If you have looked at the pictures of Tom that Jessie has posted you may get the feeling that he was larger than life, and he was that!  To see him in his cowboy regalia, Stetson hat, boots, dress jeans and a fancy western belt would put John Wayne to shame.   It is fitting that someone larger than life should have, not one, but three memorial services.

One was held in the chapel at Msalato Theological College this past Friday.  Sandy wrote that it was lovely and dignified.  The Rev. Charles Mwihambi, Academic Dean of the college, preached on the Markan passage of Jesus’ suffering in Gethsemane, and our inability to understand suffering, but also of the need for acceptance of God’s will as Jesus accepted when God did not remove the cup from him.  Charles spoke of how Tom knew each person’s name and their face even before he came last September and how he prayed for each of them.  He spoke of the fun they had had a Makumi Village ~ the laughter and jokes.    At the end of the service Moses said that Tom had written him after his diagnosis that he wished he had more time on earth so he could continue to work for the college.  It was lovely and appropriate that his family requested that in lieu of flowers people could donate to Msalato Theological College.   That would make Tom so happy.  When Sandy wrote of the hymns they sang (“How Great Thou Art,” and “Trust and Obey”) I could “hear” their mellifluous voices singing softly in harmony with no accompaniment ~ no organ or piano.  As Jessie and I walked the dirt path to chapel each morning for service we could hear the students already singing.   Their voices are lilting and beautiful.  Sandy used two prayers from our prayer book, one asking God to comfort those who mourn, especially his sons and grandchildren.  Poor little Amelia wept bitterly (she is 6 or 7) saying she didn’t want to not have a grandfather.  Her maternal grandfather had died the week before.  There are limits on what can be understood. 

St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Pinedale, Wyoming will have a service for Tom on the 5th of April and there will be yet another in Atlanta later this month.  So this larger than life man is being sent off to the land of joy and light with tenderness and love.  One of his rancher neighbors said of Tom:  “He was a good, kind and Christ-like man.”  One could hardly ask for a better epitaph for Tom.  May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace.  Tally

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