THE LOVE STORY OF A GOOD SHEPHERD

 

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep” (Jn 10:11)

Beloved children and dear brethren, it is Malia again. I have been praying to find new words to encourage you. After my beloved husband, your father in the Lord, Pastor Richmond Sisan Leigh went to heaven, for three days I just lied down, unable to think or to pray. In a way, part of me died with him. I just could not gather myself to stand and wish to live. Then I received the vision of the two pilots in the cockpit of the plane, that I told you about. As the plane was flying, high in the air, the senior pilot had a heart attack and died. The co-pilot had to take charge of the plane, if not, it will crash. They were many passengers in the plane. For some time, they did not even know that there was an emergency in the cockpit. The co-pilot could not be overemotional and weep there. He must pray for wisdom and strength, take charge, and fly the plane safely to its destination. He is trained for such emergencies. In this vision, Tali was the senior pilot and I was the co-pilot. The vision was so clear. I had a choice to make. To enter depression, like must widows do, or, by the grace of God, to be strong and do something. I mean, take charge of the equipment of the plane, and fly ahead. The airport tower was informed of the emergency and now, all the information the senior pilot was receiving, it went to the co-pilot. In other words, all the words of the Holy Spirit Tali was hearing all these years, I started hearing them now. I decided to do what is right, what I know God wanted me to do, and even what Tali expected me to do in such a situation. I got up from my bed. I stood on my feet and prayed in the Spirit. I asked the Holy Spirit, for the sake of Christ and the ministry, to baptize me again, with power from on high. I knew that I can never pastor such a big church like Father’s House in my own wisdom or strength. The prayer ‘worked’!!!  God answered! The power of the Holy Spirit came on me like a mantle. Since that day, I observed that I am not able to despair, I cannot be depressed or doubt God. This power helps me to think well, to have my emotions under control and make the right decisions. It helps me to study God’s Word, to pray, to prepare and preach sermons, and even to encourage others. I know that this is not the normal behavior of someone recently bereaved. I have counselled many widows. It takes at least a year to process grief before they can ‘think straight’ and before they can return to a form of ‘normal life’. The power of the Holy Spirit on me genuinely surprised me. Let me tell you a secret…  I tend to believe that when Tali went to heaven, he begged Jesus to send a fresh dose of the Holy Spirit to me. I trust Tali! Anyway, one thing is clear, this is not ‘the old Malia’. I know myself! The only explanation for my new strength is the Holy Spirit. I also know that this anointing did not come just for me, for my personal comfort. It came because of the ministry. I could not have been able to stand and preach God’s Word in my own wisdom and strength. This miracle blessing is not for me alone, but for all the members of Father’s House Bible Church. We must all share in it. As we shared in the pain, we must share in the strength provided from above. This is God’s Work! He will surely provide all that is needed! The victory is sure! Revival is here! To the glory of God! Hallelujah!

 

Let me share another testimony. Another miracle is the way our three children changed ‘overnight’. As you know, Tali and I have three grown children: John, Alina and Jemine. They are all settled, married with children. After their father went to heaven, they suddenly became more mature and more spiritual. To God be all the glory! They phone me daily encouraging me to stand strong. They pray for me. They tell me that I should not worry, that everything Tali was doing for me, they will now do it. Even if that is not possible, their new passion love, to take care of me, their mother, touches my heart. Our son, John (Toju) told me: ‘Malia, you have been Tali’s co-pilot for all these years. You know what Tali knows. You are the strongest person I know. You can stand and be the pastor of the church. God is with you. God will help you…” Alina had a vision she shared with me. She said that Tali and I were Olympic champions. We were running the relay. She said that Tali was running first. He was so fast. All the other competitors were far behind. I was the next to run. I was waiting so that he gives me the baton. He came close and he gave me the baton.  I took the baton from his hand and as I wanted to run, I saw him collapse on the field. For a moment, I did not know what to do. I came to him to see what the problem is. Then he opened his eyes and shouted at me: ‘Run, Lia, Run!’ I saw that the competitors were getting closer. I also saw the doctors running towards Tali. His loud words entered like fire in my bones. I got up with the baton in my hand and I started running and running. I understood what Tali was trying to say. We are a relay team. Each of us must try his best. The glory of our coach, Jesus Christ, the interest of the team and the victory ahead is more important than the well being of each runner. We run for the glory of Jesus who ran before us to show us the way. When the team wins the gold medal, the glory goes to God and the rewards will be shared by all the participants. That is why I am running, not looking back! When my race is over; I will give the baton to another one whom God has prepared and positioned. The heavenly medal is in heaven. We run upward. We run towards Jesus! Failure is not an option! God will help us all! Apostle Paul said: “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider that I have made it my own yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the [heavenly] prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature [pursuing spiritual perfection] should have this attitude” (Philp 3:13-15; AMP). May we all run towards Jesus, faithful to the end!

 

This morning I remembered a true story that happened about six years ago. Tali and I, with other nine couples from the church, were going on a cruise. We were in Venice, Italy. We went to the port to check into the ship. We had to pass the border control where they check the passports and the visas. Seven of the couples went in without any problems. Two of the couples had problems. They only had one entry visas to Italy. The cruise ship stops in several places. They needed multiple entries visas. The officials refused to allow these two couples to enter the ship. Tali and I tried to explain but all was in vain. They said only the captain of the ship may agree to an exemption. Tali and I went inside the ship to look for the senior captain. We met with him explaining the situation. He said that it is not possible to allow them in board; that he cannot break the law. The other seven couples were seeing us talking to the captain, worried or praying in tongues. At last, the captain said to Tali: ‘The ship must leave now. What about you? Do you want to enter, or do you want to stay behind?’ Tali thought for only one second. Then I heard him say to the captain: ‘We cannot leave the two couples. My wife and I shall stay behind”. Tali did not have time to explain to me why he made this decision. But over the years I learned to keep close to him, no matter the situation. I completely trusted him, better said, Christ in him. I was with him in Spirit in all that he said and did. Tali stepped behind and I followed him. The bridge was lifted, and the ship slowly sailed away. The fourteen brethren in the ship started crying. They said they too want to come down. Tali said: ‘No! you have paid for your vacation. Please go ahead and enjoy yourselves. We shall see you later”. Tali and I came down and joined the two couples. They were shocked when they saw that we stayed behind because of them. All of us lost the money we paid for the cruise. But losing money was the last thing on our mind at that time. They wept too because of us. We all went back to the hotel to plan what next to do. It was at the hotel that Tali explained to me why he decided to stay behind. He said: “Lia. I hope you understand what happened today. We are their leaders. We are their pastors and shepherds. We must take responsibility even for their mistakes. Our testimony is more important than a vacation. The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. We must behave like Jesus who left ninety-nine sheep to look for the one who was stranded… My wife, I hope you understand…” I told him: “My husband, you don’t have to explain anything to me. We are in this together. I know you! I knew that you would do that. It was easy for me to step back with you. You are right! To be like Jesus, to keep the unity of the Spirit, to me, it is more important than a cruise vacation of few days”. Many people do not know about this story. But it is a true story. The brethren who were with us can confirm it. This is just one of the instances when Christ shone thru Tali like the sun. It was a destiny moment. Heaven rewarded it! It is only during a crisis that you will know the true worth of a man. It is only when a man is in pain that you will know the true person. When a man loses something, the way he behaves, that reveals the true character. Tali’s response to pressure amazed me and all of us. He pointed us to Jesus. Many pastors behave well in the church, but not so well during a vacation. Tali was always himself. He practiced what he preached.  I know that Tali’s reward in heaven is great.  I am so proud of my husband, your dear father. He was a true leader, a spiritual man, a true man of God. He was a good shepherd, a good pastor. He was a wonderful husband to me, a wonderful father and grandfather! I am so proud to be called Mrs. Leigh. It is my honor and privilege to carry his name and legacy to the end of my life. Dear children, I write all these letters so that you will know your father better. It will strengthen you in your spiritual identity. Remember that in Christ, you are complete!’ (Col 2:10). Fear nothing except God! Trust God always! God bless you all! I am proud of you too! Love in Christ alone, Malia!

 

Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh 08-08-2020

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