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Why don't you just come home with me

A Son-in-law's tribute to Dr. Laverne Miley

by Clint Morgan

I first met Dr. Miley, my future father-in-law, in the spring of 1970 when he and Mrs. Miley returned to the States from Ivory Coast, West Africa, to begin their furlough. Finishing my sophomore year at college, I was simply too naïve to realize just how honored I was to meet this man.  However, I did notice something special about him. Every adult who spoke of him concluded with, “What a great man,” “The most Christ-like man I know,” “What a humble man,” or “A true man of God.” 

After Lynette and I married, I became better acquainted with Dr. Miley and my naivety gave way to knowledge and experience. I joined those who had total admiration and respect for him. Without hesitation, I can say he lived the most consistent Christian life of anyone I have ever known.

One memory from Africa illustrates the way his pure life and unbiased compassion impacted lives wherever he went. While discussing God’s love in a church class, I asked if anyone could explain His love to me.  One lady spoke up, “It’s the way Dr. Miley loved Moussa.”  Moussa, the town drunk, was delivered to the Doropo hospital in a wheelbarrow and dumped on the porch.  He was dirty, drunk, and comatose. Dr. Miley took this untouchable under his care and restored him to good health.  Moussa accepted Christ and was one of the last persons Dr. Miley baptized before leaving Africa. 

Before I went to Africa I had to raise funds to support our ministry. Everywhere I went I was introduced as “Dr. Miley’s son-in-law.” He was truly embarrassed and said he wished people wouldn’t do that.  I jokingly responded, “Don’t worry about it. One day you’ll be known as Clint Morgan’s father-in-law.” Although I didn’t really believe it would happen, the Sunday before Dr. Miley passed away, a California pastor’s introduction included “Dr. LaVerne Miley is his father-in-law.” I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself. 

I never imagined that the following day our world would be turned upside down with the shocking news he had died.  I could have grieved more only if it had been my own father. I loved my father-in-law with the love of a son, for he treated me like one. 

He gave me gentle instruction and words of encouragement. He often exhorted me to slow down and take better care of myself.  His interest in our ministry and lives was evident in a hundred ways.  He prayed for us, supported us, and mentored us by his pure and holy life.

How I miss him.  I go into “his” shop and I miss him. I enter the storage shed with everything placed neatly, as he would have it, and I miss him. I work on the house and find myself asking, “How would Dad want this done?” and I miss him. There have been tears of grief and smiles of contentment for I know he is laying his crowns at the Savior’s feet.

I once heard the story of Enoch recounted thus: One day God said to Enoch, "We have been walking and talking, and walking and talking, and we are closer to My house than we are to yours. Why don't you just come home with Me.” And he did. I firmly believe that my father-in-law, Dr. LaVerne Miley, received such an invitation. He gladly accepted and is now safely home.

Clint Morgan joined Dr. Miley’s family in 1971 and the mission family in 1976. He currently serves as IM’s regional director for Europe, Russia, and Africa.



©2005 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists