One thing about funerals — it brings the dearest people in your lives all together. Honestly, if someone is willing to attend a funeral — especially if they go out of their way to attend — well, it’s more than wonderful.

Yesterday, Jim, Jeanne, Jamie and I attended Christ Church Glendale — the church where my parents were married, where Jim and I were married, where our girls were baptized, and where the funeral services for my dad and grandparents were held. Having moved from Glendale in 1982, I don’t recognize many of the folks attending anymore, but this special church is one of several that supports our ministry in Ukraine. My family history goes waaaay back in this church, so there was a sense of comfort sitting in this beautiful sanctuary. In the pew next to the stained glass window with the plaque in memory of one of my relatives. It was interesting to note in the church bulletin that they remember families of those who died at this time in the past. And so right after the announcement that my brother had died last week was a reminder that my greatgrandmother had also died in May. A little odd seeing the name Marianna Matthews…I was named after her.

Anyway, back to friends. After the service we returned to Mom’s and a precious family was already there…thank you so much to ALL of the Carters for taking time out from a Mother’s Day celebration to remember our family. And to Aunt Wanda and Uncle Wilbur for making the drive AGAIN way down south to Glendale. And to Rob and Ginger. And Sue and her husband. Your smiles brought joy to our hearts. Today Gary and Karen are flying in from Maryland — can you believe that? We love you! I’m glad to have a touch of Salisbury here.

And ANNA flies in this morning. From Nepal. Only took her 35 hours. She SHOULD be in the air about now…from LA to Detroit? At least I know she’s in LA. And she’s flying into Cincinnati from Detroit. Maybe some other legs along the way.

We’re asking all the pallbearers to choose one of Doug’s ties to wear tomorrow. It is amazing how certain ties bring back specific memories to different friends. Jim is wearing the Christmas tie…figures!

And the priest from Christ Church also came over Sunday afternoon to go over the details of the service. Mom wants us all to follow the casket in to the church — as we have always done at family funerals. I am so thankful that God gives us the grace that we need AT THE TIME that we need it. I get a little teary-eyed at the THOUGHT of the casket. As it is now, we all just keep expecting to see Doug come into the room… A casket will put an end to THAT delusion!!

So, even though we’re all together for an event that we didn’t expect so soon, we still are all together. And feeling pretty good about the plans for the day tomorrow. This evening we’ll be available at Mom’s home to welcome friends who might just want to stop by, or who can’t make it to a morning service tomorrow. Come on over! We’d love to see you, and I promise that there will be laughter. Random tears. But way more laughter.



  1. I’ve been mostly away from the computer over the weekend, but you’ve been on my mind and in my prayers.

    May God grant you peace and comfort this day.


  2. riverrat says:

    Funerals are a mixed blessing. All gathered for a sorrowful event, but,as you’ve pointed out, ALL gathered.
    Still praying-

  3. I’m writing this to inform you about a project I am working on something that will help missionaries like you raise awareness and support. I am in the planning and design stages of launching a missionary news website (GodWitness News) and I would like you to be part of it. The purpose of the website will be to increase awareness about what missionaries are doing around the world. It will be missionary related news, by missionaries. The design I’m working on will be similar to the Yahoo News or to the BBC News websites.

    I’m a professional Internet marketer, SEO expert and web designer. I have been thinking for some time that there must be a way I can use my skills to further God’s kingdom. After doing some analysis, I discovered that although there are many missionary blogs and websites, there are not many that have been optimized correctly to get a lot of readership traffic. You are probably aware of this, but a couple of the most important ways to get a lot of traffic is by having a high Google (Google, because it gets the most search traffic) PageRank and by having new content – A LOT of new content.

    That is were you come in, with the content. Before I launch the news website, I would like to get 100 (eventually, I hope to have even more than this number, but this would be a good start) missionaries around the world to agree to be “news journalists.” If you are interested, I would like you to be one of the 100. If successful, there would be thousands of hits a day on the website. You would benefit by having many thousands of people around the world read about how God is using you, the work you are doing, and the people you are working with. Hopefully, some of the people visiting the website would support you with prayers and/or finances. Maybe some of them would want to volunteer to help with some of the projects you are working on. You could also benefit from having increased traffic to your website (each article you write could have a link to your website).

    If you choose to participate, I would like you to agree to provide at least 12 articles in a year’s time. If you don’t want to write that many, you don’t have to feel obligated to do so though. The topic choice would pretty much be up to you. You could write about events in the country, challenges you are facing, tips for new missionaries, how God provided for your needs, and more. The articles don’t even have to be all that long. If you want to write more detailed articles, that’s fine, but if you want to write short ones(minimum should probably about 300 words), that’s fine too. You can also submit videos and photos. I just ask that everything submitted is good quality (you know, dot the i’s and cross the t’s, spelled checked, etc.) and original. It’s fine if it’s been published in print before, but if the content is already on the internet, the news websites PageRank will be reduced if the content has a copy somewhere out there on the web (yeah, the search bots are picky like that). Search engines don’t care about copies of videos and photos, so no worries there. The reason I say a year is because that is the time period through which I will evaluate how well the idea is accepted and whether I should continue the project. Call it beta testing if you want But that is about the necessary time needed to make the website a success.

    If you are interested, please contact me by sending an e-mail to Please let me know your name, the country you are working in, your missions name, your website, your contact information, your website, and any questions you have. Please provide as much of that information as possible as it will be hard to keep track of everyone if I have so many participants. Sometime after I get your e-mail and once I get the site going, I will send you a user name and password for your publisher account. I may also send updates or more detailed article criteria (good titles, photo sizes, etc.). I will also send a statement of faith that will have to be agreed to. Pretty much Jesus is the only way, the truth and the light and no one comes to the Father but through him.

    I think that’s about it for now. Oh, yeah one more thing, I would like participants to add a link from their website (if they have one) or blog to the news website. In-links is another way that Google uses to establish PageRank. Also, I have had some people respond saying that they were uncomfortable with having the articles link to there blogs, if you don’t want to do that, it’s fine. And if you feel uncomfortable giving me some info, then that’s fine, I understand. I won’t sell it of course, but you don’t know me, so I can see why there would some level of distrust.

    Along with the news website, I’m thinking of launching a social networking website (maybe part of the news website) for missionaries and those interested in getting connected with missionaries. It would be very similar to myspace’s set-up, but would be geared towards the specific audience that I just mentioned. Before I launch that though, we’ll have to see how successful the news website is. It would take considerable resources to get the social networking site up and running.

    So think about it, and most importantly, pray about it! Thanks in advance!

    If you have any ideas that would help with the website, let me know!

    God Bless You!!


    PS. A little introduction to myself: I’m Joe Kolb and I’m from Britton, Michigan. I go to a church called Hope Christian Fellowship and North Ridge Church on weekdays. I’m currently working as a web/graphic design and finishing my second degree. I am engaged to an awesome girl and Lord willing, I will be getting married January 2, 2009.

  4. Boy, I commented too late. After the previous comment, I feel like I need to offer you a record contract or something.

    But I really just wanted you to know that we’re praying for the funeral tomorrow, and for God to comfort your family in their grief.

    I called John to give him the news, and of course he’s very sad. He asked for Jamie’s phone number so he could call him. Would you email it? I also have some photos that I am trying like crazy to get together and send to you.

    In the meantime, may we have one of the orange hair photos? That one has particular value to us…

  5. I’ve been away from computer/internet access for the past 4+ days and just now learned of your loss. My deepest sympathy at the passing of your brother, you and your family are in my prayers.

  6. To ALL: Thank you ever so much for remembering my family in your prayers. It is pouring down rain this morning as it was earlier in the week. But God gave us a GLORIOUS day yesterday for the funeral! We’re all hanging in there pretty well…even Mom, amazingly.

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