18, No Time to Waste
DEAR MRS. JOHNSON,
I know that you have heard from many of us at Missions Camp. I, too, want to express my sympathy for your loss. How wonderful, though, that we can rejoice in the ways the Lord uses and magnifies the death of His children.
I mainly wanted to write to let you know how highly Kathi spoke of you and Mr. Johnson, and how deep her love was for you. On the first night of camp, Kathi told me that she was living in an apartment with Felicia. Knowing that my parents would put up a bit of a fuss if I moved out, I asked her how you, her parents, had reacted. With obvious pride, she spoke of your concern for her in leaving, but said that you had respected her decision and allowed her to move. She also spoke of how wonderful you were in other ways.
Once, when we spoke of raising our own families, Kathi said how glad she was of the way she had been raised. She felt that she had been guided, instructed, and raised with the greatest love and Christian commitment on your part. She also spoke of her love for her brothers and how she had enjoyed taking them camping the week before.
Kathi spoke of her parents often, and it was always with the deepest respect and love. She was a beautiful girl, and I'm sure you are proud to be her parents.
I pray that this letter will be of comfort to you.
I have never met the writer of that beautiful letter, but it was a balm to me in those days after the funeral along with many other cards and letters telling of Kathi's faith in Christ, of her beauty in helping others, and always everyone spoke of her genuine love for the Lord and of her constant smile.
We were having dinner one night with friends, only a week after the funeral, when a long-distance telephone call came through for me from Seattle, Washington.
It was Kathi's roommate, Valerie, from Camp Hammer. She wanted to tell me of Kathi's last days, of her joy in surrendering her life to God.
"We went to a service together on Thursday night," she told me, "and the missionary spoke on death. Walking back to our cabin, I said to Kathi, 'You know, Kathi, I would be willing to die if my father would come to know Christ.' Kathi stopped suddenly, as though a new idea had hit her. I could see the thoughts whirling around in her head. Then she said, so softly, 'Yes, I, too, would be willing to die if Felicia and my friends would come to know my Savior.'
"That night Kathi had a nightmare and awoke screaming. 'It was so dark, and I couldn't find the door. I'm so afraid something is going to happen.'
"In the morning Kathi told Dave, Mike, and John about her dream. They sat under a tree, and Dave opened the Bible to Psalm 27: 'The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid/' Then they prayed, each of them praying that God would use their lives, all of their lives, for His glory, whether by life or death.
"When Kathi walked back into our cabin, her face was radiant. 'Now I've given my whole life to Jesus,' she said."
When I finished talking to Valerie, I could only breathe another prayer of thanks to our wonderful Lord.
"It was no accident," I said as I took my place at the table. "God took those kids. He just reached down and took them."
Vern and I drove to the UCLA hospital the following day to see Dave. He was scheduled for plastic surgery soon. When we walked into the room, I was unprepared for what I saw. His face was swollen beyond recognition, his arm in a cast.
He started to rise from his bed. "Mrs. Johnson," he spoke through clenched jaws, "I want to kiss you." I bent down to brush my lips across Dave's face and my tears fell on his cheek.
Dave would have many weeks of wired jaws, more plastic surgery, and much pain, but he grew ten feet tall in the following months. The peace of God was his portion; Dave had committed himself to the Lord.
"I'll have to take up where they left off. We just don't realize how sovereign God really is. It's not, why has God taken them, but why has He left me."
The circle began to widen, ever so slowly, but surely. One Saturday I heard a knock on the door and there stood lovely, blonde Debby, one of Kathi's friends whom I knew only slightly.
"You know what I just did?" she sobbed. "I went to the cemetery, sat down on Kathi's grave, and gave my heart to Jesus."
Between her sobs, I learned that Kathi had been especially kind to Debby in high school. I grew to know and love this girl in the following weeks as she came to our church and our home often. But my heart was deeply touched when some months later she sent me her graduation picture with this note:
"I want to thank you for everything you've done for me. . . .Please help me discover things which I have long neglected. And Christ seems for now."
Then there were Sharon and Hope, both expressing faith in Christ.
But I was soon to hear a story that settled any doubts that God had chosen Kathi, Mike, and John to fulfill a special mission in life. For I was to meet Bev and hear her remarkable story!
Table of Contents || Chapter Twenty-one