Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Passing of A Special Friend

He was a highlight of each trip to the seniors' home at Kemin.  He played wooden spoons and entertained us all. We knew him as the radio man, because of all his tinkering around radios and electronics,  but his name was Anatole.  We received word today that Anatole passed into the presence of the Lord a few days.  He will be missed.

Our radio man,who was mostly deaf, created his own huge hearing aid (notice the hearing aid on the right side.).  He attached this hearing aid to the television set in the seniors home so he could hear.

One of my funniest memories with this special man was the time I talked with him and asked him a lot of questions.  I leaned down so that he could hear me and spoke loudly - in English!  He looked at me and then Natalia, our translator that one afternoon  and all three of us had a great laugh! He speaks only Russian.

As with each of us, this precious man had a story and we had the privilege one day to sit and talk with him about it.  We learned that he had grown up in an orphanage in Ukraine.  Around the age of 14, he was a in field that contained land mines. One exploded near him, stealing his ability to hear.  He later married and had one son, who died at the age of 16.  About 20 years ago, his wife died leaving him alone and eventually homeless.  Somehow he was placed in the home for invalid men, a place he did not need to go.  Catching the attention of Larisa, one of our colleagues on the ground there, Anatole was moved to the seniors home in Kemin - to a place where he was loved and cared for.
As I thought about the passing of this very special man, with a kind heart and a warm smile I thought 'how sad". He began his life alone- being placed in an orphanage. And now  this poor man ended his life the same way,  But that isn't true.  Anatole slipped from this life to the next, surrounded with the knowledge that people loved him and he was special in the heart of God.  That is his legacy.

It is because of the gifts of many friends of LAMb that contributed to the needs of the seniors' home that Antalole had such a place to come to so that his final days would be some of his best days.  Thank-you.