“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you” (Ex 20:12)
Today we celebrate Father’s Day! It is a good thing to remember our fathers. A father is a man who has children, natural or spiritual. He has a relationship with them. He invests his life in them. He prays for them. Fatherhood is a gift of God. It is not by might or by power that you become a father. It is a grace gift from God. Give Him praise!
Honoring your father and mother is a command. It releases great blessings upon you, upon your descendants and upon the land God is giving you. You cannot be a happy father or landowner if you disrespect, dishonor or ignore your parents. Honoring them breaks the bondage of the fear of untimely death. In your heart, honor your fathers! These men were not perfect. They were sinners saved by grace. If they are dead, think of a little personal detail that you remember, so that you make this day special and holy. God bless you, sons! God bless you, daughters!
Today, it is my desire to honor three fathers. The first one is my dear husband, Pastor Richmond Leigh. He is a wonderful father to our children and their spouses and a great grandfather to our grandchildren. He is also a great man of God, a pastor, a mentor and a spiritual father to many. Pastor and I we are now happily married for 44 years. If Pastor Richmond Leigh has influenced your life for better, please acknowledge that and pray for him! To God alone be all the glory!
The second father I want to honor is my natural father: Prof. Albai Ion. He has gone to heaven about 15 years ago. He was a wonderful father to my younger sister, Adica and I. He was the principal of the school we attended. He was openly proud of his love for our mother and us, his daughters. Each time we went to an exam or an interview, he went with us to encourage us that we can pass it. We grew up feeling protected and loved. He encouraged us to be the best we can be, without any inferiority complex that we are girls and not boys. He was very worried when I told him that I want to marry a man from Africa. I told him that he should meet with the one I love. My husband and himself met and they discussed things about life and future. Immediately he trusted my future husband and ‘adopted’ him as the son he never had. He gave his life to Christ before he died. To God be all the glory!
The third father I want to honor is my father in law, Engr. Fredrick Mene Leigh. He was a wonderful father to his children and even to me. Initially, when his son told him that he married an ‘oyinbo’ girl he too was worried. He was afraid that I will run away from Nigeria and break his son’s heart. With time, he learned to trust me. The last two years of his life he was very sick. I became his personal doctor and pastor. By the grace of God I lead him to Christ and he after he made peace with God. Six months before he died, he called me to ask for forgiveness that he doubted his son’s marriage to me. He said that he does not want to die with the burden of un-forgiveness in his heart. I was very surprised because I did not expect an old man to ask for forgiveness. I knew then that his conversion was genuine. He then told me something very wonderful. He said: ‘Lia, from today, you are not my daughter in law. You are my daughter. Anything you see my children do, do like them. Where they walk, you too feel free to walk…” I was touched. He destroyed my inferiority complex of being a foreigner. Since then I feel at home in Nigeria, both spiritually and emotionally. To God alone be all the glory!
(In the pictures, you see my husband, Pastor Leigh, holding our grandson Oliver; my father, Prof Albai Ion, holding me as a child, and my father in law, Eng. Fredrick Mene Leigh)