The most precious, valuable, and meaningful person to me in this entire world, passed away December 22, 2019
At the age of 96, my precious mother sustained a fall December 15 in her apartment at Garden Plaza, TN. My sister called the ambulance and followed it to Parkridge hospital, where mother received surgery for her dislocated left femur the next day. She came through surgery wonderfully and for the next 2 days gave us hope as she visited with all the relatives and friends, giving them her blessing.
My story: On my side of the ocean, on December 14, I was in BYT preaching the Sabbath sermon. After the sermon, BletJhaw found out that his son, Brayden was quite sick, so we drove out of BYT all the way to his house. That night Brayden had a fever and was coughing and wheezing. We decided to take him to the doctor the next morning, but on Sunday morning he woke up perfectly fine! No fever, no coughing or wheezing. He was well! We decided to stay Sunday night just in case the sickness returned that night. Praise the Lord this was God’s perfect timing to bring me to a place where I had phone service, (We have no phone service in BYT), because in the middle of that Sunday night I received a desperate phone call from my dear sister. She was following the ambulance to Parkridge hospital and told me about mother’s fall. I was able to get on a flight to America in two days. I arrived at the hospital two hours before mother took a turn for the worse and slipped into unconsciousness.
My two boys also came from either side of America to see their beloved grammy one more time. Micah got on an airplane from Montana right away, and arrived a day before me. Bradley left his house in Sarasota Florida immediately and started driving to Chattanooga at 3a.m. Tuesday morning. He got there right after mother’s surgery. It meant so much to mother and all of us to have them both there!! Most all of our small family came together there.
Mother gave my sister and I directions on everything about her present care and about her funeral. We did everything exactly as she had told us. We had her transported to hospice per her request. They were wonderful and made sure to keep her comfortable.
As we watched her life ebbing away, We didn’t know how we would live without her. (We still don’t know). We have always had her love, care, admiration and great inspirational encouragement for 66 and 68 years.
Our History: Mother trained us since we were born in the paths of eternal life, reading the book “Child Guidance” by Ellen G. White, seven times while raising us. She read us the “Bible Story Books” all ten of them through again and again until we knew what the next paragraph would say by heart.
She also read us all the inspiring mission stories of that time, instilling in our hearts a love for those in all the foreign countries and a longing desire for service. By the time we were 7 years old, my sister and I could make bread and cook healthy meals. We were also able to sew our own dresses and keep the house clean and tidy. Our father was a pastor. We were not rich. We rented a 250 acre farm in Virginia for several years. At seven years old I can remember my sister and I walking out into the forest to our own favorite spots every morning to have our personal devotions and listen to the birds and sounds of nature. At 8 years old I came in one day and told my mother that I think I should die now, because I heard about so many people when they get older forget about God. I wanted to die while I still loved Him supremely.
Mother also taught us to memorize the scriptures. At a very young age we were both able to recite the entire books of Daniel and Revelation word for word. This has greatly helped my sister and I all through our lives to understand prophecy better and to get a better grip on the blessed truths of the Bible. This is no sign of glory for us – it was all a tribute of our dear mother. All that we are and all that we do is from God and I can thank my mother for it.
Memorial Service: We did a memorial service for mother at Garden Plaza December 30, 2019. It was the hardest thing we ever did, but we were doing it for mother and God gave us the much needed strength to do it. It was not to mother’s glory, or to our glory, but to the glory of God. Mother was known far and near. So many people were touched by her life and came mourning her death, recalling the blessing that she had been to them. Mother had worked many years as vice president to Ellsworth McKee, president of McKee Foods Corp. Though she never was able to pursue her education and attend college, she more than made up for that with her practical knowledge, managerial skills, and “A mind that won’t quit!” -as Ellsworth described her.
To watch that memorial service you can go to:
Presently: I have returned to Thailand to resume my missionary work in BYT. (“Without my mother”) Even halfway around the world my mother has been the greatest supporter of my work. Though she was aging and loved to have my company, she knew God wanted me in BYT. She gladly released me to this work year after year, telling her friends when they questioned her, “We have every indication that God wants Gayle in Thailand and I am the happiest mother in the world because both my daughters love the Lord and work for Him!”
Personally: Sometimes sadness and emptiness overwhelms me. I have no one to go to here on earth, accept the God mother taught me to Love, – and He is enough! I have found that for everything that I have lost in this life time of mine, God replaces it with more love for others, and I have returned to my work carrying my mother’s torch with extra zeal, earnestness and love for the lost. I am doing this work for God who sacrificed everything for me, and for my mother who sacrificed all along the way to guide my feet towards the goal!
Please pray that many Karen people from these jungle mountains will be gathered with us around the sea of glass to see Jesus face to face! And at that time mother wants to see these people that she never met, but who are there as an answer to her prayers, and in reward for her faithful service to me.
And if I am faithful, I will be among those who: . . . .
“Will raise their crowns in sight of the assembled universe and, pointing to their mother, say, “She made me all I am through the grace of God. Her instruction, her prayers, have been blessed to my eternal salvation.” Child Guidance 564.1