On Tuesday morning, a great man went to his eternal reward where he heard those words from the Lord we all want to hear someday: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
That man was Rev. H.B. London, a first cousin of ADF Founder Dr. James Dobson.
H.B., or “H” as his closest friends knew him, was a humble man. A Nazarene pastor, he was beloved by those the Lord entrusted to his care, first in Salem, Oregon, then in Pasadena, California, and finally as the “pastor to pastors” at Focus on the Family. Those who had the honor and privilege of knowing H.B. were blessed by his commitment to the Gospel and the local church, compassionate heart for others, and wonderful sense of humor.
H.B. also played an important role in the early days of ADF. During our early days, ADF Founder Alan Sears faced seemingly overwhelming obstacles. There were days when Alan wondered if he had made a mistake in leaving his position with a prominent Arizona law firm to accept the leadership of ADF.
In a conversation with H.B., Alan shared his frustrations over the situation. H.B. carefully and thoughtfully listened, as he always did, and then asked, “Alan, what is your theme verse?”
Alan responded, “Theme verse?” while thinking to himself, “I am just trying to keep the doors open and the lights on, and he is asking me about a theme verse?” Alan answered that ADF did not have one.
H.B. replied, in his direct, but pastoral, manner, “Alan, without a theme verse, you are never going to succeed.” He then went on to suggest John 15:5: “Apart from Christ, you can do nothing.”
The conversation was a turning point for both ADF and Alan. With the adoption of that theme verse, there was no looking back, no second-guessing, but only full confidence that the ministry of ADF was the Lord’s. From that day, ADF placed its trust in Him to guide it through the turbulent waters of those early trials to establish a firm foundation for the future. Twenty-five years later, thanks in part to H.B.’s wisdom, ADF not only endured, but thrived, as John 15:5 remains the cornerstone of the ministry.
This is just one of many stories that illustrate the impact of H.B.’s 81 years on so many lives for the Kingdom of God. All of us at ADF are thankful for his legacy and are praying for his beloved bride of 61 years, Beverley, and the entire London family during this time of earthly loss … but Heaven’s gain.