Yesterday I spent a good part of the day weeping. One of our most loved supporters died on Christmas day and we just got the news. She had been battling cancer for over ten years. She came to visit us for the first time in 2007 on a CMA trip and we became instant friends after that.
She would write us on a weekly basis with an encouraging word. She would send us 3-4 care packs a year, she would mail cards on our birthdays. She would pray for us consistently. She arranged for us to have a vehicle while we were on our last furlough and drove it from Perry, GA to Orlando, FL to deliver it to us. Seriously, who does that? There are very few people like Anita in our lives. Although we rejoice that she is no longer suffering, we mourn this great loss and wonder, "Who will fill the void that she left?" She not only was our cheerleader, she sent packages overseas to our soldiers (she served in the U.S. Air Force for 24 years) and she was very active in her church and her local CMA chapter.
Just today I picked up the package she had sent us in November. It was the only package we received the whole year. I couldn't help but tell the customs clerk about the loving sender of the package. When she got really ill, she couldn't send packages any more. I told the clerk she probably wouldn't see me again, because Anita was the only person who ever sent us anything. The clerk responded, "It seems like she sent this last package as a kiss from heaven." Yes, it felt like that.
When the customs agent opened the package, the tears started to flow again. She sent a little something for everyone, even Esther Anahi's first ornament, a motorcycle toy for Timmy, cashews for Norberto and a devotional book for me. It was a treasure, not because of the contents, but because it was in a sense, sent from heaven with so much love.
When I was telling my mom through tears about this great loss of a servant, she said, "Pray that God would raise up more people like Anita to be a part of your team. It might take five people to do what she did, but God will provide." We are praying that very prayer.
She wanted to come on this year's CMA trip and had even signed up, but had to back out because of her health. We were hoping to see her on furlough this coming summer, but we'll look forward to laughing with her in heaven. We thank God for Anita's full life, love, giving heart and her tremendous legacy.