When John was about eight years old, our friend Craig completed his graduate work at the University of Illinois. He and his wife Becky and their children Paul and Katie moved away so Craig could start the career for which he trained. Though Paul was much younger than John, he and Paul were good friends. John expressed his grief like this: “Every time you say something to me, you say one of my friends is moving.”
I have been feeling a bit like John lately. Our family has hosted a house church on Sundays for many years. It continues to be an encouragement to us, as does the local congregation which we meet with on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings.
Almost two years ago, our friends Randy, Dena, Ryan, Ethan, and Anna, who had come to our house on Sundays for twelve years, had to move away for Randy’s work. Now Larry and Laura, who have joined us for eight or nine years, are moving, too!
When couples have been married for over fifty years, as Larry and Laura have, they tend to move to where the weather is warm and where their children can help them. Larry and Laura don’t do the typical. They are moving from Tennessee to Michigan. Yes, they will be close to most of their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren in case Larry and Laura ever need them, but their plan is for the other way around. They want to be where they can help their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, including several who homeschool. This is what’s typical for Larry and Laura.
When we first met Larry and Laura, Larry was still working, but he did his work online. They lived in a motor home, so that they could go wherever they were needed. When Larry’s brother was going through cancer treatment in Texas, Larry and Laura were there for weeks and weeks. Even after they sold the motor home and purchased a house, they continued to travel and serve.
We aren’t going to be the only ones around here who will miss this godly couple. The deaf ministry at their church here will miss Laura’s interpreting for the deaf. The deaf members will miss having her loving communication in a church where few “speak” their language.
Chinese students will miss them,too; but, of course, Larry, the techno geek, already has plans to keep on using the Bible to teach them English. He just plans to do that online now that he can’t do it face-to-face at the Tennessee Tech library.
When Ray and I toured a President’s home one time, the guide showed us the room where the former first lady stayed in bed each day until noon. The guide said that this President’s wife thought that was what ladies should do after they turned fifty. I guess Laura missed that lesson somewhere along the way.
Larry and Laura’s idea of retirement is finally having the time and opportunity to serve however you can.
Sitting down, He called the twelve
and said to them,
“If anyone wants to be first,
he shall be last of all and servant of all.”
Mark 9:35, NASB