Leon and Pat
Recently I had the privilege of spending nearly 4 hours in a car with the amazing Leon and Pat Van Daele. If you don’t know who they are, then you are missing out!! They are two of the most incredible people on the planet.
Now in their 70’s they have been together for 50 years, and have been serving Jesus for even longer! You will find it difficult to find a better example of what a life lived for the King looks like. They are so selfless in everything they do, they are always thinking of what God wants them to do and how they can bless others.
I first met them when I was very young. They moved from South Africa to Australia, and settled in Warrnambool, in the house next to mine. They were the first neighbours that I can remember having, and they were like grandparents who would always offer me a cookie whenever I went to their house (and if they didn’t offer I would demand one!!).
At the time I had no understanding of who they were or what they had done. I didn’t know they were in ministry, I didn’t know they traveled for most of the year and I didn’t know their love for Jesus. I only knew they lived next door and they had cookies!!
Now I am more aware of who they are and what they have done, so when the opportunity arose to spend extra time with them one on one I could not say no!
I prepared questions to ask them in advance because I wanted to get as much out of them as possible and when I got the opportunity to ask them I was not disappointed!
I chose to ask questions about the past; why and how NCMI came to be, what they were involved in before NCMI, how they deal with their family being spread across 3 different continents and how they have stayed the course for so long…
I chose these questions so that I could learn just a little of what they have walked through and that I will hopefully be able to avoid some unnecessary battles down the track and set myself up to fight the battles God has planned for me, not just the ones created by my own stupidity!
I felt that it was important to learn as much from them about the past as possible because they were there, and people who were there may not be around for a whole lot longer to pass the information on…
Needless to say each question gave way to many tangents and each answer from Leon was the length of your average sermon… I was having the time of my life!!
Who gets to spend so much time with Leon and Pat on their own? Let alone an 18 year old kid who knows nothing about everything?!?!
It was a truly humbling experience, one that I will not forget in a hurry… I look forward to seeing many more ‘Leon and Pat’s’ in the future, thanks to their example of knowing they are loved by Jesus, loving Him in return and loving others as an overflow… and perhaps one day I might be like them too…