My godfather John Haggai’s commitment to the Truth has impacted countless lives in so many ways, both here on earth and for the future in Eternity. He truly was a spiritual giant among men, making an impact on the world akin to Billy Graham and D.L. Moody. He and his kind wife Christine were fixtures in my life as a child, and I have such wonderful memories of our times together.
During college, my family and I went to China with them on one of his Haggai Institute diplomatic trips – he arranged for me be able to study Shang and Zhou Dynasty bronzes first hand in museums closed to the public (a big deal for a college art history major!), have tea in the Great Hall of the People in the Forbidden City with the President’s son, and visit the Great Wall. I remember listening to Adam’s opera “Nixon in China“ while riding on a train through the Chinese countryside and eating Toblerone chocolate bars out of of the minibar when authentic meals were a bit too exotic for my tastes (tendon soup, anyone?). I remember the people there – so interested and kind. What a treasure to have shared with him, and all the more meaningful knowing the driving force was sharing His love through the leadership training initiatives of HI.
In more recent years, John was a fixture at key family events – from dedicating my son Cannon to the Lord at his christening luncheon to leading the vows at my parents’ 50th anniversary ceremony. His prayers were always remarkable, as were his stories. Hearing about his life experiences, the places he most enjoyed and how even in his mid 90s he kept his mind sharp by doing math mental exercises every day were a true inspiration.
He could connect with anyone, regardless of race or culture. He truly exemplifies a man who dedicated his life to reaching the farthest places on earth for the Lord, and reached countless more through the many books he authored. His leadership training institute has influenced so many cultures and countries around the world, and he was respected and greatly revered by so many world leaders.
But for me I’ll always remember him as Uncle John, my godfather who would tell me wonderous stories and make me laugh. He always had a twinkle in his eye and brought joy into the room with him, and I thank the Lord that he was in my life for so many years!