I would love to tell you about my journey here with Mercy Ships, but my first update comes with a broken heart from a story back home. Today I found out that a great husband and father, Kevin Heaton, found his new home in heaven after a fight with cancer took his life. My heart and prayers go out to Laurie and her two children Taylor and Jacob.
I can remember seeing Laurie, Kevin and the kids in the last row of chairs at the church. I remember that chemotherapy was very hard and Kevin’s strength allowed him to make it to the back row.
Those days were my last memory of seeing Kevin. I believe he set a great example to his wife and children. I can only believe that his fight wasn’t easy, but his faithfulness to give to the Lord was an example that would bring any God fearing man to recognize a divine characteristic that Kevin portrayed to the entire congregation – including his wife and kids.
I know Kevin showed me that even through life’s toughest battles, if you have the will, Christ will give you the strength to persevere even through the most challenging circumstances. Even though he didn’t have very much energy, he tried to spend an hour together with his family and God. This was so encouraging – a true role model to all.
As much as we prayed to see a miracle happen in Kevin’s life, I believe he was the miracle. Through his commitment to the Lord and his family, he offered amazing encouragement to the congregation. His quiet and humble spirit gently demonstrated a Christ-like example that filled the sanctuary regardless of others awareness. Kevin helps me remember that no matter what challenges I’m facing, when you’re seeking God with your challenges, you’re honoring God. He also took each step with his family by his side and we will be blessed to remember him through the gifts that he instilled in his family from those actions.
I mostly remember Kevin from our interactions at church, but I worked with Laurie and Taylor at Akers School while working for Central Union School District. Even though she may not have known it, Laurie continued to encourage me at work – smiling and always saying hi. I can also say the same about Taylor. It amazed me that they both showed confidence and a good spirit through the storm they were facing back at home, and I am so grateful to have been able to witness their endurance through this challenging time.
Kevin’s memorial services will be on Saturday Sept 21, 2013 at 11am. His services will be held at South Valley Community Church in Lemoore, California.
If you can, please consider supporting Laurie, Taylor and Jacob this month. The Lord has blessed me with sufficient funding for the next month and right now it is the Heaton’s that could use your love. It would be a blessing if you lifted their family up in prayer and considered giving to them to support any unexpected expenses that might come up for them. There is a support page were you can give a gift below.
May God bless your prayers and multiply your offerings.
My second update is more about ship life. I wanted to share about Gods faithfulness to those who serve Him. One great lesson I’ve experienced onboard Mercy Ships is about Gods financial blessing. This was a very foreign concept to me. My life has consisted of working for what you get. If I needed something, I worked for it.
Every month I’ve been onboard, I’ve had enough money in my crew bank account to pay my crew fees. In case you didn’t know, Mercy Ships doesn’t pay the crew to be on the ship, the crew pays Mercy Ships to serve onboard. I can understand how this backwards model of living seems impossible to many, but with God all things are possible.
The world says to hold on to as much as possible, but God blesses those who give freely of their possessions, time, and energy. When we give, God supplies us with more so that we can give more. Giving also helps us gain a right perspective on our possessions. We realize they were never really ours to begin with, but they were given to us by God to be used to help others.
I am so grateful to everyone who God has used to support me through your prayers, time and resources. Thank you.
“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” – Proverbs 11: 25
I encourage you to seek the Lord for everything in your life. I pray you will strive to live to glorify Him in all you say and do. I hope that you can find encouragement in this quick update. I plan to share more soon, including patient and personal stories.
I miss you all.