From 17th October 2009:
The last few weeks have been profoundly sad for us as a family as our dear friend Ted Pearce, from Grace Bible Church, has deteriorated health-wise and gone to be with our Lord.
You are, I am sure, expecting me to tell you that our dear Mr Ted Pearce was a peer of ours....but he was not and this is what has made him so special to us as a family! He is my parents' age and so had no 'usual' reason to be drawn to us as a family, he had no kids our kids' age or common hobby, etc. and yet he was profoundly instrumental in making us feel at home when we first went to Grace. He had befriended every single member of our family, right down to the littlest and the shyest. Each one has had him talk to him/her on numerous occasions over the short while we have known him. Each child can relate a story from his childhood or a story about his trip to Botswana to visit his missionary daughter or information he shared with them on a topic like photography. And all this was mostly done on Sundays as we were waiting for the library work to be finished with Bev after church. Ted has known us all, loved us all and I am sure prayed for us all as individuals...men of God like this are a real rarity these days. I truly mourn at the loss of such a godly example (for my boys especially).
As a homeschooling family we are flexible enough for us all to have attended his memorial/thanksgiving service - what a blessing for us to all have been there as part of the community remembering Ted's life. (Real-life living and learning! ) And what a testimony that life was. A number of things really stood out for me....
Ted was brought up in a godly Christan family....the fruit of his parents lifestyle and love for God and him were evident in the way Ted lived his life...praise God for such families, may we be such a family too.
His daughter Sandra told of how as a little girl, she would always find her father reading his Bible and praying early in the morning in his office...always! I am sure that this is where the seeds of true love and godliness begin....in deep and consistent Bible reading and prayer and meditation. This example has led me to wonder how I could encourage all our children to remember to spent time like this with God and we have now a new habit where we all have Bible reading together at the same time. The children then share what they have learnt form their reading. As everyone is reading in a different place it has been interesting to see how God touches each person differently. We, as a family, all talk of Ted's kindness....I think kindness at this phenomenal level as Ted had, is a kindness cultured in prayer. It is the result or fruit of prayer. Such kindness may just happen in small doses for easy going, really nice people but for it to be consistent and overwhelmingly obvious as Ted's was, I believe reflects his closeness to God.
His son Rodney talked of how he felt accepted by his father, even when he did something wrong....I wonder how many children have such a wonderful testimony? Rodney called his father his best friend, someone he loved to talk with. Not only was Ted kind but he loved deeply.
His daughter Sandra now works as a missionary in Botswana with her husband, while Rodney is a pastor in America with his lovely wife and 3 children and another on the way. One of my fondest memories of Ted is seeing him with his grandchildren at the beginning of the year...sitting them on his knee and just chatting and laughing with them and with our children. Taking his littlest granddaughter by the hand and giving her juice and a biscuit at church...how precious was his love for children....one of my children said, "Mr Pearce makes me think of Jesus when he is with children."
The thing that touched me most of all at the thanksgiving/memorial service was the telling of the ways in which Ted showed his love for his wife Bev.
My last sight of Ted was of him clutching Bev's hand as they walked away from church on one of his last visits to Church. His health had deteriorated so that he could no longer talk much and yet he was showing her without words how dearly he loved her! That will forever be a picture etched on my memory!
We were told at his Thanksgiving service how he always had a marriage book besides his bed...what does that say about Ted? He must have believed one is never too wise to be reminded to love one's spouse in some special way or to learn new things about understanding one's spouse! He took his God given responsibility to love Bev very seriously -what an inspiring testimony!
It was told how he left notes for Bev to read of his love for her...and of how he would remember anniversary dates for all sorts of things. Near the end when he could barely talk, Bev took him for a drive, on the way home he kept giving Bev directions...left, left....etc. until they came to a place where they had had a romantic meal together before....he wanted to repeat the special occasion. He expressed his years of practised love for Bev so perfectly, even after he had not the words to tell of it!
I have since talked with my children, my boys especially....such charming and romantic behaviour may come more naturally to some...but it is also a choice, a practised habit, a well planned habit, a nurtured decision to be a certain way - which becomes more and more worthwhile as it goes along....to be sentimental/romantic in this way, is to encourage a friendship or to nurture a love. Even more it is God's plan to reflect His love for us His church , His bride! It is not something to be taken lightly.
I ask my boys, "practise now", if you want to be like Mr Pearce when you are older...learn to be sentimental, remember your siblings birthdays, pick a flower for your mother or sister, send a letter - put effort into relationships, put prayer into those who love you....Oh how lacking we are in our society of such a beautifully rich and full and romantic life. We are too busy, too rushed, too full, too crowded, too instant and too cluttered to cultivate romance and sentimentalities at their best.
As I come to the end my hubby who has looked over my shoulder reminds me that we have only been at Grace for about 18 months...is it really that short that we have known and loved our Mr Pearce? It feels like he has always been our family's friend. I wish it could have been for longer...but how happy I am for him that he is in the best place in all the universe -heaven! Right there close to God and happy, perfectly holy and praising God with all his might.
I was chatting to my son Jonathan....to him Mr Pearce would seem an old man- for me he was still young...a man whose life was cut short at it's best moment....he had so much more to give to so many people. So... is our God still good when a life, so lovely, is cut short by cancer?...as his son said when he preached at the memorial service...a resounding "yes, our God is still good."
God has indeed touched many people over the years through Ted's life. I know his life will affect generations to come as Ted has nurtured his wife and moulded his children - all who they come into contact with are touched with the special love Ted encouraged in them- God's love.