Teri, my wife, wrote about a day she will never forget:
“On January 17th, 2018, I was sitting in my office when the phone rang. When I looked at my phone my first thought was, 'I don’t know if I want to talk to my mom right now.' What followed immediately was the thought, 'Answer, she may need you.'
"When I answered, all I could hear was my mom screaming. My 45-year-old brother Todd was dead. She went downstairs to check on him and he was gone. The police were there now and no one was allowed in Todd’s room. She had to perform CPR on his body even though she could clearly see he was gone. She was alone, wishing we were with her. She didn’t want to tell anyone else so, 'You tell them Teri; then get in the car as soon as possible and get here so I’m not alone.'
"What came next was the worst 30 minutes of my life; telling my siblings Todd was gone. How do you respond when faced with trauma? I went into firstborn mode. Take care of everyone else. My brother Scott started screaming and swearing, and then hung up. The only way I knew my brother Alex was still on the phone was he was breathing heavy but not speaking. My sister Tammy was in the middle. She screamed for 5 seconds and then started crying. The mother of Todd’s only child began crying, and saying 'How am I going to tell her?' All I could think to say was 'I am so sorry you have to tell her and we aren’t there to tell her with you.'
"With the phone calls finished, I sat down to take what felt like my first deep breath and the thought came to mind, 'I wonder if Todd had a personal relationship with Christ?' I don’t know if he did. I wonder if he is spending eternity in hell. It overwhelmed me. It froze me in my tracks. What should I have said the last time I talked to him?
"I am as overwhelmed today as I was January 17th, 2018, but for a different reason. God has reignited the passion in my soul to show people who Jesus is and to help them find a personal relationship with the Creator. So no one else that I love has to spend eternity far from God. For every person to know that God has a plan for their life.
"Ephesians 6:19 says, 'And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike.'
"How would our lives all be different if we each pray these words every time we sit down for a conversation? That God would give us the right words so we can boldly explain the good news of Jesus Christ!
"My family’s life has been changed forever. I want to boldly declare all that God has done for me so that others will hear and turn toward Him."
On the Fourth of July we released a lantern from the hills overlooking Mandan, N.D., in honor of Todd. God bless you. See you next Sunday!