Death is a strange thing. I heard someone say once we cannot comprehend death because we were made for eternity.
This week the staff at Gospel for Asia are mourning the loss of a dear brother, friend and co-laborer, Bob Mayo. After suffering with chest pains off and on, and more severely over last weekend, he went to be with the Lord on Monday evening after efforts to increase the blood flow to his heart.
Bob first visited our ministry in Asia in the nineties. It was after his trip to the field that he was certain of God’s call on his life to serve with Gospel for Asia, and he and his wife Alice joined with us in March of 1996. He has been on this journey with us for over two decades.
When first he came, we were no more than 30 full time staff. We met for prayer as a staff with all their families in my living room every Tuesday night. We had not yet started our GFA Bridge of Hope program, and in many ways, we were still starting out as a ministry at the time.
This last July the Lord put it on my heart especially to go and spend some time talking to Bob. I remember it so well. I saw him walking in the parking lot and went after him. We had a nice long conversation. I am so grateful the Lord gave me that opportunity to spend time with him and let him know how grateful I am for his life.
After my conversation with him, I reflected over his life and choices. He really has an amazing story. He and his wife Alice were living in Colorado with all the beautiful mountains and great climate. He had a great government job that he enjoyed and where he was well respected. He had over 200 people working for him. According to the world’s standards, he had it all.
He knew the Lord was calling him to serve at Gospel for Asia. He had just a few years left before he could retire with all the benefits. But he knew God was calling him to serve with us, and he didn’t want to wait around and waste time. He took early retirement at his own personal cost and came down to Texas to serve with us.
Faithfully he served with us for over 20 years—he served as a leader in the ministry and in 4 different departments. He financially supported many staff members and students who served with him over the years. Throughout this last year, I hear he would spend his lunch hour faithfully praying for the ministry partners he connected with by phone and emails.
I am so glad that he can now see the many people’s lives that he has touched directly and indirectly with the love of Christ. I think he must be amazed to see all the fruit of his labor. His life had everything to do with what’s happening through GFA’s support in Asia, just as much as my life does. God’s work is like a wristwatch. Every screw and cog are essential to making the whole thing work.
That’s the body of Christ. And that’s how we serve the Lord, how we serve each other and how we serve the world—each one faithfully day in and day out doing their part. And that was Bob’s life—pure faith. Faithfully doing the things the Lord set before him—not always seeing the fruit before him, not always feeling up to the tasks before him in one way or the other. It wasn’t an easy road for him. His wife Alice had great physical pain and suffering for many years and went to be with the Lord in December 2012. And he has had his share of pain over the last couple years. I have no doubt that as he looks at it all from heaven now, he is grateful for the life that he has lived.
After his wife Alice died, he emailed several people and said, “God could not have put me in a better place, and by His grace, I will continue serving here until He calls me home.” And that’s what he did.
Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.
When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.[i]
Heavenly Father, thank You for Bob and Alice Mayo and that You connected our lives together. Thank You for the Body of Christ and that we all need each other and that You are so glad when we serve You together. Thank You for the reminder that our lives are short, that we don’t know from one day to the next if it will be our last. It could be. And thank You that what we do in this life matters, that it makes a difference and that it changes lives forever.
You are God and You are victorious and You are the God of Life, and Bob is now living more fully and abundantly and joyfully than he ever has before.
Thank You that You have made us for eternity and that this life is not the end of the story, but only the beginning.
Help us, dear Lord, to live faithfully day after day until one day we’ve done all You’ve asked us to do, the veil is removed, and we see You face to face.
Help us to know You more, to suffer for You more, to believe You more and bring life to the world around us while You have still given us breath.
May all glory and praise go to You forever and ever.
[i] Newton, John. “Amazing Grace.” pub.1779, v. 7 by Anonymous/Unknown, pub.1829. Copyright status is Public Domain.