25 February 2014

more than a headline

You know we've all done it.  Read the headline, shook our heads with sorrow as our eyes welled with tears. . .  maybe even whispered a prayer for the family. . .  then went along with our day.

{For full article click here.}

This time its more than a headline for us, and I am praying you'll take a moment to read a little more about these friends of ours.

I suspect that anyone who has had a conversation with Alyssa would walk away feeling like they have made a new friend.  She is one of those rare, genuine souls that vibrantly connects with people.  I'm so grateful to know her.

I first met her a few summers ago during VBS.  I think she was the storyteller for the preschool age kiddos, and it was sort of funny because she was constantly having to "deal with" one of her sons in the class while she led the group.  She handled it so well, never shaming him or showing frustration, but also not ignoring the behavior either.  She flashed a smile as she joked, "of course, its the teacher's son!"

Sometime later, Alyssa and Josh started attending our small group bible study class on Sunday mornings.  Josh never seemed to be a fan of small talk, so it took a bit longer to get to know him.  Of course, eventually, we got to know him too.  Whenever he had something to say, you wanted to hear it.  Our class laughs a lot, but we also share deep hopes.   We'll cross the conversation chasm of guns + hogs to chasing lions in a matter of moments.  We've been able to see the love between Josh + Alyssa vividly as they shared their hearts with us during our times together.  Brad got to know Josh a little better too because he also went to the men's bible study at church.

Last spring, Alyssa finished her degree in counseling.  This fall, she began counseling in the chapel where PWOC meets to gain hours for her certificate.  When she found out the Esther class was being offered she decided to join us.  As is often the case in a PWOC small group, we shared our hearts and our tears and our hopes too.  Alyssa was authentic and caring whenever she spoke.  I think each of us in that class was blessed by her.  I keep thinking back to our discussions and the phrase "for such a time as this," keeps pounding in my ears.

They have six precious children.  SIX.

I got the text Friday night.  I think I nearly sucked all the air out of the room as I handed my phone to Brad.  He made a call to verify the news.  Everything in me wanted this to be a rumor.  I was desperate for this to be some misunderstanding.  Googling frantically.  Combing facebook for hints of the news.  Anything.  But the only hints we found were evidence of the reality.

Josh had been killed in a training accident.  He is gone from this earth.  And I can hardly type these words.   I wholeheartedly believe He is with Jesus.  But earth's loss is weighty and feels nearly unbearable.

Our hearts are so broken for them.  Whenever Brad and I find ourselves with a few moments of quiet, we begin praying through our tears - or maybe crying through our prayers.  I don't even know.  And I am not even going to pretend that we are their best friends, I just know that our experience is not isolated.  Hearts are busted all over the place with this loss.

Josh had 16 years of service with the Air Force.  He has brothers-in-arms all over the world that are missing him.  Alyssa has mil-spouse-sisters all over the world that are weeping for her.  Each of their six children have teachers or care-givers that are burdened with the sorrow.

So I am begging you friends, to pray often.

You probably wish there was more you could do.  There is one thing.  And I pray you'll do it.

They have a fundraising site established with the intent to set away some money for each of the kiddos.  I would love to see the total go right past the goal.

Please CLICK HERE to go to the fundraising page.

Any amount you give will be a blessing.  You can give anonymously or by name.

If you decide to give you can leave a comment and I think one day Alyssa will probably read them all -- so it might be nice to tell her what prompted you to give.  A military connection?  A momma-heart?   Maybe you can only give $7?  So what, tell her you wish you could take her out for a coffee and a donut.  Or if you are more health conscious than me, swap that out for a green smoothie and some quinoa.  Whatever. 

Give something.  Leave a comment for the family.  Keep praying. 

And if you feel lead to do so. . . pass this on.  Josh would probably hate all the fuss but I think he'd let it slide since it will benefit his family.

1 comment:

  1. I am so very sorry for your loss and for the devastation Josh's family must be going through. Financially I am sadly strapped, but I will be praying for them, and I have shared the site. Prayerfully God will provide a time when I can join in the giving.