Friday, March 16, 2012

a dear friend, Eric. One who is impacting the lives of many for His glory!!!

When BJ returned from Peru the second year, we have often shared that he went on a youth ministry trip called "Jumpstart." Our daughter Lauren (who was interning) had organized the event. The design was to energize students in their faith as they prepared to return to school for the fall.

One of the conversations BJ would have on that trip has had a significant impact on us.

Deanna was in conversation recently with Eric. He eluded to the impact BJ had on his life and ministry calling. As a result, she asked him to share the story with her. Here is further evidence that BJ knew the Lord had called him to lay down his life.

Below, is Eric's story. We praise God for how He is using him to impact the lives of others. The picture is from his trip to Chile in 2006, the summer after BJ poured into him. Eric is now a college student at Purdue University.

Eric gets it. He is a humble servant of our Most High God!

Eric wrote:

I would love to share with you! BJ returned from his 2nd trip to Peru the summer before I started 8th grade. I would already consider that summer to be monumental for me, in that, God was already preparing me for something. After UYC [Ultimate Youth Camp] that year there was great fervor in my heart to 'own' my faith and to really grow into the man I was supposed to be. However, there wasn't much direction for that.

BJ sat with me on the bus ride back from YC [Youth Conference, a part of the "Jumpstart" weekend] at Anderson to Northside [Baptist Church]. BJ was telling me, what I know now to be the Awestar trademark "30 min version' of his trip that summer . He was deeply engaging and it was really new for me to see someone of his age (even BJ) to be speaking like he was. With incredible passion and authority. After most of the stories were done, I think I may have asked a few questions-- not quite sure. But I distinctly remember the last 10 minutest of the trip.

It was dark but BJ turned his body facing mine and looked me right in the eyes. He said, "Eric, I think God has this same calling on your life. I might not be around for long so you need to decide what you're going to do and begin." My reaction was certainly masked as I think I said something in agreement to appease him at that moment. But those words stirred within me long after we stopped talking. We got off the bus and I think a few others were around by then. The rest of the weekend was pretty low key for me.

In my mind I kept thinking, "I know God has something for me but NO WAY could I go overseas!" I remember feeling like such a child. Completely unequipped for the journey ahead. I was nearly living in fear for the few weeks that followed that conversation. And then BJ was admitted to the hospital.

For the 5 weeks that BJ battled the disease, there were only a few things I remember thinking. They were big things that I always regard even now.

1) BJ's faith, the faith of your family and the faith of all of our friends at the time was a real thing. As real as anything could be. Praying and reading and talking with all of you, drew me into the Scripture and brought out a reality of faith and trust in the Father that I had never experienced before.

2) The reality of this situation was not just a circumstance, it was a very, very clear call (demand) from God for me to decisively begin this journey of ministry.

3) BJ's death was heart-wrentching and I don't want to minimize the emotions of loss that I know you must feel. But in the midst of all of it, God spoke to me much confidence that it was new beginning in my life.

Very much was still unclear to me, but that year was a year of incredible growth. Deciding to go to Chile, preparing for the trip and then going. It was all by the grace of God and I am so thankful for His plan. Throughout most of high school I probably would have told you that all of this with BJ and 'the call' that he was referring to was overseas missions. It could be, but I think that some of that was an immature sense of worth and adventure on my part. I thought that I was surely called to missions because it is the most extreme and best type of ministry, which is not the case. As I have continued to walk with the Lord I think He is slowly equipping me for counseling and preaching.

We praise God for Eric's surrender, humility, and love for our Savior. He is a warrior for the the Kingdom and a deep blessing to our hearts! His younger sister, Leah, also served with me in Peru, a couple of years after Eric went to Chile.

Thank you Eric, for sharing with us. Thank you for allowing us to share with the world. Thank you for responding to the call of Christ!

May we each do likewise.


Worthy of significant note: Eric's Dad, Jim, put together the video of BJ's life set to I Would Die For You, by MercyMe, that has been seen around the world. God has His hand on this family! It can be viewed at


At 12:53 PM, Anonymous Jim David (Eric's dad) said...

What a blessing Eric and Leah have been in our life. I wipe the tears from my eyes as I write this, tears of joy for God's movement within Eric; tears of sorrow again for your loss. How thankful we are for BJ's willingness to "go", but also his fervence in sharing and challenging Eric. Thank you for continuing to pour into both of my kids (hmm...doesn't seem quite right to call them "kids" anymore ;^)

At 11:48 PM, Anonymous Emily said...

I feel a lot like Eric sometimes. I think that God has really called me into the overseas missions. It is just this innate but unexplainable desire to do something for the kingdom of God in China. I know think that God has told me to use the gifts I have, from Him of course, in school to go into medicine and fund many others going overseas. I am glad to know that there are other kids out there who feel the same call. It's nice to know I am not alone.

At 12:40 PM, Blogger gilbert said...

Wonderful to hear Eric's testimony to BJ - the harvest continues - and my heart overflows with praise to our God.


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