As head of the family, I heartily want to say how much I love you all. This for me is a time of great rejoicing and thanksgiving. Thanksgiving in the sense that God has spared my life to see my third generation in such abundance. When I look back at my life, I liken myself to Abraham “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you.” At God’s call I began my family never knowing what I was in for. Lots of folks never gave me a chance of survival, but I had implicit faith in God and in the woman who stood by my side for sixty years. To this I ask everyone to bow your heads for a moment’s silence in remembrance of Esmine Lindo.
The union produced twelve children and God spared our lives to see them all grow into men and women. They are all here with me today except for my son Nigel who passed in 2008; may God rest his soul. These twelve are our biological children, but we raised more; including my dear son Wilston. The count of grandchildren currently stands at thirty one and three great grand.
It was no easy route to travel and I will not be able to sing enough praises of their dear mother who was with me through all the changing scenes of life; in sorrow and in joy. We had our ups and downs but through our belief in God and our abiding love for each other, there were dark days but also sunny days. Through all these scenes it is the committed family that survives the storms and rejoices together on the sunny days. If one part suffer, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured every part rejoices with it. Thank God we were able to increase our children’s awareness as we went through these times and seasons of life, so that our children could experience the value of commitment to family.
As a Christian family, nothing can separate us from the love of God and we ensured that our children knew the role of the family. A family is more than a group of people living in the same place for physical survival. I agree with one writer who said “I know a place created by God as part of His plan for our existence and survival. I know a place where I am loved and accepted; a place where I am forgiven when I make mistakes; a place where I belong. This place is called family.” A family’s role is far more than physical provision. It also provides a child’s identity, unconditional love and acceptance, refuge and forgiveness and spiritual training.
I am not here to tell you that I am a great father, but thank God I am a loving father.
I want to say a big thank you to all my children for putting this function together. I don’t want to single out any particularly, but I have to say special thanks to Norman, who has put a lot of hard work into the planning. I thank you all our friends and guests for sharing this occasion with us, especially those who travelled from far to be with us. May God grant you journeying mercies. We love and appreciate you all; I hope after today you will leave feeling that you are no longer just friends; but family. Thanks to Chicken and his team for preparing such sumptuous meals and keeping us all fed and happy. The biggest thanks of all goes to our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom we live and move and have our being; and from whom all blessings flow.
In closing, let me leave you with these words from hymn #515, of the Methodist Hymnal,
“They way not mine oh Lord, however dark it be.
Lead me by Thy own hand; choose out the path for me.
Smooth let it be or rough; it will still be the best
Winding or straight it leads right onward to Thy rest”