Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Happier Story

Well, it's been a busy week in Lake Woebegone, and it's been a very busy week in our lives.

The funeral was a wonderful time of celebrating my mom's life. The attendance was far more than I would have ever thought. The folks have been a bit out of touch with their friends and family for a few years, but they have obviously not been forgotten. Three of Mom's cousins, 10 of her 14 living nephews and nieces, and 3 of her 5 living siblings came. Many shared tributes and memories. It was a wonderful time of sharing and love.

Then we made the transition to the wedding, driving to Spanaway, Washington on Thursday. We had met Andrea's mom Cheri and her aunt Leanna last year, but hadn't met any of the rest of the family. We needn't have worried! They turned out to be a gracious, friendly, happy group, whom we enjoyed immensely.

The wedding was in the yard of Andrea's family's lake-side home, a truly beautiful setting. Cheri and Leanna, and no doubt countless others have been working for weeks to get it all ready. The food was all home-made, both for the rehearsal dinner Friday evening, and for the wedding reception. Andrea's uncle, Tom, a pastor from Pullman, Washington officiated, and did a great job. Sam was Best Man, and Amy escorted Drew down the isle, a nice touch indeed!

We were very happy to see how many of our friends and family made it to the wedding! A good group of Judy's family came from Vancouver, BC, from Calgary and Lethbridge, Alberta. Friends representing every era of my life were there. It was a really sweet time.

An extra bonus of the weekend is that on Sunday morning we attended the Puyallup Church of the Nazarene. A team from that church was in PNG just 2-3 weeks ago, and they were giving their report to the church. It was fun to hear their reactions, see their pictures, and even join them in singing a song in Pidgin.

We made it back to Nampa late Sunday evening. The next few days are dedicated to rest, and spending time with my dad. Then on the weekend we have orientation for new students (and their parents) at NNU. That will probably be the subject of the next blog!


COMMENT--Yeah, YOU! COMMENT!!! please.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Family News

We've delayed a bit, but we want to share with you our friends a couple of recent events in our family. Two of our family members have died in the last few days. My mom died last Sunday (Aug. 3). Then Judy's brother, Don Hunt, died this past Saturday (Aug. 9).

My mom has been in failing health for several years, but especially the last few months. She was 87, suffering from dementia as well as several other health problems.

I'll remember my mom as a strong woman, physically (she could handle rough-housing with my brother until he was well into his teens--I never dared challenge her), morally and spiritually. She was full of joy, and the joy spilled out to those around her. You were never around her long without laughing. She faced the challenges of ministry with great enthusiasm. She could counsel, teach, organize, sing, play the piano or the organ, lead the choir and even preach when the situation demanded it. She was patient and long-suffering with her children, with difficult parishioners and with strangers. She was unflinchingly loyal to my dad. She lived a life of complete integrity--I can't think of anything that she claimed to be that she was not.

She came to faith in Christ as a child, and followed Him consistently. I'm not aware that there were times of rebellion or backsliding. She loved the Lord passionately and completely. Everything else in her life stood on that foundation.

In one sense, I've been ready for this for many years. For a long time now, each good-bye has been said with the feeling that it could well be the last. As we have approached our coming vacation in the US, I had harbored the hope of seeing her alive one more time. But that really isn't too important. I'm pretty sure that she would not have been aware one way or the other. One of the things that she taught me, is to try to not leave unfinished business with anyone. So I have no regrets for anything that I did not get a chance to say to her. In another sense I'm sure that there would really be no way for me to be ready to imagine a world without her.

Judy's brother Don had surgery about a month ago to relieve spinal stenosis in his neck. The surgery was apparently successful, as he noted a dramatic relief of the symptoms of numbness in his feet by the next day. After an initial period of recovery, an infection was found in his surgical incision. It was found that this infection was caused by methcillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium that is resistant to many, sometimes all antibiotics. It is also called "MRSA" (and pronounced "mersa") and often referred to as the "super bug." Despite valiant efforts of his doctors, the infection progressed, and eventually lead to multiple organ failure, and to his death.

Don was 14 years older than Judy. Since their dad had died long before I met Judy, Don was the "father figure" that I felt I had to please in order to marry her. He was a policeman, and on the day we met he was on duty, but stopped by their mom's apartment to meet his sister's new fiance. He walked in with his uniform and gun, an intimidating figure at 6' 3". With a straight face he stopped, put his hands on his hips, looked me up and down, and with a grunt said, "Huh. I guess he'll do." After a suitable pause to let me suffer a little, his face broke into a big grin and and gave me a hearty handshake. We were friends from then on.

Don was a successful, heroic police officer. He was a loving father and grandfather. He was full of fun, always good for a joke or a game. He was loved by both his immediate and extended family, and will be missed deeply.

We are now in the US. This is a trip that has been planned for a year, as Drew (our oldest son) is getting married next Saturday, and Sam, (our youngest) is starting college next week. We hadn't planned to include funerals in the itinerary, but Mom was an efficient sort of lady, who wouldn't have wanted us to make extra trips when one would do! Her funeral was this morning. We have had a wonderful gathering of family and friends. We won't be able to make it to Don's service and then make it to Drew's wedding on Saturday, but our thoughts and prayers are with Judy's sisters, Don's wife Sandra and his kid up in Lethbridge, Alberta.

We appreciate your prayers!

Yours and His,

1. Mom and Dad a few years ago. Dad's now 901.