I'm thanking God tonight for a rich heritage of people we've known and served with in past churches.
We were just up in our old town of Williams this past weekend for the funeral of Matthew Broehm. After driving up the night before, we stayed in the warm home of Edith Pouquette. The temperatures outside were very cold, so a bowl of hot taco soup and an evening of sitting around her wood stove visiting was absolutely delicious! The conversation was full of catching up on old friends, church news and about our current place of ministry in Phoenix.
The next morning we went for one of our favorite drives up Bill Williams mountain. Beautiful pines, fur trees, aspens and spruces lined the winding road. We stopped at finger rock and walked out to see the view. Not a soul in sight, just wind through the trees and a huge view. It puts a kind of perspective on your mind of how small you are and how huge the world is as you look out across 50 miles of ridges, mountains and canyons as far as the eye can see, no cities or people in sight. The chill in the air drove us back to our warm car and we drove down silently, thinking about our own thoughts. We were so privileged to have been allowed to live in this area for 9 years.
A visit to the coffee shop, American Flyer and then we were off to the funeral processional. We walked from the middle school to downtown and then back, about 2 miles in all, with the family and about 500 townspeople, church members and military who came to support them in honoring their son, brother, husband. As we gathered to walk, we started seeing not just a group of faces, but individual, dear, wonderful faces from the past. Our old youth group, alot of whom are all grown up and have children now, church members, people from our old small group fellowship that met in our home weekly, people from all walks of life that we had come to share life with for 9 years.
The celebration of life service was really wonderful. This young man was such an evangelist and leader during his shortened life, it was like God knew Matt only had a short time here and packed it full of passion and service. We are proud to have known him and proud of that community for their loving support of their own.
I have tried and tried to describe the kind of closeness you feel to other people in a small community like that, but I am at a loss. It's something you just have to experience and I would wish that at least once in life to anyone. It puts a kind of perspective in your mind of how large your influence can be and a huge feeling of comfort when everywhere you look there are faces of people who know you and love you from all walks of life in a community.