By DAVID HUNTER
During the last couple of weeks, I have experienced the ups and downs of life. Some of the ups included being named the new sports reporter for our sister paper, The Cannon Courier. At the same time, I have been dealing with the sudden loss of a Godly fellow, Allen Kinzer, who taught me how to be a better man through Jesus and fishing.
I want to let you know at the very beginning this column will have some Christian beliefs in it, so if it offends you, I would like to apologize. However, I cannot tell the story of Allen without discussing his Christian beliefs since they were very important to both of us, and it is why he was such an important part of life for the short time we knew each other at Lighthouse Baptist here in Murfreesboro near the Siegel High School.
We really got to know each other during Wednesday night Bible study a couple of years ago, in which we were in the middle of the discipleship course. Basically, we learned in class about how to spread the gospel to people who wanted to know Jesus, especially those who had not been in church for a long time or wanted to learn about him for the first time in their life.
During the past few months, a group of us would study four different books in succession as we each furthered our knowledge on how to teach those who wanted to know more about Jesus. About halfway through the second book, I had to stop coming to clas, because I had to work at my previous job early in the morning. However, I still wanted to finish the series, so Allen offered to meet me one-on-one at my conveniece. Since we had gotten to know each other, so I took him up on the offer.
We met usually once a week at Lighthouse either inside one of the classrooms or in the parking lot to go over the lesson. Honestly, he taught me so much on how to be a better Godly man. He also became a father figure to me, and someone I could go to when something was wrong with me. At the same time, I feel like I had become a selfish jerk because I had no idea he was having some health issues.
Besides his faith in God, he also had a lot of faith in his fishing abilities. Sometimes, he would tell me before our meetings that he had gone fishing and literally caught a 100 fish. Honestly, I did not know if he was telling me a fish tale, or it was for real. Just kidding. One time he took me fishing at a lake in Smyrna. It was the first time I had been since college, so I was very rusty. Honestly, Allen was very patient with me, especially when I would have trouble releasing the line into the water.
Believe it or not, that day I caught more fish than he did. I caught a couple of them for the first time in about 15 years. He was so proud of me, and I will forever be thankful he took me fishing that day. It will be something I will remember for the rest of my life.
He was one of those people who was more concerned about his friends and family than himself. For example, he was more concerned about helping me feel better than worrying about his issues. I will forever be grateful for it, but I will also carry a lot of guilt for the rest of my life due to only focusing on myself. Honestly, I am one of those type of people who does not open up to too many people, but he was one of those who I trusted with my feelings.
So, when I got the phone call a couple of weeks ago from the church secretary at Lighthouse telling me he suddenly passed away it totally broke my heart because I was just about to call him to set up our next meeting since we had taken Valentine's Day off. I wanted him to spend it with his wife, Kathy. We had already finished the discipleship course a few weeks earlier and I had just received my award from the preacher.
However, at the same time, I had just moved to First Baptist church on the square. In the meantime, Allen and I just started a Bible study done by one on my favorite Christian authors, Max Lucado. For Christmas, he had gotten me a daily devotional done by him. It will be something that I will treasure for the rest of my life.
Allen was only 52 years old when he passed away, and it hurts we will not be able to talk about life, fishing or God anymore, which were three of his favorite things in life. At the same time, I know he lived his life the right way as God intended, and he is in a better place in heaven. Hopefully, one day I will be able to join him there, and we can finish the Lucado study we were working on before his passing. He will be truly remembered for making me a better Godly man, and I will miss him.