Thursday, November 13, 2014

Connie Radford

There are people who redirect our lives. The lady in this story redirected mine. It is from September 27, 2009.

Connie Radford died on Friday afternoon. She fought a courageous battle with cancer: cancer won the battle but the kingdom of heaven won the war. There are individuals who profoundly change your life and Connie changed mine. I never met her until two years ago, even though we were members of the same congregation. I was in St. Louis in July of 2007 when Mark Hall, one of our elders, called from Houston and told me Connie Radford had given him a check for $3000 so I could go on a mission trip to China. I wasn't even sure who she was. A retired school teacher and coach, Connie became a benefactor for mission work in the last years of her life. She heard that I worked with our Chinese church and would love to go to Asia but that I could not handle the finances of two missions in one summer, the other being my work in Honduras. That's when the phone call from Mark came in. I made certain to make her acquaintance when I returned! Her gift not only covered my trip but it paid for all my shots and a digital camera so I could record what I witnessed. The camera was Connie's idea. It has become a priceless possession.

In July, I went with Mark to visit Connie in her nursing home and it was obvious she was in bad shape. She sent Rae Ruth, her dear friend, and Mark out of the room, saying she wanted to speak to me privately. When we were alone, Connie reminded me of the picture you see above. I gave her a framed copy when I returned from China and she said she looked at it constantly. The picture of me and a tiny six year old girl on the streets of Shenyang was taken with the camera purchased with Connie's gift at Connie's suggestion. She told me I had to go back to China so I could find a wife and have a little girl like the one in the photo. I promised her I would return to China although the wife/child part may prove more difficult. In our last meaningful conversation, Connie thought more of me than she did of herself. She did that often.

Tonight at worship services, it was announced that the memorial for Connie will be this coming Saturday in Trinity, Texas. Mark invited me to ride with him and knowing my penchant for getting lost, it was a splendid invitation. For our closing song, we sang the old standard, Send The Light. You remember, the blessed gospel light. I like to think the song selection was in honor of Connie. Maybe I don't qualify as a light but Connie sent me....and my life will never be the same.

Applicable quote of the day:
"I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver."
Maya Angelou

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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