Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Leaving a Surprise Legacy

On February 25th, my granny left this earth to join her Savior.  She suffered a massive stroke the week before losing her ability to speak while laboring every movement of her frail body.  For eight days, I spent as much time as possible with her at the hospital.  Holding her hand, singing to her, stroking her hair, praying over her...all final moments to be cherished.

At her funeral, each of my sisters and I shared precious memories and things we loved about our Granny.  I remember baby chicks at Easter, my first Mary Kay party (at age 14), back-to-school shopping for one new outfit, special meals with the counters overflowing with food my Granny had prepared for those she loved, purple earrings, her contagious giggle of excitement when we came to see her, and, mostly, I remember her generous heart.  She always gave anything she had to anyone who needed it.

Over the last few years, I remember sitting with her at her nursing home.  She didn't know who I was.  But I knew her.  Last year, I blogged about being with her for Valentines Day.  There were other special memories with her while she lived in this group home  - making blankets together for the homeless, giving her change to give each of the boys so she could feel like she was giving them a gift, watching her eyes light up when all the grandkids came and sang Christmas songs, etc...  Even though her mind didn't hold memories from her past, her heart still leapt for simple, child-like pleasures of life.

Now she is gone.  What legacy does she leave behind?  How can the memory of my Granny live on?

My grandmother had requested that any gifts after she died be sent to her church.  At the funeral in her home church in middle Tennessee, there was a sign stating that one of the pews in the church had been given in honor of my great-grandmother - Bessie White.  It was special to honor my grandmother, Bessie's daughter, with a gift to this same church.  However, my heart wanted to do something else to honor her as well.  Lord, what would you have me do?

Meet another precious grandmother.  No, she's not my grandmother, but she is the grandmother to some special children...and the surrogate grandmother to even more.  This is Lola Crain who is currently serving as a volunteer with Feeding the Orphans in Ghana.  She daily gives her life away to love and care for children living in an orphanage.  And, she is pretty amazing.

On April 3rd, I sent Lola this message:
I wanted to let you know that I sent Kristie (who runs FTO) a check for you - $125. It's a gift in honor of my grandmother who died recently. I wanted to do something to honor her. Use it toward whatever you wish - wish we could send more, but I also sent a gift to her church as well. 

I admire you for spending your later years serving the least of these with your life. You are a blessing!  You exemplify what it means to give your life away. Completely.

So, I sent the check in and forgot about it.   

Two days later I receive a call from Kristie.  She told me Lola had called and wanted to do something very special with the money we sent.  Lola's desire was to buy Bibles for each of the older children in the orphanage - 25 kids.  Bibles in Ghana are very expensive.  Even here, they are not cheap.  How could $125 provide Bibles for 25 children?  That seemed impossible.

However, God is in every detail!

Kristie went into a Christian bookstore right after Lola's call.  She found beautiful Bibles for $5 each.  

$125 purchased 25 Bibles!!  

(Kristie tells her version of the story here.  And it is much better than mine!)

I cried when Kristie called.  Then I cried again when I shared this story with my mom.  After sending Lola a message thanking her for choosing to provide Bibles, I cried a third time when I read this message from Lola:

I was very honored that you would even think of blessing me on behalf of your Grandmother. I will write something very personal to each child and each one will say in honor of ... your grandmothers name, Mary White.  I cried when I read your email. Thank you for allowing me to bless through your gift! Love you

So this will be part of the legacy of my grandmother, Mary White.  My Granny.  Children without a mommy or a daddy will receive their own Bible.  Each with a handwritten message from their surrogate Grandma who loves them!  They will have God's Word in their own hands!  We will see these children growing in the knowledge and understanding of scripture!  What a powerful legacy!

God' continues to do incredible, unforeseen things that are all part of His plan.  I thank Him for His provision for these kids!  I thank Lola for her heart for the Lord!  I thank my Granny for the life she lived.  I praise God that a small piece of her will live on in Ghanaian children through the work God will do through His Powerful Word penetrating the hearts of the next generation.  Isn't our God amazing?

"The greatest missionary is the Bible in the mother tongue. 
It needs no furlough and is never considered a foreigner." 
William Cameron Townsend  

1 comment:

Caroline B said...

I keep thinking about Thursday... I can't believe that it's the last time I'll see you for years! We'll miss you so much, Ms. Beebe! Me and my family love you and are praying for your family too!