I received word recently that the great missionary saint, Dr. Wesley Duewel, passed away March 5, 2016, at the age of 99.

His devotional classic, Ablaze for God, is one of my favorites. I have read and re-read it many times, and it has been a tremendous source of spiritual strength and blessing to me.

Seven years ago, our congregation was transformed as we went through this powerful book together. We invited Dr. Duewel, then age 92, to Hayward so he could share his heart and pray with us. To my delight, he accepted the invitation.

Obtaining special permission, I eagerly awaited Dr. Duewel’s arrival at Gate A-19 of Minneapolis International Airport. His plane landed, and a long line of passengers debarked–but no Wesley Duewel.

The last stragglers came out of the tunnel, but there was still no sign of my special guest. I checked with the agent who radioed back into the plane, and grunted, “He’s coming. He’s coming.”

Finally, three flight attendants emerged from the jet bridge, and they were all wiping away tears. One approached me, “Are you the one waiting for that precious little old man back there?” she blubbered. “He was just praying for us! It was so beautiful! I have never felt such love in all my life!”

I marveled. This holy man was so filled with God’s presence and anointing that it automatically overflowed to everybody he met along the way. In other words, his very presence created a thin place for others, where heaven and earth merged together.

I lifted an eye towards heaven and prayed, “Lord, when I grow up, please make me the kind of guy who makes flight attendants cry!”

Read the full obituary.

Rev. Mark O. Wilson serves as senior pastor at Hayward Wesleyan Church, in Hayward, Wisc.