"Around 450 people were at the funeral this morning in Arlington Gospel Hall. The funeral service was about two hours long, but it did not seem long to anyone.Amazingly, there was an open casket - the fellow from the funeral home apparently did an amazing job with her. It was closed during the funeral, but opened at the end so people could see as they passed by. I'm glad for her parents/family/friends, as sometimes actually seeing the person helps with closure - I know it did with me.
It began with Tom Hoy praying, then Tim Klein (who was present when Bethany was saved back in July 1999) read the obituary and made some comments about Bethany's character and life. Shad Kember spoke about Bethany's arrival in Mexico in December 2008, her time in Chihuahua with the Harveys, and how she came to Obregon and to Duncan. Shad mentioned that it was 147 days ago that he married them in the very same hall. He spoke very directly to us all, and it was most challenging.
Two young girls (Nicole and Avrell Bowden from Portage (Manitoba, Canada)) sang a medley of some wonderful hymns. (Five other hymns were well sung during the service as well.)
Duncan followed and did very well - he read Mark 10:45 and Jeremiah 9:24, and spoke of what he had learned from Bethany's servant character. A 10+ minute slide show of Bethany's life was very touching, taking us up to the most recent times.
After the slide show we sang 'Life at best is very brief', and Tom Hoy had a good message in the gospel. Dan Harvey closed in prayer, and the congregation filed past the casket.
A large crowd went to the graveside, and close to 250 were back at the hall for a meal.
This evening there was a hymn sing back at the Jim and Bev Klein's home.
God is good, and doeth good. As for God, His ways are perfect. Perhaps beyond understanding at the present time, but His ways are perfect. Mark Bachert (Nicaragua) spoke briefly at the sing about the need to trust God daily in the details of our lives.
Please continue to pray for Duncan in the coming days, as well as for Bethany's parents, Ken and Linda Kroeze."
Yesterday was an incredibly hard day in general. Lots of good things happened too, that I'll write about another time, but I cried a lot. Hurting for Duncan, hurting for Beth's parents and their families, wondering Why?, looking inside myself and remembering Daniel 5:27, "you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting;", thinking about death, thinking about life, thinking about the future. I concluded (with the help from one of my dear s-i-l's), that it is a good thing to think about these things. Why? Because I don't want to be the same after this. I want the Lord to work in my life, and change things that need to be changed.
I was listening to one of Selah's CD's called Greatest Hymns while I was in the van, and enjoyed hearing, "Great is Thy Faithfulness", "It is Well With My Soul", "How Great Thou Art", "His Eye is On the Sparrow", "I Need Thee Every Hour" and "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross".
It was "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" written by Isaac Watts that hit me the hardest, though. Here are the words:
"When I survey the wondrous cross
on which the Prince of Glory died;
my richest gain I count but loss,
and pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
save in the death of Christ, my God;
all the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to his blood.
See, from his head, his hands, his feet,
sorrow and love flow mingled down.
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
or thorns compose so rich a crown.
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
that were an offering far too small;
love so amazing, so divine,
demands my soul, my life, my all"
Hearing that song, and the last verse especially, made me cry out to the Lord to help me to focus on the important things. To not lose sight of the eternal - of the things that matter most. I owe the Lord my EVERYTHING, and one day I will give an account to Him of what I have done and the things I have said.
On Tuesday, a young brother from here said to me, "I have always thought that I had my whole life ahead of me to serve the Lord. Now, I can see that it's possible that I don't."
Jim Elliot, a missionary (and then martyr) to Ecuador, wrote this, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."
Please continue to pray for Duncan, as well as Bethany's family and loved ones. The Christians down in Obregón are still reeling from this, and would appreciate your prayers for them too. This is a situation that has the possibility of drawing us closer to the Lord or has the ability for us to pull away from Him. But we can't be unaffected by it. Please pray for the preservation of those new "babes in Christ". Thank you, too, for so many who have written and assured us of their prayers for us. We could never tell you how much we have appreciated it.