Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Of Those Who Showed Us the Way

Pastor Ivan H. French of Winona Lake, Indiana passed away at 10:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 12, 2013 at Grace Village Health Care Facility, Winona Lake, Indiana at the age of 88.

He was the Pastor of Pleasant View Bible Church of Warsaw, Indiana from 1975-1992. After serving three churches, Professor Ivan French, taught for over 20 years at Grace College & Theological Seminary in Winona Lake, Indiana. He was known for his warm heart and humorous stories (what he called “illustrative anecdotes”) he taught Bible, theology, and church history with both an academic knowledge and practical application. His teaching infused a heart and energy for Christ and the church in the seminary program. During this time he continued to be active in pastoral ministry, campus leadership, global missions, and Bible conferences, encouraging and strengthening the men and women he had helped to train.

He was a member of IFCA (Independent Fundamental Churches of America), and was on the Board of Directors of Spanish World Ministries. Ivan also served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II and was honorably discharged in May 1946.

Ivan was born on April 14, 1925 in Ontario, Oregon to Harry French and Anna Maude (Wright) French. On September 17, 1944 he was married to Arloeen Edith (Krause) French, who survives in Winona Lake, Indiana.

He also leaves behind his daughter: LaNita French (Warsaw, Indiana); three sons: John (wife Christine) French (Winona Lake, Indiana); David (wife Lori) French (Manila, Philippines); Douglas French (LaPorte, Indiana); and four grandchildren: Suzanne (husband Shawn) Osborne (Ft. Wayne, Indiana); John David French (Winona Lake, Indiana); Alexandra French (Manila, Philippines); Tobin French (Manila, Philippines). He was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers, and four sisters.

There will be visitation on Thursday, December 19, 2013 from 2:00 p.m. 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at Redpath-Fruth Funeral Home, 225 Argonne Road, Warsaw, Indiana.

A graveside service will be conducted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. at Oakwood Cemetery of Warsaw. Those wishing to attend… please meet at the funeral home by 9:50 a.m. to go in procession to the cemetery.

His funeral service will be at 12:00 noon on Friday, December 20, 2013 at Pleasant View Bible Church, 2782 W. 200 N., Warsaw, Indiana and officiated by Pastor John French and Pastor Mike Hontz.

(Redpath-Fruth Funeral Home)

My grounding in the basics of the orthodox Christian faith came through the teaching of Professor Ivan French in our first year theology class at Grace Theological Seminary in Winona Lake, Indiana. Of all the seminary classes I took, that first year theology class was the most formative for me as we studied the nature, character and attributes of the Triune God. I still have the notes from those classes from Prof French.

It was also clear to us who benefited from his teaching that Ivan French's instruction came from a heart of genuine pastoral concern for us as students, and the people of God at large. Professor French left a positive mark on my life as well as the other countless number of students and congregational members who were under his ministry. He pointed out to us the way.

Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Rest in the peace of your Lord and Savior...

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Passing Seasons

This day, December 5, has now become something of a double anniversary day for me.

One year ago today Mom passed away. A few short weeks later, Dad left us also.

Back in late December of last year, after my parents funerals, when I set the date for my then upcoming retirement, I didn't realize at the time that the day I picked was the 1 year anniversary of Mom's death. That realization did not hit me until about two months ago.

This day has come and one year after Mom's passing, after 34 years at my place of work I retired. It was time to go. There were some practical considerations in picking this day to retire, but it is also somewhat ironic. I think both Mom and Dad would be pleased if they knew.

This "retirement" thing is still a little surreal. Many years ago my Father in-law died of a massive heart attack about 7 months before his planned retirement, and 4 months before the birth of our oldest child. Back in March of last year (2012) a good friend of mine collapsed and died. He was three months from his own retirement.

Seeing things like that make you wonder, and as my wife and I approached this time of life, the thought in the back of our minds was , "Will we make it?" I found myself figuratively holding my breath until just before noon today, I walked out the office door for the last time. Some 9 hours later in this day, my mind has still not warped itself around the reality that I am now "retired". I don't know how many more years we will have, but of one thing I am very certain; each day is a gift; a gift from God; a gift of mercy and grace.

Even as last year at this time my life was unalterably changed with the death of my aged parents, so this year my life is again unalterably changed by the significant life event of retirement.

I am reminded of how much of Abraham's life as it has been recorded in Genesis was days, weeks, even years of mundane living. His revelatory encounters with God would occasionally break up that mundane regular cycle of life, but those times in Abraham's life were the exception and not the norm of his day to day living.

I have had enough of significant life events over the past year. I'm ready to enter a new pattern of day to day mundanes for a while. I want to concentrate on finishing up some writing projects. I have some genealogical research to return to and pick up on. I have retirement funds to manage and blog posts to write. I am ready for a sabbatical from the regular working world; a time to rest, recoup, and do some of the things that the 40 hour work week never really left me time for.

Soli Deo Gloria!