I remember it vividly. It’s 2007, I’m fresh out of high school in my second semester of uni. I sit with my friend Savenaca (Save) in the common-room of 6c. We’ve just finished having noodles for lunch and are telling aimless stories while sharing a cigarette. This man enters the building. He spots us and as if to proclaim that he had found what he was looking for. Walks up the stairs with the biggest smile on his face. I recognize him. This is the guy that holds bible studies on campus. I’ve seen him a few times in those small groups. I think he’s some sort of missionary. Yeah, something like that.
We greet each other. He introduces himself… Caleb. I introduce Savenaca and myself. Knowing who this man is, Save subtly puts out our cigarette out of respect. He is very soft spoken and proceeds to ask us about what we’re studying and if we share this dormitory. Save and I laugh, we’re both a bit ashamed to share that we only come here so that no one can see us smoking. But we tell him that we’re only visiting our friend Posky. He laughs with us. He’s seated now and has the biggest smile. Save and I don’t realize that he has used that light moment to pull out these small blue booklets.
“Hey guys, have you ever seen this booklet before?” The title reads, Would you like to know God personally? We shake our heads. Is it alright if we spent a few minutes going through it right now? “Sure! No problem.” I really like this guy, I want to find out what he’s about.
Before we know it, Save and I are dead center in the middle of a gospel presentation. And this guy. This guy with the big smile on his face. This guy… Caleb, is asking us the “big” questions. I catch myself thinking; wow! he’s so smooth.
You see up until this point I had claimed to be a Christian. I went to church, I went to a few youth camps, I’ve even done a few action songs. But no one had ever really showed me how to share the gospel. Or what it is we really believed in. And it makes so much sense now.
Save and I both recommit our lives to Christ that day.
A few years pass. I graduate, begin working and its not till 2011 when I come back to USP to begin studying journalism that I meet this group called Student Life Fiji (Fiji Campus Crusade for Christ’s campus ministry) through Biu Kacimaiwai. It’s here that I meet Caleb once again. I get discipled by Brian Faust and join a bible study. I meet him regularly but he doesn’t remember me from that time at 6c and I save the story for a more significant moment. He’s probably shared to so many students that he can’t keep track of them all.
A few years later I join Campus Crusade for Christ as staff and I’m proud to call this man a friend and coworker. The ministry takes him and his family to the northern Pacific and I wait for a time when I can thank him. It’s going to be epic. I’m sure he’ll be surprised.
Today I learned of his passing. My heart is heavy… Isa uncle Caleb. But I’m thankful ever still. Thankful that this man would be obedient to the call of God and reach out to a lost student like me (and many others) And to do it with such joy and passion. I am truly thankful for his life because God used him to change mine.
Rest in peace uncle Caleb Ludwig. My dear friend and coworker. I will miss you but I look forward to the day we meet again so that I can tell you this story. It’s going to be epic!