Perhaps a better title for my blog this week might be LEGACY OF AN AMERICAN HERO because it is said that a legacy is where life stories live on.
Many have heard the story of my son-in-law Sgt. Gabiel De Roo who was killed in action ten years ago this week on Aug. 20, 2006 in Mosul, Iraq. It is chronicled in our tract Duty * Honor * Sacrifice. His integrity, faith in Christ and sacrifice are remarkable. But, what happened in the ten years after that is remarkable too and a testimony to God’s sovereign workings.
Before deploying to Iraq Gabe instructed Hannah that if he died she was to buy a house to be near our family in Gig Harbor. He had provided for this through insurance. She immediately did that after he died.
Hannah also joined the Iraq army widows group at Fort Lewis. She soon became a model for other widows to follow in dealing with grief because of her faith in Christ. The counselor pointed to her as an encouragement to others.
Gabe had also instructed her to consider marriage again after a year. He didn’t want his son Gabriel to be without a dad. He also gave her a list of qualifications that a Christian husband and father should have.
Willie Clark was a local math teacher in Tacoma who knew nothing of Hannah. He didn’t want to marry because of a bad attitude about marriage. The Lord convicted him about that in a sermon he heard at a youth camp. He repented of it, went and bought a card to give to a future spouse if the Lord should supply. In God’s providence that was the same weekend that Gabe was killed in Iraq but unknown to Willie.
Later he heard about and eventually noticed Hannah. They went out for coffee and began to communicate. Within a year they were married on July 5, 2008. Little Gabriel escorted Hannah down the aisle to be wed to her new husband and little Gabe’s future daddy. In the years ahead they would all visit Gabe’s grave regularly. God blessed and more children were born. In the mean time Hannah's younger brothers Ezra and Elijah followed in Gabe's foot steps joining the Army and being sent to Mosul where Gabe had fallen.
Many heard of Gabe’s death and wanted to help Hannah. But she was well cared for so the Sgt. De Roo fund was set up help in Iraq. Gabe had expressed a desire to go there after the war and do ministry. Mosul where he died is the modern name for the ancient city of Nineveh that the prophet Jonah evangelized in the greatest revival of history. It needs revival again so we began to look for ways to do Middle East ministries. Eventually we settled on a ministry that made regular trips to the area to help the Iraqi people. As of this date over $68,000 has been given to help church leaders be trained, a ministry center built, believers encouraged, soldiers aided, and refugees fed. All have heard the story of Sgt. De Roo and his Lord.
Many Iraqis, including front line soldiers, have said “Thanks” and even sent greetings back to givers. Pray for Iraq and the ministry there as it continues. See the special six-page report with many pictures on THE LEGACY OF SGT. GABRIEL DE ROO available at church or on request. Pray for the Gospel to continue to go out.
Sat. Aug. 20th marks exactly 10 years since SGT Gabriel De Roo was killed in action in Iraq. Join us in celebrating his life. You may pay respects to his resting place at Tahoma National Cemetery privately any time during the day (18600 SE 240th Street, Kent, WA 98042-4868). Sgt. Eric Sakuma (Gabe's battle buddy) will be visiting the grave at noon, and anyone is welcome to join him. A grave locator is at the cemetery entrance information center. We have a reservation at Lake Wilderness Park (a mile away) at 3 pm for a potluck-style fellowship (22500 SE 248th St, Maple Valley, WA 98038), where children can play and adults can visit. All welcome.
Sun. Aug. 21 At 9:15 No Sunday School except for the Adult Class this Sunday due to our annual church camp out (Details at www.DiscoveryBaptist.org). The 10:30 worship will be as usual except for no Jr. Church. There will be no nursery for either service this Sunday.
See our online Calendar for more details.