My father’s life was so amazing. The verse below reminds me of him. “Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint.” Isa.40:30,31
On Saturday, January 14, 2006 my cell phone rang and I received the news that my father had died. I stepped outside to get better reception on my phone and heard a cry from the heavens. I looked up and above my head flew a bald eagle; the first I had seen in this part of the country. Immediately, I heard a voice in my heart, “The eagle has landed; he’s gone to his reward.”
My dad, Irvine George Wyns, was born in Inner Mongolia, North China. He was raised in the
forgotten town of Gashatay in the Gobi Desert
because his parents were missionaries with “Mongolia for Messiah Missions.”
Before my dad was born, my grandfather left the mission field under great duress. Throughout their lives, they never met. We do not know all the details of my grandfather’s departure, but my grandmother stayed on the field for seven more years. Besides caring for Irvine and his sister Maliya (Mary), Grandma ministered to the Mongolian and Chinese people. The family was there during the great famine of 1928 when untold thousands died of starvation and disease. For two years Grandma led the mission while Pastor Thomas Hindle and his family were on furlough. Grandma ran a school, a church, a food dispensary, and did what she could to help the poor.
During these years they were under constant attack from bands of robbers and the nearest police station was 200 miles away. They lived and served by heaven’s faith and God’s protection. My dad told us many stories of the miracles, salvations and the powerful native evangelists.
Before his eighth birthday, Dad moved to London, England where he shared a bedroom with his mother and sister in his aunt’s home. Grandma, once a
heroine, now cleaned houses to put bread on the table. They were tough times and at twelve years of age, Dad entered a very lonely season. He was sent to boarding school. Missionary children could go for free and Grandma could no longer look after him.
Through all of this, Dad’s faith grew stronger and the Lord worked wonders in his life. He sat under the preaching of Smith Wigglesworth and other dynamic men. He saw amazing miracles and his own powerful ministry began to emerge. He became a leader in the church and championed the outreach ministry on the streets of London. He preached with great conviction at speakers corner, Hyde Park and brought hundreds of souls to Christ. When he was sixteen, World War II erupted and Maliya, his sister died. She was just nineteen when Nazi bombs pummeled London and took her life. In 1943 the war was at it’s worse and Dad married a godly woman named Doreen Cann. This was a wonderful blessing, but shortly after, his mother died of cancer. He was the only surviving member of his family. Storms were always blowing on Dad, but his amazing faith kept him flying high on eagle’s wings.
Dad was a tool and die-maker, but he was also a preacher and after his marriage, he worked in the ministry alongside of Derek Prince. Then tragedy struck again. He was just twenty-eight when his wife, Doreen died while giving birth to twins. One of the babies died as well. He felt as though his life was over. Grief and sorrow overtook him. If not for the grace of God and the responsibility of caring for six children, he would have ended his life.
“Even the youths shall faint and be weary. And young men shall utterly fall. But those who wait on the Lord shall,… mount up with wings like eagles.” Isaiah 40: 30,31
God helped him through and a year later he married one of the daughters of Derek Prince. She was just eighteen. Her birth name was Magdeline Miriam Katz. She was a Jew, the daughter of a Rabbi and had been adopted by Lydia and Derek when she was an infant. After Irvine and Magdeline married they had five children. I am one of them.
When I was three, our family moved to Toronto. Dad went on ahead to secure a job and find a home, but when mom and the children arrived, he and 8,000 other workers, were laid off from their company. He could not find a proper paying job, but he and Mom did everything they could to keep us clothed and fed.
Through every trial, Dad’s faith only grew stronger and soon he planted a church in Toronto. It is still a thriving work today. As a young boy, I sat under his anointed preaching and saw miracles of healing performed in the name of Jesus. Dad was a pastor and an evangelist. While I was still a teen he gave me the opportunity of leading the youth in our church and during those years, he mentored me. He was bold and tenacious. The trial of his faith was more precious than gold. That faith paved the road that I learned to walk on. He was the senior pastor and I was the youth leader. Those days were so adventurous. They were so much fun. That season came to an end when Dad and Mom and the younger children moved to Florida. I was eighteen and stayed in Canada to continue the youth work. While in Florida, Dad became the pastor of a couple of church congregations and later he and Mom moved back to England to pastor a church there. He was always happiest when he was preaching, worshipping or helping someone. He loved the ministry and I never met a man who demonstrated more faith than my dad. I miss him.
Just three years ago my mother died. Dad was 78 and Magdeline had been his wife for almost fifty years. No one thought that this wonderful woman would go before Dad, but the Lord took her. It was so painful for every member of the family; Dad could hardly bare it.
He said to me, “Peter, what am I
going to do? My sweetheart is gone.”
He was always there for me, but I could find no words to ease my father’s pain. He loved his children dearly and still had many good times ahead, but from that day, his eyes looked to the heavens. He yearned to be with his Magdeline.
This man, who was the last of his lineage, now has 72 in his family, including eleven children, twenty-eight grandchildren and twenty-four great-grandchildren. There are marriage partners as well. Many are preachers of the Gospel and we are very proud of the grandchildren and the great-grandchildren who walk in the faith of their grandfather. They do it with
passion and tenacity.
The eagle rose from a forsaken desert on the other side of the world. He flew through many dangerous storms and faced countless obstacles, but he always came out the other side victorious. He knew a secret. He knew how to wait on the Lord.
“They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40: 30,31
Now the eagle has landed; he has gone to his reward. He is with his Magdeline and he is with his Lord. One day, I too shall receive my reward and I will embrace my father again