Our 25th annual faith-promise world missions conference at Thompson Road Baptist Church, October 1-8, 2006, with Pastor Larry Hufhand as our keynote speaker and featuring Ben and Becca Sinclair (Cameroon), Kevin and Mary Brunner (Philippines), Saundra Smith (South Africa), and Jodie Clark (Australia) among others was a blessed week, our conference theme being “Let the nations be glad.” (Ps. 67:4) It was during that week for world missions that our 11 year-old grandson, David, would be stirred in his soul with a vision for missions, but little did any of us know then that when our 26th annual faith-promise world missions conference would commence a year later David would be in heaven.
As in every conference, missionaries like Ben and Becca Sinclair, who with co-laborers Matt and Susan Yeiter, would lay the foundation for the establishment of two churches in Cameroon while serving their first term in Africa, and, on that first furlough, visiting churches like ours, would light a fire in the hearts of young people for serving as missionaries on the field, the world.
David’s first “job” was helping his older brother, Tim, mow yards in the lawn business that Tim had launched when he was eight years old. David made a meager income as a helper and by the second week of October in ’06 the grass cutting season was winding down; but David got the ear of his grandmother who at that time was working in the church office and he asked her how he could give to faith-promise, wanting to give $2 per week but not knowing the logistics of it. Of course, grandmother got him set up with a set of giving envelopes and explained to him how to get involved in giving to faith-promise regularly. David gave what he could that fall and when mowing season was gearing up for the spring of 2007, David was ready to be a regular participant in faith giving, having covenanted with God to give $2 per week to world missions which he did faithfully.
Our hearts were especially touched a few weeks before David was called home to heaven when one Sunday night in a TRBC service, propped up on a chair behind the pulpit so that he could see and be seen and heard, David sang the beautiful song “As a Deer,” offering in his own tenderhearted way a sacrifice of praise to God. God was preparing David and us, family and church family, for David’s upcoming move to higher ground and we will be ever grateful for the memory that is hallowed in our hearts of that night, just a short while before we would all be called upon to suffer the shock of David’s sudden departure from us.
He was graduated to glory March 2, 2007, after a brief illness, having suffered a ruptured appendix. Some of us begged God to let us trade places with David as he fought for his life at Riley hospital, but “He makes no mistakes,” and though we may have wanted to hold on grudgingly for a while, we all knew that He who sees from the beginning to the end and beyond has a will that is perfect and a plan that is best, with compassions and mercies that are new every morning, and we were and are content that we can “Rejoice in the Lord….”
After David’s brief endeavor to give $2 a week of his earnings to world missions, I challenged anyone who wanted to join “David’s Band” in giving $2 a week above and beyond to world missions to indicate that on their faith-promise giving commitment form. Many did and from that 26th missions conference in 2007 until the present a host of people gave and are still giving to perpetuate the memory of a child whose heart was moved for missions and missionaries. Thousands of dollars have been set apart through David’s band for the cause of Christ through faith-promise giving, and to all who have so faithfully participated I want to say “Thank you,” and “To God be the glory,” and we truly do, “Rejoice in the Lord, He makes no mistakes.”
David You were ours these precious years; We give you back to God with tears. You made our life bright with your smile, You were God’s gift for just a while. You’ll ever be within our hearts, And, those in Christ are not apart. You’re only “there” and we are here, But in our Savior, you’re so near. Thanks for your love, your kindness true. And ever, David, we’ll love you. Grandpa Slutz 2007