So many wonderful blessings were ours on the trip in the latter half of 2004 that we weren’t able to share it all in the previous communications. We were thrilled beyond measure by the Lebanon visit. The El Dorado Temple Baptist Church segment with the 50th anniversary of our first church to plant was joy beyond description. The third segment was also very special but in a different way.
My mother was born in 1908 in western Oklahoma. Her dad plowed a furrow across the prairie from their simple home on the homestead to a little schoolhouse some mile and an half away, so that the children would not lose their way going to school. She was once taken to a faraway town in a covered wagon to have her tonsils removed without an anesthetic.
My relationship with both my mother and father was of the closest nature. I never saw them have an argument nor treat each other disrespectfully. They were born-again Christians who believed the Bible. We told Dad goodbye twenty years ago. We were able to see Mom on this trip and told her goodbye. One week before we were to leave our daughter’s on our way back to Australia, we returned to western Oklahoma for Mom’s funeral. God, in His great mercy, had set her free from the frail body that had become such a burden to her.
It was a highpoint of my life to be able to be at her funeral and to open God’s Word to comfort ourselves and to present my mother’s Saviour to any who did not know Him as personal Saviour. My older brother gave the obituary and mentioned some interesting details of Mom’s life. My younger brother and family sang one of the two hymns Mom had requested to be sung as specials at her funeral. And my daughter Melody and I sang the other song. It was all a time of deep joy and comfort that left us all with a deeper desire for that “reunion in the air” that may be very near!
The timing of her departure was nothing short of miraculous. We had prayed for some time that we would be able to be present for the funeral when the Lord should take her. Had He taken her when we were in Lebanon some weeks earlier, it would have been a real dilemma. Had it been a few days later, we would have been back in Australia. God was so good in the timing which fit perfectly with everything and without disruption. God took Dad during a 1984 furlough which had been planned two years previously. It all makes us know that we have a wonderful God Who involves Himself in the little affairs of our lives and does all things well!
We rejoice in God’s blessings during the start of this New Year. The Bible college had a wonderful opening last night for the 2005 school year. We pray God’s blessings upon you this year. Your love and concern are a great encouragement to us.