Ona’s Celebration Service: May 3rd, 2009

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Hebrews 2: 14 & 15

14 Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. 15 Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.

I John 3: 16-19

16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for others. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 19 This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence.


I have known Gary and Ona for something over 10 years now. We met in Virginia at a Children’s Home where I was serving at the time and we became friends. As the years have passed we have grown closer and gotten to know each other better. It was almost 4 years ago that we received the call from Gary and Ona that Ona had cancer. Through the past 4 years we have spoken from time to time about this event. The funeral and I have thought about what would be the legacy that Ona would leave to her family and friends and I believe this is it.

Jesus Christ laid down His life in order that we might have life.  

Jesus laid down his life, became a servant!

Jesus paid the untimate price by laying down His life physically!

Ona became a servant that others might come to know her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Ona laid down her life and became a servant in her ministry as a Wife!

Genesis 2: 18-22

18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

19 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field.

But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

Allow me the liberty to re-read vs. 22 as follows:

Then the Lord God made Ona, and he brought her to Gary.

Ona laid down her life to be Gary’s helper, his help mate.

Ona completed Gary.

Ona complimented Gary.

Ona supported Gary.

Ona was Gary’s dearest and best friend.

Proverbs 31:Selected verses

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.

11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.

12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.

17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.

20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.

23 Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.

25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.

26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

 27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.

28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:

29 “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”

30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

31 Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Ona laid down her life and became a servant in her ministry as a mother and a grandmother.

Ona is the mother of 4 wonderful children. Jessica, Chris, Sissy and Chuck and 10 awesome grandchildren. 

Ona provided for her children’s physical needs but she also provided for their spiritual needs as well.

Proverbs 31:28

28 Her children arise and call her blessed;

 around her children which she loved with all her heart.

 Ona laid down her life and became a servant in her ministry as a sister, sister in-law and a friend.

Anyone who knew Ona, knew that she was a servant.

Ona is going to be greatly missed! But not for very long!

Consider death with me for just for a moment.

For it is death that has caused us this loss and grief. But death is an over rated event for the Christian. It is not an enemy but a friend. You see, death delivers the key that lets the Christian out of the sufferings of this life into the presence of the living Savior and into a land where there is no sorrow, no more separation, no sighing. To that place not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Where eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of mankind the things which God has prepared for those that love Him.

When a person like Ona, has a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, then death is an event that we wait for. Ona had no fear of death!

It is the fulfilling of our hopes and dreams. It is only the beginning. This is not goodbye, this is simply see you again real soon.

Calvin Miller says,

“Death is not the terror that we suppose. Jesus, dying in the most excruciating way, was not dead for long. In the chronicles of God, no death has ever lasted long. We fall asleep on this cruel planet and wake up a world away. It is amazing just how often the New Testament speaks of death as sleep. John Chrysostom in the fourth century said,

What is death at most?

It is a journey for a season:

A sleep longer than usual,

If thou fearest death,

Thou shouldst also fear sleep.

Death is not only sleep; it is a sleep of transformation. Paul said, “We will not all sleep (or die), but we will al be changed” We all look forward to sleeping, the wonderful sleep of transformation”.

Jesus taught us how to live well and also how to die well, Ona fulfilled both.

When we came out of the church after the family meal we saw two things that peaked our interest. There was a blue bird of some kind sitting on the electrical wire, in the rain and the bird was singing and that seems strange in the rain.

The other thing we saw was this double rainbow and one of them was a complete rainbow of which I had never seen before.

One comment on “Ona’s Celebration Service: May 3rd, 2009

  1. May 4, 2009 Kim

    Simply beautiful!


Leave a Reply