• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

My friend Paul

My friend Paul went home to be with the Lord last week.  The deep groan of sadness that I felt when the news first came out, began to give way over time to reflection on the impact that this one brother had on my life. paul_welcome

As I ‘re-watched’ the videos in my head of the many times we had shared life and ministry together, three words or word images came to mind

Persistent challengePaul regularly put challenges out in front of you. The reason I started running marathons came about the day Paul called me up to announce he had an entry for me for the London marathon. I had never put my name in for the London marathon (a lottery system)!  Apparently Paul, however, had been putting my name in, along with his name and his son’s name, for three years until our names had been drawn!  Paul didn’t just challenge you in life activities, he challenged your capacity to believe that ‘God could do above and beyond what we could ask or think’.  He pushed you to believe that God could work among a resistant people group; that He could spawn movements of multiplying churches; that He could work in and through us to reach others for Christ.

Dogged perseveranceI cannot think of Paul without thinking of how he was constantly ‘moving forward’.  I still marvel at how he, a former wrestler, finished the London marathon in a very respectable time. He doggedly pursued the difficult tasks.  More importantly, he doggedly pursued God.  There was always that new thought, fresh insight that the Lord has laid on his heart and that he wanted to share with you when you got together in a meeting.  He not only shared, but he lifted you up before the Lord in prayer, and you could count on that when he told you so.  He kept driving forward to the ‘upward call’.

Amazing adventureYou never quite knew where Paul was ‘taking’ you when you set off with him.  One year, he decided to rent a boat on the Thames for the week long meeting of the Europe field directors.  After that ‘week on the boat’, we all said that we would never do that again.  However, his ‘adventure’ worked to draw us together in a way we weren’t expecting … and part of the proof is that we’re still talking about that infamous ‘boat trip’ to this day!  It wasn’t the craziness of the activity that finally characterized Paul, it was the context of grace he tried to create where you came to recognize the One in whom we put our trust and confidence, and who gave us the grace we needed to keep moving forward.

I will deeply miss my friend Paul.  I have missed him being part of my team for the past number of years.  Detlef got that privilege in recent years. And we are all better people for having rubbed shoulders with Paul.

I will not forget the impact that Paul has left on my life.

Don’t miss the opportunity to share with another how they have influenced your life!

8 Responses

  1. A hearty amen to those comments and so well spoken of a real warrior for God in every way. I too have missed being around him over the past many years but his memory will live on in my heart till I get to see him face to face. He may still want to wrestle me to the ground.;-} !

  2. Thanks for sharing your heart David (& Steve!) – while I didn’t know Paul well, I appreciate taking the time to mourn the loss of a dear friend & colleague in Christ – praying for those of you who can attend his life celebration gathering. See you in heaven Paul, hold fast Loraine!

  3. Here are some memories/snapshots I have of Paul: at the 2011 WT European conference he humbly told a story of how he and Lorraine found refuge for a family that was being persecuted, even life threatened by their own family members because they had become believers. They took risks for others.
    In 2013 Paul and Lorraine came to a Shame/Honour Conference which took place in our home. Paul had brought Lorraine’s dialysis machine and all its subsequent material. It must have been close to 60 lbs. of material, which he had loaded in their car and then driven from London to Paris (via the ferry). Physically, he was weak, but he didn’t say anything about it. He and Lorraine never used their physical struggles to keep them from ministry.

    • Thanks for sharing those memories. They were many that came to mind as I reflected on Paul’s life, many brought a smile to my face as I remembered his forward thinking way of life and his servant heart.

  4. Two days ago we said an emotional goodbye to Paul, our dear friend and fellow worker in the same team for about 27 years.

    I (Adrian) first met the Abeyta family upon their arrival in London 1986, five years before we joined WTUK. We were united with Paul and Lorraine by the same burden to share the love of Christ with the unreached, mainly from a Muslim background. That God-given vision has glued us together ever since.

    It is sinking in slowly – and painfully at times – that Paul is gone. He left his earthly, shattered tent and changed his address to a new, glorious one:

    c/o Jesus!

    We miss the sharing of joys and grieves, prayer times, phone calls, WhatsApps, now even the long meetings, and all the other things mentioned in the numerous tributes. Here is one more to add:

    Paul’s wonderful generosity!

    The TMP (themeetingpoint.org.uk) is just one example, besides the many meals, Thanksgivings and retreats. As we were sitting in our Community Center a few days before the funeral to pray for Lorraine and the family, we were surrounded by evidence:

    New doors and windows, paid out of their own pockets, painted walls, many four hour car round-trips to mentor us, our son in law Nathaneal and our daughter Debbie, and to take part in training and networking.

    The last of Paul´s adventurous drives took place on 4th November, just 26 days before his move into the presence of Jesus! Then a number of us pleaded with the Father to give them all a safe journey home . . .

    Of course, all this would not have been possible without Lorraine and her constant enabling of Paul in many ways to be so extraordinarily free giving! This included forgiving us when we were not the followers and leaders we ought to have been.

    “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” (Proverbs 11:25)

    May what is now so true of Paul also be experienced by Lorraine in her continuing ministry of presence and engagement as her heavenly Father enables her.

    Adrian and Ruth

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