The past few weeks have been witness to the loss of some giants of the faith in my life. We lost another one recently. I don’t know exactly when, but I just heard yesterday that one of my true heroes, Dwight Palmquist, passed away from brain cancer. He died in the Philippines, the country he loved.
Dwight had been diagnosed with brain cancer and though he was in the U.S. at the time, he asked permission from his denomination to return to the Philippines so he could be there when he passed. He was 74.
Dwight was an apostle. He would say he was as evangelist. His heart was to preach the gospel to every people group in the Philippines: thousands of people groups were scattered over hundreds of islands and he wanted to preach the gospel to every last tribe. He spent over 47 years of his life doing just that.
Dwight was an apostle. His “newsletters” home read like something from Paul. Dwight didn’t do anything right when it come to communicating as a missionary. He was supposed to stay on the field 4 years and come home for one year. He would stay on the field 10 years and come back for 6 months.
Newsletters needed “lots of pictures” and short stories. Dwight’s letter were full of printed text and no pictures. But everyone who got those letters read every word. Every time. He would tell of how God was healing people, how God was protecting pastors, how God was delivering people from demons, and so much more.
The last time I got to see Dwight was so special. A leader in our church loved Dwight and this leader’s wife said her husband would LOVE to have lunch with Dwight for a birthday gift. Dwight was home in that time period, so I set it up… and came along. I wasn’t missing ANY chance to sit with Dwight.
There was always a great lesson on prayer and faith when you were around Dwight. His last lesson to me was on praying storms away. Praying literal storms away. It was simple for him because it was simple for Filipino pastors. If a typhoon was coming in the Philippines, pastors would head to the beach and pray for God to redirect the storm.
His thinking was this: “Why pray after something? Why not ask God before it happens?”
He stepped up my faith and my prayer life one last time that day.
Dwight was an apostle. He lived with joy and humility. He lived with abundant faith in a powerful Savior. And he loved the Philippines.
Dwight was a spiritual giant. Dwight was one of my heroes.
He has, without a doubt, received a hero’s welcome into the full presence of Jesus.
Dwight has finished his course. He has run his race well. Eternal memory.