It can be a lonely journey. For those of us who’ve ventured away from the warm, familiar arms of Western Christianity into the unknown, mysterious, and foreign embrace of Eastern Orthodoxy, it is a profound comfort to walk alongside fellow pilgrims. We find parts of our story in theirs; we can co-suffer, and ,also, rejoice together as we encounter the ancient faith, it’s healing, depth, and richness.
I never met Fr. Peter Gillquist of blessed memory, but in his memoir Memories of His Mercy, Recollections of the Grace and Providence of God, I came to know this fellow pilgrim and heard his heart for His Savior and for the lost. When he converted to Eastern Orthodoxy he brought not only himself, not only his family, but his whole church with him! What began as his passion for understanding the early church grew into the discovery that it had never ceased to exist; that it continued to this day in uninterrupted succession.
His memoir beautifully chronicles the ways in which God met him in the journey. One poignant example was in how God provided money for a breakfast that he and his wife were hosting for fellow Campus Crusade collegians. The day before they had no money to purchase the needed groceries, but unexpectedly received a ten dollar bill in the mail, anonymously sent. Again and again he recalls the big and little ways that God encouraged him and his wife Marilyn over the years as they stepped out in faith.
I resonate with how much he treasures his upbringing, his years serving as an evangelical, his experiences at Wheaton and in Campus Crusade. Becoming Orthodox wasn’t a cessation of that, but a fulfillment. His ministry has reached so many, and it’s easy to see that it will continue to do so through his books. May we be encouraged by this faithful, holy, and devout man and his heart to share the gospel.