Shellie Purdy just went home to be with Jesus after a long struggle with cancer. She was a fighter and refused to give up. Some of us may know that she wrote a book on her struggles with doubt and how God carried her through adversity called ‘Knocked Down by Life, Lifted Up by God’. Its pretty encouraging.
Although she had battles with sickness and weakness, she attended church whenever she was able. And she was always an encourager. She was adamant that she was going to beat this battle and refused to allow anyone around her to talk about death, even up to the end. The great healing evangelist, Oral Roberts used to say that death is the ultimate healing. She today has her new body and no more pain.
I remember when they first began attending New Hope that she asked for prayer for her situation. After, her husband, Terry, was in the foyer and mentioned a bad back. A couple of men prayed for him and the pain immediately went away. It was a healing for Terry and encouragement of God’s ability to Shellie.
What will you remember about Shellie?
George Panos has left this life and entered heaven. We’ll be praying for Diana and their teenage boys, but rejoice for George’s home going.
George and Diana moved here from Texas a couple of years ago. I remember he had this bit of a southern drawl he picked up. He was always the business thinker and Diana the other side of that: the loving extrovert. And they made a great team.
George wanted to provide for his family, but, like the rest of us, struggled with the best way to do that. When he was about to go into the hospital for his transplant, he spoke with me about his insecurity in taking care of his family while he was off work. I prayed with him then, and continued to pray for him. He and Diana were greeters and likely welcomed you in on a Sunday morning. Let’s continue to pray for Diana and the boys as they say their final farewell next Thursday.
What will you remember about George?
Eileen Pierce has entered heaven. She was a member of our church and firm believer in Jesus Christ. She had attended Lakewood Park when it was the Bible Baptist Church under Pastor Wayne Smith. When she entered Betz Nursing Home she began attending the Thursday afternoon church service New Hope provided. That’s when she told me she wanted to join New Hope. I don’t want us to grow our church by stealing sheep from other churches, so I put her off. But, she was persistent.
I remember her being a committed Christian and very encouraging to me. She was very dignified and spent a lot of time “getting ready” to look her best. In the last year of her life she became very frustrated. She commented that she was jealous of others who went on to heaven and she remained here in her limited abilities. She told me that she didn’t know what her life’s purpose was at this stage of life. I told her, “Eileen, you have lots of time on your hands. Maybe God’s purpose for you is to pray for me and other pastors.” She promised me she would pray for me.
Now, I’ve lost her as a prayer support. Would anyone like to step in and fill her shoes as my prayer support?
What will you remember about Eileen?
Eva Coleman has entered her eternal rest with God. She was one of the most dynamic personalities I have ever known. She was always deeply involved in the life of the church, investing in countless young women and children. She was dedicated to hospitality, serving at funeral dinners, and opening her home to church visitors. She was a part of many women’s ministries such as Women’s Aglow, Gideon’s Auxiliary, and a volunteer at DeKalb Pregnancy Center. The State of Indiana recognized her as Indiana Young Mother of the Year in the 1970s.
I will remember that she was a determined attender at all church services right up until the time her family had to say no. She was a determined woman who did not want to give up her home, her car, her church family, or her independence. And, at 94, she did not want to give up her life. So, God just put her to sleep. Wow! What a life to live.
And, I will most remember how she embraced me as a young hippie with a strange desire for God. Rather than trying to protect her daughter from a weirdo, she made me welcomed and encouraged me, often thanking me for loving her daughter. What will you remember about Eva?
Madge Ault passed away and her funeral is Wednesday. It has been several years since she attended New Hope because she was a resident at Wesley Health Care in Auburn. She shared a room with her husband, Lewis, who is 99.
They both lived a full life. When what has become known as the Jesus Movement revival swept through northeast Indiana in the 1970s, they were active participants and great supporters of the Lord’s work. When they became attenders at New Hope, they were both invalids physically, needing rides to church. But they were among the most supportive people in our church, always having a good word for me and others.
What will you remember about Madge Ault?
Sue Stier was a vital part of our church years ago. She and her family stood with us through some great years of expansion. Sue just won a battle over the final enemy: death. Her family will lay her body to rest today.
I remember that Sue was a bit bold and to the point. While others used a gentle approach with me, she just said what was on her mind, and it was sometimes blunt. But she was a get ‘er done person, and was very active in her community and church. She once invited Joe and Laura Graves to church. Joe was curious about God but wasn’t interested in changing his lifestyle.
On one of his first Sundays (in the old building), I received an altar call. Joe was resistant and did not want to move. His finger tips were white from gripping the pew in front of him. But, he finally surrendered and walked to the front. His life was dramatically changed from that day on. He came the first time because Sue Stier, bold and blunt, pushed him just enough. That is Sue’s legacy in my mind.
What will you remember about Sue Stier?
Janet Lemmon passed away this past Sunday. Janet was married to Hank Woods and fought a valiant battle with cancer. She was unique in that she loved attending her home church, which was rather conservative, and she loved attending New Hope Saturday evenings, which is anything but orthodox and conservative. She loved both, and I admire her for that.
I asked her how she wanted us to remember her. She replied, “That we lived our lives for the Lord.” Not “I”, but “we” lived our lives for the Lord. She was a team player.
She was always encouraging and optimistic. I will miss her. What will you remember about Janet Lemmon?