On Sunday night we had the most amazing “home going” celebration you can imagine as we celebrated the life of our dear friend John Chandler. Sunday was full of tears, laughter, singing, Scripture, and bringing glory to God as we celebrated the life of His servant and our friend, John.
I sat and listened to the speakers tell stories about John’s life and how the Lord had used him to impact the lives of the people at Western Village Academy, Britton Christian Church, and our community. My heart swelled within me as I listened to the kids from John’s school sing, “Proud,” and “Take The Lord With You.” It was an experience I will never forget.
We were so blessed to have John’s mother, Darlene Simmons, and her dear friends, James and Markenna Duff, with us on Sunday morning for worship and Sunday night for John’s memorial service. John’s mother was overwhelmed by all of the people who had been blessed by her son during his time here in Oklahoma City. We need to continue to pray for John’s family as the Lord leads them through this time of great sorrow, but we can also take heart in knowing that there is not a doubt in their minds that John is home, his mission is accomplished, and his legacy lives on each of you who were touched by his deep love for the Lord.
As I looked out over the many people who who had come to be a part of John’s memorial service I thought about the first day that John arrived here in Oklahoma City less than three years ago. He came here for a fresh start. He wanted to put his past behind him. He wanted to live a new life, a life lived for the cause of his King. After John was killed the newspaper announced that a “missionary from Mississippi” had been shot and killed. When I first heard that phrase it caught me off guard. “Missionary” wouldn’t have been the word I would have used to describe the kid I met at Ted’s Escondido. He didn’t know any of us, he didn’t know what to expect, he just knew he wanted a fresh start. What John “was” on the day her arrived in Oklahoma City was not who he became during the course of the past two plus years. The Lord has worked mightily in John’s life. John loved the Word of God, he took his sin so serious, as an affront to Almighty God, and he desired to share God’s grace and mercy with everyone he met. John couldn’t see it happening, but a transformation was taking place each day, and just as Saul was transformed into Paul so John became “The Missionary From Mississipp.” What a story!