by Pat Franklin
Meet Patrick Woods. If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, you will certainly meet Patrick one day, for he went to be with the Lord a few years ago. Patrick was a most amazing person. An Irishman, he was at one time a regimental sergeant major in the British Army. He was also a boxing champ in the Army and when he left it, he made a living washing windows in the town of Aldershot, known because of its training facilities as 'Home of the British Army'.
By the time we met him Patrick was old and retired, but that did not stop him being a witness for the Lord Jesus. Patrick loved the Lord, loved the Bible and loved the nation of Israel. In fact he was passionate about Israel, so passionate that he identified himself with the Jewish people by often wearing a 'kippur'.
Twice a week at least he would pack up his Bible, some tracts, a portable seat and walk into town. He would station himself in the shopping area, just outside the doors of the mall, and begin to read from the scriptures. This would go on for several hours, and with his drill sergeant's voice, you could hear him virtually all over town.
I can still hear his rich Irish voice crying out: 'This is what the LORD says...' Patrick would read from Psalms, Proverbs and the prophets for the most part. He wanted to read out sections which would impact people as they walked past. Some would stop and chat, some would accept a tract, and some kind people would leave him a fruit drink or some candy.
During school holidays some of the rougher element gave Patrick a hard time, surrounding him, mocking him, and throwing pieces of hard candy at him.
Near the end of his life, one man grabbed the Bible out of his hands and started shouting at him. The boxing instinct nearly took over, but fortunately for that foolish man, Patrick managed to restrain himself.
Patrick's health was shaky, and when it came time to go, he just went. He was found sitting on a chair in his kitchen. He wasn't there any more. He was with the Lord God of Israel.
His funeral at Aldershot Crematorium was packed out with standing room only. He was quite a guy, Patrick. You'll enjoy meeting him. You'll recognise him by the twinkle in his eye and the bear hug he will give you and he will probably say to you what he always used to say to so many of us: 'Aw, I love you; you're beautiful.'
*This was first posted on our website on March 24, 2008 after Patrick went to be with the Lord. We are now nine years nearer to a reunion with him!