It is with a heavy heart that I write to you today. Many of you already know that my husband Tom went home to be with the Lord on Friday June 14th. It was heartbreaking to see him go but I realize that God was merciful in taking him home. Tom suffered great physical affliction over the past several months dealing with severe pain caused by a lack of blood flow within his right foot. A vascular surgeon had great determination to open up his arteries in the right leg and foot to restore the circulation. After much prayer offered on Tom's behalf from all around the country and three surgeries later, his healing was not meant to be. Then on May 31, 2019 the surgeon amputated Tom's right leg because tissue in the foot began to deteriorate. My hope, of course, all along was for healing and rehabilitation so he could come home again and resume activities with the best quality of life possible. It wasn't meant to be and we know that Tom is now with the Lord in Heaven perhaps rejoicing with his own mother, father, and sister who went on before him. And we trust he has encountered many saints as well from his 60 years in the ministry. We are especially thankful that Tom no longer suffers and never really had to deal with life as an amputee.
The first week following his death has been difficult with the necessity of making arrangements, holding visitation at the funeral home, then traveling 3 1/2 hours to a graveside committal service; plus taking care of a great number of other details. Family has been with me for the past two weeks and many friends and supporters have called and sent cards and flowers for which I will be eternally grateful. Some had even visited Tom in the hospital and he appreciated those visits as well.
Tom was buried in Dennison Corners, NY on June 21st within a quarter mile from the first church he pastored as a church planting missionary. The location would be significant to him as he had decided to return to the location where his ministry first started on November 1, 1959. His final resting place is among saints that were saved in his first church that had passed away prior to him. The day was sunny and bittersweet but a sweet testimony was given with comments of Tom's life and ministry. It was realized how Tom's life and ministry had impacted so many others. We found comfort in the words spoken. It was stated from John 14:2-3 "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also." We miss Tom but we praise the Lord that he is in Heaven now and no longer has to suffer in his earthly body.
How do I carry on and where do I go from here you may ask. Days ahead will be a little challenging to say the least because we were so involved in ministry together for the past 60 years. The work of Church Planters to America will go on without Tom and for that I am thankful. The week of July 22nd will be the beginning of our Annual Missionary Pastor's Retreat here at headquarters. During the retreat I will be as involved as ever by housing and hosting the missionaries and assisting in food preparation and attending the meetings. Although this will be the first retreat without Tom, I am sure his presence will be felt as the missionaries and C.P.A. board meet together to make decisions about the future. Tom's passion in life was to preach and share the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Many folks know he was burdened for small town America and he had a vision to help reopen closed churches and help revive struggling churches. When the retreat is over things will settle back down here at headquarters. As I move forward I will still be involved in the ministry of C.P.A.. I have always worked behind the scenes administratively as Tom preached and we traveled together in ministry. Each day on behalf of the mission I must make the post office runs, keep ledgers, make deposits as well as take care of other details around the C.P.A. office. I am not sure how many more years the Lord will use me here but for the meantime I will continue Tom's legacy by assisting the C.P.A. ministry here at headquarters. Please pray for me as I adjust to life without Tom. He is greatly missed and he did so much for me and the ministry. Also please pray that I will have strength and protection as I continue to support the work. For those of you that choose to continue on with financial support I am grateful and will report from time to time on how God is continuing to use me. I am trusting the Lord to meet my every need and for the ministry of Church Planters to America to continue on under great leadership in honor of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Still to come, there will be a memorial service for Tom on July 22nd at 3:00 PM at C.P.A. headquarters in Almond NY. I would most certainly like to invite everyone to come.
Yours, Serving Christ,
Your C.P.A. Missionary