Homily in honor of Don Valencia

December 16, 2007 from Skip | The Whole Story| 8 Comments | ««Previous - Next»»

Darrell Johnson has sent us his homily delivered at last Thursday’s memorial service for Don. Click on the following link to read the full text.

Homily in honor of Don Valencia

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8 Comments so far

  1. David Carlson on December 17, 2007 12:21 am

    As the last guests lingered in Larson Hall, Kristi Brumbaugh, her dear husband Dustin and I had a private moment with you Heather in which she summed up the celebration memorial of Don’s life so poignantly saying to you, Heather, this wonderful tribute ceremony & reception felt and looks more like a wedding to me than a memorial service! To which your tender, grace-filled, smiling response was, I know, I kind of would like it if Don would show up so we could get married again! Even as I reflect on that moment today, two days later, tears pool in my eyes. Never have I been to such a celebratory memorial as Don’s, which both comically captured his imperfect humanity, as Skip said, and his astonished followership of Jesus as Bart so succinctly shared, referencing Don’s probing question to him about Mark 10:32 over a year ago.
    Prior to our private moment with you, Dustin commented to me, David, can you imagine how different this would’ve looked today had Don & Heather not moved into the U-District seven years ago? The gift of that Spirit-led decision in your lives, and in those who’ve been blessed by your presence, is now the life-giving community which surrounds you and the boys. Lest we ever wonder about how important our decisions about “place” are, may this, your present reality, serve as a testimony and beacon to us all, since in so settling we’re given the gift of relationships. To that end, fittingly, Darrell Johnson’s homily, (which has to rank as one of the top three sermons I’ve ever heard), both reminded us of Don’s transformation when confronted with the Gospel and gifted us with glimpses of life beyond the grave, reassuring you, Johnny & Bo and all present of Don’s ongoing life and championing of your lives before his Lord.
    As you now emerge from the constant & all consuming side by side journey you’ve been on with your husband, may the wonder of Advent’s heralded joy fill your heart anew as you gather with family and friends to celebrate this joy to the world life found tucked away in a manger which so transformed Don’s life and continues to affect all our lives. With all our love always, knowing God is good, all the time good. David & Vicki

  2. jennygiles on December 18, 2007 9:59 am

    Dear Jesus,
    I come to YOU today to thank You for Heather and Don and their boys.

    I thank You that You squeezed Yourself from eternity into time as a baby to fulfill a purpose, to bring LIFE to Don, to Heather, to the boys, to me, to all can believe it.
    Thank YOU for such a great love for us all!

    I ask today that in this Christmas season, made heavy with grief and loss, that You would give Heather a gift of peace that she cannot understand but only appreciate and rest in.

    That in the remembered times, she would find such gratitude and see how Your hand moved and orchestrated so many events.

    Let her memories be a gift of peace to her.
    May sorrow be mixed with gratitude.

    Your hand of Love is Strong and sometimes silent, but always there, always working and moving in our lives.

    Thank You Jesus for loving us,
    Thank You for Heather,


  3. David Carlson on December 24, 2007 7:54 am

    Heather, Johnny & Bo,
    It’s Christmas Eve day now, another “first” in front of you all, as will tomorrow be, with traditions old and new now unfolding. I see that few have commented here on Darrell’s heartening homily, suggesting, perhaps, that few have ventured onto the blog since Don’s reception by Jesus. That’s understandable since Don’s gone, no longer “speaking” to us as directly as he did. But the more I’ve pondered the homily, particularly now in concert with this wondrous celebration commemorating our Lord’s birth, (whether it happened on the 25th of December or not matters little), the more awed I am by the truth of this holy invasion into our lives and Don’s clear-eyed sight of the same. He looked beyond the veil for us, as did Darrell here, and gave us all, and you three especially, beauty for ashes, life from death, turning our mourning into dancing by helping us throw off the sack-clothe of sorrow. Further proof of that is this: you’re all thought of today by many more than you’ll hear from, because that is what the community of the King does, prayerfully prompted by the Holy Spirit. So as you face your first Christmas without your beloved may you do so with a sense of wonder at the arms of love surrounding you now, given by him as his gift for you to unwrap whenever needed. May you also have moments of quiet in the midst of those who surround you, so tears can flow in solitude where there they’ll wash away grief and sorrow, for such is also needed. Be wrapped today and tomorrow by family and friends and unwrap them as you need in the days that follow, reminders of Don’s love for each of you.

  4. Randor on December 24, 2007 11:04 pm

    Dear Heather, Johnny, and Bo,

    As you know Debbie and I were on our way to New York during Don’s Memorial Service. While there we went to a church service at New Life Fellowship in Queens. The assistant pastor gave the message and it was on Advent. I couldn’t help thinking about Don and the life he lived. It seemed such a shame that he would leave us at Christmas time and that it would put a shaddow on future Christmas celebrations because I would remember the “Don filled void.” Then it dawned on me, Don’s life and his sweet memory was like an Advent candle that would always point us towards Jesus. So from now on I will always remember the Second Sunday of Advent as “Don’s Week” and I will remember the great things he taught us about Jesus.
    Debbie and I continue to pray for all of you that God’s Amazing Grace will wrap around you and sustain you in these difficult times and that the Advent season will be a great celebration as you celebrate the birth of Jesus and the life of your beloved Don.

    Blessings to you all, Randy and Debbie

  5. Jeff Vancil on December 28, 2007 11:50 am

    Dear Heather, Johnny, and Bo,

    Don continues to teach me. I’m sure that you are experiencing this as well. His legacy and power as a vessel of the Lord Jesus will continue to speak throughout our lives. He taught me so much of the life that we all are to live. Here are a few things I have been reflecting on since Don graduated into his heavenly mansion.

    – We are to live in great anticipation of heaven, knowing that we are in eternal life now.
    – We are to live each day well….fully. We are to number our days.
    – We are to be more concerned about our hearts than our bodies.
    – The glory of a Christ-filled, healed heart is to shine through every cell of our outer body.
    – Nothing is unbelievable or incredible. God is able and we are to be astonished and amazed by Him.
    – We are to love and to be loved.
    – We are to love and to help the poor.
    – We are to be extravagant in giving and in joy.
    – Our best generosity is of the heart. Delight in others.
    – Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box.
    – Don’t be afraid to challenge others with love and patience.
    – Be generous of heart
    – Go after things that matter. passionately.

    I look forward to living this way more and more as I remember Don.

    Jeff Vancil

  6. JLK on December 31, 2007 11:58 am

    Dear Heather,

    Getting to know Don and you, however briefly, is changing my life.

    When I shared with Don that I wanted to ask the Richmond Beach UCC prayer circle to add prayers for him, he requested that the prayers be not directed toward his physical body but instead that they be directed towards his spirit. In that moment, the dichotomy of his soul and the body was never more apparent to me.


  7. JLK on December 31, 2007 12:01 pm

    Cont. (pressed send by accident)

    Don shared in a conversation that he wanted his boys to know what the name Valencia meant. To someone who got to know Don only briefly, the name Don Valencia means that God is good, that he lives within each one of us, and by loving others life apart from the physical is possible.

    With love,

    John Kim

  8. beccozou on January 2, 2008 1:20 pm

    Dear Don,

    How much I wish you could hear me. Words are inadequate to express my sorrow and shock.

    My family and I moved to China more than 6 years ago. We returned to Seattle at the end of Nov. and planned to reconnect with you and your family after settling in.

    It was 4pm on Dec. 13th when my husband handed me the newspaper with the notice written on it. I was speechless and have been mourning you ever since..

    How much I wanted to tell you in person that I appreciated you!

    It seems like yesterday when you said to me: “Becco, the best gift I can give you is God!” Your eyes turned red while speaking those words. That picture is so vivid that it stays with me.

    I remember the day you brought your kids’ crib and installed it for us in my unborn child’s bedroom; I remember the times you offered us to stay at your Whidbey Island condo over the weekends; I remember the conversations we had about life and spirit.

    You were such a mentor and friend to me. And, I never got to say “Thank You” in person!

    Don, you are a good person indeed. Your eyes will continue to sparkle in the heaven watching over Heather and the boys and everyone who love you!

    I will cherish you forever!


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