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Dear Joel,
I’ve had my fair share of bumps and bruises, broken bones, and I’ve given birth naturally; yet the most painful thing
I have had to live through is losing you. This pain sometimes takes my breath away, knocks me to the ground, and holds
on for such a long time. But other times, it squeezes my heart at different moments and nobody sees the pain. There are
so many things I wish I could change. Everything is now measured by when you were here, when we were a couple, and
then when I became a single mom. Things don’t even come close to what we thought we would be doing or where we
were headed. You are missed beyond measure.

With Love, Collette
It had only been 7 months since Joel and I arrived to start our missions work in The Netherlands. We were so
excited about what the Lord was doing in our lives, but on August 13, 2013, God allowed Joel (only 25 years old)
to step into His Presence because of a tragic car/truck accident. This made no sense to me at all. We were on fire
for the Lord and doing everything we knew the Lord had called us to do. Suddenly, I was left to raise our three
babies ages 4,2,10 mos. alone. We were forced to quickly leave the people and country that we had worked so hard
and long to get to.

So what do I do now? I still find myself asking that question, and this year I have focused on it a lot. As much as my
children and I miss Joel, I continue to take steps to grow closer to my Lord and Saviour and to teach my children
to do the same. Yes, the pain is real, but it is not constant. You do learn how to move on in spite of it. Our God
has been faithful and continues to see us through. I choose to focus on praising Him. Ps. 71:14 “But I will hope
continually, and will yet praise Thee more and more.”
Sometimes I look at our life today and wish that I could just get a glimpse of what the future God has for us holds.

These last four years without Joel have been far from easy. Honestly, many times thoughts of giving up have entered
my mind, but I don’t let them linger. At times, I do struggle with the fact that he is not here to be a daddy to our
children, or to take our son to a hockey game, or be involved in their daily lives. They struggle with that at times too.

Decisions that once fell on Joel’s shoulders are now my responsibilities. The natural inclination when our
hearts are broken is to run and hide. Many times, since the accident, I have fallen to my knees and cried out
to God wondering how He will use this for His Glory. But I am reminded that I am not alone in being a single
parent, and even as I ask that question, I have to admit
that I know the answer. We have a loving God who
walks with us each step of the way and while trusting
Him in times of great weakness isn’t always the easiest
thing to do, I know it’s the best thing – the right thing
– to always trust Him. Proverbs 3:5, 6 “Trust in the
LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own
understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and
He shall direct thy paths.”
Near the one-year anniversary of Joel’s homegoing,
Bro. and Mrs. Baughman came to our home near
Toronto to see how we were doing. As a young
missionary, he had been in my place – in our 20s
when our spouses were killed in tragic accidents on
the field - suddenly single parents with little ones –
not knowing what God’s Plan was or the purpose. As
we talked - other than gender – our emotions and
challenges were almost identical. But the Lord was
faithful and here was Bro. B all these years later, a living
example of God’s Grace, faithfulness, and victoriously
living on the other side of loss and recovery – using
his experience to minister to me. He truly did know
just how I felt. I, too, want to be that example and help
to others who may walk in our shoes one day!
6 CAMP BIMI