A Tribute

 While attending college at Montana State University in Bozeman (Go Bobcats!), I made some very close friends through the college youth group (COLLYP) at the church I attended, Grace Baptist (Now Grace Bible).  I ended up rooming with one of those friends, Tom Lough, in the basement apartment of some folks (the Youngwards) from church. We also had one of Tom’s Electrical Engineering classmates, Bob Schomburg, staying with us. Bob was very studious and would often be in studying while Tom and I were out playing catch. Tom had the only car so we were dependent upon him to get us to and from the campus. I remember during one finals week that we had just finished a test and all three of us had gone to the library to study for our next exam. The library was completely full of students so we found ourselves back outside wondering where we should go. Bob said, “Why don’t we try the library.”  He was so focused on how he’d done on the exam he had just finished he didn’t even realize we had just walked through the whole library! 

     Tom and I had a calculus class together with a professor from Switzerland who was a bit difficult to understand and who had some interesting idiosyncrasies.  He almost always wore sloppy overshoes during class and when he finished writing something on the chalk board, he would ask before he erased it, “May I put it away now, please?”  He would also call roll at the beginning of class and when it came to Tom, it was “Rober Tomas Luff.”  I remember staying up too late studying for an exam in that class and falling asleep during the test—not to be recommended!
     Tom and I played intramural basketball and softball together, sang in a COLLYP quartet which went around to little rural churches in the area and sang, gave testimonies and shared the Word. It was a great bonding time for us, and a time of spiritual growth. I also remember going home with Tom one time to Kalispell and staying with his folks. Before each meal we would kneel at the table and have prayer together. That was the godly legacy passed on to Tom. 
     When we graduated from MSU, I took a job at Hyster Company in Portland, Oregon and Tom went to work for Montana Power Company in Butte, Montana. He also worked as a volunteer for the Christian youth ministry called Young Life. When I resigned my job at Hyster in the spring of 1974 and went to work for Rocky Mountain Bible Mission back in northwest Montana, we had to raise financial and prayer support. Tom was one of our first supporters. Later, when I resigned from the mission to be the full-time pastor at Three Lakes Community Bible Church, Tom continued to support the ministry of the church. Then in May of 2011 when I retired from pastoring Three Lakes, Tom continued to support us in the ministries in which we are currently involved. He has been so faithful all these years. What an encouragement to us.  I am reminded of those who supported and encouraged the Apostle Paul in his ministry and what a blessing they were to him. For example, he wrote this to the believers in the church at Philippi:  “But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am…I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction. And you yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs. Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account. But I have received everything in full, and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epahroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God. And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:10-19). 
     After not seeing Tom since college graduation in 1968, he called a few years ago and said he was going to be in Kalispell (90 miles from Libby) and invited us to come have lunch with him. We did and had a great time of fellowship and catching up on what had been going on in our lives. It was such a joy to spend some time with a close friend and supporter who has been a key part of our ministry for the past 40 years. Then just recently we noticed that the “Wisdom of the Week” was not going through to him, so I mailed a hard copy to his home in Butte asking if he had a new email address.  I received a call from his wife saying that he had been out mowing the lawn and dropped dead from a heart attack. Quite a shock!  We will miss him a lot—and not just because of his faithful financial support, but more so because we lost a prayer supporter who upheld us daily before God’s throne, something we desperately need. We praise God for “Robert Thomas Lough,” a choice servant of God. I’m sure that he had an “abundant entrance” (II Pet. 1:11) into heaven and heard “Well, done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of the Lord” (Mt. 25:21). 
     And oh, by the way, Tom does have a new address, “For to be absent from the body is to be at home with the Lord” (II Cor. 5:8).   We look forward to seeing him again. Meanwhile we thank God for him and the blessing he has been to us and our ministry.
                                                                           Forever His,
                                                                                       Pastor Dave

About Pastor Dave

Until my retirement 2 years ago, I pastored an independent Bible church in Northwest Montana for nearly 38 years. During that time I also helped establish a Christian school, and a Bible Camp. I am married and have children and grandchildren. The Wisdom of the Week devotional is an outgrowth of my desire to share what God is doing in my life and in our world, and to challenge you to be a part.
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