Remembering dad

29 03 2013
Anniversaries serve as reminders of significant milestones. As March rolled around, memories of my dad began to emerge as I recalled that he went to heaven on March 26th 2009. And the internet seems to be a current method for preserving memories. So I went back and found this post from 2009 and moved it over here where I and other family members may want to review it and remember the great man we were blessed to have as a father, grandfather, or friend.
My dad went to heaven on March 26, 2009.

I began to say my father “passed away,” but stopped myself short of uttering that clearly unBiblical expression. Dad didn’t float into the unknown mist, didn’t vanish untraceably into nothingness. Rather, Gordon Rasmussen, went, at just the time God appointed, in just the way appointed, to be with God who created him. Dad went into the existence he was created to enjoy, in the presence of the Almighty God.
Nothing like the sickness of a loved one tests your theology. My dad had been sick for some time, losing mental capacity, losing bodily dexterity, losing his apparent contribution to society. So what were we as a family to make of it? If we were humanists, or Christians who didn’t really believe our theology, we would regret his departure as our last opportunity to be with dad. But given our theology, and conviction of its truthfulness, we were able to release our father (and husband, grandfather, uncle, friend) to his graduation to glory.

So our “Celebration of the life and ministry of Gordon Rasmussen” was truly a celebration. That is not to say I have not had tears…when my brother Jack called informing me of dad’s death, I cried for the loss, out of regret that dad had to suffer. But mainly mine were tears of relief for dad, for my mother, and for all of us who had cared for him as best we could.

In a way, I cried out of sympathy for all the fatherless in our world, for I was having just a mere taste of that loneliness. I thought of countless children who never knew a father in their whole lives. I on the other hand, had been blessed with a dad who was loving, honest, and a man of God. I’ll try to post a summary of his extraordinary life soon.

A great man… my father

(Newspaper write up)   Dr. Gordon F. Rasmussen, 86, of Turlock, California was ushered into the presence of his Lord and Savior on March 26, 2009. He is remembered as a loving husband, father, pastor, missionary and friend, and a humble servant of the Gospel of Christ.Gordon was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. He served his country with the U.S. Marines in WWII and was trained as a Japanese translator. Gordon also worked in his early years as an FBI agent (including a stint searching out Nazi operatives in Argentina), as a radio announcer, and as a Youth for Christ chapter president. Following the war, he met an Army nurse and the love of his life, June Edman, and they were married in 1949. They both felt God’s calling on their lives to full time ministry, and just two months after getting married, they left for Japan as missionaries with the Pocket Testament League. Among those who came to know the Lord during the three years of ministry in Japan was Mitsuo Fuchida, the Commander who led Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor.After returning from Japan, Gordon received his Master of Theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary in 1957. He returned to the mission field, this time to Nigeria, Africa, with his wife and four kids in tow, ages 6 months to 10 years old. Most of Gordon’s work was in the jungle villages of Africa, culminating with personally handing his 5 millionth Bible to the President of Dahomey. Although the rest of Gordon’s life and ministry was in the States, he provided continual encouragement to missionaries throughout his life.Gordon pastored churches in Dallas, Chicago, and Everett, Washington prior to moving to Turlock, California, where he was called as the senior pastor of Beulah Covenant Church. Turlock would become “home” to Gordon and his family. In 1965, God moved him to establish a non-denominational church in Turlock, Monte Vista Chapel. Gordon served as senior pastor of Monte Vista Chapel for 15 years and witnessed God’s goodness and blessing in remarkable ways.

In 1974, Gordon obtained his Ph.D from the California Graduate School of Theology. He served as President of Shasta Bible College in Redding, California from 1981 – 1985, after which he joined the Neighborhood Church of Redding as an associate pastor, where he served amidst a loving congregation until his retirement in 1994.Gordon loved to play tennis, work in the yard, study God’s Word and sing hymns. He was gentle and compassionate, and a man of integrity. He had a heart for the lost and the needy, and pursued God’s glory above all things. He was a loving and faithful husband and father, and we miss him. But we are rejoicing that he is now filled with immeasurable joy as he worships at the feet of his Savior in heaven.

Gordon is survived by his wife of 59 years, June; his four children and their spouses, Jack and Bonnie Rasmussen of Novato, CA; Bob and Lyn Rasmussen of Federal Way, WA; Rich and Pam Rasmussen of San Gabriel, CA; and Diane and Scott Hefner of Macon, GA; along with nine grandchildren and two great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, Ole and Hilma Rasmussen; his stepfather, Harold Lyman; his sister, Dorothy Christie; and legions of people who came to know Christ through his life and ministry.


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