I have some great news. My grandma Kirkingburg, born February 04, 1925, went home tonight, May 09, 2012, at 11:16 PM. She is with Jesus now, along with her mother, her two babies that died as infants, Paul the apostle, King David, Moses and Joshua; oh man, what a time she is having. Yes, we are sad because we will miss her until our great reunion, but I feel like jumping straight out of this chair and praising God for staying true to his promise, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Jesus took Grandma home! I am so thankful for that.
During the 1970’s and 1980’s, Grandpa and Grandma served as missionaries to the Turks and Caicos Islands. In fact, Grandma wrote a book about the whole experience, called “Seeing the Need”.
One thing that stands out to me in her book is that she overcame her crippling fear of flying to serve the island people. A single engine plane was Grandpa and Grandma’s only vehicle to and from the islands. They had a concrete cistern for collecting rain water, which they used for showers, cooking, and drinking; they had no electricity and no generator; and received a poverty-level income.
Grandma was a prayer warrior. For Grandma’s entire adult life, she has prayed daily, by name, for each member of her family: Grandpa (her husband), her brother, her sons and daughter (including her adopted daughter from the islands), her grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren. She has read the Bible, cover to cover, more than sixty times and has filled up several Bibles with her personal study notes; some of which she has given to her family. She told me, “Todd, I promised the LORD I would read the Bible all the way through, each year, for the rest of my life. I kept my promise.” God saved her at Salvation Camp, Hillsdale County, MI, in her early twenties and she stayed true ever since. She told me that during that service, the evangelist was preaching on rebellion and she felt he was speaking directly to her. She immediately asked Jesus into her heart and never turned back.
Mom told me she will miss Grandma’s prayers the most. When Grandma was in the hospital on Easter Sunday, I was privileged to once again hear her pray. It was the last time I saw her, and it is comforting for me to remember that voice: Grandma, speaking with her personal Saviour. Just before she died, my grandfather knelt down beside his ‘darling pudding pie’ (that’s what he calls her) and earnestly prayed while holding her hand. He told God that she was a good wife and a good mother. He deeply loves her. I love to hear my Grandpa pray – it moves me.
I do not say this lightly: if ever there was a Christian to emulate, it is Grandma, and I am so thankful to receive that rare spiritual heritage. What an honor to know her. And now, she is praising God, fully transformed and shining like the sun in our Saviour’s AWESOME presence. She is home, at last!
Til I see you again, Grandma, I love you.
God is so good!