Gospel movement in Urban Cities
Kalpana and I had the privilege of knowing Tim and Kathy Keller and serving them in the last three years of his life. Our decision to move to New York was driven by our shared calling to reach out to youth in global cities with the transformative power of the gospel. A friend recommended Roosevelt Island in Manhattan as a potential location to live, and when we learned that Tim Keller lived there, our search was over. We became neighbors with the Kellers, and our lives were forever changed by their friendship.
During the midst of the pandemic, Kalpana serendipitously met Kathy at the apartment pool, and their friendship grew rapidly. When our third son, Luke, was born, they prayed fervently for a safe delivery. Despite his sickness, Tim personally delivered meals to us, showcasing their remarkable generosity and humility.
On a occasion, Kathy invited Kalpana and me to meet Tim. During our visit, she entrusted me with the keys to their apartment while they were away for treatment. Tim, brimming with excitement, eagerly guided me through their home, which boasted an astounding collection of over 4,000 books. He emphasized, "Bonny, there is no place in the apartment that you cannot access." His office, doubling as their living space, displayed handwritten notes from Presidents, while their comprehensive library covered an array of subjects, from theology to church history and everything in between. Kathy had the remarkable privilege of being pen pals with none other than C.S. Lewis himself, and she dedicated a wall in their house to showcase their treasured exchange of letters.
In Tim's office, I had a profound encounter with God that deeply impacted me regarding our mission on college campuses in the US. I spent hours praying, fasting, and seeking God's guidance, preparing for this important assignment.
Despite his ongoing cancer treatment, Tim graciously made time for a 45-minute Zoom call with me in December 2022. During our conversation, he provided encouragement, advice, and strategic insights for our campus ministry. This inspired us to launch LiveJam in 2023. Additionally, I began writing my first book while sitting at his desk.
Before Tim began his last treatment, we exchanged emails, fervently praying for his healing. Infact, I recorded and sent Tim a 5-minute worship video to minister to him in his hospital room.
Above everything else,
- Tim inspired me to cherish and love my wife and children. The love he had for Kathy was palpable; together, they were an unstoppable force.
- Furthermore, he instilled in me a passion for living generously and embracing simplicity. For a man who sold millions of books, Tim and Kathy graciously supported vision to see Every student in every nation gospelised and mobilised.
- Dubbed a "Manhattan Evangelist" by the New York Times, Tim's quote, "The Gospel changes everything," encapsulates the essence of his message. As a fellow young evangelist in the city of New York and the nation, his words resonated deeply with me.
- Even in his passing, Tim continued to inspire me. His longing to see Jesus and eagerness to be reunited with Him left a profound impact. His prayer, “I’m ready to see Jesus. I can’t wait to see Jesus. Send me Home.”
- His statement, "You don't realize Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have," serves as a powerful reminder of the true source of our strength.
Tim, we will miss you! See you soon on the other side!