IT’S BEEN SIX MONTHS
Just six months ago dear Sharon passed into the presence of our gracious, loving, glorious, Savior, Lord, and Redeemer, Jesus. I still cry a lot as I think of her and our life together. I think our children do too.
My crying is usually a momentary surge as I see a photo (like the one here our friends Denise and Jeff recently sent from when we visited them), pass by some place we were together, or a thousand other memories.
“IS THE BABY HERE YET?”
In Sharon’s last few days with us, she repeatedly asked Linus Jr. if the baby he and Danielle were expecting was here yet. Linus would tell his mom the birth was still two months away…but the next time awoke she would ask again, “Is the baby here yet?” She was looking forward to the birth of her next grandchild, as she had the sixteen preceding ones. She didn’t get to meet him.
The Saturday following the Wednesday when Sharon slipped into Heaven, I tested positive for Covid, became increasingly worse, and two weeks later was admitted into the hospital for Covid pneumonia. After two days of isolation, the attending doctor told me that the trajectory of my condition didn’t look good. I was requiring more and more oxygen, so the doctor wanted to know what I wanted done if the trajectory continued? I replied that, like Sharon, I would choose hospice. I was resigned that I would soon join her in Heaven.
The next morning, however, I awoke with a strange thought: “I want to see the baby!” Sharon’s desire and her question “Is the baby here yet?” began to resonate in my heart. My thinking changed from resignation to anticipation. The desire to continue the ministry projects we have been involved with also began to swell in my heart (“Unfinished Business” as I wrote earlier). That day, my condition began to improve and three days later, I was released from the hospital.
I GOT TO SEE THE BABY…THREE OF THEM
My overall recovery has been gradual but steady, allowing me to lead a Bible study (NO BS BS) on the Gospel of Mark and to engage in our GTN Divine Expedition training. On May 4th, I was present (kind of out of the way but there) when Linus and Danielle’s baby Van River Morris (how’s that for a name) was born.
I wish Sharon had been here, but she couldn’t wait any longer for her greater desire to be in the eternal presence of Jesus. I don’t know what people can see from Heaven but I got to see the baby and will fill her in if she was focused on other things.
A month after little Van was born, our granddaughter Chelsea (way to go Chelsea and Alex!) had a baby girl…on the car floor on the way to the hospital (Wow!). And just this month (July), our granddaughter Sydney (way to go Sydney and Jordan!) had a little girl (they made it to the hospital on time).
LOTS OF OTHER CHILDREN TOO…AROUND THE WORLD
Psalm 127 says children are a reward from the LORD and blessed is the man (and woman) whose quiver if full of them. Wow, is our quiver full…but not just of biological children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, but also of spiritual children. In the prophetic book of Daniel, the Lord tells us:
“Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever (Daniel 12:3).”
Over the years, we have been privileged to lead many to Christ and to the righteousness He credits to us. Paul tells us in Romans 4:23-25:
“The words ‘it was credited to him’ were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”
Sharon shined on earth and left behind lots of both kinds of children. Here’s an example from a note I received from Holland after Sharon’s passing:
From Nancy McWilliams I heard about the passing of Sharon, from Jante Bos I received your beautiful writing, and from Richard Wallace your email address. All these are people I know and love thanks to you and Sharon.
So many memories come back and words fail to describe the depth of what you have brought to our lives.
I will forever be grateful that you and Sharon came to Amsterdam, to start our church, where Anton, now my husband, came to faith and we have been happily married since, and I know it has come at a great cost for you and your family as well.
We stand on your shoulders as a church and as a couple. Anton, is about to finish his theology degree and is thinking about what is next for him in ministry. I continue to be in ministry and mentor young people.
I remember the few days I spent in your lovely home in California. I was there for a few weeks of studies at Fuller, and Sharon invited me over. She was so warm and welcoming and loving and just kept smiling. She even shared some precious Dutch cheese with me!
I am so sorry about your loss. We stand with you in prayer, it is all we can do. And we celebrate with you all the good that Sharon has brought to the world, to our world.
With much love and appreciation, Anton and Geertruyt Stokes-Kramer.”
By God’s grace, I hope to continue adding to our quiver of spiritual children…and lead many more to righteousness through our ministry with Global Training Network.
ONE LAST PHOTO
Here is a photo of our recent gathering of some of our international Divine Expedition trainers and those working through our four phases of training locally (at the Graf Farm). Our Director of Communication, Jane Hawkins spoke on some of the things God has been doing through a small group format of our training in Brazil. More on that later.
Thanks for shining with us to lead many to righteousness.
Linus for the GTN Divine Expedition team