Simply put, I have come across no one else with the style and verve of Dr. John Edmund Haggai, and that’s putting it mildly.
When in 2001, I received an invitation to join Haggai International as its website manager and editor, I received welcome greetings from a few, some quite elaborate. From Dr. Haggai there was half a line in an email (copied to the management): “For long I have prayed for someone like you.”
Twenty years have gone by, that half-line has kept me going full steam in the organization I remain wedded to, through thick, thin, sunshine and storm.
When I was trying to survive the inevitable teething problems of the rather complex job including experts from different nations and heads and directors all the way from Brazil to the US on the team, once more I saw an email from him in my Inbox. If I thought he was going to arbitrate, I was left thinking. All he wrote was, “I am watching from the wings, and tapping my foot in prayer.”
He knew what to say and do in any situation, and that endeared him to the heart for life. When in 2003, I was going to serve as faculty for the first time in an international leadership session at Singapore, I was fearful and quivering from head to foot. In the secular world, I had moderated and taught easily enough in other forums; nevertheless, facilitating at a Haggai seminar for the first time can reduce the bravest soldier to dust, so exalted are the standards. Ten minutes before time, with my hand on the door knob, I was about to enter the classroom when Ivy Mary Abraham came running with a mobile phone in her hand. It was Dr. Haggai on the line. He assured me it was going to be a power-packed session, he said he had confidence in me. He said a brief prayer for me. The session did not worry me thereafter, I floated through it from Cloud Nine.
His responses to events could never be predicted. In a Haggai Newsletter for international alumni which I was bringing out for the then VP of International, Mr. P.K.D. Lee, I introduced a column called THE FOUNTAINHEAD through which Haggai leaders could address questions to Dr. Haggai. Fr.Matthew Kukah, a Haggai leader from Nigeria (who is now an exalted bishop) posed this question: “Haggai Institute is constructed on and around you. What will happen when you move on?” In normal circumstances, I would have considered it audacious and trashed it. However, aware of the fact, that Dr. Haggai had a great fondness for Fr. Kukah, I sent in the question.
After two days, when there was no reply from the fountainhead, (as a rule, JEH responded to mails he received before a day ended) I sheepishly informed Mr. Lee what had happened and faced a wrath of sorts. Barely had I gone through it with burning cheeks, when there was a response from Dr. Haggai in my Inbox. He responded to the question in detail, giving the example of D.L. Moody’s ministry, after the latter’s death, which may have gone through a very brief lull, but then Moody Bible Institute became stronger than ever. “If a ministry has been for the Lord, it is sustained by divine power. If it has been built around a person, it will not survive.”
Praise God Haggai International will face no such acid test. More than a decade ago, the founder willingly gave over the reigns to those who would carry on the legacy of Jesus Christ entrusted into his being.
Dr. Haggai has faithfully finished his task.
Long live the Christ.