Life is Fleeting- Enjoy it While You Can!

As I write of the events that have shaped our lives and that of the nation during the month of February, I am very cognitive of the fact that life is very transient and fragile. In the vernacular of our day one could say “here today gone tomorrow” which reminds me of a verse from the Bible which says: “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes”. James 4:13-14 This fact has been brought home to me and my family ever so poignantly this month with the passing of my beloved sister in law Lorraine Evans and the powerful invasion of Cyclone Yasi, which devastated the homes and farms of some of our relatives in far north Queensland.

Although the residents of far north Queensland were warned of the incoming Catagory 5 Cyclone Yasi, nothing could prepare them for the  impending disaster. Nothing can describe the feeling of apprehension and horror as this massive cyclonic event, said to be the largest in Australia’s history, passed over and wrecked the livelyhood, houses and farms of thousands of Queenslanders. Betty’s cousin, Beryl Watson and her extended family of 28 adults and children sheltered in one of the newer farm houses. All escaped with their lives but their Organic Banana crop was destroyed and the roof of Peter & Beryl Watson’s home, the original farm  house, was ripped off. The surrounding forested hills  were stripped of  foliage, leaving a surreal landscape of  ‘toothpicks’ sticking out of the ground. One can only imagine how they felt as they prayed and held together in the storm. Betty’s brother John who lives in Cardwell, which possibly was the hardest hit coastal town, left with his wife Mary before ‘Yasi’ struck. Miraculously their house survived, but the Motel roof from the next street landed in their backyard inflicting minor damage.

One Cafe owner has to remain open 24/7 as the huge roller doors have been smashed and he has no way to close up his business. Other parts of the town were destroyed by the massive storm surge which took out the million dollar Marina in the nearby Hinchinbrook luxury Resort.

As I write, “Breaking News” (how ironic is the language of the media), has been broadcast around the world of a massive earthquake that struck the New Zealand city of Christchurch. Some pictures have just come through of the damage caused to the iconic Cathedral and its famous spire. One can understand the apprehension and fear that must be felt around the world as these disasters seem to occur so frequently. It is not my intention to create further anxiety by writing about these events, except that they did occur in February 2011. It certainly causes me to reflect upon the prophetic words of Jesus when He said in Matthew 24: 6-8

If Life is tenuous it is also fragile and transient. The month of February also saw the passing from this life of my dear sister in law Lorraine Evans, on Wednesday evening of the 9th February. One can be forgiven for thinking its not fair! Lorraine was such a vibrant personality who lived her life to the full with the sole purpose of pleasing God. She along with her husband Andrew achieved more than most in her life time and would be the first to acknowledge the grace of God in it all. Lorraine was one of those people who were gifted in so many ways. My brother Andrew’s tribute to her is worth publishing. Here it is as a legacy of her life:

Andrew’s Tribute to Lorraine

One of the wonderful gifts that God has given me is the gift of my wife Lorraine. For 48 years we walked together in a fantastic partnership that by God’s grace has blest many. Lorraine was an incredible support to me in my many activities which Included missionary service in Papua New Guinea and over 30 years of Service in Paradise Community Church. I couldn’t have done it without her. She was an incredible mother who trained her children in the ways of the Lord in their earliest years and never stopped praying for them.
She was a deeply spiritual and Godly person who practiced her Christianity 24 hours per day. I would watch her consistent and daily Personal devotion to Jesus Christ and deep love for the Word of God, Her practical compassion for the under privileged, her loyalty to her Church and her commitment to serve wherever asked. She was an outstanding example of a Christian leader.
She had a great sense of humour and our life together was fun. The whole church knew of our public banter from the pulpit which was a public demonstration of what went on every day in our home. Life was never dull with Lorraine.
She was an outstanding Bible Teacher and could present the truth with clarity, forcefully and with an anointing. In the many emails we have received one common thread through was that her ministry changed people’s lives.
I can never repay her for her total devotion and faithfulness to me these 48 years. She was unique and will be sadly missed, however in her passing there was a powerful sense of the Holy Spirit shared by myself and two sons.
Thank you for the thousands of people who prayed for her recovery. Both Lorraine & I wanted her to live but the all-knowing God must have had a great reason to take her and I willingly submit to that.
A special thanks to the loving and professional care of the nurses and volunteer staff of the Mary Potter Hospice and especially Dr. Greg Crawford for his attention to Lorraine and the family.
I Love you Lorraine and I will miss you. Your loving and grateful husband. Andrew.

The funeral service for Lorraine Evans was held at the Paradise Community Church which incidently was built during the tenure of her ministry with Andrew as Senior Pastors of the Church in 1982. The Ivan Butler Funeral Directors stated that it was the largest funeral that they have ever undertaken. Indeed from my memory of over 50 years experience in Church life it was the largest attendance of any pentecostal leader that I have ever witnessed in Australia. Surpassing even the attendance of the late Pastor Leo Harris of the Christian Revival Crusade in the 1960s. Over 2000 people came from far and near to celebrate this amazing event in honour of the life of Ps. Lorraine Evans. National leaders of the ACC – Assemblies of God, Pastors Brian Houston & Wayne Alcorn spoke in honour of her life. The service was led by her first born son Ashley. Her second son Russell of Planet Shakers – Melbourne led the Worship. A viewing of  the service can be found by clicking onto the following link: Funeral Service for Ps. Lorraine Evans (please allow over a minute to download this large file). After the service the family privately buried Lorraine at the Enfield Memorial Park where a significant number of Pentecostal believers are buried including my parents T L & Stella Evans. The Pallbearers were the sons, grandsons & nephew of Lorraine & Andrew. The burial was a sad yet happy occasion as we sang “When we all get to heaven what a day of rejoicing that will be.” Andrew was dignified in his grief as he laid to rest his beloved Lorraine after 48 years marriage, in the beautiful grounds of the Enfield Memorial Park. The positive power of his Christian faith sustained him in his hour of need as he bowed his heart and mind to the sovereign will of an all knowing and loving God.

Romans 8:35-39 comes to mind when such sorrow seeks to overwhelm. Dying in faith as a Christian maybe humanly sad but it is not terminal, for we have this confidence that we shall meet again. The alternative of dying agnostic or as a non believer is not worth even contemplating. Think about it!

Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

1 Thessalonians 4:16

February was indeed a torrid month with so many crisis to handle and yet as always God’s grace came through just when we needed it. My brother Andrew loss is indeed a tragic event in his life, as with us also. But he is finding the Fathers grace and care sufficient for each day. He has been able to get about and meet up with old colleagues whom he was instrumental in supporting in their early years of ministry. Betty & I hope to visit many of our friends including our son Ted in Whyalla before he and his wife Kylie take up their new ministry posting as Senior Pastors of Acts International – Caloundra in April. We God willing, return to our home in Brisbane at the end of next month.

I would like to thank all those in the facebook network of friends and the many internet contacts who regularly read the pages of our Web Site. Thank you for your prayerfulness and interest in my brothers journey. May God bless you and lets expect good things to happen in Jesus Name!

 
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3 Responses to “Life is Fleeting- Enjoy it While You Can!”

  1. Trcia Holmes Says:

    Dear Fred and Betty,

    Ross and I are so sorry for your loss. Please pass on our condolences to Andrew when you see him again.

    It was very good seeing the photos and reading your blog, and Andrew’s farewell speech to his lovely wife. We of course did not know her personally, but had quite a bit to do with her sister Margaret Nicholson and Maurice when we lived at Coolum and they at Valdora on their farm.

    Trust you are both keeping well.
    We think of you often and look forward to catching up when you return to Brisbane.

    Love to Betty and yourself,
    from
    Tricia and Ross.

  2. Ros Bradshaw Says:

    Dear Fred and Betty,

    Thanks for sharing. I caught up with this via Glenys Hovey on facebook. Isn’t technology incredible.

    Indeed life is fleeting and fragile. Father God has entrusted to us a part to play in His ongoing drama of redemption, and allotted the time we have. May He, the Almighty One, strengthen and enable each one of us to fulfil His plans for our lives.

    May the Lord be with you and yours. Greetings to Andrew, Ted and others in your family.

    In Him
    Ros

  3. connie Says:

    Dear Fred and Betty – I caught up with David and Chris Wood the other day – David was here in Toowoomba for a business meeting and they told us about the passing of dear Lorraine. I will always remember the ‘elective’ she took (that I attended in my early days as a Christian) in Klemzig. Her knowledge of the word and her joy were palpable. Our thoughts are with you all at this sad time.
    Bless
    Connie

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