Monday, December 1, 2014

Honoring Mervin Zook

Today December 1st is the 24th anniversary of the best Daddy ever, Mervin Zook's, entrance into heaven. I will forever miss him. He was a great man that loved his God, his wife and his family and that order! Today also is the beginning of the 1st year of my life when I will be alive more years without my Daddy than alive with him. He had a very dry sense of humor. Ah Daddy, I miss you!

Some of the things that others may find interesting about my Daddy:

(1) He loved to play men's soft ball and did throughout his life. He played college ball as a catcher. This was before catcher's wore any protective gear. He was hit in the wind pipe by a ball once and ended up in the hospital for several days.

(2) He loved the outdoors. At my childhood home in St. Louis, he lovingly planted about 20 trees on our property because he loved seeing them bloom.

(3) Besides winning many awards for his stone and brick work as a top notch stone and brick mason, he was an accomplished woodworker. I love his handiwork.

(4) He loved, LOVED the Word of God. I know of at least three small Bibles that he read so often that he wore them out.

(5) One of my fondest memories is of him reading his Bible in the corner of his room early on Sunday morning. He loved going to church so much and would be up early on Sunday morning reading and praying and prepping to teach whatever Sunday School class he was currently assigned.

(6) He was my 6th and 7th grade Sunday School teacher!

(7) He originally wanted to be a forest ranger when he went to college. He spent one year north of Couer d'Alene, Idaho planting trees. I have been able to see some of those trees all grown now. I have to be honest that I was a little emotional seeing those trees and realizing he had planted them.

(8) He loved birds! I give him credit for my love of birds.

(9) He was a man of prayer. When we were cleaning out his work truck after he died, we found what seemed like hundred of 3x5 cards with prayer notes on them. He never had a radio in his truck instead he would pray while he drove wherever he went. He prayed for the salvation of my Uncle Jim. I learned that Uncle Jim became a Christian before he died which is many years after my Dad died. At one time I knew how many years this was but suffice it to say it was over 25 years! Don't ever give up praying for the salvation of your loved ones!

(10) He was quirky at times. He was a red headed Swiss that would wear a Swiss hat on St. Patty's Day. LOL! Love you Daddy!

There are so many other things about him but I will stop here so as not to bore anyone.


I posted the above things on my Facebook page.  Through some "conversation" with my brother Chuck these memories also surfaced.

Chuck:   Dad was a giver too. One thing I remember was finding a box of change. He would dump all his change in at night then when it was full he would send it to a missionary to buy books for the national pastors. It is what inspired me to start singing and the first song I sang here in our church after my moving to VA was "Thank You". It was very moving for me. Dad said he couldn't sing but loved music enough to buy me my first violin, and i still play it.

(For the record, my brother Chuck has a great voice and a great ability to play the violin.  I remember going to sleep as a child listening to him play the violin while my sister played the piano.) 

Me:  I forgot about that money, Chuck. But do you know another part of that story? One of the places that he sent books and Bibles to was Romania. Around the time when Dad died the Communism Curtain was falling in Romania and one of the pastor's that received his books was able to immigrate to the US. His daughter attended Columbia Bible College and Seminary as a freshman the year that I was there as a graduate student. He talked in chapel a few months after Dad died and shared how he it was his dream to meet this man "Mervin Zook" here in the US and share the following story. 

One day when the Bibles had arrived along with other pastoral books, the police equivalent of the KGB arrived at the entrance to the apartment building and having very little time to hide the books, the pastor's wife threw the books on the dining room table, covered it with her finest tablecloth and set it with her finest china. When the police arrived at her door to search for the Bibles and books, she invited them in for tea. The police never found the books but did enjoy a fine afternoon of tea. 

 After chapel, I was able to go and talk with this pastor and his wife. What a tearful and joyful conversation it was. One of my most precious memories of my time at Columbia Bible College and Seminary (now called Columbia International University). I do not remember the Romanian pastor's name.

 Another story that I remember about my dad was told to me by my mom. Early in their marriage when Ron, Chuck and Betty were very small, they attended a missionary meeting on a Sunday evening. At the offering time Dad gave all the money he had in his wallet which was intended to put gas in the car for work that week. Either right before leaving church that evening or at the gas station I don't remember which the money for gas was given to Mom and Dad.