My last few posts were all about Matt and the past week as he went through BA Week which is the hardest week of the Fire Academy. It is now Sunday afternoon and he made it! The week was the hardest week of his life physically and mentally but the week turned out to be even harder than we ever thought emotionally.
Let me bring you up to speed…my last post was Day 2. Well, day 3 was even harder and more challenging as they added in the smoke factor to the drills. I didn’t even see or talk to Matt that day because as soon as I got home from work I picked up the kids and went straight to church and Matt was so exhausted he stayed home and went to bed. This brings us to Thursday morning. Matt left the house at 4:45am and I woke up at 5:00am. He does not have his phone with him once he gets to the Academy so I have no contact with him until he leaves for the day which is anytime between 4:00pm and 6:00pm depending on what they are doing that day. On this particular morning I got the kids ready for school and as I was driving on my way to work for our Thursday morning prayer breakfast I received a phone call that I will never forget. On the other end of the line was my friend Natasha asking me if I heard about John Powell. John Powell has been the Youth Minister at our church for many years. He is also a wonderful man of God and mentor to my husband and loved, cared for and poured his life into my daughter, Hope as if she and the other youth were his own. I said no I hadn’t heard wondering what the next thing out of her mouth would be and as fast as she said it I was in shock. He was gone. He passed away. It took me a second to comprehend what she was even saying.
The first thing I wanted to do was call my husband. But I couldn’t. Then I immediately thought of my daughter and how this was going to effect her. I had to tell her. I didn’t know how many people knew yet but I knew with today’s social media it was going to be all over Facebook in no time. So I rushed to her school so I could tell her. She already knew and was in tears. She spent alot of time with John on youth trips, small groups he had at his house and just hanging out with him and the other youth. She loved him.
I wished that I could tell Matt before he found out via Facebook also but all I could do was send a text that he would see as soon as he was done for the day. I knew he would be upset and I hoped that he wouldn’t see it until the day was over. Which is what happened. At the end of the day he saw my text and called me and was in shock. Matt was involved with the Youth and went on several of the youth trips including several trips with John to Tuscaloosa, Alabama after last years devastating tornadoes ripped through the city. They went and helped rebuild and repair homes and minister to the people who were left with nothing. That is what John was about. He loved people. He was giving of his time and wanted to spread the gospel far and wide to all who would listen.
Matt finished day 5 of BA Week and did really well. He was so relieved it was over and behind him and felt like he learned so much from all of the captains and firefighters assisting them with the drills, giving advice and teaching them how to handle and do things in all of the different situations. That night was the visitation of our friend John and the funeral followed on Saturday at 3:30pm.
Ironically, Saturday at 3:30pm I was supposed to be on my way to downtown Atlanta to participate in the Walk For Lupus that I had been collecting donations for over the past few weeks. My mom has Lupus and we were going to walk together. John Powell was my biggest supporter of that walk. His wife also has Lupus. The last time I spoke to John Powell was to give him a big hug and thank him for supporting me and the cause knowing that his wife was dealing with the same thing as my mom. I had no idea that instead of participating in the walk that he had generously donated to on that Saturday that I would be singing at his funeral.
This morning we also had a Memorial Service at our church for John and it was the most amazing service I have ever attended. All John wanted was to see people come to know Christ to the point where if it took him to give up his life for his friends and loved ones to know Jesus he would do it. This morning his son and a man that he has worked with for 23 years came to know Christ along with several others. It is hard to understand why things happen. Especially when a 48 year old man dies in his sleep with no explanation. But all this became clear this morning and has opened my eyes and I know so many others as to why we are put on this earth. To glorify God in everything we do and share the gospel with everyone we know.
I have many readers to my blog. I know many are my brothers and sisters in Christ but I know that many are not. My prayer today is that you would come to know Him before it is too late. No one is promised tomorrow. Christ was put to death on the cross so that we wouldn’t have to suffer the sting and pain of death. Pray and recieve Christ today. Afterall, the Bible says that EVERY knee will bow and EVERY tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. That means YOU!
John was a follower to my blog and looking back on his blog posts I found a post that has challenged me that I want to share and challenge you with as well. Read this post from his blog dated April 14, 2012:
So let’s walk, talk and think about God and teach our children how to teach their children so that the whole world will be changed.
We love you John and will miss you greatly but for those of us that know Christ, we know you “just went to be with Jesus a little sooner than we did” (as one of the young men in our church said this morning) and we will see you again soon.