Nine years ago today, many of us had no idea what the next day would hold. Not many were aware of horrible choices that led to horrible events on 9/11. But nine years ago today, my friend Genessa died in Egypt. She was a Journeyman missionary with the Southern Baptist Church. And I had the privilege of knowing Genessa. Today I write in remembrance to honor Genessa and also to spur you on in this Foyer to meet with God and let Him have your hurts, your pain, your sorrow and turn it into something beautiful. He is all about Resurrection. It is His way.
So I invite you into this place today to remember, to reflect, to recollect and let our Savior resurrect–from ashes to beauty. I think that is what Genessa would want you to know.
I didn’t know Genessa very well. She was the best friend of a friend and co-laborer of mine named Katie. They were both college students at a local university. We welcomed her into our home for dinner. We laughed with her. She even came and spent the night when we had an Acteens (7-12th grade girls’ missions group) sleepover at my home. We had so much fun! We ate snacks, had a talent contest, and played chubby bunny (where you put a marshmallow in one at a time and say the words “chubby bunny” until you can’t add anymore marshmallows–it wasn’t the safest idea!). We laughed and giggled and watched fun movies (I had a newborn and was so proud to have stayed up ’til 4am). Also, Genessa had a music recording made with a group of girls she sang with and my favorite song on it was “Adonai.”
Genessa was full of life and laughter and shall I add silliness? She was a southern girl with a beautiful voice. It was amazing to hear her speaking voice and then hear her sing. Her speaking voice was playful, joyful and childlike. When she sang? It was like a different woman took over–with a rich, smooth, bell-like quality. Both sounds were delightful to my ears. I felt safe with her and knew that she liked me. Perhaps, she liked silly people, too. I remember distinctly her costume at Fall Festival one year. She was a puppy, which is so much fun–just like Genessa.
Genessa went off on the mission field in North Africa for a two year stint. The week she was to return home to Houston and her family, she was touring in the region of Sinai and her bus struck a truck in the early morning before sun up. Genessa died at age 24 in the crash on September 10, 2001. In the wake of 9-11, they were unable to ship her body back to the states for a couple of weeks. It crushed her parents, her friends and all who knew her.
Here is a quote from Genessa that I found in an article by Erich Bridges: “It seems that everything we do comes down to one thing: His glory,” she said. “I pray that all our lives reflect that. …It seems like a floodgate has been opened in my heart (to share God’s love). I have a passion for it I never knew God had given me. He’s given it to me for His glory.”
I remember when I heard she had died asking God, “Why?” She was so vital and loved Jesus so much. She loved telling others about the Lord! I still don’t know why this side of Heaven, but I know that she was an unabashed worshipper of Christ. I want to be that way!
Also, I heard that she had shared Christ with an unbeliever the night before, and I remember thinking, that’s exactly how I want to live. Moment by moment making the most of every opportunity.
I look forward to seeing her someday in Heaven. I am excited to see all those that she told about Jesus and they received Him in their hearts because she emulated Him well.
I guess the reason I’m writing about Genessa is because there are so many college students worth getting to know–worth investing time and laughter into their lives. Perhaps like Genessa, they will go therefore and make disciples of all nations, as Jesus instructed us to do. Perhaps like Genessa, they will touch your life forever. FOR HIS GLORY!
So today in the FOYER, I invite you to bring your sorrows and your sadness, your tears even. I can barely see the screen for tears right now. Sometimes, you just plain miss someone. Like Martha and Mary, sometimes your sorrow over the loss of a loved one is beyond what you can hold. Please know this, before Jesus resurrected Lazarus, He wept. He wept! And He weeps with you today. He may not resurrect in the same way, as He did with Lazarus, no. But He will make it new–He will do something beautiful and wonderful from it! He will not allow it to be for naught. Even the horrible events on 9/11, He will come and apply His own beautiful resurrection there. I believe it. I know Him. He could do nothing other than bring life–He is our wonderful Life-Giver, Life-Restorer and He wastes nothing.