13 Jul “Henry Montoya Memories”
My wife and I are rich people! Our wealth is not determined by our bank account, but in so many other ways. We are so blessed spiritually. We have spent nearly 50 years in ministry. We know who we are, where we’re going, and how we’re going to get there. Beyond that, one of the awesome ways we have become so well off is because of the amazing lay people we have had in our churches down through the years.
Today, I would like to reflect on our Brother Henry Montoya. I always called him Brother Henry. He carried himself as a man of God does — A warrior with a soft heart towards God. He heard from God. Brother Henry was the spiritual General of his family. Raising two sons, with his beloved wife Nellie, was no easy task! Hank and Andy were boys filled with lots and lots of energy! It got them into trouble at times, but the General was there, praying for them.
My last visit to Brother Henry’s home was one I will always hold dear. He said, “Pastor, I feel sorry for you pastors. You have to put up with so much. People don’t treat you well. They don’t honor you like you ought to be. Much of the time you don’t make enough money. I always told the Lord, ‘Please don’t call me into full time ministry. I’ll support the churches, and I will help the pastors, but I beg you not to call me to ministry, because I just don’t think I can handle it.’” I assured Brother Henry that I was okay. God had called us into ministry, and He had always blessed us. We had determined no matter what people did to us, that our marching orders came straight from God, and we are pleased, no thrilled, to say, “Yes Sir!”
Henry was at the altars at 8:30 AM every Sunday he was in Salida. He called if he wasn’t going to be in church. When Henry came to the altars, he always begged God to take care of his family and save his grandkids and great grandkids. He called them all by name. Hank’s wife, Maria, says that she could hear Brother Henry every night at 7:30 in his bedroom, on his knees crying out to God for his family, his pastor, Living Waters Church, and he called out the names of the people who attend the church.
When his beloved wife, Nellie, died after 65 years of marriage, Henry was in church at the altar the next Sunday after her funeral! The last months, he spoke of hurting knees and a sore shoulder, and not being able to breathe well. We had to literally pick him up from the altar. We waited for his legs to straighten out after 30 minutes on sore knees. He would order his coffee — “70% hot water, 4 containers of creamer, 30% coffee, and 4 sugars.” What a delight to prepare that for him!
Now I ask you, lay person — Who will take his place? Who will pray, give, love on people like Henry did? Who will plow snow on the church parking lots in the winter? Who will be at mid-week service as faithfully as Henry? Who will say, “Pastor If you ask anything and I can do it, it will be done!”
Thank you, Brother Henry! You made me a rich man!