My Father, Arthur Kraybill went to be with the Lord on August 4, 2008 around 9PM.
I have struggled what I need to share and have written several posts that I have not posted. The reason I did not was it just did not seem to honor him at all. My dad loved the Lord with all of his heart and he never wavered from the faith he had in the Lord. If God said it to him that settled it and he never questioned it. I really admired him for that. I, on the other hand question so much. I decided to really look at what dad taught me and begin to accept God's Word as is. Maybe that is the best tribute I can give him. He leaves some big shoes for me to fit into!
He and my mother were married for 65 years in Feb. He told folks they were married because he allowed her to always be right. He sure did that! Dad was 88 in March 10Th, 1920.
I decided I would share with you all what I said at the Memorial service. Normally I could not get up in such a time like his service and share but I felt compelled to make him alive to all.
His Memorial was held at Bahia Vista Mennonite Church in Sarasota, Fla. on August 9Th at 11: PM. We will take him to Harrisonburg to be placed there in October and have another memorial serice.
"It was a long ride on Monday night from Atlanta to Sarasota. When John was not entertaining me I would wonder just what words would describe my dad. The first one that came to my mind was courage. It took courage when his father died when dad was 6 and he and his brother Ben went to live with their grandpa and grandma Kraybill and the 3 Aunties. He missed his mother and sister Rachel but he made the best of it.
It took courage for him to leave the safe haven of the Aunties home and go to Eastern Mennonite School in Harrisonburg, Virginia. He had to dorm and learn rules that were for the dorm and not his home. He adjusted and thrived at school.
It took courage to adopt a child when Mennonites did not always accept this. He wanted a little girl and he got me. My dad sat up with me day and night when I was sick. He listened to me and he became my rock....my safe place.
It took courage when he had polio. I remember that ambulance coming to pick him up and I figured people went to the hospital to die and I was scared. He had to fight to gain his muscle strength and he did it and went from a full brace to a knee one and than no brace. He struggled through the pain and experienced the victory of healing. I thought my dad was the greatest!
Than the word dependable came to my mind. If dad said he was going to do something he did it! It did not matter if it cost him time. When the Mennonite Church asked him to help in a struggling Mission in Harrisburg, Pa. he answered the call with a clear yes, I will go. Hamilton Street Mennonite Church was over an hours drive and we made it Sunday morning and Sunday night, Wednesday night and all 2 weeks for Bible School and revival meetings. He soon became a "father figure" to the young men and he would bring them to the farm.
Dad loved....he loved mother and me. He loved his Aunties and siblings and their families. Mom fussed at times but dad never had a ugly word to say about any family member. He loved his grand kids. One memory I have is both girls combing his hair and making pony tails and many barrettes in his hair.....he would sit there and encourage them. Crystal caught her first fish in the lake behind them in Sarasota and dad cleaned it and mom fried it. He was so proud. He would play games with them over and over. They could use his desk and he would play real estate with them.(He sold real estate for many years)
Dad had a habit we had a lot of fun with....his files. He cut things out and filed them, he kept record of our calls and filed them. Every talk he gave at church was filed,(now I have them and have learned to know him better than before.) Mom tried time to time to get him to get those files cleaned out and he resisted much to her horror. Guess what....he gave them to me and I weeded down what I loved and yes, I have them filed too.
My dad read the Word of God each day. This memory was refreshed when we had to move in with them a few years back...each morning I awoke to see him by the window reading his Bible.
He treasured these times with the Lord. He prayed for each of us that he loved and I already miss those prayers.
When dad was living with us in Atlanta he developed some fears. That was something I never had seen in him. One day I called him and he was down.....I asked him if he took his Vit. C. He
was faithful taking his vitamins and he seemed stumped. I said the Vit. C that Aunt Emily taught me. I told him to look up Deut. 1:6. "
Be strong and of good courage. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes before you: he will never leave you nor forsake you."
He said that helped and he would read that everyday.
Dad loved me. This is what I will miss:
"Daddy, I love you"
and he would answer:
"Honey dear I love you too-more than you will ever know."
I will miss him and that wonderful smile......Daddy, I love you! Thank You.
My gratitude is for:
14. His testimony that never changed.
15. His love for his brother Ben, his sister Rachel
16. His gratitude for the Aunties who loved him and Uncle Ben and taught them so much.
17. His service to the Mennonite Church and to people that needed love.
18. His prayer life.
19. To the Lord for blessing this little baby that needed a home. I needed him too!
20. That I know he is in Heaven with the Lord and I will see him again.