Pastor Darrell.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable; if anything is excellent or praiseworthy; think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me; put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9 

The attached photo was taken in the office where I worked in Petionville, Haiti probably in the fall of 2002 and this was not a selfie.  There are three men in the photo who were of great help to me and my wellbeing; John Hall in the navy blue shirt, Darrell Stuehrenberg leaning against the stone wall in the dark gray shirt and Paul Klenner in the really dark shirt sitting in front of his hat; I treasure having known each of them and see them here sitting beside each other and was blessed when they came along side during my journey here on earth.  I learned on Tuesday that Pastor Darrell had completed his work here on earth and is now celebrating with John Hall in Paradise.  My heart sank in the same way as it did when I learned of John’s passing several years ago.  Please join me in surrounding in our prayers Linda, their three children, grandchildren and family as they mourn.  As I look at that photo I recall just how hot it was in that office on that day and how John, Darrell and I were the workers usually wearing “two shades” of whatever color shirt we were wearing as each of us did excel in perspiration.   

When I would leave Haiti because of visa requirements and come to Davie, FL Pastor Darrell and Linda would occasionally take me out to dinner and from time to time Pastor would take me to breakfast at the local Waffle House where the staff knew his name or once in a while we met Pastor Jim Tino at the IHOP.  Back in the day Pastor Darrell wasn’t a fan of the computer and I would get a chuckle when his Administrative Assistant Helen would print his E-mail and joyfully shout from her office; “Pastor…you’ve got mail” and deliver it to the basket on his desk.  He would later become proficient at the computer and I always enjoying reading his Sermon previews that were sent out as they told about the relationships of the scriptures and the hymns for that Sunday.  Pastor Darrell had a true heart for the people in Haiti and the more time I got to spend at his church in Davie it became evident that his compassion for people was strongly felt there as well.  I opened today with one of his favorite passages from Philippians and I always think of him whenever it appears in a Bible study.  From time to time I enjoyed hearing from him when he asked me to let him share something I had written in a devotion, or tell me he had used one of my devotions to open a meeting or frequently he suggested a different hymn that I might have closed one of my devotions with as he had a vast memory of hymns…ALL hymns.  I am going to close today with the words to ‘Beautiful Savior’ as Jesus was the reason for Pastor Darrell’s hope and also for us who are left on this side of Heaven who treasure from having known him. 

“Beautiful Savior, King of Creation, Son of God and Son of Man!  Truly I'd love Thee, truly I'd serve Thee, Light of my soul, my Joy, my Crown.  Fair are the meadows, fair are the woodlands, robed in flowers of blooming spring; Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer; He makes our sorrowing spirit sing.  Fair is the sunshine, fair is the moonlight, bright the sparkling stars on high; Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer, than all the angels in the sky.  Beautiful Savior, Lord of the nations, Son of God and Son of Man!  Glory and honor, praise, adoration, now and forevermore be Thine! 

Dear Heavenly Father, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown.  Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.  Amen.  

May God be with you…Jay