9 Months, 3 days ago, I published this blog post in honor of my father in-love, Fred Augsburger. THIS MORNING – January 30, 2017 @ 2:15AM, he heard the words, “Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant, Enter Into Your Eternal Reward.” WELCOME HOME!  

*A Celebration of Life for Fred Augsburger will be held February 11, 2017 @Berlin Mennonite Church, 4718 US Route 62 Berlin, Ohio 44610. Visitation: 2-4 PM  Celebration of Life: 4PM

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95 years ago today. April 27, 1921. A ten-pound baby boy was delivered by Doc Toot in the bedroom of a rural Elida, Ohio farm house. Clarence and Stella Augsburger were the proud parents of their first born of five sons and one daughter. Over the years, while planting, cultivating and harvesting tomatoes and melons on the small family farm, God was nudging Fred to a distinctive kind of sowing and reaping.

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Fred Augsburger in his 30’s

After a five-year apprenticeship helping start a church in rural Wisconsin, Fred and his wife Carolyn and young family of two daughters, were invited to Youngstown, Ohio to start a church in 1952. A Caucasian farm boy answered the call. A predominately African-American inner city community was the field.

Seeds of love, compassion, acceptance and authenticity were freely planted. Acts of kindness, servant-hood, mercy, justice and respect were consistently cultivated. Everything was drenched with the living water of the Holy Spirit. And a church was planted. A harvest of fruit was evident. People of all skin tones worshipped God together. First a church on the south-side, and then a second church 15 years later on the northeast side of Youngstown. Thirty years of faithful and fruitful ministry.

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Children’s Bible Club in 1957

During and for an additional 15 years beyond planting two churches in Youngstown, were hundreds of fruitful ministry opportunities as the Fred Augsburger family of five children and parents travelled, sang and preached their way across the landscape of North American churches. Stories of transformation, healing and restoration abound. Several interim pastorates from Ohio to Oregon. (A book with their life story has been written). Sowing and reaping. Faithful and fruitful.

A God-loving, Christ-following, Spirit-empowered faithful leader. Married to an equally called, passionate and gifted wife. Together, they created five children who all married and birthed 13 grandchildren who now have added 10 great-grandchildren. At all levels of the legacy, there are younger generations living out a similar call that has been shaped by their father, grandfather and great grandfather. They have been faithful and fruitful.

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My wife Linda on the far right.

Fred’s legacy has been lived out in many powerful ways through this family. They are as varied as the uniqueness of each child, in-law, grandchild and great grandchild. But one I know most intimately. I married his third daughter, Linda, nearly 42 years ago. Together we have spent 37 years in ministry. The last 30 of those ministry years, planting a church in Cape Coral, FL. Our passion for loving God and loving people has been shaped by our father and father in-love. We have been faithful and fruitful.

And our three children have also been molded by their grandfather. One of our sons recently wrote: After just passing two years of sobriety this month, I was praying for Grandpa and reflecting on the wonderful man he is and the wonderful family I have been blessed to be a part of…and then it hit me…grandpa asked me one time if I was ever going to be a pastor. He said he had a dream where I was walking in his footsteps, I believe he said literally walking in his giant shoes, trying to fit into them. Although I am not going to be a pastor, I realized that I am finally walking in his shoes. At the time, the shoes were too giant and too big for me to fit into. But, through the grace of God, I feel the shoes fit now. I am not perfect. I still am trying to “wear them in” and they are becoming more comfortable as I wear them. And I just wanted to thank you grandpa for being a man of God and passing that down through the generations. Thank you for the shoes grandpa, they fit!

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Five Children Celebrating Fred’s 95th Birthday

Even at age 95, having just moved last week into the nursing home section of the retirement community he has resided in the past eight years, he is still laboring in the fields where God has placed him. He regularly prays for, encourages and inspires his peers. He sows seed. Cultivates and waters spiritual soil. And he still has the joy of a fruitful harvest.

If God gives me another three decades of life and health, I want to still be living and leaving such a legacy like my father in-love. Happy 95th Birthday Fred Augsburger!

QUESTION: What are you doing now to leave a legacy like my father in-love Fred Augsburger? I’d love to hear your thoughts below.

 

 

16 responses to A Legacy-Leaving Father In-Love

  1. Elaina on January 30, 2017 at 10:22 AM Reply

    This was so beautiful to read. May he rest peacefully now that he is in the presence of our king. What an amazing legacy to leave behind.
    My deepest condolences to the family . Prayers for peace that surpasses all understanding.

    God bless you all.
    Elaina ..

  2. Laura Miller on November 19, 2016 at 3:06 PM Reply

    I have an old record, I thank you, Lord, from the Ausburger family, and wondered if any of his children would be interested in it. Contact me at 931-335_0026, thanks,
    Miss Laura

    • Dennis Gingerich on January 21, 2017 at 9:23 PM Reply

      Laura, I somehow missed your comment earlier. Just saw it two months late. Sorry. My wife is Fred’s daughter and she said “thank you” but all of the children each have copies of all their Augsburger Family recordings. Thanks again for your thoughtfulness.

  3. Janelle Stockham on April 30, 2016 at 1:35 PM Reply

    Fred is truly all that you wrote and more! I love what C had to say! That is awesome!

  4. Charmé on April 28, 2016 at 11:42 AM Reply

    Beautiful testimony of being faithful to God…so the next generation will know, love, and serve God. Thanks for sharing. Very touching letter from your son to his grandfather.

  5. Abram H, Clymer on April 28, 2016 at 7:04 AM Reply

    Carolyn taught me at Locust Grove Mennonite School in Lancaster. Her teaching helped me in my formative years. Fred has always had love for my family, and I have been blessed by his Spirit filled ministry over the years.

  6. David Augsburger on April 27, 2016 at 4:51 PM Reply

    What a lovely tribute to a well deserving great person. I just spoke and sang to him on his birthday and he never fails to amaze me. He is so full of love and grace. David Augsburger

  7. Bonnie Gregg-Harris on April 27, 2016 at 3:18 PM Reply

    What a nice tribute to Rev. Augsburger.

  8. Connie Stoll on April 27, 2016 at 1:11 PM Reply

    I live in Wisconsin – in the community Fred & Carolyn had worked. Also am distantly related. I enjoyed reading your tribute and am sending my wishes for at very happy birthday to Fred!

  9. Terry Frith on April 27, 2016 at 7:16 AM Reply

    Very nice story to share his legacy. I enjoyed reading it

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