Tribute to a Trailblazer

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As many of you have already heard, we have lost a dear brother, mentor, teacher, pastor, spiritual father, and friend. Russ Dizdar passed from this life beyond the veil on October 17, and although it’s been a week, I am still totally unprepared to write this tribute, and I am at a complete loss to express my sorrow, or to untangle the web of heartache and confusion knotted up in my heart and mind over this unexpected and devastating news.

Many people, tongue-in-cheek, would describe Russ as a “demon hunter,” but I always called him a big teddy bear. He was one of those rare individuals who would just walk into a room, or just smile, or just say hello, and every trouble weighing on your heart would instantly flee. There was such a peace and a kindness emanating off him. There is so much that could be said about his gifts and abilities and accomplishments, and I will leave all that to others to say. But for me, Russ was a calming presence—a flicker of light in an otherwise dark world.

But his passing does not mean the world has gone dark. The Light of the world is still here and is still to come. For some of us, Russ’ passing will be a call to mourn, a call to reflect, and a call to grieve. But for others, Russ’ passing is the passing of a torch.

It was once said, “Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones.” That is a statement about legacy. Russ didn’t leave behind a bunch of dusty artifacts for a museum—books left unwritten, and case files left unsolved. He left a mantle. A mantle to be taken up by those he trained, and by those the Spirit has called to continue his work.

2021 has been a rough year for the Body of Christ. Several of our You Tube ministers fell into apostacy. Judith Reisman, Rob Skiba, and Russ Dizdar all laid down their lives. Wilfred Wong languished in prison and now faces decades of unjust imprisonment. It sure looks as if the serpent of old has won a few rounds and that we are face to the mat. I wonder if this is how Peter felt a day or two after his demon hunter/teddy bear hero got shut up behind a gravestone?  I’ll bet we aren’t the first generation of believers to believe that all is bleak and that we’ve all been beaten.

But there is too much work to be done. Who knows what sort of resurrection awaits those of us who pick up Russ’ mantle and continue to fight—to resist—to rescue? A wise man once said, “Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter.”  I’m sure the “bad guys” think they’ve pulled off a real coup and that life will be a lot easier for them now with ole Wilfred behind bars and Dizdar in his grave. What they don’t understand is that Russ was our friend and teacher, but our Shepherd is still alive and well.

We will not scatter, we will unite, and we will pick up the mantle, and we will carry on Russ’ work—because Russ’ work was the Father’s work; and we are His children, and we, like Russ, delight do His will. Our Father in heaven will dry our tears, and then He will strengthen and equip us for the battles ahead. He is the “lifter of our heads”—so we know our faces will not be to the mat forever.

And if you extract the precious from the worthless,
You will become My spokesman.
They, for their part, may turn to you,
But as for you, you are not to turn to them.
Then I will make you to this people
A fortified wall of bronze;
And though they fight against you,
They will not prevail over you;
For I am with you to save you
And rescue you,” declares YAHWEH.
“So I will rescue you from the hand of the wicked,
And I will redeem you from the grasp of the violent.”
Jeremiah 15:19b-20

 

Click HERE if you feel led to donate to the Dizdar family. A second Go Fund Me was started by L. A. Marzulli, click HERE to donate. All proceeds from both fund raisers will go directly to Russ and Shelly’s daughter, Charity, for medical and funeral expenses.

 

NOVEMBER 4 UPDATE
Russ’ widow, Shelly, took a turn for the worse a day or so ago and was transferred to the ICU. Several prayer vigils took place, but we learned that she passed into eternity in the early hours of November 4. Russ and Shelly will be dearly missed. They ran the race and they finished well. We love them and look forward to reuniting with them both one day in glory. In the meantime, please pray for their daughter, Charity, and their family and friends.

 

Click HERE to read Russ’ obituary, including funeral details. 

Click HERE to read Shelly’s obituary, including funeral details. 

Click HERE to view the video from Russ and Shelly’s memorial service.

 

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