The Conklin family of the Holland Free Methodist Church has been among the most blessed families for the beauty and talents and good character of their kids; their intelligence is unquestionably superior. The boy was an outstanding athlete when he died at 22. They're the kind who knock the top off the national school aptitude tests.
And they are a close-knit family. Which made the loss of their only son and brother especially heart-breaking --which it would be in any family, but these were "close" siblings, who enjoyed Sunday mornings and dinners out together every week. Who hung out together, often choosing family over peers.
Mom is the church custodian, costumer, CLC missions coordinator and crafts teacher, decorator for events, and choir member --putting her college degree in special ed to unique uses! Her husband, a retired engineer, now a courier for a legal firm, is a worship leader, board member, former athlete, and choir singer --they are "pillars" in the church, for sure.
Tim's death was devastating, but the family never pulled out of their steadfast attendance and church duty. They must have secretly asked God "Why?" and "Why, US??" and wondered where He was on that night when their boy drove off a curvy road late at night. But they didn't let it drive them off the deep end emotionally or spiritually interrupting their steadfast devotion--though I'm sure it tried their souls. I can just imagine the dark night of the soul it would be to lose someone so beloved.
Betsy and Andrea, both in their 20's, are both business grads and using their degrees in their careers. Betsy has the MBA --as does her new husband Trevor. Andrea is dating a grad student at U.T., a biologist. Both girls have sung in our choir most of their lives, as have their parents. And they are gifted when we do choreography, both slender, medium-tall girls, very pretty, one blonde, and one brunette. They are among our "core group" of church musicians, with talents for blending, harmonizing, doing ensembles and solos, though they don't aspire to do the latter; they sometimes get pressed into duty and do excellently. Good useful voices with great ear for pitch accuracy. I've no doubt that if they had the inclination and the confidence to pursue vocal training and school choirs, they would be right up there with the pros in performance skill. As it is, they are always a vocal asset in our music program and have loads of talent to keep on developing.
Both girls are working in our Wednesday night programs for youth and children. Betsy and Trevor have committed to the jr. high kids who have some pistols in there! And Andrea to the little children as a co-teacher of 1st and 2nd graders --and they have a huge class with some lively spirits in there as well. They have been faithful and effectual, resourceful and dedicated to Christ and His Church and to the kids they serve.
They are also faithful in Sunday School attendance all their lives, anchoring the young adult/20's class with their Mom and others who share leadership of that group.
We are very fortunate to have such a family in our church and hope that the girls will someday be blessed with children, too, to carry on the heritage and the tradition of a family who says, no matter what, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!"
"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible