A quiet, encouraging influence

by Colonel Donald SatherThis last week Esther and I were honored to be asked to conduct the funeral of the mother of Major Linda Manhardt and Lenore Gordon. There is a lot of history between the Sathers and the Manhardts. It goes back 40 years when we were corps officers at Phoenix Citadel. Our first pick-up on Sundays was to a trailer court to get twin girls.

On our first trip to the trailer, out ran two precocious girls who started talking, singing and generally acting out from the minute they hit the car. We quickly learned that theirs was not a perfect upbringing; Dad was in his late 50s when they were born. Mom, Lenore Sr. was the buffer between the twins and father.

The Army corps was a second home for those girls. If the door was open, the girls wanted to be there. Intelligent, verbal, so talented–they looked for ways to express it. They seemed to be in every program in the corps, excelling in them all. Their energy level frequently wore out their leaders.

visionThrough it all, Mother Lenore was quietly encouraging, often frustrated, and wondering about these girls. At the same time she was finding her own place in the corps; through the Home League and the League of Mercy. She was an accomplished seamstress and excellent cook.

The time came for the girls to leave home. Their decisions to achieve their callings in life were encouraged by Lenore Sr. Linda, to finish her college work from Asbury and graduate work in family/child counseling. Lenore married Bill Gordon and in just a few years found herself a mother of five and the wife of a bandmaster.

When Linda answered the call to ministry in Africa, Lenore became caregiver for mother to free up Linda’s life journey.

In the last years, Lenore has had her mother living with the family until the last year of her life.

At the memorial service held last week, Mrs. Manhardt was remembered as a loving parent, an encourager, and as the caregiver to her family. This extended even to the grandchildren and her great-grandchild.

In so many ways it was a very ordinary life. No great highs, lots of low points. Through it all, however, there was faithfulness. Lenore Sr. quietly, consistently led a Christian life. She had a quiet, encouraging influence.

It was good for us to be have been at the memorial service. We needed to be reminded that the Lord does require that we be faithful.

This has been a dreadful week in other areas. Watching as the television shows the earthquake destruction in India…Reading about the villages destroyed and families’ members not found.

When I read the newspaper, the knowledge that somewhere in this world there is another war starting over little or nothing…

Even in our Army world there have been devastating situations that can shake our faith in the providence and sovereignty of God.

The temporal; the overindulgence of lifestyles, the abuses we see around us every day assault us.

The Lord has been speaking to me so clearly to keep my eyes on him. He said it to the disciples, he said it to Lenore Manhardt, he says it to each of us every day, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except by me.’

May it be so for you today!

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