Dear Friends and Family!
What a year 2019 has turned out to be. It seems to me that many major Life Events have been crammed into this year already, most of which would need a year, or more, to process and come to grips with. But God is Sovereign and merciful and we rejoice in His perfect timing for all of us.
In March of this year, I helped my mother in Arizona move from her home she had shared with our late Dad for 16 years into an independent living facility. My sister Debbie and I were able to be on hand to help with the sale of their home and the trek across Mesa, Arizona to a one-bedroom apartment. Mom seemed to have a new lease on life and worked hard to make new friends.
I returned to Cape Town early April, to the news that my cancer had metastasized into my bones. This meant a course of radiation and allowing my hip to heal. I have always been confident that God foreordained and numbered my days here on earth. I remain positive and hopeful that He will allow me to continue to serve Him in whatever capacity He sees fit.
Mom was hospitalized for low sodium and her heart condition, so I travelled back to Arizona in late July to assist in her recovery. I facilitated her move into a skilled nursing facility and after that to a group home. She just was not able to face living on her own in the apartment anymore. Her loneliness and the incredible gap that my late Father left in Mom’s life seemed insurmountable.
My sister Debbie joined me again and we began to get Mom’s affairs settled which included closing accounts and services. I think what struck me most was how I was winding up a 43-year History in Arizona. My folks had served the Lord in Missions Ministry for 66 years. 23 of those years were based in Europe and 43 of those were working from Arizona as a base (7 of those years were spent going back and forth between a home in Cape Town and Arizona).
Mom made her heavenly journey home on September 14th and we laid her to rest right next to Daddy in the Military cemetery in Arizona on September 23rd. It was a bittersweet moment, to say the least. Knowing that Mom was finally where she wanted to be, helped immensely, but I also felt a loss like never before. It was certainly the hardest thing I have ever dealt with. I remain grateful for the peace and assurance that can only come from our Heavenly Father.
I was almost 16-years old, when my parents re-located back to Arizona in 1976, so I finished High School there and went on to Northern Arizona University. I also served on staff at a Community Church, worked with my folks at their Mission and had other sundry part time jobs. The friendships I developed in Arizona during those years have lasted the span of these many years and I was really grateful for their support during this painful process. These recent nine weeks that I spent there, caring for Mom were made so much more manageable due to the backing of so many. Packing up our parent’s earthly possessions and ministry related equipment felt like the closing of a lengthy chapter, or book. There was a sense of finality to everything.
Now, back in Cape Town, I am continuously reminded of how blessed I am to have all of my family around me here. A life of Missions inadvertently always means you have to say ‘Hello’ and ‘Goodbye’. It involves lots of travel and thousands of decisions. Having my adult children here in Cape Town means, I am able to enjoy fellowship with them as they study, work, or enter a life of parenting. Many of my peers here in South Africa have no family around anymore because their adult children have all left South Africa. God is good and has blessed me indeed.
Peter and the children held the fort here valiantly in my absence, but I am so grateful to be back home again.
Thank you to each and every one of you who have encouraged and prayed for me during these last few weeks. Your notes of reassurance, or phone calls, have meant the world to me.
May our Heavenly Father bless and keep you.
Grateful for your support and friendship,
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa
To read Frontline’s Tribute to Harriett Bathman, click here.
To read Frontline’s Tribute to Rev. Bill Bathman, click here.