DR Myles Munroe, with his wife, Ruth, and two leaders of his ministry, was killed when his plane crashed Sunday afternoon as it prepared to land in Freeport during a rainstorm. Dr Munroe, and the eight passengers in his Lear Jet with him, was on his way to Freeport to open his 2014 Global Leadership Forum.
In the spirit of the “show must go on”, and despite an auditorium filled with grief, the conference, as Dr Munroe would have wished, opened as planned Monday morning. Former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, a featured speaker, was present and will remain in Grand Bahama until tomorrow to complete his speaking commitment at the conference.
On Sunday, it was rumoured that Ambassador Young was also on the plane with Dr Munroe. In an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the ambassador’s wife, Carolyn Young, denied rumours that her husband was supposed to have been on the plane, but cancelled at the last minute because he had misgivings about the flight. Knowing that he was attending the conference, and when they could not contact him, she said, it was assumed that he was one of the nine passengers who went down with the doomed aircraft.
We pause here to offer our condolences to Dr Munroe’s family and his congregation. The remainder of this column will be given over to Dr Munroe who in an interview with CBNTV recently explained his life’s mission. As he often said: “The greatest tragedy in life is not death, but a life without a purpose.”
In his 60 years, Dr Munroe’s life was a life of purpose. He put the Bahamas on the map as he circled the globe with his ministry and his message that every human being in fact does count and can be an agent for change.
The Tribune wants his two children to know that with our condolences goes our wish that they will follow in their parents’ footsteps and never let their memory die. We also send our sympathy to other members of his family and the Bahamas Faith Ministries congregation. We pray that they will be able to keep his torch alight as a beacon for good for others to follow.
We also send our condolences to the families of all those who, with Dr Munroe, lost their lives.
The following is a recent interview, conducted by CBNTV with Dr Munroe. The interviewer asked why Dr Munroe thought he was put on this earth.
Dr Munroe’s reply: “I was born to transform followers into leaders and leaders into agents of change. I was created by God and sent to this earth to help the follower discover that trapped inside of them is a great leader – to help them reconnect to their true abilities, their true potential and to help them become all that they were born to be and so I am very clear on what I am born to do. It energises me every minute of the day – in fact my days are too short because I am so excited about my purpose.“
He was asked to tell the experience he had at the age of 13, an experience that decided his future.
Said Dr Munroe: “I remember sitting in a classroom one day and a white Scottish teacher looked at this class of black kids and he began to call us some names – like half-breed monkey, black niggers, fools, retarded – words you wouldn’t imagine a teacher saying to kids and I sat there and I began to weep. I felt so insulted as a human, in fact I began to believe him, I figgered maybe he’s right, maybe we can’t learn, maybe we are cursed, maybe we are sub-human, maybe there is something wrong with black people. And I remember running home to my mother with my brown paper bag with my book in it - we couldn’t buy schoolbags - a shopping bag was my school bag.
“I ran to that house and fell before my mother and I began to cry. My mother did something that I hope every mother does, she looked at me, she held me very close, she shook me, she said: ‘First of all don’t you ever say that again.’ Then she said: ‘I want you to read a verse of Scripture son.’ Then she gave me a big Bible and one verse of scripture – Ephesians ch 3 vs. 20. ‘You go in that little baby room and you read that,‘ she said.
“And I went in that little room, and I began to read. My tears were dropping on the page as I remembered what the teacher had said. And the Scripture said: ‘Now unto him who is able to do exceeding, abundantly above and far beyond all that you can ever ask, think or imagine, according to the power that worketh within you.’
“I remember my tears began to turn into laughter because me –a 13-year-old kid – I began to understand one statement from the Bible - the power for me to be successful was not in the teachers, was not in the educational system, was not in my culture, was not in my society, but was within me and I began to think: God if you are a good God, why am I poor? If you are a great God, why are these people better than me? If you make me in your image, why are they special and I am a monkey?’
“And that night no thunder, no lightning, no earthquakes, nothing. I just heard a voice in my head and the voice said: ‘I asked you to believe me, and you’ll be saved and not them.’ And that night I made a commitment to believe what God said - and at 13 years old I believe I have the power to experience far beyond all that I can ever ask, think, or imagine and that’s when my pursuit of God began.”
Dr Munroe told his interviewer that he never wanted to be a preacher.
“As a matter of fact,” he said, “I still don’t consider myself a preacher. I think it drove me to have a passion to help everybody who has been oppressed, my passion is to make sure that no one should live under what I experienced. I never desired to be a minister - I desired to help people.”
The interviewer pointed out that Dr Munroe was a husband, father, a pastor, a business man, leadership consultant, a motivational speaker, an author of many books, “yet,” he said, “you only have 24 hours like everybody else, the question now is: How do you juggle all of these demands.”
Replied Dr Munroe: “Everybody only has 24 hours. Using your time they call it ‘spending your time’. Time is a currency you use time to buy things. So whatever you spend your time on that’s what you bought. I balance my life, and my priorities are important.”
His first priority, he said, was his “spiritual relationship with God, I want to maintain that.” His second priority was his wife, and children. “That’s my priority - it’s more important than my job, my career, speaking to a million people, television - no it’s my family. My third priority is my passion and my vision is to have people discover who they are in Christ.”
As for his recreation he was a musician who has “produce a lot of music – I play the guitar, piano, write music. I could sit down for hours and play the piano.” He also painted — he has a bachelor’s degree in fine arts – and is a sculptor. But what he enjoyed most was his reading. “I enjoy learning, it’s not work,” he said. “It’s a pleasure.”
And his reply to the question of what he would have done differently if he had to do it all over again?
“Everything,” he said, “happened in my life produced me – even the negatives. Even if things that I might have failed in, the things that I might have made mistakes with – they were fantastic classrooms for me. I believe the best things in life to do is not to regret and try to change what happened, but to interpret it properly maximise it and use it to serve other people and that’s what I want to do with my past and that’s what I want to do with my future.”
This is the legacy that he has left for his followers to continue.