Tuesday, January 4, 2011

IN MEMORY OF John AKO and Patricia (PERRY)

John AKO became a good friend of mine at work -- everyone liked him! He was a hard-working young man, who also attended Grossmont College and played drums at his church (St. Luke's Episcopal Church). He was always ready to greet me with a ready smile on his face. Never did i hear a complaint from him about standing up the whole eight hours at work. He worked patiently and diligently, and he got along well with the other men working with him. Jose told me today that he misses Ako -- we all do!

i liked the foreign uniqueness of John's name, so i called him Ako -- and i felt a special kinship with him because i too lived in Africa for a few years. Because he is my brother In CHRIST, i sympathized with his family's plight -- escaping from southern Sudan, which is torn by civil war and CHRISTian persecution.

It was very difficult not to feel a sorrowful ache at seeing the vacant emptiness of Ako's work area, for when i would look up from my sewing machine, i couldn't help but see him as he was usually in my line of vision.

Ako was a very special person to me. The t-shirt i painted for him reflected his ongoing relationship with JESUS -- All things i can do through CHRIST who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

This was Patricia's rLn original -- she hadn't yet worn it to work...

Patricia -- though we called her "Perry" -- was also a very special woman to me as she went to my church and she was my sister In CHRIST. We were family! When she showed up at work on her first day, i thanked GOD for the blessing of sending a CHRISTian sister to me... who even goes to the same church!

Perry and i would hug every morning (real bear hugs...none of that stiff European stuff!) and share goodies. We usually lined up together to clock out, then i'd drive her and Maia to the trolley station, where she would always rush out of the car to race to her bus.

So to go to work Monday and not see her cheerful face wrung my heart -- then to discover that Ako was also gone was almost too much to bear.

But yet because Ako and Perry were my family In CHRIST, my sorrow was tempered by the Reality that they were already in Heaven with our LORD JESUS. They were in His Presence, enjoying His glory and majesty! No more 8-hour "nine-to-five" -- no more dealing with this fallen world... no more tears, no more pain -- no more sin! Hallelujah!

We are here still -- left behind to experience the pangs of missing them. And yet rejoicing, for those of us who are JESUS' own -- we know that GOD causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him, to those who are the called, according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

As for me -- i am strengthened in the knowledge that GOD is Sovereign GOD. He is all-powerful, all-wise and in all ways always good. His thoughts and His ways are beyond man's comprehension, for how can the finite understand the Infinite? And shall the clay say to the Potter, "why did You shape me this way?" or shall the canvas say to the Master Artist, "don't paint me with those dark pigments -- i only want the rosy colors"?

i will say with Job, "Though He slay me, yet will i trust Him." (Job 13:15)


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