Have you ever been so affected and touched by someone so that it impacted your life forever?

My grand-uncle, the Rev A.W. Francis, was truly a man of tremendous character and explicit Godly passion. When he died at the age of 85 he had just retired from being the priest-in-charge at Christ Church, at the Mall in Kasauli, Simla, HP.

When I was born, my Dad told me that he was so taken up by this man of God, that my Dad gave the same initials to my name as this grand uncle of mine!

How amazing, the Godly heritage we carry!

My first conscious brush with this man of God really came when I was twenty years old! ‘Mamuji’ as we called him lovingly, came to spend a month with us in the Bombay ‘winter’, along with his wife. Our home opposite the Victoria Gardens, Byculla, was not a very large, and Mamuji used to be up early at first light. I can still picture him sitting on a chair on our balcony and reading his Bible intently as the morning light filtered in. My brother and I would join him, and he would read out the Bible loud and clear with the ‘pucca’ British English he was brought up in. Then he would shut his eyes in worship and ask us to join him, as he sang this hymn daily without fail…

I’m pressing on the upward way,

New heights I’m gaining every day;

Still praying as I’m onward bound,

“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”

Lord, lift me up and let me stand,

By faith, on Heaven’s table land,

A higher plane than I have found;

Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

We were neither the hymn singing nor the church going kind of family. But what intrigued me above all was the tenacity of this man to sit and read his Bible every day and then sing this hymn and follow that by praying for all of us!

In one month, this hymn stuck in my unsaved spirit like glue and refused to leave the crevices of my mind.

My drugs and wayward ways never had the power to erase that hymn and the passion in which it was sung by and old man who knew his God and walked with Him daily.

Only Heaven will tell of the impact this man’s life has had on others!