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May 16, 2009

HOMER 5-16-09

This is a true story.
It's true, as I had witnessed it personally.
I pray that you enjoy 'HOMER'.
A 'special' person?

Few would call him that today.
He was not an 'important' elected official.
He was not a 'well-known' celebrity.
He was not a 'CEO',
nor did it seem he was even 'needed'.

In the mid 50's
after heart trouble
needing a warmer climate
and wanting to do mission work-
he moved to Texas - Weslaco, Texas.
He knew no one there.
And of course,
Mexico was just across the river.

The Mexicans were very poor.
I suppose most of us knew that -
but few really noticed.

I visited him once.
He drove me around
and showed me places -
and I remember seeing
a very young girl playing
naked in front of
a small square shack (her home).

Homer saw a need -
but few noticed.

Homer lived in a trailer.
He didn't have heat
and it got cold at night -
but few noticed.

The border patrol got to know Homer.
They trusted him.
They knew him
as they saw how he lived,
and the work he was doing.
We crossed the border
into Mexico and back,
easily -
without being checked.
He prayed, then delivered food.
He prayed, then delivered clothes.
He prayed, then delivered hope.
He prayed, then delivered change -
to their lives.

For years he delivered their needs
and the Good Word -
but few noticed.

He didn't pastor a big church.
He didn't pastor a small church.
He didn't pastor any church -
but I remember once
at a Wednesday night prayer meeting -
(during one of those rare times
he returned to Wisconsin)
several men stood up
and gave their testimonies.
I can't remember
what any of them said.
But then Homer stood up.
He didn't say anything spectacular.
He just told of how poor his 'new friends' were
and how he was trying to help them.
He spoke for awhile and asked if
we might be able to share or donate anything -
clothes, food...
and then started to sit back down.
But everyone wanted to hear more
- so he continued.
He spoke for the full service.

There was no "prayer meeting" that evening.
No one left early.
The pastor never spoke either -
but few noticed. 

His faith was big
but he did small things.

Few noticed.

Decades later
as he got older,
he moved in with us -
back in Wisconsin.
I owned a few rentals
and charged him nothing.
He insisted on paying, though -
so he did,
$40 per month
which covered the utilities.
He could afford that.
He stayed in that small lower unit
a number of years.
I learned a lot -
as I saw him daily.
I was not a benefit to him,
but rather, he was a benefit to me.
You might say that we
were one, big happy family.
We seldom knocked.

I remember once
walking in on him
and saw him in his bedroom
on the floor
on his knees
at his bedside,
He didn't hear me
or see me
so I quietly backed out.
He was a man of prayer.

He read his Bible continuously.
We spoke often.
He carried his Bible everywhere -
and rarely left home without it.
He walked to the other end of town and back
twice a day, for exercise.
He loved Gods world -
but few noticed.

He continued his normal routine,
his daily Christian walk -
but few noticed.

One day
as I was driving down main street,
on the far sidewalk,
I saw him.
As I stopped for a red light,
there he was - up ahead,
walking the same direction as I.
Who could forget that distinctive walk?
A little hunched over,
but a deliberate walk -
as if he always knew
exactly where he was headed.
Few noticed.

As I got closer -
as I looked closer -
of course, at his side,
under his arm,
in his hand
was that same familiar Bible.
He didn't see me.
I didn't sound my horn to wave.
I just looked ahead
and smiled, thinking...
'that's Homer'.

On the sidewalk
were other passers by.
I wondered if they, too, saw his Bible.
Few noticed.

Now maybe Homer
was not a 'special' person in our world,
but he was a special person to me -
and a very 'special' person to God.
A great believer,
A 'special' person for sure -
though few noticed.

Are we 'special' to those around us?
How will people remember us?
And more importantly,
how will God remember us?

Homer passed away in 1991
at the age of 95.
A few people in Weslaco, TX
or in Mexico
might still remember "the nice man".
The children that he fed and clothed then
should be in their 40s or 50s now.

Homer McDermott
He died poor -
but few noticed.

If every American
in this nation -
prayed as hard as he did -
worked as hard as he did -
gave as hard as he did....
if every American
in this nation -
proved their love as he did -
to our neighbors here,
and around the world -
then America, once again, would be
that "shining city on a hill"
Reagan spoke of in Dallas in 1984.

And God would be defined to the world
through pure Christian living -
not through theology books
sold in bookstores,
or by
(allow me to say it this way)

Homer didn't "make-believe".
Homer didn't 'act' like a Christian.
Homer was a Christian -
though few noticed.

Homer never worked for his salvation,
nor did he worry about his salvation,
nor did he charge
for his Christian service -
and few noticed.

Few people knew Homer -
but God did.
Few people noticed Homer -
but I did.

Tears pour from my eyes
when I think of how far I fall short
of Homer's great love and faith -
in life,
for others,
for God.

Homer -
a very 'special' person?
I guess that's for each one of us to decide,
depending on our goals in life -
but as for me - yes, absolutely.

Homer McDermott,
a most humble man -
a man of faith -
a man of most unselfish love,
with the greatest, most worthy testimony.

And though few noticed
my grandfather, I did.
~louis gander

2009 louis gander - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED



  1. Hi Louis,
    I read this with tears. My grandparents have paseed on now for a long time. It is so rare to find people that don't go around proclaiming what they've done but it seems like your grandfather was one of them just like many in my past. They just simply lived their love for the Lord and expected nothing in return. This is a very moving tribute and should cause conviction in all of us.
    By the way, my father's name was Homer Alexander Blackwell and so was my brother Homer David that passed away which is Gerti's husband. Small world. Still praying for you and your family. Judy

  2. Hi Loius, I just had to comment on the moving tribute about your grandfather. What a beautiful testimony. To be more like Jesus (like your grandfather) should be everyone's prayer. What an opportunity he had and I'm sure some of the Mexican children never forgot him. Blessings, Linda Reich


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