Charles the Man of Faith
Updated: Oct 24, 2022
"Charlie loved prayer more than anything" - Ryan Corrigan
I met Charlie in 2006 in an overflow parking lot coming to a church service. Instantly Charlie and I launched into a deep conversation about Jesus. From the moment I met him I knew that he walked in a nearness to God that was extremely rare.
After only knowing him for a few months Charlie and Megan gave us $1,000 dollars to pay off a debt! At that time we were all about 25 years old a
nd we had never heard of anyone giving away that kind of money. But that was the kind of person Charlie was. His love and generosity flowed freely from him as a constant. I am sure there are 1000's of other stories of his generosity.
Charlie and I and our families were in various small groups together over the years. For a few years we were in this evangelism group. Every Wednesday Charlie and I, and 4 -5 others would go out onto the streets and share the Gospel. Charlie used to say that I was 'fire' and he was 'fragrance' because of how he would balance me out when I was getting overzealous.
Over the years, I most often saw Charlie alone early in the morning in the prayer room but I cherished the times when I was able to be with him, Megan, and the whole family. I remember a time helping his family move from one house to another and watching him interact with his kids with such love and affection. At one point one of the kids was carrying a box and he startled tickling her which ended up into a full blown wrestling match. I can still hear the echos of that laughter. He had a very special laugh. I always left those times feeling so encouraged to be a better husband and father.
But by far what defined my friendship with Charlie more than anything else - was prayer. Charlie was a such a man of prayer. Prayer was probably the thing that Charlie sought after the most in his life. He was a man who just wanted to be with Jesus. For years, I would drag myself into the prayer room early in the morning and Charlie was always there before me. He would most often be pacing, holding his small, very warn Bible, folded open, praying the scriptures. He would see me, come over, give me a big hug, and launch straight into unpacking one of the Psalms. Most of the time we would skip any introduction and he would start praying for me which was as if God himself was speaking directly to my spirit. Every time I was with Charlie the presence and power of the Holy Spirit was striking.
I can remember one night 15 years ago after a church service. Charlie and I were standing alone in the parking lot and we started praying, and it was as if time stood still. It went on for over 2 hours. It was a such a marking spiritual encounter with God that it literally changed my life. Some of the things he prayed over me were so profound and so deep that I still think about them to this day.
Charlie’s heart burned as a preacher and teacher of God's word. But I watched him lay down his ambitions of doing full-time ministry and he become a school teacher. This was a hard decision at first but once he got in the classroom he absolutely fell in love with his students. I can't tell you how many times we cried out to God for the transformation of his students, their families, and the schools.
On a few occasions I went up to Grandview High School to help him facilitate christian school club meetings and I was blown away at the impact he was having. Charlie was far more than a teacher he was a father to so many more than his own children.
I feel like I could go on and on. Charlie always had a smile on his face, He was always laughing, he wore his hat on a little crooked, I can’t every remember hearing Charlie complain. He was a constant encourager. I remember the way he lovingly adored his wife, and the way his kids fought to sit in his lap. He was a very articulate and gifted communicator. And most importantly he laid his life down daily, as a servant, to improve the lives of those around him.
I am forever marked by the life of Charlies Criniere. He carried a torch to bring the gospel to the next generation, and though it will be impossible to fill the void he is leaving, it is now our turn to continue living out his legacy of faith and family till Jesus is glorified in every tribe, tongue, people, and nation.
Charlie we love you and we miss you and we will do our best by God’s grace to continue the work that you began. but thanks be to God that this isn’t goodbye. For on that Glorious day the dead in Christ shall be raised and we will be together with you forever. And God will wipe away every tear from our eyes and we will all sing together, “O, death were is your sting," and "O, grave where is your victory.”
May God answer every prayer that Charlie every prayed, May God send revival to the youth of our nation! And May God uphold Megan and each of his precious children till the very end.