A Bittersweet Day

Yesterday was a sad and joyous day. We said good-bye to dear friends and celebrated their lives, but for completely different reasons. One was a memorial homegoing service and the other was a commissioning for friends going overseas as relief workers.

The service for Harry Howard, a former chaplain at San Quentin State Prison, who passed away at the age of 83, was a celebration of a life well-lived by a faithful servant of God. Many former inmates testified, through their tears, to the role Harry had played in leading them to faith in Christ and helping them grow and become productive citizens, not only of society but also of God’s Kingdom. Harry is now at home with the Savior he so dearly loved.

Steve and I went from that emotional service back to our church to send our dear friends, Doug and Leda, to a country far away. As much as we will miss them and our church will feel their loss, we are so proud of them and feel honored to know them. Most of the overseas aid workers I’ve known have gone over as young adults. Doug and Leda, however, are in their early fifties and they have had to count a huge cost. They are leaving behind their children (the youngest being a freshman in college), their homes, and their careers to go to a difficult part of the world. They are doing this in obedience to an unquenchable passion God placed on their hearts. They may never see the results of their sacrifice this side of eternity. But someday, when they arrive at their home which can never be taken away, I’m confident they will meet those who will be there because they followed God. God speed, dear friends!


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