Yesterday evening, when my wife and I sat down to pray, she announced she had just found out an old friend of ours, P.D.Joshua, had died on the Wednesday, with his funeral the next day.
It happens that in our list of who to pray for, Joshua and his family were usually on it. This unexpected news came to us as a shock. I can’t quite remember when I met Joshua but it must have been some thirty years ago. As I recall, it was in a church in Trivandrum City, Kerala that I met an evangelist named Babu Henry, who lived in Tamil Nadu. Babu invited me to preach there and I accepted. The person who was my translator that occasion was Joshua. I kept in contact with them both from that time on. Until recently, we were able to exchange views etc. (not always agreeing) on Facebook. It would have been my intention the next time I would visit India that I would visit Joshua, something I was looking forward to.
Like Babu, Joshua was an evangelist, who did what was implicit in the title – preach the gospel. After that first visit, there were many more occasions when I met with Joshua and there were many times when he translated for me. He referred to himself, when doing so, as Jonathan’s armour bearer. It brought a smile and on reflection I couldn’t have a better one. As an evangelist, he was well aware of and took seriously his responsibility to bring the Good News, often to the poor, mindful he was carrying on a family tradition (I understand Joshua’s father was an evangelist, who would be pleased his son carried on the work). We traveled together and I stayed in his home. He had a servant’s heart and was faithful in his service. He was a humble man, lived modestly with his wife and children and given to hospitality, and did not have much in terms of worldly possessions. He loved the Lord, his family and the people God had called him to minister to, and he knew his Bible well.
I will miss brother Joshua. Like his son, who movingly wrote: “In the sweet, by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore“, I look forward to that time but, in the meantime, I am mindful that for those of us who are left behind of a need for continued faithful service, just as did brother Joshua. “Now after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord it came to pass, that the Lord spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying, Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel … Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest” Joshua 1:1,2,9.