Saturday, April 26, 2008

Thoughts From Charles White

Charles White was a hero of mine as a little boy. His family was also connected with York College and I spent many hours at their home, trying in vain to defeat Charles' little brother, Jim, in Whiffle Ball. At York High School, Charles was Dave's and my tennis coach. (Based on our respective records, he must have been a better coach when he worked with Dave!) Charles and his lovely wife, Pam, have spent many years as missionaries to France. These are his thoughts:
Roger Hawley was indeed a giant, as Bob Lawrence says. I confess that I had pretty much lost touch with him during the 30-plus years we have been in France. But I remember that, when we were raising funds to go to France, Roger and Nelda were selling their house in York. And Roger handed me a check for $1,000 toward our initial expenses. Since moving here, we had seen Roger only once, and then only briefly, on one of our reporting visits. Roger was already the preacher in York when my family arrived there in 1961. I was in the 10th grade. He immediately impressed me with his deep wisdom, and his ability to get it across so clearly. (Some people are wise but don't know how to communicate their wisdom; some communicate well but have nothing to say.) The depth of his personal walk with God was simply amazing. And how he loved the Word! I remember that, for one Sunday morning sermon, he walked up to the pulpit and sat down in the chair on the podium. The wooden pulpit had been removed. He looked at the congregation quite seriously for perhaps 15 seconds of silence, then proceeded to quote, from memory, the entire Sermon on the Mount. After I had finished my B. A. and returned to York to teach French in the high school, I worked with Roger on the York College MAP (Master's Apprentice Program) committee. He came by to pick me up for our early morning meetings, and he was always cheerful, even at that early hour. I remember- how do I explain this?- that he was the first adult aside from my own parents who actually made me feel like my opinion was important. Roger made me, and everyone around him, feel ... well, at ease. It was a gift he had, and that he exercised for the good of so many. I especially enjoyed working with him in group dynamics sessions with prospective MAP students. He laughed in such a contagious way. I truly think it was not possible to hear Roger Hawley laugh and not laugh with him! If there is laughter in heaven, he must be shaking the celestial vaults now. Roger and his beloved Nelda marked my family's life in a deep, abiding way. The Lord's "greats" are a blessing to His Church, and even to the world. I look forward to seeing them again.
Much love to all of you,
Charles and Pam White

No comments: