Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Oupa sings with the angels:

My dear grandfather has made his final journey home today. He lived to be 90, and is much missed by family. My Ouma has been his faithful help meet for many, many years and will miss him dearly.

Oupa became a Christian when my mother was in her teens or early 20's. He turned from a drunkenness at the time of his conversion, and his life was transformed. I will deeply miss his daily prayers for me and for my family too. Deeply etched in my memory is the time my sister and I stayed over with my grandparents and saw Oupa waking up at 5 AM on a freezing cold morning to pray. He and Ouma literally kneeling next to their beds to pray, Ouma inviting us two little girls to kneel beside her. ( How my little knees ached after a minute or two!) I wonder how many pains we have been spared by the grace of God through their prayers!

Oupa lived through a war, the depression, apartheid, and phenomenal changes in technology and South African politics. He is of Jewish descent, and is the last of his siblings to go to heaven. He has worked in the South African navy, built railways in Rhodesia, and worked for the South African post office for many, many years. He has been involved in the same church for something like 40 years.

I have sadly not seen my Oupa and Ouma for 16 years, as have been unable to travel due to family commitments and the financial limitations of travelling with a big family. I am deeply saddened not to have seen Oupa for so many years, but I know I can look forward to being with him in heaven one day. My favourite memories of him are when he jovially teased. When I was sweet sixteen, I had never been kissed before and how he teased me! Each visit would have a teasing session. The last time I spoke to Oupa was no exception....He always asked me on the phone, "so Joy, do you have any news for me" ....meaning, "if you are pregnant be sure to let me know first!" Sometimes he would even ask, " so is it a boy or a girl?" way before I was even pregnant again.

One of the saddest aspects of immigration is that my children do not know Oupa, and also that we will not be with family at this time ...I grieve for my children that they cannot grief fully for the man who has prayed for them and loved them for so many years. I have grieved for 16 years now, over not seeing my Ouma and Oupa. And now I grieve that I will never see Oupa on this side of heaven. We are the poorer without him, he is the richer in heaven and free of pain, filled with pure joy and happiness. May we rise up to pray faithfully as he did!

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