Kelowna lost a great follower of Christ over the Easter weekend. Reverend Albert Baldeo went home to be with Jesus at the age of 81. As I watched and read the amazing outpouring of love and respect for this man of God, I thought, “What can we as Christians learn from the life of Albert Baldeo?” I asked a friend of mine and KGF attender, Wayne Laurie, who worked with Albert for several years, to write his reflections. Here they are. Pastor Mike
A friend and college to the Churches of Kelowna passed away this week, Rev. Albert Baldeo, called by a former Mayor of Kelowna the “Flip Wilson of the Cloth”. Albert pushed the boundaries of preaching the Good News. He was not afraid to go into the community to bring the joy of the Lord to all that would hear him.
He always had something in his hand to attract your attention, whether it was a rubber chicken, a shiny pebble or a goofy hat. He wanted to get your attention, he wanted to make you laugh and hear the gospel.
From hosting the first RCMP Appreciation Dinner in Canada to speaking at High School Youth Conferences, encouraging public officials and community leaders, and preaching on Sundays, Albert was the evangelist wanting you to know about the love of God.
Having known him for over thirty years and working with him for twenty-five years before I moved on to work with a broader range of Christian churches, I know that Albert had one goal to his sermons, speeches, poems and stories, and that was for you to know Jesus Christ.
Scripture tells us that each has been given grace according his or her faith and Albert’s was to make us laugh, to bring forth joy and to recognize that even in the midst of tragedy God’s grace would be present.
In the Message translation of the Bible, Ephesians says that “Christ hands out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train His followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ's body, the church, until we're all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, … fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ”.
Albert took on his calling as the Evangelist to bring forth an awareness of the need to know Jesus Christ and call him our Lord. He encouraged congregants and others to take on servant work not only in the church but also in the wider community. He spoke to and helped us to appreciate the unity we should strive for not only in the Church but also in our wider community.
His dream and calling of knowing Jesus Christ made some head way but seeing a united church and united community as Ephesians lays out is still before us. For this unity we need to continue to hear the good news as Albert preached and for the work of the Holy Spirit to fill us so that we become more mature in our relationships as Christ would have us be and to live our lives more fully as Christ in joy, celebration and laughter in all circumstances.
Rev. Wayne Laurie
You can read Albert's final column in the Capital News, published Good Friday, which has this as the final line:
"Death is not the end, it is just a bend in the road of life."