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Eternal Hope

December 30, 2011

Nine years ago this morning, while on Christmas break during senior year, I received a phone call from our class’s head advisor.  He told me that one of my classmates had been killed in a car accident the night before.

Our class only had 89 students.  Half of the student body lived on campus.  The bond that was created by such a small school in close quarters was strong.  Justin’s death was felt very deeply.  The teacher, Mr. Allen, added that Justin’s parents wanted to wait until after the break to hold his funeral, because they wanted everyone at the school to be able to attend.  They also knew that Justin would want his class to be a part of his final goodbye.  As class president, I was asked to help plan the service.  Justin and I were neighbors and had been at school together for three and a half years.  I considered him a friend, but I knew others were closer.  I did not feel that I could best represent the class by myself.  I called my vice president, Kevin, and told him the news and asked if he would assist.  A few nights later we gathered with Justin’s family, the pastor, and the school’s principal.  I was very grateful to have Kevin there with me…I felt so lost.  Would anyone at 18 know how to plan a funeral for a peer?  However, in planning a celebration of Justin’s short life and talking about what he was all about, there was hope.  An eternal hope.  Justin had been raised as a Christian, attended a Christian school, and had made his faith personal when he was baptized while in high school.  We knew where Justin was headed after his life ended – and we knew we could see him again.  While there was tragedy in the loss, there was hope in life with Christ.

In the DR Congo, life is fragile.  Death is assumed.  They don’t even have words in their language to describe into the future, because they don’t believe it to be possible.  How much more hope would the Congolese have if they knew Christ?  And how can we affect that?  MAF shows Christ every day by flying goods and services out to isolated places that would otherwise go unreached.  It’s not just preachers and evangelistic materials, but medical services, technology, and subsistence!  The more time a pilot can spend flying, the more people that can be reached.  So, the sooner Matthew can get there (with the rest of us to help), the sooner the MAF pilots can put him to work and return to full-time flying.  The message and actions of Christ can reach more people more quickly.  And when death occurs, there is a greater possibility for hope and peace in what comes after.

Justin was a great friend to those around him and passionate about life.  Anyone at our school during my junior year can agree that it was because of Justin our class won spirit week (does anyone remember the boom box?).  Remembering Justin’s exuberance and being able to bring some of that to the people of Congo is what our life is about right now.  We had wanted to be leaving right now, but due to set backs and a lack of funding, we are having to wait.  We trust it is in the Lord’s time – but we still need partners to support us.  Please consider us as you plan for 2012 and your giving.  Please consider what it might mean for the individuals and families in the DRC.  When the unexpected happens, can they have that hope in the Life Everlasting?

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