A Sad Farewell

It started with a simple question ("Would you be interested in coming to church with me?" or something similar) delivered at the gas pump. Bob, about 5' 8" white guy, was asking James, about 6' 3" bald headed black man he didn't know. As it turned out, James' marriage was on the rocks (the divorce papers were on the passenger seat), he was new in town and ready for help.

That was 6 or 7 years ago. James came to church, his wife Kym moved to Columbus, they were baptized and their marriage was restored. Today the church mourned their last day with us as James has accepted a job in Louisville. James has been out of work for months, this new job is long overdue. They will be closer to family, but we in Columbus will miss them greatly.

Today the church had an outdoor service and picnic afterwards where we honored them and what they've given to this church. Person after person stood and paid tribute to this family that was all but destroyed when we met them, but turned around to give far more than they received. They have been through much over the past year or so. He's lost and acquired several jobs, her sister was killed in a tragic car crash, other family members have been sick, Kym lost her eyesight in one eye from sinus surgery, James tore up his knee (twice), they found out their youngest son has a blood disease and they've had their home here on the market for about a year and the mortgage company has blocked several offers on it.

If you had met them at any time during this you would have never known anything was wrong. Their lives are characterized, just as Jesus' was, by dedication to others. If there was a need for a place for a gathering, James and Kym would open their home, many times opening the door and leaving to allow the party to go on without them. They took people in when they were sick and couldn't stay alone. Several who stood up today indicated how their being there - through counseling, advice, challenging or just as an example - had transformed their lives. More than one mentioned how their example had led them to consider how they personally might do more. Their love and concern are genuine and profound.

They did much of this on their own and in the background. Other than their leadership of our teen ministry for the past year or two (which they nearly begged to do, such was their heart for those kids) and a couple times leading a family group, they were not in an official leadership position. Yet their influence carried into marriages, singles, teens, and campus - really every corner of the church.

As I sat and listened to the sharing, I was struck by what an influence they have had here, quietly yet consistently, just due to their hearts. I wish them well; they leave a hole that won't be easily filed.

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Well, we're back and exhausted (we rolled in around 4:00 AM). It was an amazing weekend and we're looking forward to our first opportunity to lead a class. More on that later. You may recal back in June my story... Read More

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It's always hard to let friends go, but it sounds liek God has a plan for them.

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    A Sad Farewell