John Loren Sandford, 88
July 23, 1929 — March 30, 2018
Devoted husband, loving father of six, spiritual father to countless others, and mentor to many of today’s Christian leaders, John Loren Sandford rose into the arms of his Lord and Savior on the morning of Good Friday, March 30, 2018. What a blessing that John’s departure was on the day of the cross, for he dedicated his life to spreading the news that the cross opened the way for us to personally know and hear Him, and is the very means toward healing hearts and souls.
John was born in Joplin, Mo. on July 23, 1929, to George and Zelma Sandford. They and his two siblings, Martha and Hal, have preceded him to heaven. His brother, Frank, is still with us.
From the beginning, John seemed destined to affect the lives of many. As a teen, he received a call to the ministry through a vision of the cross, after which his mother told him the Lord had told her of it before he was born. After earning a bachelor’s in English from Drury College in Springfield, Mo., he received his master of divinity and, beginning in 1955, he and his wife, Paula, pastored three churches in Streator, Ill.; Council Grove, Kan., and Wallace, Idaho.
In 1973, John and Paula received another call — to found Elijah House Ministries in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and teach on the prophetic gift and office and how to heal hearts through a form of pastoral counseling called inner healing. They became world-travelers, and what began in their little house soon mushroomed into a global outreach with ministries in 11 nations. Together they wrote the classics, “Transformation of the Inner Man” and “Healing the Wounded Spirit,” as well as many other titles, some of them co-authored with their sons, Loren and Mark. John and Paula helped launch not only the charismatic movement, but also movements regarding inner healing and deliverance, the prophetic, reconciling people groups, and our relationship with the earth.
But John’s greatest legacy is his six children, Loren, Mark, John, Tim, Ami Lincoln and Andrea Bareither; 19 grandchildren; 34 great-grandchildren and nine great-great-grandchildren. Our fond memories of him have taught us that ministry springs from everyday life, and that life is birthed in fishing trips, river-rafting, family fireside chats, hugs and kisses, and mealtime prayers. We will never forget the songs he taught us, picking huckleberries, bedtime stories, tickles and piggy back rides.
John loved working in his big garden and small orchard; harvest and canning were an annual family endeavor. His home was open to all; extra plates were often set at the table for friends as well as troubled souls who needed a hot meal and some fatherly care. He often took his family to savor the beauty of wild places. He loved games, and was so energetic that at 60, he beat three men who were one-third his age at racquetball!
Best of all, God was John’s friend, and miracles were a normal part of everyday life. We never had to wonder if God was real; he made Him real for us. When we needed provision, he prayed, and God always came through. When we were in danger, he would sense it, and by his prayers we were kept safe. He taught us too, to hear the voice of God.
John showed us all that life is an adventure. Some of his children are carrying on his work, and among his descendants are creative souls of every sort. We walk in his footsteps, and the adventures go on... In 2012, John’s beloved, Paula, went home to be with God. In 2015, God brought Marte Pierson into his life, for whom we are very grateful. In our father’s last years, she was a comforting wife to him and a source of love and light for all of us. Her spunk and verve have refueled the fires that have kept John’s and our fires glowing. We are sure it is her influence that had lengthened his days and given us a priceless gift of more time with him.
We will celebrate John’s life at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 17, 2018, at New Life Church in Hayden, Idaho. All are invited.
English Funeral Chapel, Coeur d’Alene has been entrusted with arrangements and care. Please sign John’s guest registry and view his online memorial at www.englishfuneralchapel.com