Sunday, September 6, 2015

Goodbye My Friend

There are so few people who know how to be real friends. I've had people in my life who called themselves friends, but when times got tough or we disagreed on something, they flew away, unable to hold true to their own declaration of friendship.

In the summer of 1977, I met Eldon Brock. He was the director of the Regular Baptist Camp of Lake Ann, Michigan, and I went there as a counselor. Before I got there, I had never been to camp before in my life. I had no idea how to be a camper, let alone a counselor, but Eldon believed in me because of my testimony of faith in Jesus Christ. Most of the people in our circles knew my husband long before they met me, but that wasn't true of Eldon Brock. I knew him first.

A few incidents stand out from my summer at Lake Ann, but nothing more drastically than the fact that Eldon Brock believed in me. He listened to me. I'm talking about looking me in the eye and really listening as though what I had to say had validity. He listened to every word I ever said to him as though he had all the time in the world just for me.

This blew me away and I have never forgotten. He was the camp director, I was nearly a waif, new in my Christian walk and not even knowing the "language" of Christianity, yet he was so incredibly kind. He treated me as an equal, not someone under him. My respect for him was sealed at Lake Ann.

Life gets full and busy and I moved on from Lake Ann, got married and had a couple quivers full of children. But, I have never forgotten how kind Eldon Brock was to me.

In the past few years, my husband got to experience a deep friendship with Eldon through E-TEM, Ethnic to Ethnic Ministries, which Eldon founded. David serves on the board of directors for E-TEM and so often, the two of them would have long, encouraging phone calls. Eldon called him just two weeks before he died and further encouraged us both through that phone call.

We got the email from Eldon's daughter, Eldonna, on August 25 that he had died. He'd known his time was coming and told us. I've never known that people could die with such grace.
I miss him already.
He had the youngest, most energetic vision for ministry I have ever seen.
He never grew tired of truly listening.
What a rare, rare friend, indeed.
Goodbye for now, my friend. We will see you again.
Until then, I will miss you and your constantly positive influence in my life.

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