Blessed in Bereavement

While in Guam, on Next Steps 2015, the missionary’s Dad passed away leaving a tremendous heritage. My missionary friend could have gone home. He didn’t. He had a choice. He stayed. What sacrifice. What commitment. I’m forever grateful.

One morning the Next Steps team gathered round. We prayed. We gave flowers. We hugged.


Blessed with prayers. Blessed with concern. Blessed with flowers. But, Bailey, blessed with words. Words worth sharing:

“I heard one time that from pain we grow, and through growing we learn, and after learning we teach.

Through every painful experience that you have been through, God wants to use you to teach others to grow in Him. Knowing that God has His hand on your lives and on your ministry, you confidently grow and heal and learn to use this pain for His glory.

As you see the bloom of these flowers, know and understand that although they made fade, the word of our God stands forever. The promises God has given you still remains, His call is still active. Stay strong. And lean on His word.

The Next Steps team, and the Next Steps individuals are praying for you constantly. We love you very dearly.”

Thanks, Bailey! You’ve taught us in a few words we can be blessed in bereavement. Thanks, Brother and Sister David Brott, you’ve blessed us even in your bereavement.

photo credit: Red Carnations in a vase via photopin (license)

I’ll Be Home For Christmas

Guest post by Missionary Pam Smoak

Even now, I have Christmas music going in the living room. Julie Andrews, Bing Crosby, Selah, Amy Grant and many others, mostly oldie-goldies, play for hours. There is one song that always, always stops me in mid-motion, no matter the recording artist or music style – I’ll Be Home For Christmas. For so many years, that was the song that touched my heart the most, for I was usually far away south of the equator. But in my heart, I was home.

When I went to Germany in 1978 after Bible school, my mother told me she was so old and sickly that she would probably not be there when I got back. I suspicioned that the old MD who had delivered me had her on too many meds for hypertension and whatever. So I promptly made an appointment with an internist who just as promptly took her off all meds and said she was fine. I trotted off to Germany for a year. When I came back, Mom was there. I was home for Christmas.

Kenya for AIM, Tanzania under full appointment and miles of deputation took me away from Hurst Hill where my mom always stood on the front porch and waved good-bye to us. She never failed to remind me, “I may not be here when you get back.”
I was always home for Christmas when I could and tearfully sang “I’ll be home for Christmas” when I couldn’t.

January 2004 I got the call no missionary wants to get, my mom had died. I wasn’t there. I had not been home for Christmas. Devastated, I flew home for the funeral. I remember weeping and laying my head on my Uncle Leon’s shoulder and saying, “She always told me she might not be here and this time she wasn’t here. She wasn’t here.”

This year, I will be home for Christmas, but she won’t be there in person, “only in my dreams”.

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