I've known Kelly since my Junior High days. I met her through Teens for Christ and Bible Quizzing. Her love for youth and a desire for genuine faith ignited something inside me.
Kelly had the tendency to be a friend to anyone whether they belonged or not. Her ability to relate to young adults made it easy to open up to her about life and personal struggles.
I remember leadership trips with Teens for Christ where we would stay up late just to talk with Kelly and hear stories and laugh about what we did during the day. There were always inside jokes that continued for years even at Kelly's expense. No matter where we were or what we were doing Kelly always had a listening ear to each of us. My own friends from youth group days are some of my closest friends and so I know spending this time together remembering Kelly and who she was is something each of us hold dear.
Kelly was always involved in volunteering, whether it was setting up for VBS, Bible Quiz events, Spa night at youth group, summer girls Bible study--if Kelly was involved she was going to do it right. One summer we did a study on the book "Captivating," by Stasi Eldredge and Kelly had a new adventure for us each time we came over. One of Kelly's most endearing qualities was her ability to bond with others. To meet people where they were at, knowing God sees them and loves them. I know that her decision to step back from Teens for Christ and Bible Quizzing because of her health was not an easy one.
As I made decisions of my own, where to go for college, going on a missions trip or becoming a missionary I knew I needed Kelly's advice. Many discussions at her kitchen counter ended late and always left me in good spirits. Her love for others was so evident in the way she spoke, served and was.
1 Timothy 4:12 says; "Don't let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all Believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith and your purity."
Often I am challenged by this verse. Kelly's love for youth was rooted in knowing that God was putting together some amazing testimonies.
For her family...
Jim I saw your patience with all of us girls coming over and staying late. Thank you for your caring spirit as she was sick. What an example you have been of a Christian husband and father.
Cori, Jake, Trevor, Caleb and baby Ellie--thank you for sharing such an amazing woman with so many. Kelly really changed so many lives in ways we'll never know. I know her time away from home was a sacrifice but I am eternally grateful for the time she was given and the time I was able to spend with her.
My last trip to Minnesota we talked about what God has been teaching us and how it was playing out in our lives. We both said God was showing us how much he loves us, how when we least deserve it God forgives us and cares for us. She talked about how God's desire was and is to heal and that is what happened to Kelly-she stands before an Almighty God healed from all earthly sickness. While on earth Kelly really lived out her faith in a way that was real and used opportunities in daily life to witness to others.
1 John 3:18-19 says; "Dear children let's not merely say that we love each other, let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God." My prayer is that we would choose to love our neighbors, to live life worthy of a purpose greater than ourselves, that we would surrender our life to the Creator of the universe to bring Him glory.
Kel Kel you have been my mentor and friend. I'm going to miss talking with you, laughing with you and praying with you. Thank you for serving, for loving and listening to me when I needed to talk and for your wisdom that will be instilled in my spirit. You talked about how God was going to use your sickness for his glory and I believe He is. Your legacy of servanthood is evident to so many. I am thankful for you and honored to have been apart of seeing God work through you. Love you Kel
Picking out some Hallmark cards
Sleepover at the cabin for spa night