A Letter Revealing Youthful Integrity
Enclosed you will find a small sum of money. This is a donation from my sons, Timmy and Michael, ages 12 and 5. I’m sure they would like you to have it to put it to use in whatever way you can to further the Kingdom work.
Timmy was an avid proclaimer of the Kingdom and had many hardships to overcome in so becoming. His mother and I were separated and very soon thereafter divorced when Timmy was seven and Michael only six months old. Their mother was bitterly opposed to my stand for God’s kingdom. Timmy, however, had a keen appreciation for the truth and strong desire to please Jehovah.
Their mother was granted custody of Timmy and Michael, therefore they were exposed to all the worldly customs and holidays. But Timmy’s early Bible training and faith in Jehovah enabled him to make a firm stand, even at his tender age, for God’s kingdom. And although I was not able to be on hand to teach Michael daily, Timmy, in the face of opposition from his mother, helped Michael to see and to understand that the customs and holidays that he was encouraged to participate in were displeasing to Jehovah. And due to Timmy’s persistence and Jehovah’s spirit, little Michael made his stand for Jehovah as well.
In due time, thanks to Jehovah, I found a mate, Ruth, with a young daughter, Holly—both loyal servants of Jehovah. And through the outworking of Jehovah’s spirit we were able to gain legal custody of Timmy and Michael. We spent many happy hours in service, at meetings and in wholesome recreation as a family. Timmy and Michael and their new sister, Holly, now nine, continued to progress spiritually; Timmy to the point of having dedicated his life to Jehovah, with plans of baptism at the “Living Hope” Convention this summer (1979). All three children have been a great encouragement to Ruth and me.
One evening as we were returning from a particularly upbuilding Christian meeting, having learned of the faithful endurance of our Christian brothers in Africa, Timmy remarked: “I wish I could have the opportunity to prove my faith in Jehovah like our brothers in Africa. I’d be faithful to the end.” I assured Timmy, “Just continue faithful to Jehovah in the small things—your meeting attendance and participation, your field service activity, incidental witnessing at school and obedience to your parents and authorities, and should you ever be faced with such persecution, Jehovah will enable you to remain faithful.”
And thanks to Jehovah all our children have remained faithful in these small things. Timmy’s goal was to “increase my service time now, so I’ll have a good record when I apply for Bethel service.”
When on occasional weekend visits to his mother’s home in Beaufort, a neighboring city, Timmy always made arrangements to attend the Christian meetings on Sunday mornings. Early on April 29, 1979, on just such a Sunday morning, I was walking alone in our garden before our meeting. I was noticing the deep impressions in the moist earth—little Michael’s footprints where just two days earlier he had walked through the middle of the garden to bury an earthworm that had somehow made its way to his room. It brought the thought of Timmy and Michael to my mind. They would be awakening soon to attend the meeting in Beaufort. I was hoping that Timmy had made arrangements.
But my thoughts were disrupted by a telephone call from their grandfather in Beaufort. He bore the bad news that little Timmy and Michael wouldn’t be coming home anymore. Their embittered mother had shot them both to death in their sleep just an hour earlier that morning.
Needless to say, our family was torn apart with grief over our tragic loss. But our faith in Jehovah and our hope in the promised resurrection have enabled us to endure. We eagerly await the time when we will once again be able to work together, doing whatever Jehovah will have us do in his coming new order.
Please accept this small gift from them. This is all that they had to contribute in a financial way, and I know it won’t go far, but their faith and the little works that they were able to contribute during their short term here have been deeply embedded in the hearts and minds of all those who knew them, and that goes a long way. If you had known them, and I’m sure that one day you will have that opportunity, I know that you would look forward to working alongside them in that coming new order too.