A Tribute to Grandpa

_DSC0583A good and faithful servant has left this earthly world for his heavenly home. My grandpa Dibble passed away in his sleep, peacefully going home to his Savior. Born in 1925 in Nigeria to missionary parents he has spent almost his entire life overseas. {a little bit more on the family history here}

I didn’t spend a lot of time with my Grandpa – he was a missionary in West Africa and I saw him a handful of times in my house through my growing up years and saw him over in his beloved country three times. But those few interactions were enough to know the man – he lived and spoke with consistency that which he believed.

In the quiet of their home it was God who ordered and directed their days and it shone through in the way they interacted with others, in the way they calmly accepted whatever challenges came their way – they knew God was in control and they lived faithfully. As a teenager I lived with my grandparents for a year and every.single.morning I saw them rise and sit together, reading God’s word and praying for their family, their work, and other missionaries around the world.

Grandpa was in the Coast Guard in WWII. He told me once that while he was on his ship there were no other believers and he struggled with his salvation since he did not know the exact date he had been saved. He said; “It was days of this and I finally went to the Lord about it saying I needed something to silence the enemy. I was struck with the thought that I only knew my physical birthday because my parents were there for it and told me it over and over. I was the only person there to know my spiritual birthday and it was ok to forget the date.”

He also told me that while the ship was heading towards Iwo Jima the Captain of the ship sent the First Mate to ask Grandpa to hold a service. He had never preached before in his life, but he agreed and preached for those on the ship. He told me he didn’t remember what he preached but that he still remembered the eyes of a Marine who never took his eyes off grandpa the entire time he preached. Grandpa finished by telling me he was sure he would see that man in glory.

I have an email my Grandpa sent me a couple years ago, it is one of the very few he ever wrote to me and is a wonderful testimony of his desire for his life;

“It would be great to see you all again.  But I guess the next time will be in glory, as I have already out lived the age of my Dad, Mother and brothers.
But the Lord knows why I am still here.  I pray that I might be fulfilling that purpose.


My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus Christ, my righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

I am thankful that we know with assurance that Grandpa is spending eternity with God. His life is an encouragement and challenge, and I am so thankful he was my grandpa and that I knew him as I did.

securedownload1993 – Grandpa with my siblings and self ON, Canada

_DSC07822010 – My mom, Grandpa, Grandma, my boys and self Ika, Nigeria

_DSC0077-(1)2010 – a blurry but much loved picture. Night preaching, Grandpa (sitting) is translating to the gathered crowd. Ika, Nigeria

_DSC06132010 – even in his 80’s Grandpa would still go off “on trek” – into the deeper bush – to share the gospel with others. He packed this wooden box with his supplies.

10011501_274690102709362_5095831590802684203_n-(1)Grandpa and Grandma on their wedding day.

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16 Replies to “A Tribute to Grandpa

  1. Only Eternity Himsef knows our time here on this earth. It is up to us to follow His purpose for our steps. What a selfless manof God. Thanks for a glimpse of him

    1. yes, each moment is a choice 🙂 Grandpa told me once that he purposed to do one thing each day that he didn’t really want to do. I thought that was good, practical advice for forward moving 🙂

  2. I knew you’d be right on target no matter what you wrote. Thank you so much for putting words to my thoughts….only I’d write from a niece’s view! Uncle Spen was one of the finest men I’ve ever been privileged to know. I always loved his smile and the twinkle in his eyes! Dad and Mom would often speak highly of him and Aunt Phyl. Seems like we were fortunate enough to spend time with the family during each furlough. What joy I had a few years ago when he took time to show me different parts of Nigeria where he and my dad lived as they were growing up. When I asked why they lived in so many different areas he said that Grandpa thought they should move after being in a place for @3 years so the Gospel could be given out to those who had never heard. How thankful I am that I am a child of the King and will see Uncle Spen and others in Heaven one day!

  3. Lucille Heckel ( friends with Nathan)
    what a beautiful tribute to your Grandfather. Also, read your heritage, What a blessing to be a part of such a faithful, Godly family! Sorry, for his pasting on earth but someday soon you will all will be together in Glory!

  4. Beautiful testimony of a faithful servant! May we follow the path of Christ with such joy and conviction in our own lives.

  5. Thank you so much for go beautifully putting your thoughts into words Jess… You have a wonderful way with words!

  6. I consider it my loss to have not known my father’s father better. But knowing the quality of man my dad was.they are “catching up” in heaven at the foot of our Father. “Well done my good and faithful servants”!

  7. Joy and sorrow are such powerful emotions. Joy….knowing the legacy you have been left but sorrow for the time you know you will be separated until you are reunited. You are blessed to have such an example in your heritage to pass down to the boys. Much ljve

  8. Your grand pa served well, he gave his all that we may have Christ. We are revelling in the message he had to stay back here in Africa to deliver. He became one of us and one with us giving out the gospel of Christ in his talk and walk. We do wish he tarry untill Jesus comes to rapture his church so that we may move together in joy into the home above. But as God wills it, we must have this momentary sorrow and being comforted by the devine scripts that we shall surely see each other again. Indeed he served, I personnaly believe that there not too many like him in our generation. Behold all things work together for good…. (Rom. 8: 28). May God reward his work in Nigeria and may God grant that the Church he labour for and amongst, grow in grace, love, population and spiritual matters with reference to God and godliness. Goodnight, you who have strive to be a true servant of God.

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