Among the many tributes that have flowed in about Dad (and Mum of course), here is a special one: A scan of the decision form that Dad filled out when he first joined the mission that he spent most of his life serving Christ through - Operation Mobilisation (then called 'Send the Light').
Dad filled it out as a 22 year old. It has a glaring mistake on it. His date of birth - instead of Sept. 5 1941, is filled in as Sept. 5 1963 - the year he filled in the form.
But there were no mistakes about the core commitment in the form. This was not an application - it was a commitment. The form had Dad saying that he would be joining 'Send the Light' for a student literature ministry in Mexico in the winter holidays of 1963.
The next summer saw Dad pack a single suitcase - having disposed of everything else he owned - and board an aeroplane for France. He told me that leaving La Guardia airport he distinctly sensed that he was saying 'good-bye' USA (he was forsaking his green card) and heading back to India. Which he did.
A summer in France with other young people - living by faith and sharing their faith with earnest enthusiasm led him to confirm a long-term commitment. The autumn of 1964 Dad joined the second group of young people who drove out in rickety third-hand trucks and vans to India (via Austria, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Greece, Turkey, Iran ... and the others going through Pakistan ... but not Dad - and that is another tale to be told). Among this group was a young Christa Roesli Fischer who would 4 years later become his wife, but that story will also be narrated another time.
A good 53 years later we are now in a position to weigh out Dad's life. To see the sweep of what he and Mum did - and who they became with the grace of our Lord coursing through them.
But look at what Dad wrote as a 22 year old! On the back of the 'decision form' he had written a testimony:
Dad concludes the short paragraph with this statement: "I want to live my whole life for His glory and am completely open to His leading to whatever place He may have me in life. I want his first and best for my life and want to tell others of His wonderful Self and of His saving power."
Wow. Has that ever come true in Dad's life.
He has lived his whole life for the glory of the One and Only. It is almost embarrassing to meet person after person who tells me about just how much Dad has lived out the love of Jesus - and how much they were impacted by him and Mum. This evening a group of us - the extended Eicher clan of local brothers and their families - met together at Shanti Kunj to thank God and share stories and testimonies about how God has used Dad in our lives. The stories went on and on... mixed with some tears, some songs, and a lot of thankfulness. Multiply this by many.
Does this mean Dad did not make mistakes or have flaws? Certainly not. But the overall outcome of his life is one where God was glorified - and many of his short-comings were ironed out in the process as well!
Dad has been open to the leading of the Lord Jesus wherever He wanted. Mum shared this evening that they moved 7 times in the first 7 years of their marriage - including living for some months (around my birth) in a hell-hole of a place teeming with rats. Dad moved out to visit countless teams over his tenure as co-leader of OM India - and traveled the globe to share about the needs and raise prayer support.
He also traveled some distance in the various ministries he poured himself into. After handing over the main OM India leadership at the age of 46 (sobering to me... as I am 47 now) and then moving up to Mussoorie he carried on serving with OM for another 7 years or so. After that, Dad served and learned with local churches, was involved with prayer ministry and YWAM, and finally he and Mum spent the best part of a decade helping promote the inner healing and deliverance work linked with Ellel Ministries. Dad certainly went wherever Jesus wanted him to.
It is such an honour to say that we have watched Dad live out his desire articulated as a 22 year old - that he wanted God's first and best for his life. An almost unending parade of people are testifying to this. It is humbling to receive the kind words that have flooded in over email and social media over the last week. Dad put God first. And did so consistently over the years.
And regarding telling others about the wonderful person of Jesus and His saving power... well we have seen this lived out time and time again (sometimes to our annoyance as we wanted to get on with our walk or errand of the moment). The most recent being a joyous sharing of his faith to a doctor couple from Jhansi and a student from Bhubaneshwar while they were travelling with Dad on the train from Delhi to Lalitpur.
Dad's tongue is now silent (at least down here on earth in this life that we are living). But it was not silent over the course of his life.
How blessed to know that Dad has lived out the desire of his heart as a 22 year old. We are all the richer for it.