Cheery but tearful goodbyes are pretty common around here as people graduate programs and move on with their lives. Just this week, we said goodbye to at least three interns who spent their few short weeks of summer helping people in need get their lives back on track.
One of these interns worked just down the hall in our PR department. More than a couple times he was very helpful in getting photos of special events this summer. In the short time we had to get to know him, he quickly endeared himself to just about everyone here. Krumm has served at the Mission as an intern for three years now. And as he returns to school this fall, his absence at the Mission will be felt once again. That’s part of his legacy here at the Mission.
Another staff member I’ve grown to respect is also moving on and will be pastoring a church soon. It’s a great opportunity, and we’re all glad for him. But we’ll miss him too.
I guess I’m just a little nostalgic today. Yesterday, I learned that a good friend from my previous job just passed away this week. Ron Sonius was like a substitute grandparent to me. During my first internship after college, Ron and his wife Pauline allowed me to stay in their home while I interned at SIM USA, an international mission organization based in Charlotte, NC.
With 40 years of missionary experience in Ghana and Liberia, Ron was always full of stories. Stories like the time he put his car up on blocks, took the tire off one wheel and used a piece of wood to lock the gas pedal in place to a certain speed. He then proceeded to link that rotating wheel hub to a generator so he could power his tools and finish building a school house in a remote area of West Africa.
When I met Ron, he was in his later years, but he was still as mischievous and feisty as ever. And he was always quick with a joke, even after a stroke left him less than quick on his feet.
Whenever I would ask him how he was, he would reply with a laugh, “Well, I’m here, but I’m not all there.”
It’s people like Ron who speak volumes into our lives even over a short period of time, and as I came in early today for breakfast at The Crossing, I’m reminded of the power God has given each of us to speak into the lives of other people.
Just this morning, I passed by Frank, the first person I ever interviewed for our monthly Mission newsletter (featured in January 2015). Still ripe with sarcasm, Frank’s always good for a laugh if you don’t take yourself too seriously. As we chatted, I learned that he’s got a job moving cars from the train yard to dealerships around the area. It’s good to see him enjoying work and life.
And then inside I saw Mitch, a New Life Program participant. He was pouring a cup of coffee and bouncing to the music on the Christian radio station that was playing in the background.
“You’re not having a good day at all, are you?” I asked Mitch sarcastically.
“Hey brother,” came his usual reply. “Today’s my day off. I’m heading up to the clinic to get some medicine, and maybe on the bus I can find someone to talk to about Jesus.”
My mind froze for a second. That right there is why we do what we do. It’s why we struggle through life with the men and women who come to us for help. It’s why I stop and talk to guys like Frank and Mitch when I see them, to ask them how they are doing. And it’s the legacy we leave behind with every life we help change here at Denver Rescue Mission.
So if you’ve been a part of that work through an internship, volunteering, supporting the Mission financially, or simply investing into the lives of staff like my friend Ron did with me, thank you. You will never know how important your legacy is in the lives of the people you touch every day.