Monday, July 2, 2012

Goodbye Beverly!

“Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her.”  Proverbs 31:28

Her previous church had burned her and she’d been unable to find another one that felt right so she had given up. Then out of the blue her daughter called and asked her to join her at this new church that had started. That’s when we first met Beverly Kirk 20 years ago. The whole clan came, her, her family, her brother and his family—I called them the choir section because they all sat together, off to the side, near the back of Masonic Lodge that we transformed each week to hold our services. We didn’t have much, but they didn’t either. But something clicked; I’m not sure what it was. The preaching was marginal, the music pitiful, and the place…well you can only do so much with a 50 year-old Masonic Lodge in the middle of a cornfield. I think it was just the purity of loving Jesus with all our hearts and wanting to live to honor Him that captured her heart.

Bev and her husband Bob became part of our Ministry Team Leaders. We were a ragtag bunch of nobodies that had a vision to be a church that taught the Word of Faith, lived with a Spirit of Faith, and loved God and loved each other.  We sweated through 4 summers of church without air conditioning, but we finally bought our first building and it had 6 of them. Although our summers Sundays were much cooler our faith in God stayed hot. We had our issues; there were kids to be born, friends who died, the joy of marriages and pain of divorces, even some challenging family issues. But through it all Bev stayed strong in her faith, and she prayed. Not many days went by where she wasn’t praying for Bob, her kids, and her church. She and Bob loved our trips to Tulsa for our week of meetings at Rhema where we had attended Bible School. Her faith grew and her love for God and her family grew with it.

But it wasn’t until she faced some major health challenges that we saw just how strong her faith in Jesus her Healer had become. We lovingly called her a cat, because she seemed to have nine lives. More than once Bev, lying in a hospital room, stood on the Word as she fought through a serious health issue that would have taken out most of us. She was a woman of great faith, and it was that faith that extended her life many years.

In the world’s eyes Bev never had much. She lived in a modest home, drove a modest car, never wore fancy designer clothes, nor ate in the finest restaurants. She didn’t travel much, but she was very rich. She was extremely rich in the wealth of knowledge she possessed in the love that God had for her. She was rich in the love she received from her devoted husband, from her family and her friends. She was rich in an unwavering faith of a Jesus who loved her, and despite her flaws went to the cross for all of her sins and all of her diseases.

The last few years Bev, now in a wheelchair and on oxygen, she and Bob attended and graduated from our Epic School of Ministry. She was a woman of faith to the end and when the end was near she spoke of being satisfied and ready from meet Jesus face to face. She went out of this world the way a champion, a hero of faith should. She had said her goodbyes to her family, sang songs of worship and praise to the One who saved her, and then waited for us to come to her side to pray. You see we had gone out of town for a couple of days and so we called her Sunday afternoon, and asked her to stick around until Tuesday so that we could come to pray and say our goodbyes. We got to her side around 9:00am Tuesday morning and encouraged her to go in peace and be with Jesus. We prayed, thanked her for her walk of faith and the example she had been to her family and then we released her to heaven. Then in just a few hours later, with her family at her side, she departed peacefully to be with Him, forever.

Thank you Bev Kirk, for being faithful charter member of Valley Family Church for 20 years. Thank you for giving us time to learn how to be pastors. Thank you giving us some room to make mistakes and to learn from them. Thank you for not being critical when others were. Thank you for always having our backs and for always believing in us. Thanks for allowing us to be your pastors, and for the example of faith you have been to so many. We’re going to miss you. And don’t forget to tell Jesus what we told you, “Send help!”

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