Joy Fellowship
Summer 2005 Newsletter


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“I Brought Moses”
In Memory of John Flett
 

The first time I visited John during his last week of illness, I was overwhelmed by the building, the room, the smells, and the sounds of the others who lived there, and I felt weighed down as I sat beside him. But as I sat and kept John company, I felt a change. Perhaps the change was in me; perhaps the change was in the place. Suddenly this was a holy place, a place where God was present in fullness and love.

As I sat with John through the next few days, I thought about the story of Moses and the story of John’s life. Many of you remember how he called his Bible “Moses” and how he would come in proudly saying, “I brought Moses.” He would often ask to read from the story of Moses. And so remembering the story of the burning bush and how Moses was commanded to take his sandals off on Holy Ground, I sensed that the room in which John lay was in the same way Holy Ground and I also knew that, if I listened, God would teach me too, through this time and in this place. God’s presence with John changed this place into Holy ground

John FlettJohn was born during a time when many parents of children with disabilities were told and even commanded that their children be put in institutions. In the same way, Moses’ family was told and commanded that all the male babies be “put away,” be killed. Both of these families, with the help of God, saw in their children something beautiful, unique, and God-given. Both families risked a lot in order to keep their children safe. Les and Chris Flett gave their son a life that any young boy would enjoy. He and his dog Buddy roamed freely through what is now known as Queen Elizabeth Park. They often mysteriously disappeared and either wandered home together or were brought home by an assortment of neighbours and policemen. Sue and Jen learned quickly that John tended to disappear right before supper, and if they wanted supper on time, they needed to make sure that their brother stayed in the house. Les became an advocate for people with disabilities, even becoming the president of the Vancouver Richmond Association, now known as DDA. This was a time when people with disabilities were starting to be welcomed into the community as valued members, no longer hidden away. This part of John’s life echoes the call of Moses, indeed the call of God, to “let my people go.”

John was one of our pioneer members of Joy Fellowship, which started over 30 years ago. I remember John as a gentleman, often very determined and emphatic about his opinions, but nevertheless a gentle man. John loved bowling, and the tradition was that his dad and mom would take him bowling and buy him a cup of coffee right before the game. When he boasted of his pay cheque and I suggested that this one time he buy his father coffee, he was appalled and would have none of it. John knew how to save his money. John was faithful in prayer for his friends and others. He loved to remind us to pray for people.

For a few years after John moved into the group home, he didn’t seem to have time for church or Bible study as there were so many things that he wanted to do. It was Christine Wilson, among others, who kept telling him and encouraging him to come back to church and Bible study. During those years, there were many who prayed for him and told him they missed him, but it was Christine whose faithfulness to John and to Jesus brought John back.

Susan Woods remembers John as being a bit of a “no man,” often fixed with his opinions. When asked to help with certain things at camp, he would often give an emphatic “no!” but when asked what Jesus might do, and when reminded of Jesus, he would often change his mind and agree to help, particularly if someone was cueing him for new things such as his lines in a skit. In this way, John was like Moses, a reluctant servant who relied on Aaron, as John relied on others to give him courage.

As John entered this valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23), it was again impressed upon me that this was only a shadow of when Jesus our Lord died and came back to life again. He has won the battle against death. He is stronger than death. Because Jesus died and came back to life, He opened up a way that we too, as the scriptures say, “will not taste death.” The day of Christ has not yet come and so we do live in a time of shadows, and the last years of John’s life had shadows of death in them. But even though he was in this valley, the Lord who said, “I am the Light of the world” was walking with him. I believe at the moment that he took his last breath; he did not taste death but entered lifethat when he opened his eyes, he saw Jesus Christ, the victor over death, and he saw his father and his grandparents who welcomed him into life eternal. Just as Moses and Elijah came and spoke with Jesus at the transfiguration (Luke 9:28-32), they came and spoke of his coming departure; they gave Jesus courage to do what God wanted him to do. And so throughout his life, Moses has given John courage to follow Jesus.

 

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Sarah Brown

Sarah Brown and her hard won prize from our
Spring Fair. They were both bear-y happy.


 

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Upcoming Events:

 

July 1: Daytrip—Luncheon Cruise

July 1114: Tent Camp at Porpoise Bay in Sechelt and BBQ with the Sunshine Coast Joy Fellowship

August 912: Summer Camp at Camp Alexandra in Crescent Beach

 



Also in this issue:

page 2:
What a Wonderful Smile: Ruth Vivian Perry
A Call to Pray for Joy
Gifts in Celebration of Life

page 3:
Smile of the Month: Doug Harrison
In Memory of Ida Eugenia Armstrong

page 4:
Contact Information
Keep Collecting!
Gifts in Memory
Financial Statement

 

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