Tuesday, October 3, 2017

My friend and elder James Nyawuto Sr.

My friend James Nyawuto passed away on Aug 5th in Accra, Ghana. He was one of the elders in the church and a good friend of mine for the past 12 years. I flew to Accra and led the funeral service for him Sept 22.
Here is a memorial for the late James Nyawuto Sr.

Elder James Daniel Kwame Nyawuto was born in Togo, West Africa in 1941.  He and his family later moved to Accra, Ghana where he spent his formative years. He enjoyed his life there and spoke fondly of his upbringing.
But he was adventuresome.  He applied and was accepted as a student at McGill University in 1963 and graduated in 1967.  His father died during his third year but he continued his studies supported by his mother, Rose. He was very close with his mother of whom he spoke very fondly.  
James became a Canadian citizen in 1974 and he worked in Canada until his return to Ghana in 1976. During those early years in Canada he began to attend University Presbyterian Church and became active in church activities as well as the Ghanaian community.
He returned to Canada in 1992, leaving behind his wife Patience and only son, James Jr. James renewed his membership and activities in University Presbyterian Church and he was delighted to sponsor to Canada his son, James Jr., who is himself this September enrolled in the Master of Divinity Program at Knox College, U of T !
James was a genuine, sincere and faithful Christian who loved the Lord Jesus Christ. To that end he was a tireless church and community volunteer.  He was inducted as Elder into the University Presbyterian Church Session in 2007.  During these last 10 years, he served as Treasurer at a pivotal time in the life of the church and was a Chair of the Property Committee.  He loved Christian music and raised his bass voice as a longtime member of the UPC choir.
James was nominated and served at first as Alternate and as Representative Elder to the Presbytery of West Toronto, a post he held for nearly 5 years.  Despite his failing health, he faithfully attended, often using the TTC even in inclement weather to attend general and committee meetings and seminars.

At the same time, he became the Tenant Representative for his Toronto Community Housing building.  His crowning achievement was advocating with the City constantly until the City finally agreed to the beautification of the entire driveway and grounds of his building so improving the morale of all residents.  
James was a principled man and he stood for what he believed in, no matter the outcome. He would not “side with the crowd” because it would be popular to do so nor “bend to the wind” whenever issues he believed in were concerned.  His “Yes” was “Yes” and his “No” was “No” and this came after thoughtful soul searching.
James’s life embodied the scripture “Love your neighbor as thyself.” This compelled him to invite many to UPC who still are members of UPC.  He helped many in difficulty with advice, money, goods and support. For those reasons, he was loved by many.
Despite a worsening of his serious illness, James continued to participate as best he could in church and community activities.  Against all odds and advice and with his belief in life everlasting and faith that God was with him, he travelled to Ghana alone a number of times to be with friends and family.  It was there, that James, just as he was about to fly back to Canada, became gravely ill and passed away peacefully in his home Country of Ghana with his family near. 
And God said welcome “good and faithful servant”

May the Lord Bless him with eternal life.

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