Saturday, November 19, 2016

Victory ...

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The invasive low notes of a train whistle impatiently labored to bring me out of a deep unconscious state.

As soon as I realized it was the ring tone on Pam's phone I knew who was calling.  And I was provided one last view of the "space suit" in which the soul and spirit of one of God's greatest gifts to me had left behind.

I had no tears in response to the passing of my friend of 43 years. I had extinguished those into his lap, onto his face, in front a phone screen, and on short walks away from my compound over the past three weeks.

This was not a moment of defeat. This was victory.

The apostle Paul wrote, "For me to live is Christ.  To die ... that is better yet."  You won't find me begging God to raise my friend from the dead.  Nate Robertson is where he wants to be ... with Jesus.

Death is man's last great enemy.  I hate death.  It rips a man from his wife, his children, his grandchildren, and his friends.  "The bodies we have now embarrass us, for they become sick and die; but they will be full of glory when we come back to life again. Yes, they are weak, dying bodies now, but when we live again they will be full of strength."  Jesus defeated death in His resurrection.  (1 Corinthians 15)

Favorite people ... Nate & Lainy ... October  19, 2016
My relationship with Nate began back in the early 70's in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois  ... a long haul truck driver ... a dope smoking hippie ... a young man who had lost his way.  By divine intervention, God brought Nate into my life.  Soon Nate wasn't just in my life, but living in my home.  The first person of dozens who would come later.  Pam and I and our two small girls loved Nate and soon Nate was falling in love with Jesus.  Then God gifted Nate with his wife, Lainy, and soon after, their two sons.  Nate and Lainy followed us from the Midwest to the beautiful state of Oregon.  We lived together, loved together, served together, and traversed all the mountains and valleys that a long term relationship cover.

My two daughters, Rebecca & Stephanie, and granddaughter, Robyn, with Nate
Nate was a very intelligent, gracious, generous, intentional, humble man of God who consistently pushed me to chase my God-given destiny.  Every Christ follower needs someone who believes in them and will diligently remind them of their priorities.  Nate not only often reminded me to make Pam my first relationship among the many I treasure, but provided financial resources to have time alone and away with her.  One late morning when I encountered Lainy in a large parking lot in Vancouver and told her Pam and I were going to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary in Europe ... because round trip tickets were only $402 ... she promptly did the research and got the last two seats available on that plane and the four of us shared two marvelous weeks together!

My friend for eternity ... Nate Robertson ... in Heaven ...  October 19, 2016
Nate faithfully served on the board of Next Generation Ministries until his declining health forced him to retire this past August.  His love for Uganda was HUGE (he came here 3 times) and he has so many relationships with people here who will miss him.

I regret that Pam was unable to return to Oregon with me last month to spend time with Nate before he went to Heaven.  We knew that only one of us would be able to make that trip, for various reasons, and we both were more than aware that it would be me. Nate love us deeply.  We loved him deeply. After the phone call, just more than an hour ago, woke me here in Africa, I knew that I had to produce a tribute to this wonderful man gifted to me by God.  I wondered if I should dig back through my four decades of photos to retrieve some which portrayed him in a more healthy state.  But, decided against it when I realized that the last week I spent with him was such a treasured experience.

As Pam and I stood on the back veranda, peering into the FaceTime screen, just a few days ago, we realized it would most likely be our last conversation.  His last words to us were, "We love you."

My loss.  Heaven's gain.


  1. thank you Paul for that wonderful tribute. It has been a VERY hard day for me and a glorious day for my honey. I love you, Lainy

  2. I love you Lainy. I can only imagine how much you are missing Nate. It is paradoxical ... two extremes touching each other. I couldn't be happier for Nate. Meanwhile ... how do we live without Him. Just like we did before he left us ... by the grace of God.

  3. Beloved of God Lainy together with your sons and grand children, we here in Uganda are deeply sorrowful at the "temporary loss" of your husband, father, grandfather and a wonderful son of God. As friends of your family, we have no words to use to express our condolencies to you. But we commit you to the God of all comfort to comfort you in this trying moment. 2Corinthians 1:3,4

  4. Streets of Gold, No more Pain , No more Sorrow, and the Kingdom of GOD in it's fullness. Man, Nate is in a great place. We rejoice with him and we morn with Lainy and the family, BUT, we know we will all be there some day.

  5. Nate was a true blue friend and I will always treasure the sweet memories he has given us. We are rejoicing with him in his new home with Jesus. Lainy our heart goes out to you and the children and family. May God's peace and comfort and strength be yours. We love you and praising our dear Lord for the privilege of knowing you,

    with Love and prayers, Duke nd Jeannie


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