In March 1999, I was on a missions trip to Malaysia with my wife, Anna, and our children, Josh & Stephanie. Anna and I were leading a team of students from Pacific Academy on a short-term missions trip, when we got a phone call that no one ever wants to get. Anna’s father, Giuseppe (Joe) Foti had just suddenly died. We were in shock. Within a few hours we were on an airplane home with more questions than answers.
Dad Foti was one of the most godly and inspirational people I had ever known. He was a loving father, great husband and probably the best one-on-one witness for Jesus that I have met. Dad Foti had heard a call from God when he was living in Montreal and brought his family out to Vancouver with a thousand dollars in his pocket and a burning desire to plant an Italian church.
This last spring, I was honoured to attend a forty-year reunion of young people who had grown up and met the Lord in his church. We got to hear stories of his genuine love for the Italian families that he lead to the Lord. We also heard stories of how he pursued young people to tell them of Jesus love. He loved many people into the kingdom.
When I did the eulogy for his funeral, at the church he founded, there were hundreds on hand that he had personally lead to the Lord. Joe was an evangelist. You couldn’t stop him from telling people about Jesus. Even as I write this, I am deeply moved by his passion and love for Jesus. He would work as a dry-waller and ask the other trades people in his thick Italian accent.. ‘Do you love my Jesus?’ Joe was in love with Jesus.
Men on the job would throw food at him for talking about Jesus. This did not stop Joe. He was willing to lay down his life for Jesus. He was even willing to be a martyr for Jesus. Because of his boldness and passion for the Lord, Joe personally lead many to know Jesus. Dad Foti is a man who I deeply admire.
Lately I’ve been challenged anew to renew my passion for telling the story of Jesus. The Good News is not something we should keep to ourselves. One day, when God calls me home, I want to be known as a follower of Jesus who impacted people. I want to be known as a man who wasn’t afraid to share the Good News of Jesus.
Question: Who inspires you? What lessons have you learned from them?