Our dear friends and Chris’s former youth pastor and his wife, Randy and Debbie, are enduring a real trial right now. Debbie is being treated for a rare and aggressive cancer and doctors have made it clear Debbie may not have much time left. We have been praying boldly for healing, for peace and comfort in this time, and God has come through. Debbie has shown joy in her spirit even as her energy fades, Randy says that he is at peace, that he can see how God is at work. He and Debbie both believe this is “win-win” for Debbie. If God heals her this side of Heaven, she wins big time. If He heals her for eternity by bringing her home, she wins even bigger! And yet, this is a devastating tragedy. Please pray with us for these dear friends and their family (4 children and a brand new son-in-law!). Chris has written a little tribute to them here. -Rose
High school. The four years that we spend as “teens” or “high school kids” is always considered to be some of the most defining periods in our lives. We start making the transition into adulthood and taking on adult responsibilities and thinking about what our lives might look like as we move on.
I was always involved in my church growing up. I was a part of the youth group and was blessed to be in it while Randy and Debbie Lawrence were leading. I didn’t really think about it then but I sometimes wonder if they ever really knew the impact they had on the lives and, more importantly, the spiritual decisions of 20 to 30 kids.
Here are some of the good things I saw in action through Randy and Debbie: I observed how a man is supposed to love his wife and children. I saw a man who spent time with God on a regular basis. I saw two people who were very willing to hold a believer accountable to scripture even though that person might be upset with them at first. I saw a couple who were so compassionate towards the kids in their youth group that a late night visit or even a prank wasn’t discouraged.
Randy showed me that my faith meant more than just stating that I was a Christian and acting like it. Randy and Debbie showed me that following Christ is depending on Him to be everything; letting God change me and know that everything was about glorifying our Lord.
As I read regular updates about Debbie’s condition and what is going on I also see that they are not finished teaching us. They may not know it and they may say that they aren’t doing anything special but the eyes of their former youth group, many of us with families of our own, careers and homes, are still watching them. And their lives are consistent with what they had taught us when we were teens.
I have been and am blessed by the Lawrence family. I hope that we too were and are a blessing to them. Debbie and Randy know that life isn’t easy but they also know who their hope comes from. They worship and love the God of miracles and many mercies, the God of promises made and kept, the God of healing and the one who has defeated death and sorrow.
I believe I can speak on behalf of the youth group that was Randy and Debbie’s youth group at Eastgate by saying that we all love you guys. We thank you for the investment and sacrifices you made so you could invest in our lives at the calling of Jesus Christ. Your mark has been made with me. I will be one of those who, in Heaven, lines up in front of you to say “thank you for giving to the Lord. Mine was a life that was changed.”