April 3

As you know Joyce and I took one of those trips that no one ever wants to take this past week. We received word on Thursday March 17th that her father’s health had taken a turn for the worse and that we should get there as soon as we could. We could not get a flight out until the next morning, and arrived in San Antonio about 11:00 AM. Joyce’s dad passed away that evening around 6:00.

The past two weeks have been difficult and exhausting as we spent each day trying to help Joyce’s family get through this and do everything that needed to be done, in addition to coping with this huge loss ourselves. Joyce is incredibly close to her parents, and since my mother died when I was 17, and my father died in 1987, Joyce’s parents have been my parents in a very real way for all of our married lives.

Her father was a very fine man. He had his own machine shop that he built from the dirt in San Antonio in the 60’s and 70’s, and through all the years since built also a great reputation for honesty, integrity, and hard, quality work. This was clearly seen by the hundreds of people that came for the family visitation and memorial service, as well as the well wishes received from so many that they have been associated with through the years.

They even had a “moment of silence” at one of the race tracks in San Antonio the following weekend. The way they do that is they ask all the cars to rev their engines up as loud as they can! It was a very fitting tribute.

We appreciate the many cards, texts, calls, Facebook messages, flowers, and prayers that have been offered for us these past few weeks. I am grateful for wonderful co-workers on our South Fork office staff, and thank them for covering for me during this time. A special thanks to Charley Belch and Phil Stapp for taking my Bible class lesson and sermons at the last minute. And to Tom, Julie and Meredith Long for taking care of our kitties!

It is hard to imagine going through something like this without a church family. We were able to contact the MacArthur Park Church of Christ in San Antonio, where Charlie Branch’s parents are long time members and leaders, when we realized the funeral home chapels would not be large enough for the crowds, and they very graciously hosted the memorial service. We were encouraged at seeing Charles and Sylvia again, as well as Byron and Sarah, who lifted our spirits at the hospital as well as the funeral home.

Please never tire of helping others who are suffering through difficult burdens. And never underestimate the good that you do by a call, or a note, or a meal, or a prayer. We thank God for all of you.

Bill Allen

Dr. Bill Allen preached at South Fork from 2005 to 2015. He received a Bachelors degree in Bible from Oklahoma Christian in 1978, a Masters in Bible from Abilene Christian (ACU) in 1988, and a Doctor of Ministry from ACU in 1992. He now preaches at the West Erwin Church of Christ in Tyler, Texas.

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