The Agave

The Agave painting

The Agave painting

Reverend Reid Lunsford was a lifelong friend of my parents and a mentor to me. Reid had a terminal disease and we made frequent trips to visit him in his beloved desert home in Phoenix, AZ. He loved the desert.

In 1966, oil painting classes were offered at our church and I signed up. I chose a picture of an Agave, a desert cactus, to paint as my first oil painting for Reid. The painting wasn’t even dry on the canvas when we received the call, “come now,” his departure is very near.

Reid was still coherent and delighted with the painting. Other family members flew in as we gathered around his hospital bed in the living room of their home. Chuck began to sing “In the Garden”. As he sang the words “and the voice I heard...the Son of God is calling,” an angel appeared in the room. Some saw it and others felt its presence. Reid was escorted home by an angel.

In February 1967 the hills of Baja were covered with Agave. Somehow I knew this trip was preordained; negotiations began toward the purchase of the mission property in Vicente Guerrero. I never knew what became of the painting of the Agave. In 2012 I was scheduled to speak at the Lutheran Church of Joy in Glendale, AZ. To my surprise, Reid’s daughter, June Griffin, came to the service. She brought me the painting which had been lost for over 46 years.

By Charla Pereau, Founding Director