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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!

We have a wonderful church family and Pastor. Annita (8), Timothy (6), and Annalise (5) go to our Christian school and
are growing into these amazing little individuals. Timothy enjoys all sports with his favourite being hockey, just like his
daddy. Annita and Annalise are both in gymnastics, enjoy music lessons and all things girly. At this point, I’m enjoying
being a mom to my munchkins and excited to see what the Lord has for us this upcoming year.

Perhaps you’re thinking, “I’m not in this situation. I have no idea how to relate. If only I knew how to help and be a
blessing.” Bro. B and I made a short list of ‘Little Things’ that can mean so much, not just to young widow(er)s w/ or
w/o children, but to others who are missing a parent-spouse too.

Kids  Invite sons w/o dads to Father-Son events, ball games or ‘guy’ things, even if you have a son.

 Invite daughters w/o moms to Mother-Daughter events, even if you have a daughter.

 Offer to show/teach them new things that the remaining parent can’t.

Home  Frozen meals (great help especially for widowers w/young children)
 Offer Mr. Fix-it skills if needed i.e. winterizing the home for Northerners - widow(er)s or help with yard work -
widows w/children.

 Get a few ladies to help w/cleaning occasionally - for widow(er)s w/children
Widow(er)  ‘Borrow’ the kids for a few hours – maybe the park/bike ride/baking cookies
 A note of encouragement or phone call ‘Praying for you’ or a fun card to the kids with a note inside – or even a treat.

 A phone call, especially evenings (the loneliest time for widow(er)s w/children), just to ask how they are doing and talk
 Get together w/o children to go bowling, walking/talking, something fun – widow(er)s
 Reach out to that young widower. Bro. B –“I was invited to play racquetball with Dan each week. We had fun, spent
time in God’s Word, and prayer before going to work. He was a quiet Godly business man, crippled from polio, but Dan
was my greatest ENCOURAGER.”
Joel and Collette Callaghan Michel attended CB I ’06. Collette and the children reside in the Toronto, Ontario Canada area.

CAMP BIMI and SMART were EXACTLY what I needed.

At the time God put on my heart to be a missionary, literally the only thing I knew about missions was
that people go from church to church raising support and go to a foreign field to share the Gospel. I did
not even know the difference between deputation and furlough! When I went to CAMP BIMI I, it was
like getting a back stage look at what all is involved in missions. I learned a lot (to put it mildly). I didn’t
know much about missions when I went to CAMP BIMI but you guys never made me feel dumb for it.

You have no idea how much that meant!
I remember during one of our classes, the SMART trip was briefly explained and I was thinking that I
could NEVER EVER do something like that because it would be WAY TOO HARD! I basically shut the
idea of going on one completely off because there was just no way I could ever do it. This is the part where
I love that God’s Ways and Thoughts are higher than mine. When I found out I would be on the trip, I had
absolutely NO field training before the trip but I ALWAYS KNEW that you and Mrs. Baughman believed
that I could do it. Even when I had two days to raise $700, I knew you guys hadn’t given up. I learned SO
much (especially having FAITH in God that HE WILL PROVIDE all my needs). It was like putting into
practice everything we learned at CAMP BIMI, and then some. It was hard, challenging, and exhausting
… the hike to the village – Whooee! I think some of us were almost delirious, but I learned so much and I
loved it!!
One thing I have not forgotten is during my first CAMP BIMI you preached a message on Rahab and the
red rope she let out of her window. You gave us all a little red string and said that every time we want to
give up, to look at that string and remember not to give up. I stuck that string in my Bible that night and
it’s still there. I have looked at it many times and thought of what you said. I think God let me hear that
message because He knew I would need it for the next couple years. Thanks!
If you would have asked me three years ago where my puzzle piece fits, I would have had no idea. But now
I KNOW it is in full-time missions! CB Alumnus