Colin Sanders - Second Speaker at the Funeral Service of Brian Doecke - Sao Paulo, Brazil - October 24, 2011

Hymn 291, "The Heart of My Saviour is Tender"


This goodbye for me is very personal. Our lives have been intertwined since we were born. We were born in the same hospital and studied at the same school. Brian professed two years before me and went in the work two years ahead of me, also. Brian came to Brazil two years before me and now he has gained on me again; always in front of me. We had good times as children:  climbing trees, hunting rabbits, and getting up to mischief together. After he professed, I believe that touched me. After he went out in the work, it made me think more about this subject. One time talking to him, he said to me about going to another land - to Brazil. And this also made me think of this subject of going to another land and when I arrived in São Paulo, Brian was waiting for me and I’ve never had such a strong embrace as that one. It gives me nostalgia.


I was with him when he had surgery in Australia and after when he heard about his heart problem, he cried and cried, not because of his health problem, but because he thought he wouldn’t return to Brazil. He loved Brazil and the Brazilians and so I’m sure he’s happy to leave his bones here. We were always friends. He was an optimist; he was never discouraged in seeking the lost sheep and felt that everyone would profess. He had hope for all the youth to go out into the work and this has been an inspiration to us as workers.


I thought of when God spoke to Joshua and said, “Joshua…, the servant of the LORD.” (Joshua 24:29) This was great praise for men. We can have great praise of men and gain crowns, but as Paul wrote, he was awaiting an eternal crown. We can be servants of many things here in this world that takes our heart here, but there is a crown of glory awaiting in the future. The work of the servants (workers) is the best paid for all Eternity.


I liked the testimony of Paul to Timothy, II Timothy 4:6-8, "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth, there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing." His time of departure was near.


Philippians 2:17, "Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all." Paul poured out his life as a sacrifice, as this wine offering on the altar, in the sanctuary and it gave a better fragrance, that it might be acceptable to God. It’s a good sign when the sacrifice becomes a privilege. The sacrifice of a life is a privilege before God. When we begin, it is a sacrifice. When young people think the way is narrow, they should look forward and not to the sides. And die in the work, not everyone manages to do that, but it is a great privilege.


Paul also spoke of fighting the good fight and also about the race. He inspired himself with the athletes of Rome:  to start is important, but arriving is what determines if we are victorious. In a marathon, the greatest danger is the middle of the road, but Brian arrived with honour and kept the faith. The soldiers are known for their discipline and discipline is important for the people of God and more still for the servants (workers). No one gains victory without discipline.


In Hebrews 12:2, it says, ”Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith,” and in Psalm 90:9, "For all our days are passed away in Thy wrath; we spend our years as a tale that is told." It speaks of life being like a tale told and in this book, the author is Christ. The end of the story and the last chapter is important. The authors like to give a happy ending to their tales and God also wants to give a happy ending to everyone.


I believe that the faith of Brian began with his grandparents, then his parents, and after that, his own experience with God. It was his faith that helped to make the choices to follow Jesus, go in the work, trust and faith that takes us to the end. Those that finish well will be sitting near the throne. And how Jesus endured the cross, despised the shame, and kept the faith. A life spent like that is of much value, also in helping others. A part of our recompense will be because of the people we have managed to help.


Brian was more of an evangelist than a shepherd. He never lost an opportunity to transmit this and never lost his hopes. I’m glad to be here at this goodbye. We lose a good friend, a brother. We will feel his loss, but may others be helped.