Hope Chronicles

Legacy of Love

March 29, 2022

There is a waiting room at Holmes Regional Medical Center, off to the side of the ER. It is one that a social worker may lead you to and sit with you quietly as you await sickening words seep out of a surgeon’s mouth. It is where the deaths are confirmed.

Thirty-nine years before, Duane and I met in youth group. He was seventeen and I, eighteen. Our individual walks with the Lord were new. We grew up together in marriage, created a family with two beautiful daughters, and seven grandkids who adoringly called him “Papa.” He was loved by his church, work, and community. That love was shown by the seven hundred plus people that came to give him final tribute.

The lifeless shell that was before me did not represent his larger-than-life personality: head swollen on one side; an intubation tube still protruding from his mouth. His mostly uninjured skin concealed the massive trauma from the motorcycle accident he had just endured. I pleaded through a whisper, “Wake up, Duane! Wake up! In the name of Jesus, wake up! I wondered as he lay motionless… was my faith not loud enough to be heard by him, or God? While holding and caressing his artificially warmed body, I knew in that moment that I had to make a decision: I had to choose to forgive the person who killed my precious man. Whether they were drunk, stoned, or callously indifferent, I had to forgive them. Right then. Right there. And in that very moment. Once I did, I had a picture in my mind of Duane smiling broadly, pleased that I was making that decision.

That was December 1, 2017. It was also “The Day of Clarity,” the title of a missions’ conference I was privileged to co-lead. This was the last event before my planned official retirement as the women’s ministry leader at my church. I was burned-out and it was time to rest. It was while I was setting napkins out to prepare, that I got the ambiguous call. I ran to Mary, my sweet sister in the Lord and church administrator. Please pray! Later, she and Pastor Tom came to the hospital. They stayed with me as I said my “goodbyes” to Duane.

God never leaves us alone in our pain.

And, as my friend Lew says, “God never wastes pain.” I spiraled, but God was still at work. The insurance companies duked it out and we won a wrongful death settlement. I asked myself “What would Duane say to do with the funds?” After all, his perspective was an eternal one. The answer was “sow into the kingdom.” As I journeyed on, I reconnected with a friend and fellow ministry leader, Roxana, and her missionary friend Sonya. Sonya was deeply involved in the care of Batwa orphans. I had heard her speak before at a missions’ conference and was impressed by her love of children. Duane LOVED children! At any gathering where kids were, one would find him throwing them up in the air, playfully twisting them into pretzels or playing karate non-stop! Roxana shared stories with me of the Batwa women and children which moved me toward getting to know Sonya on a personal level. I became increasingly intrigued with the work being done in Uganda for these precious kids. And just as God was moving on my behalf, by sending me my new love, and now husband, Danny, God was also moving in the lives of the Batwa orphans. He is Jehovah Jireh, our provider…and their provider!

Last month, I was able to assist at a missions’ conference. (The first in four years.) It was there that I had had come full-circle and had a new “Day of Clarity”. Duane’s tragic death had taken on new meaning. My first love was able to leave a legacy for Batwa orphans. He helped fund 3 dormitories, pit latrines, and cooking equipment. This, in large part, rescued them out of horrific living conditions. The children are now safe and secure. They are being raised with the understanding that our living God loves them, that Jesus is their Savior who died on their behalf, and that they have purpose in this life. They can laugh, play, pray, and be heard …even if it is only through a whisper.

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE ABOUT
LEAVING A LEGACY GIFT, PLEASE CONTACT TIM EADES.

Author

Sonya Schweighardt

Category
Categories: Newsletters
POSTED ON

March 29, 2022

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  • There is a waiting room at Holmes Regional Medical Center, off to the side of the ER. It is one that a social worker may lead you to and sit with you quietly as you await sickening words seep out of a surgeon’s mouth. It is where the deaths are confirmed.

  • We are now working on raising support for dormitory number three. We have a matching fund campaign going on right now! A generous donor is willing to match up to $28,500! Will you help us to double this to $57,000?

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