Mission Stories

Best Friends At Heaven’s Gates…

(Written Yesterday)

Today is one of those bitter-sweet days.

As many of you know, our family has strong emotional ties to the “Mercer” family.

Diane was my best friend.
Her mother, Ruth, was Malaya’s best friend.
Her father Jerry, filled in for Ruth after her passing.

Jerry was SO good to our family. He made a point to write Malaya EVERY month – without fail. He also sent Malaya several gifts from Ruth, including a cherished porcelain doll from the House of Lladro, Madrid.

When we learned this past weekend that Jerry’s health was declining rapidly, we were overcome with emotions.

Malaya commented that it feels like Ruth is dying all over again. I understand that sentiment. as precious memories flood my mind as well… especially the ones where we are all hanging out together in Diane’s living room.


We woke up to this message today from Diane’s sister:

June 14, 2022
The struggle is finally over. Shortly after midnight this morning, dad drew his final breath after 85 years this side of Glory living a life he loved with those he loved, even as he deeply longed for his true home and Abba for as long as I’ve been old enough to understand.

In many ways he was an ordinary man with an extraordinary presence. Handsome, gregarious, funny, opinionated. He took thousands of pictures of everything that would hold still long enough for a photo. He was a collector, a teacher, a writer, a poet. . .an evangelist proclaiming the Good News to every brother and sister he met along the way.

As he laid there in the hospital bed, his body was worn out, black and blue with bruising from four days of IVs and life’s many bumps over the years. Unresponsive and fevered, we wiped his body with cool cloths for several days–his forehead, face, arms, chest and legs.  We washed his feet.  Even in death he was drawing us closer to Jesus.

Above all, he was a man of great spiritual discipline. His entire life was a journey to the cross, and those who knew him also knew of the heavy cross he bore.

His final hour was the most holy moment of my life. Today I will abide in that moment for a little bit longer.

Out of all of dad’s published writings my favorite was a collection of personal poetry entitled Scratchings on the Wall of My Prison Cell. Well, now he’s free. He broke out at midnight (he was also such a cowboy) from a shackled life to physical pain and limitation to finally see Jesus face-to-face and embrace his bride again who was all his care.

I don’t know if he surprised her this morning or if she knew he was coming. But I do know what a wonderful day they will share. He had an important date to keep. After all, today is their 65th wedding anniversary.


***

Please continue to pray for all of Jerry’s family and friends. It’s no doubt HIS best day…and yet one of our saddest.

Below are a few pictures from Jerry’s conversations with Malaya, including his last text to her.

Categories: Mission Stories

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