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  • Writer's pictureThe CLM Team

Until we meet again Passing of Steve Dawson


Time To Say Goodbye It was time for you to go our hearts are breaking We have to say goodbye now through the tears Not sure how we will get along without you You’ve been our brother for so many years. I know that you are happy up in Heaven I wouldn’t call you back now if I could But my heart, my mind, my thoughts are always with you And I know God works all things for our good. But still the memories creep when least expected Times of childhood drifting through my mind A song, a story told with tears and laughter Will fill the hearts of those you left behind. Velma Dawson Griffis

Pastor Tim Dyke of Rivermont Baptist Church had asked me to share something short at Steve's funeral. Funerals are hard...normally, I speak without notes, but knowing how hard funerals are, I jotted a few thoughts to keep me on track. Well, they are hard and I walked up forgetting my notes. So much I wanted to say, but how can you compress your thoughts of a loved one you have known, literally, all of my life. He was my oldest brother after all, anyway, at this point, I don't even remember what I did share, I hope it made sense. But here is what I was supposed to talk about from my notes.

Steve and Gary were asked to get up in church to sing during our first furlough. (Dad always maintained we were a missionary family and as such, we had to share the good and the bad.) Well, for us kids, one of the "baddest" parts we had to share was Dad had no qualms about volunteering any of us once he was already up. He would seem to pick a name of one of us at random, and announce that "so and so" wanted to sing, or share or whatever. So on this day, while already standing up to talk, he announced with the straightest face that, Steve and Gary were going to come up and sing. They bravely marched up, this would have been in 1958 or so, so Steve would have been about 8 and Gary about 7. They sang their song in Yanomamö and then made their way back to the pew where we were all sitting.

As soon as they had taken their seats, a lady from the pew behind them, reached over and handed them each a crisp one dollar bill. Steve looked at it in awe and said in a whisper to Gary, a whisper I might add the entire church could hear. "I would have sung better if I would have known they were going to pay me." He beamed. Poor mom about fainted.

I was also going to share how one dark, dismal and very rainy day, while paddling up the river, they came to an encampment of Yanomamö also hunting. They had made camp early due to the rain and already had their lean to up. Steve and his party climbed out of their boat and made their way up to the lean to hoping to be invited in to get out of the rain. Possibly, because he thought this "nabä" or foreigner would have matches the witchdoctor did exuberantly did invite them in. Steve assured him he would be glad to give him his matches, but they, unfortunately, were wetter than his fire sticks. They watched in fascination as the old witchdoctor went back to trying to make a fire with his very wet fire sticks. So wet in fact, they were not working. He bravely kept spinning the stick chanting to this demons to give him fire. Nothing!

Finally, he turned and looked directly at Steve defiantly and almost shouted. "Will Steve's Supreme Being give me fire?" Steve later told us that it was almost as if someone had put a firecracker at the end of his spinning stick because with a loud crackle , the end of the man's stick burst into flames. Steve told me, the hardest part for me was trying not to act surprised myself. Steve was in his mid teens when this happened. We serve an awesome God!

Then, I wanted to tell how Steve and Gary had taught me how to swim. I am not sure what their follow up plan was going be, but Steve just picked me up and tossed me nonchalantly into the swiftly flowing river. Thankfully, I swam.

I will never forget one of Steve's favorite sayings. "It will feel really good when it stops hurting..." Well, thinking of him walking around with his mouth open in awe in heaven is starting to feel pretty good. Thanks for your prayers for our family.

Then out at the gravesite, Pastor Tim reminded us that Steve has no more hope or faith. "Faith and hope are only needed when there is no sight!" He added.

How true! How awesome it must be to get to heaven and have full sight of all we have hoped and longed for as we bravely walked "by faith and not by sight." Steve is now walking by sight! No more need of faith. Almost sounds blasphemous, but praise HIM! it is Jesus who gives us the hope of the resurrection and it is Jesus who gives us sight! Can't wait!

Something else I was thinking of was, when Jairus came and called Jesus because his daughter was sick and Jesus started going with him, before they had gone far, some from Jairus' household came and told him his daughter was dead and to stop bothering the teacher, Jesus turned to him and said, "Don't be afraid, just believe." They went on to Jairus' house and as Jesus passed the mourners and heard their loud wails, he told them, "The girl is not dead, only sleeping." They laughed him to scorn. Unbelievers are still laughing at the Christian faith but we are told, "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints."

In 2 Corinthians chapter 5 verses 6 - 9 we are told "Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him." Thanks so much for your continued prayers for our family. We, as I have said so many times, are honored to be your partners in this ministry! Thank you! Michael and Keila

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