One of life’s most painful events is saying good-bye to a loved one or a dear friend. This summer I received a distressing call from my sister Sandy. Our beloved uncle and mentor, Rev. Dr. Adolfo Carrion, was taken to the emergency room with severe abdominal pain.
We would learn later that he was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
Processing my feelings about this prognosis, I began to ponder his life, ministry and impact on me. I flashed back to a memory of a black-and-white photograph of my first birthday.
I was standing in front of a birthday cake with a single candle. There standing behind me was my uncle, with his hand placed on my shoulder. I know he was praying for me, asking the Lord for a blessing over my life.
Memories flooded in about my teenage years. I recalled all the times my uncle would take his son Adolfo, my cousin Felix, and myself out for breakfast just to chat.
Although we were adolescents, he treated us with great respect. His words of affirmation touched our lives.
He had the ability to help young leaders discover their calling, to realize their potential and believe in themselves. When I was 21 years old, he gave me my first pastor’s assignment.
It was a small congregation in Brooklyn, NY. Dr. Carrion said to me, “Pablo this church assignment will be good for you to gain vital ministerial experience.” He was right, I was ready.
Weeks following the diagnosis, family and friends gathered to visit. I remember my initial shock at his physically weakened demeanor. It was such a contrast to the robust man I knew from the pulpit and our family gatherings.
Yet his spirit remained comforting as he offered blessing and words of encouragement to all who came to see him. My uncle was vibrant and alive, his mind as sharp as ever. His smile unchanged.
The last time I was with him I didn’t want to leave his presence. I wanted to remain at the feet of this “giant.” Two months after the diagnosis, the Lord called him home.
Early on, Rev. Dr. Carrion surrendered his life to God, answering the call to be a minister and spending a lifetime expanding the Kingdom of God. In June 2014 at the Assemblies of God Centennial Celebration in Orlando, he was honored as one of the 100 inspirational stories featured from the last 100 years.
Dr. Carrion was a giant in his faith, as a man and a leader. I had the honor and privilege to run alongside him. Who is your giant in faith, in life? What words or lessons have they taught you? Tell me about how their life has inspired you to be a better person.
There is a proverb that states “Let another praise you, and not your mouth; someone else, and not your own lips.”