Have you ever had that special someone in your life that just meant so much to you? I mean someone who really made an impact on you like no one else really has? That person for me was my Grandfather, Dionicio Juan Gorena. He was a father, grandfather, uncle, brother, and friend. He taught the Bible, picked people up weekly to attend church services with him, preached, taught, and even sang in the choir. (He used to say that he sang “bass” [like the fish]. People would look at him funny but I would sit there and laugh!) He took time to help people, provide for his family (he and my Grandmother had 17 children), and then he would even give money and stuff away to anyone who had need. This is who my Grandfather was.
But there was something even more important to me than all of the things mentioned above. The most important thing for me is that he taught my Father, David Juan Gorena, the Scriptures. Daily my Father would sit at my Grandfather’s table while he taught my Dad the Scriptures. I would go to my Grandparents home when I could and sit and listen to them talk to each other. It was mostly in Spanish, but I could catch here and there what they were talking about. I shall never forget the times that I would see my Grandfather reach for his Bible and he would read something to my Father then explain the passage to him. My Father would contemplate what his Dad taught him and would discuss with him what he was learning.
In turn, when I was in 6th or 7th grade, my Dad started to take me to Mr. Donut, a local donut shop where we lived, at 10:00 p.m. Now that was supposed to be my bedtime, but he thought it would be good take me there, buy me a chocolate donut with coconut sprinkles on it with a pint of chocolate milk, and he would buy himself a cup of coffee. (My Dad could drink coffee all day long; I used to think that is why he always looked so tanned!) After sitting down at the table, my Dad would pull out a pocket Bible and have me read a passage of Scripture to him. After reading the text, my Dad would then sit and explain to me what that passage meant. He took the time to teach me, to train me, just like his Dad, my Grandfather, did.
This is one of the most important times in all of my life. It all started with my Grandfather, Dionicio Juan Gorena, who taught my Father, David Juan Gorena, who in turn taught me. Both of these men have made the greatest impact on me.
Now let me tell you the reason that my Grandfather taught my Father and in turn the reason that my Father taught me:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:5-9)
My Grandfather and my Father both took this to heart. They not only learned the what God said in His Word, the Bible, but then they lived it out by teaching me what it says. My prayer, now that I am a Dad, is that I will teach my two sons what it is that I learned from my Grandfather and Father.
In the meantime, happy birthday, Grandpa! I love you and miss you but know that you are having the time of your life in eternity with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!