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“Just do it for the Lord, Al.” by Al Allshouse I wonder how many times I heard Al Sligh say those words to me and countless others. Brother Al Sligh was always encouraging brothers and sisters in Christ to do something for the Lord, to get out of their comfort zone and into the Lord’s work. He was constantly on the go. How many times did I see him driving that little Dodge Colt up and down the streets of Howard AFB, Panama? He went from house to house encouraging others and visiting with members of his church (Maranatha Baptist Church, Balboa, Panama). I remember his telling me he tried to visit every member of his church at least once every two weeks—just to say hello and see if there were any prayer needs. He loves people and he loves the Lord. If you did not know the Lord, he would introduce you to Him. “Let me tell you about the Lord. Are you saved? Do you know if you died you’d go to Heaven?” Have you ever thought that the Lord had you at a certain place at a certain time? You did not know it then but realized later—“Wow, how did all that happen?” Knowing that at least once, at one specific moment in time, the Lord had you there? In my case it was not what the Lord wanted me to do but who he wanted me to meet. That meeting changed my life and my walk with the Lord. It was the first time I met Al Sligh. Panama, February 1979, one Sunday afternoon I had just returned from flying. I had to fly that Sunday morning, which was unusual because normally we did not fly on Sundays. I was not unhappy about flying that Sunday as I really did not want to go to church that day; my heart was getting cold toward church. When I arrived home, I was not planning to attend the evening service. I had missed the morning service because of work and I was tired. I could miss one Sunday, no harm done. Not enough time to get ready, after all, I had been flying all day. Well, as the Lord would have it, we had to go to church. Our daughter was at another member’s house, and we had to pick her up at church. I was not happy. All the way to church there was silence in the car. We arrived at church to an empty parking lot. Where was everyone? Our youngest son Mark speaks up, “We are meeting at Balboa Baptist tonight for a guest speaker.” Now I am starting to really get upset. Why didn’t someone say something before we got here? Balboa Baptist Church was in the opposite direction and across the bridge of the Americas, which was bumper to bumper traffic Sunday evenings. As I drove past the front of the church, I saw a man sitting on the steps leading down to the street. He looked a little worn out. I pulled in front at the bottom of the steps, stopped the car and got out to see what he wanted. Who was this raggedy looking guy and what was he doing sitting on our steps? Didn’t he know this was a church? I made my way up the steps to him, told him we were not having services here tonight, and offered him a ride. He said he was staying on Fort Clayton, the Army Base across the canal from us. He had walked here from there, some 15 to 20 miles. No wonder he looked worn out. I told him I could give him a ride as we had to go that way to pick up our daughter. We could make it just in time for church to be over. Getting in the car, I introduced him to my wife and sons. I let them know we were going to give him a ride to Fort Clayton. We had not even pulled away from the curb when he asked us if we were saved and if we knew we were going to heaven. I told him we were. The Lord was convicting me of my attitude. He told us who he was, “Brother Al Sligh, retired Air Force, missionary to the military.” The Lord sent him to Panama to see if there was a need for an independent Baptist church. We told him that we knew of several families that were meeting with a missionary to the Panamanians. This is where the story really gets interesting. We always think, “What a coincidence.” Not with God! With God All things work together. He asked for names, which we gave him. Then some strange things happened. My wife had our phone directory in her purse; it was always kept by the phone at home. We were not only able to give him names but also phone numbers. Just being there talking with him and listening to him tell how the Lord was working to move him to Panama encouraged me. I don’t know why but I was excited for him, with him. That meeting changed me—listening to him tell us how he was saved and called to preach. It was like Luke 24:32, And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? Through that meeting Brother Sligh was able to make contact with the missionary and the folks to start Maranatha Baptist Church, Balboa, Panama. Many, many souls came to know the Lord there. Many were called into the ministry because of Brother Al Sligh. The Lord used him to witness and encourage others for Christ. The Lord used Brother Sligh to teach me and many others that the Lord will enable you to do His work if you have a willing heart. In 1998 we met again at Maranatha Baptist Church, Okinawa, Japan. Brother Sligh filled in for every military church there and on the mainland. He was a constant witness, always wanting and willing to tell others how to get saved. I know many have such a story of how they met Brother Sligh. Everyone who knows him knows of his love for his Lord and his witness for Him. “Just do it for the Lord, Al.”