Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | January 20, 2022

Austin’s Personal Mission

Last week we celebrated the life of my friend Austin Armstrong. He was only 25 years old when he died peacefully in his sleep after years of battling cancer. He was truly a remarkable young man. Here is why.

Malcolm Muggeridge was a British journalist, an atheist who would later come to faith in Christ. He was the man who introduced Mother Teresa to the world in 1967. When he finally met Mother Teresa, she told him, “I am only a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world.”

There is something deeply profound about what Mother Teresa told Muggeridge. God indeed wants to write a legible message of love to the world through each of us. He can only do so, however, as we make ourselves available to Him.

My dear friend Austin understood the significance of making himself available to God, without regard for any recognition or attention or honor for himself. Like Jesus, he was willing to become a man of no reputation in order to advance the interests of the kingdom.

Austin simply found great joy in living out his faith — in allowing God to use him to write and send a love letter to the world. He faithfully pursued the passions of God and gave himself without reservation to the purposes of God.

From an early age Austin lived his life intentionally — so much so, in fact, that he wrote his own personal mission statement. Who does that? How many people do you know who have a personal mission statement to govern their life? Austin did!

This was Austin’s mission statement: Strive to love, encourage, and help every soul I come in contact with and purposefully seek to further the kingdom of God.

Austin did not just write out a mission statement for the sake of doing so. He lived out that mission statement. It informed his decisions, guided his actions, and advanced the work of the kingdom as he had hoped.

After Austin died, I heard about one individual who said that Austin saved his life. At a time when this individual was contemplating taking his own life God used a little pencil named Austin to write a reassuring message of hope that brought the beauty of life back into focus.

On another occasion, while en route to a memorial service for a friend, he saw a car stuck in the mud by the side of the road. Most if not all of us would have just kept going — but not Austin. He stopped and helped a stranger push their car out of the mud. He got so dirty that he had to hurry and change in order to attend the memorial service.

Once again, God used a little pencil named Austin to write a brief sentence in a stranger’s life about the difference selfless service can make. Austin once again lived out his personal mission statement by helping someone whom God had put in his path.

Austin traveled with me to Jordan to serve Syrian refugees who had fled to Jordan for safety. I watched as Austin loved and served people who had lost all of their possessions and, in many cases, also lost their family and friends. Once again, God used a little pencil named Austin to write the lyrics of unconditional love across hearts ravaged by the ugliness of a civil war.

Even in the hospital, Austin unwittingly fulfilled his purpose statement. He helped others because of his participation in several clinical trials for the treatment of cancer.

These are just a few examples of how Austin lived out his personal mission statement and, by doing so, allowed God to write a love story to the world through his life.

Austin placed his life in the hands of a writing God. And because he made himself available to God, God was able to write more beautiful stories through him in 25 years than through many who cling to selfishness, refuse to regard others as more important than themselves, and live to be a hundred.

There is so much more I could write about Austin, but suffice it to say that the world would be better served if each of us thought deeply about our lives, wrote out a personal mission statement, and then placed ourselves in the hands of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world.

I will miss Austin but know that he is healed and is safely at home in the arms of Jesus whom he loved. I am a better person because God used a little pencil named Austin to write a part of His love story in my own heart.


Responses

  1. So beautifully written, thank you.

  2. Austin’s is a wonderful story: thank you for acknowledging him.

  3. Omar you truly touched me with the words you spoke and wrote about Austin. as you said on Sunday, Austin believed he would be with Jesus after he died. and I do to. I will see him again when i see the face of Jesus.

    • Thanks, John. It was an honor to speak at Austin’s memorial service. Grateful that we can grieve with the hope of seeing our loved ones again when we too are safe in the arms of Jesus.

  4. Hi Omar, Could you please add my husband, Richard Kronenberger, to your email list for these posts? His email address is: richk0620@gmail.com Thanks, Laurel Kronenberger

    >

    • Hi Laurel,

      I am unable to add subscribers on my end. However, please direct Richard to my blog where you will notice a link on the right sidebar that says “Follow My Blog.” Richard will need to put his email address here and then will receive a confirmation email. Once he confirms via that email he will be added to my subscribers list.

      Thanks for your readership.

  5. A beautiful tribute to Austin; one that inspires the rest of us to live more intentionally in the time we have left here. Thank you, Omar!

    • Thanks and Amen, Pam. I am truly inspired by Austin’s example.

  6. Austin went to the Lord! his ultimate destination! One day I will go to my final destination too. the time I’m living in this earth, should be valuable for days, weeks, months & years. I have very small amount of time here (all the mankinds). I should have spend my time wisely as Austin dose in his young ages. Thank you brother Omar, for inspiring me so much through writing this article about Austin!!!

    • Good words, Mortuza. We must all use our time wisely like Austin.

  7. What a great tribute to an amazing young man. I’m sorry I didn’t get to meet him on earth.

    • Thanks, DT. You would have enjoyed knowing Austin.

  8. Thanks O for a beautiful tribute to a wonderful man! Austin lived a full life and I loved reading this! Like you, I will miss him greatly but I’m so happy he’s healed! Austin was a bright light!

    • Thanks, H. Appreciate your kind words about Austin. Thanks for being his friend.


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