A father once said, “Son, you’re one in a million!”
The son replied, “Dad, I know you meant that as a compliment, but it means there are 1500 guys just like me in China!”
Late Sunday afternoon, May 15, we learned Don Callison, a man who was one in seven billion went home to be with his Lord. After a tough journey with cancer, Don’s life on this earth ended and his eternal life began.
We could search the entire population of the world and not find another man the caliber of Don Callison. Who can measure the value and impact of a life lived at full-throttle for Jesus? Only in the last few months, as the cancer took its toll, did Don slow down physically but spiritually and intellectually he was sharp – even as recently as my last visit on April 8th. For every question I asked him about his health, he asked two about my ministry. It was never about Don; it was always about others – and mostly about pointing them to Jesus.
Don’s enthusiasm for the Gospel was highly contagious; his sense of humor disarming and his persuasive skills unequaled. I’m sure God has a record but there’s no way for us to count the number of people who packed their bags to serve at Echo Ranch Bible Camp in Alaska or on the mission teams to Russia. And those are just the short-term missionaries. The Holy Spirit used Don’s wit, sarcasm, and captivating smile to provoke many to give up promising state-side careers to move to remote places all over the world so they could share the Good News of Jesus, the Christ.
I’ve watched people add zeros to checks because Don had the bravado to say out-loud, “You can do more than that!” Few people realize what God did through Don’s vision for the Christian Union Triennium project which ended in June 2013 and provided funds for five radio stations, 8 clean water wells, and 1600 solar powered radios!
I first met Don in August 1990 and I am a different person because of our friendship. Over the years we did several things together but from 2008 on we were especially close as we spent many weeks each summer traveling promoting missions.
He taught me how to follow Jesus better. I know of no greater compliment. He was one in seven billion.
I will miss him.