A TRIBUTE to a Dear Friend...
Updated: Mar 22
We received some terrible news yesterday that our very dear friend and former pastor, Gary Semenyna passed away suddenly from a heart attack. 😥
No, I have not spent much time with him in the last few years.
We had all moved to different provinces, and everyone was busy with "adulting," so getting together never happened as much as I would've liked, but we Always Loved Gary and Patsy. They are people I would welcome into my home with open arms Any time ever without reservation, and experience has taught me that those kind of close friends are very rare indeed.
You may wonder, "Why am I sharing this on my ART Business page?"
The answer is that my path in life now, (pursuing what God would have me do with the Christian books and my Art/Writing in general) was Very much influenced by THIS man.
The pic you see is Gary Baptising me in Wasa Lake in 2008. (Denise was baptised at the same time, but unfortunately my blog only allows one pic per post.)
That public display of commitment was the true start of me breaking old cultural and generational "curses" I'd struggled with all my life, that dictated who and what I was supposed to be. I never "fit" anywhere, but Gary helped me immensely in finding my way. I finally, once and for all, stopped being double-minded, forever tugged between the "old" and "new ways, and simply released my mind to go wherever God led. It was a life-changing moment.
Gary was a true, stand-up man of God, leading by example, Never wavering or stumbling in how he conducted himself; the "real deal."
I am CERTAIN Jesus right now would be saying to him, "Well done, good and faithful servant."
He taught me so much about my value, who I am in God's eyes, and what is really important in Life on this Earth. He was an excellent teacher of scripture and morals, and he changed who I am today.
But he wasn't just our pastor. He and Patsy became very close friends for many years.
We "broke bread" and visited together sharing deep conversations many times over the years. There are so many wonderful memories with them.🥰
Gary was a humble, soft spoken, very generous man, always giving of his time and resources, and he and Patsy were constantly having people in for meals and fellowship.
Even on a modest wage, he still volunteered to drive all the way from Wasa to Canal Flats every week just to lead bible studies for the locals there, while I and other friends backed him up with our guitars and piano for music worship before the study.
My time as his Worship leader at Wasa Church will forever be among some of my fondest memories. I wasn't a great guitarist when I started there, but he always encouraged and appreciated my contribution.
What some people don't know was that he was also a Very funny guy, plus a really talented actor and playwright, writing and leading in many of Wasa Church's Christmas plays!
The confidence I had to write the Christmas play for Park Meadows Baptist Church just two years back came directly from my positive experiences working with Gary on his plays...Yet another way in which he encouraged my artistic creativity today!
I LOVE this guy, as much just as I loved my best friend Marty Chadney. They were true brothers in Christ, and the world is a lesser place without them.
He will be deeply missed, but I choose to believe that even as we mourn him on this physical plane, the angels in Heaven rejoice having him amongst them.
I humbly ask that you please keep Patsy and the whole family in your prayers. They are a very close-knit family, and Gary was young at 62, so this will be a devastating loss for them.
I wish there was more I could do to honour this Great man of God, so when I complete the book I'm currently working on it will be dedicated to him.
Dave Chouhan, AKA Captain CHOO💖