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A Talented Life Lived to the Full

“Fear of the Lord lengthens one’s life, but the years of the wicked are cut short.”

My Dad, Charlie Green, passed peacefully into eternity yesterday, August 17, just three days short of his 96th birthday.  Appropriately, my daily Bible reading included Proverbs 10:27 “Fear of the Lord lengthens one’s life, but the years of the wicked are cut short.”

The One who “forms us in the womb” gave Dad an astonishing range of abilities:

he would quote long passages of poetry,

used a vocabulary that had those of us around him reaching for a dictionary,

started firing a boiler at a tomato-processing plant in his early teens,

was a chemist in a uranium-processing plant,

ran a munitions assembly line at night during WWII while attending Bible College,

was a watch maker,

qualified as a master electrician and master gas-fitter,

played the steel guitar and baritone horn,

started and ran his own construction business for over 20 years.

The hardest part of that 20-year period was when the local electricians’ union boss thought the union should have more say in the management of the business.  Dad clearly thought otherwise and was never reticent to say what he thought.  He had 45 employees at the time and, on the orders of the union boss, some of them began to sabotage his company.  They destroyed or stole tools, they worked slow, they put sugar in the gas tanks of his pickup trucks, destroying engines.  Those actions put him deep into debt, but he refused to declare bankruptcy.  Rather, he found other sources of revenue—but it meant more work.  He and Mom ran a laundromat and a string of hot-drink machines. I remember many nights where I was either with Mom, helping to clean and mop the laundromat or with Dad helping to service the drinks machines.  The steady stream of quarters mounted up and all the debts were paid.  Meanwhile he streamlined the business and entered a period of greater prosperity.

While running the business, he moved the family to a 30-acre farm where we had fruit trees, grew sweet corn, melons, tomatoes, beans and other vegetables, kept milk-cows, a couple of horses, sheep, chickens and turkeys.  He wanted to teach his kids to work—and eventually he succeeded.  My Dad and Mom paid their biggest compliment when they said of anyone, “He/She is a good worker!” 

At the point when the business was most prosperous, my sister, Deyon, and I attended a YWAM School of Evangelism near Lausanne, Switzerland.  When we visited home after that SOE, Dad and Mom saw the changes in our lives and were hungry for what God had done in our lives.  Dad put the business on hold and the two of them attended the SOE in Switzerland in 1976.

Not long after that school, the Lord worked miraculously for Dad and Mom to start YWAM in Western Colorado and acquire a large, high mountain property for training young people.  He closed the businesses and for years they worked in tandem with street outreach teams in Hollywood.  When a young person, usually a run-away, gave their lives to Christ, they were given the opportunity to go to YWAM, Cimarron, Colorado.  There, Dad and Mom would teach them life skills with a strong focus on character development.  Hundreds of young people developed disciplined, fruitful lives.  They could learn to cook, bake, cut timber and run a lumber mill, drive heavy equipment, maintain a hydro-electric plant, mine coal, raise their vegetables, fish for part of their protein and hunt deer and elk for the rest.  They didn’t have to pay to stay at the camp because Dad and Mom had made it self-sustaining.

Dad and Mom were both pilots and for years Dad had a Cessna Centurion, six-seater airplane.  When the camp was well established, he was approached and offered a job by the founders of a large company.  He flew to work four days a week and built up an electrical department of over 200 employees at their industrial company.  The income he earned was used to keep developing the YWAM camp.  Dad and Mom continued working and living in the Cimarron valley, running the general store that was part of the YWAM base until they were in their late 70s and early 80s.  Then Mom had a fall on icy snow and broke her wrist and they had to move to lower elevation.

They had a house built for them back in our home town of Grand Junction where they lived happily for several years before declining health and strength required them to move to assisted living and then into a room in a complex that has 24-hour nursing care.  We would not have expected Mom to outlive Dad, but she has.  She is 93 and her abilities to perceive and communicate are increasingly limited.  They have been inseparably together for many years, (they celebrated their 75th anniversary in June this year) so we don’t expect Mom to survive much longer without Dad at her side.

A week ago, I was about to set out on a 100-mile high-altitude hike on the Continental Divide Trail in Colorado, when I received news that my Dad had taken a fall and broken his hip.  He had had good balance and mobility until very recently, so I knew this was likely to mark the beginning of the end of his life.  My two dear sisters, Deyon and Charlotte, contacted me and encouraged me to continue with the planned hike.  My friend of 65 years, Doug Sparks, and I completed our hike a week later and the day after I returned home, Dad slipped away.

I sit here with tears of gratitude and loss welling up. 

Anyone reading this might think that this dynamic couple had no time to be parents or to have friends.  But we were surrounded by friends.  Four or five families would often meet at Church on Sunday morning and decide to have a picnic dinner in the mountains around our town.  Each family would have prepared their dinner “to go”, just in case.  The parents and kids were all close friends and have remained so. 

When the business and financial pressures were the greatest, Dad still almost always took Wednesday afternoons off in the summer so our family and the other families could go water-skiing together.  They also took us skiing in the winter.  Dad and Mom very rarely missed one of my football games or wrestling matches.  Dad wasn’t very good at verbalizing his love, but he said it in so many ways that we could not miss it.  In later years he became softer and much more ready to hug any and all of us and tell us how much we meant to him.

As I read over this summary, all too brief for a life so well lived, I feel not just gratitude and loss, but a sober reflection on Luke 12:48, “When someone has been given much, much will be required.” 

A memorial service will be held at Canyon View Vineyard Church, Sunday September 8th, 2 p.m.

Lynn Green and his wife Marti first came to England and began the work of Youth With A Mission here in 1971. From 2004-2011 Lynn was YWAM’s International Chairman. He continues to convene YWAM’s global leadership meetings, and focuses much of his energy on international leadership development.

18 comments on “A Talented Life Lived to the Full

  1. Andy Hall

    Lynn, our deepest sympathy to you and the family, especially your mother. But we also rejoice with you that he has now heard those words of his Lord “well done good and faithful servant” and is in His eternal presence.

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    • Eric and Sue Bossard

      Wonderfully written memorial for the patriarch of The Green Family. He was a living example for all of his children to imitate, and each of you could see the results of his choices. I see him in all of you, which is the greatest compliment for his leadership. We weep now, but soon we will rejoice with him before our LORD and SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST.

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  2. charlie colchester

    Dearest Lynn Our prayers are with you, and our love as you make arrangements. You always honoured him and spoke highly of him. May he rest in well earned splendour with his Lord and his God. A beautiful life well lived. Love to you and Marti and all the rest of the family Charlie and Serena

    Sent from my iPad

    >

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  3. Dearest Lynn
    What a wonderful example to us all – and you have continued to carry the torch.
    A life well lived – and some!!!
    We rejoice but also mourn with you and will keep the family – especially your dear Mom – in heart and mind in the coming days.

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  4. What a role model of a life to be lived. May his soul rest In peace.
    You and your family will be in our prayers , heart.

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  5. Julie Sinke

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Lynn. I heard about your parents many years ago in my early days in YWAM, but never got the chance to meet them. I hope your dad and my beloved Ed are having great fellowship in Heaven!

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  6. Diana Majdalani

    Ah Lynn I am so sorry to hear of your Dad’s passing but am so blessed by this tribute. Much love to you all during this time.

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  7. So well captured who Charlie was. I haven’t seen him for over 39 years but still feel a deep loss. I was in same Lausanne SOE as Charlie and Janice were and served with them at Cimarron in the beginning years of the base. I was a recipient of their nurturing, love and hospitality. They even allowed me to stay in their home for a time when I attended Mesa College. I’ve looked up to them as role models for my life and am so grateful for their life well lived. Many of us have been blessed by knowing Charlie and Janice!!!!! You have my deepest sympathy. May God comfort you and sustain you.

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  8. Katherine ( Kit ) Hackett

    This is so powerful and describes so much of who you are and your wonderful family values. You are a blessed man Lynn. May the God of all comfort be with you and Marti and family. So amazing that Jesus called your dad and Peter Warrens dad home so close together. Both just before their Birthdays. You both must be proud.

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  9. Warwick Murphy

    Amazing to read all that he did in his life Lynn. I was privileged to meet your parents at Ifield Hall many years ago. Hi legacy will live on in more than just his name that you carry. You are all in our prayers.

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  10. carrozrocks

    Charlie revolutionized my family by talking in a mini seminar in Lausanne on child raising, loving and disciplining. His wisdom came to our lives as a just-married couple before we had children. We were marked for life by Charlie, who was robust but taking the long road of Biblical child formation. All these principles were applied when we had 3 children, and they passed on the same values without even knowing the template of Charlie placed on their lives. Charlie was unknown to them. But not the Godly principles of what became known as “tough love.” Now we have 3 upright children and 8 grandies who love the Lord and respect the Lord and authority impeccably. Usually. He, Charlie, transformed our lives for ever and for our eternity and his eternity. Greatly honored by God over the years and now forever, Charlie sands as an pillar to reflect on and to emulate as he swept through the lives of many. He would never accept such glory, as true people of integrity never do. As you stand by your Savior, Charlie, our God will salute you as having giving your all for the reign of His kingdom on earth. Our unending memories of the real thing, the God man in Christ.

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  11. Elizabeth Cottell

    A beautiful eulogy for an amazing man. His legacy lives on in you and your sisters…
    May you all, especially your dear mother, be comforted in your great loss.

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  12. Steve & Ann Martin

    Dear Lynn
    It was an honour to meet your parents at Eagle River WI in ‘76. I remember well him “buzzing” us in his plane as we waterskied. Then seeing them at home in Cimmaron where he took great delight in taking us up the rocky roads touting his part of the Rockies. It wasn’t hard to see in your case ‘the apple hadn’t fallen far from the tree”.
    Your tribute was a beautiful read, and will be an inspiration to many. We will be praying for your family at this time when emotions take us to highs and lows. Never be afraid of those tears!
    Steve and Ann Martin

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  13. Steve Myrick

    Lynn, reading the history of your dad was amazing. I remember him as my Sunday School teacher, who gave me my first ride. I will always remember him with love. I hope you remember the times we say, side by side, in the church orchestra. I will always consider you a brother. I hated having to say goodbye to my church family when my family moved away in the middle of my senior year of 1966. My love and prayers to you all. (Say hi to Doug Sparks for me.)

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  14. Yes, Dad gave many kids the chance to take their first ride in an airplane. Unforgettable!

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  15. To have parents who inspired us by their example of fortitude, enterprise and Godliness is a precious gift Lynn. May your father enjoy his rest in the Lord and one day may you all be re-united.

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  16. Paul Mansour

    Thinking of you as you gather to honor your Dad today. What a remarkable man!

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    • Thanks very much, Paul. We had a wonderful celebration of his life on Sunday. It was perfect, and enjoyed by around 100 people of all ages. The most common comment to me was, “Your dad was a dad to me too.”

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