Walking home … to heaven
Stanthorpe has lost one of its finest sons. On Sunday morning of the 9th of October 2016, Andrew Sav, aged 54, completed his journey home.
Andrew was born in Stanthorpe in 1962 and attended the local high school. After an apprenticeship as a sign writer, Andrew joined a Christian mission organisation called Operation Mobilisation. OM is an interdenominational organisation which brings aid and Christian ministry to developing countries via ocean-going ships equipped to bring help and hope to all.
It was on the MV DOULOS ship in Asia that Andrew met and fell deeply in love with Hélène, who was born and raised in France from British parents. Love motivated Andrew to learn and master French. From this, another love affair with the world of languages opened up. Andrew and Hélène went to Bible school and studied linguistics with SIL, and felt called to be involved in a pioneer project among a least-reached minority people group. This became the great work of Andrew’s life and will stand as a legacy of his care for oppressed people for many generations to come. Andrew was an enthusiastic linguist, researcher, trainer and motivator.
Andrew was also a great communicator, a wonderful family man and someone who achieved many things through his simple philosophy of ‘plodding’ – he just kept going at each task and challenge that came before him.
In the year 2010 Andrew decided to walk the 2000 kilometres from Cairns to Stanthorpe to bring attention to the 2000 language communities that still did not have the Bible translated into their language.
He was joined on the walk by two Stanthorpe friends (Andrew Carnell – then OM Qld leader, now a Pastor at Bridgeman Downs, Brisbane ; and his younger cousin Dave Carnell – a school teacher). Andrew and his two walking companions had many media interviews and meetings at different towns along the way.
Soon after the walk Andrew decided to write a book about the journey. It would take him 6 years to finally complete the text and illustrations. After much debate with family and friends, he decided on the title ‘Walking Home’. Indeed in 2010, he had literally walked home to Stanthorpe, but it also became a metaphor for the journey of this life and walking home to heaven.
In August 2016 ‘Walking Home’ was finally printed and released. Andrew presented the first copy at his daughter’s wedding.
During the father of the bride’s speech, Andrew said ‘Home on this earth is a very short time indeed.’ He quoted the apostle Paul (2 Corinthians 5:1) ‘Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.’
He said that we longed for our Home of homes, Home with a capital ‘H’. Andrew said that he hoped that this destination of our Home in heaven would become stronger and stronger for daughter Yesica and her husband Dave. We had no inkling of how prophetic these words were, for in a few short weeks Andrew himself would complete his own journey Home.
On October the 9th, after complications from elective surgery, Andrew, a son of Stanthorpe and a deeply grateful Christian man, completed his own walk Home, to heaven.
Hélène is presently back in Australia, parenting her two teenage sons, and trusting God to show her the next step. Her gifts are in networking, team management and logistics. She also helps colleagues and various entities with English/French translations of documents, newsletters and reports.
One constant source of joy and thankfulness is that the above mentioned translation project is ongoing, in the capable hands of a younger couple that Andrew and Hélène had been training into the work for a number of years.
Please be praying for this young couple and their family as well as the mother-tongue translator they meet with each week. Pray too for a mighty move of the Spirit among this people group and for transformation. Andrew often commented that he may never see much progress and spiritual fruit in his lifetime but that didn’t deter him from ‘picking up the stones’ for the reaping to happen later, in God’s good time.
Pray for the ongoing translation work that Andrew and Hélène began.
Purchase Andrew’s book ‘Walking Home’ wycliffe.org.au/store/walking-home/
This story is from Wycliffe Today – July 2017 Edition (PDF)
About the Author: Greg Fraser