Wednesday, February 18, 2009

For Her Son and Jesus ...

(The Huffmans used to minister in Kermit before they moved to Lubbock and opened an excellent bookstore. I hope all three of my readers will shop there. The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal published this touching story about them in their Sunday February 15th edition. I am excerpting it without permission as always.)
Melody Huffman, 51, keeps memories alive.

She dresses up as Aunt Lydia (as in Lydia from Thyatira, from the book of Acts) in a modest purple robe (like the kind Lydia might have sold) inside her Christian book store, The Bible Barn. She tells stories about giants and whales and fiery furnaces. On Feb. 7, five little kids - some she knew, some she didn't - marched around the store and blew kazoos and sucked on Dum Dums and the walls of Jericho came down.

"What do you think the name of this city is?" she asks her audience. "Do you think it's called Lubbock?"

Noooo.

"Do you think it's called Dallas?"

Noooo.

"No, not Dallas. It's ... called ... Jerrrrrichooo. Can you say that? One, two, three: Jerrrricchooo."
Monty, Huffman's husband, watches and smiles.

"She's been a Bible class teacher all her life," says Monty, 52, a minister at Central Lubbock Church of Christ, where the two attend. "She's probably been teaching Bible class since she was a pre-teenager. She's had 40 years of experience. It's something on her heart, and a way to use her gifts for something good."

The couple opened The Bible Barn in September 2007. Aunt Lydia was born two months later.

"I just love kids and just wanted to have something where they could come," Melody says of her alter ego and the weekly story time she calls Matthew's Korner, named in honor of her son. "I thought it would be something to help bring people in, something different. It's little. It's been slow. Sometimes kids are here; sometimes they're not, you know. But I'm always ready."

Ready or not

On Aug. 9, 1991, she wasn't ready. Parents never are, even when they know God holds the future and they'll all meet again one day. But little Matthew, 7 years, 1 month, and 1 day old when he died, was as ready as anyone's ever been.

The whole family was in Brazil. Melody and Monty were missionaries. The boys, Matthew and Micah, chased lizards and climbed trees. On Saturday night, Aug. 3, Matthew got sick. He was vomiting. He had headaches. The doctors said it was the Brazilian mumps. It wasn't.

"I was in the backseat as we were driving 30 miles to the hospital," Melody says with tears in her eyes. "And Matthew kept reaching out. He had spinal meningitis. He'd already gone blind and lost his ability to walk, and he just kept reaching his hand.

"I'd hold it and he'd tell me, 'No, I don't want it.' And, just in desperation I said, 'Well whatever you want, I'll get it. Just tell me.' And he just said, 'I'm trying to reach Jesus' hand,' and his hand closed in the air and ... that was it."

Telling stories

Christian author Max Lucado, a former missionary to Brazil himself and pastor of Oak Hills Church of Christ in San Antonio where relatives of the Huffmans attended, wrote about their ordeal in his 1993 book "And the Angels Were Silent."

"Max wrote about that and what his last words were," Melody said. " 'I'm reaching for Jesus.' "

It's still hard to talk about. Some days she can't. But each Saturday she'll sit down in front of photos of Matthew, framed and hung on the wall in his "Korner," and tell other people's children all the stories she used to tell him.

Five-year-old Andy Woods even kind of looks like him.

"What's that?" he asks, sucker in his mouth, pointing to a book just before things get going on Saturday.

"That is a book about The Story Keepers," Melody says. "They keep the story of Jesus alive."
(OTHER VOICES: Matthew Morine has a great post about the future of the largest churches of Christ. Check it out.)

5 comments:

jel said...

hey david,

if the Bible Barn , was closer i would go there , i love to go thought book stores!

David Kirk said...

jel: Me too. In my younger days I would sometimes get kicked out of bookstores for loitering. Have a great day and thanks for reading.

patandcassie said...

David, Thanks for visiting my blog. How did you find it?? I'm always curious. It's always neat to connect with a fellow follower of Christ. My cousin Raymond lives in Kilgore,TX and was my first relative that was born again (to my knowledge). He's a super guy and on the journey, like the rest of us. Come again and I'll re-visit you also!! Blessings & Peace, Cassie

Cassie said...

Oh, I almost forgot to comment on your post. I wish the Huffman's the best for their bookstore. Such sadness that they lost their son, but what a testimony to his faith and love of Jesus. Their tribute to him, Matthew's Korner" is also such a fabuolous ministry to other children. Thanks for sharing that. Blessings to them & you too!

Frank Baron said...

I can't conceive of a greater pain than burying your child. I wish the Huffman's and their bookstore, well.

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