My first impression of Dr. Standish was a man dignified yet approachable, well-educated yet simple and relatable, and above all, a man who really loved Jesus and had surrendered his heart to Him. I first met him in Botswana in 2003. I had been a church elder for three years and had been teaching baptismal classes, but I was still searching for truth. I had read various books by church scholars and was confused about Seventh-day Adventist beliefs. I can’t remember what he spoke about, but his book Embattled Church answered many of my questions.
I then attended a youth camp where Hartland graduate Aaron Baker spoke. The more answers I found, the more I thirsted to understand and study the Bible. I wanted to study at Hartland, and after praying and trying for three years, I was finally accepted under the Missionary Training Fund. My Hartland experience was the highlight of my Christian journey.
At Hartland I saw a level of self-sacrifice for God’s work I had never witnessed before. When invited to visit the Standish family, I was shocked at their simple home and kept wondering if this was truly Dr. Standish’s home. His humility, unassuming personality, and genuine interest in me surprised me. I was a nobody, the only student from Southern Africa, yet he treated me like his son. He noticed my desire to draw close to him and took interest in my wellbeing.
I was privileged to travel with this selfless man, whose burden was to spread the everlasting gospel to every nation. We visited very poor African countries, often sleeping on hard classroom floors, but he never complained. His motivation was to see the gospel being spread. He strongly encouraged me to start Purelight Missions, providing me with counsel and even donating funds towards its establishment. The books he encouraged me to read have helped me in starting this missionary training center and overcoming great obstacles. We still use many of his books as textbooks for our classes.
Dr. Standish’s self-sacrificing life has been an inspiration to me. When things are tough and I am tempted to compromise, I remember how he submitted to a plain “thus saith the Lord,” even if it cost him dearly. He was a man who stood unashamedly for his convictions—a man of faith and unflinching courage.