doubt that on September 25, Jesus said to him, "... Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness! (Matt. 25:23)."