Cradle to Grave

Tags: SEND North, Story

It takes a long time to build deep relationships when ministering in the 60/70 Window.   You work side by side to survive.  You celebrate new life and mourn with those who suffer loss.  One of our veteran teammates recently had to walk the hard path of helping friends bury their 19-year-old son.

I want to help you feel a little closer to what this means in a small, isolated, rural community in the Far North.   It will become apparent quickly why this funeral was especially hard for our teammates Tom* and Tina*.  Here is the story from their newsletter…

It started early on Christmas morning in 1995.  Tina helped deliver a healthy boy in her neighbor’s home.  For a change, she had to wait excitedly for her kids to wake up instead of them excitedly waiting for her to wake up.  It was a very special Christmas memory that we buried 19 years later.  
A few months ago we got a call one Wednesday.  Here is how everything unfolded:
  • Wednesday– We received a call that a young man from our village had been shot by the troopers in the city after an altercation.
  • Thursday- The mom called Tina from an Anchorage hospital to say he was in critical condition.  So both of us stop by gramma’s house to visit.
  • Friday and Saturday – Tina talked to the mom each day Sunday- Heard the young man was brain dead.  Tina went to sit with gramma a while along with other ladies and dropped off muffins.
  • Monday– Again we visited gramma’s house with muffins, and we were told he is going to be an organ donor. Tuesday-  Tina again went to gramma’s house with muffins.  Tom was called by the mom and asked to do the funeral service.  She said, “since Tina brought him into this world, you can bury him.”
  • Wednesday– Tom and the men in the village built a casket in the shop.  Tina made some moose soup with fry bread and kept the coffee on for the men and then ran muffins to gramma’s home.
  • Friday– The men finished the casket.  The family stopped by the house to plan the service.   Tina ran more muffins to gramma’s and helped bag up the moose meat that was being processed by about a dozen others for the funeral.  Women lined the casket, and afterward both of us played gospel music for an hour in the hall in the evening with three others.
  • Saturday and Sunday– Tina ran food to the hall for guests while Tom worked on a message.  Both of us played gospel music for 2 hours in the evenings with five others. Monday– Tina helped clean the hall for the services.   Tom performed the service and Tina helped by playing the mandolin and guitar.   We both then attended the burial.  Tina cooked for the potlatch held at the gym that evening then we both helped clean up.

Pray for our teammates and this family as they adjust to their loss. Holidays are especially hard for those who have lost loved ones. (*not their real names)

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