July 2006


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JULY, 2006
We arrived at Keswick on June 20. We were welcomed back by this sign waiting for us at our spot.(See picture below.) It was great to see our friends again, and it was so nice to realize they were truly glad to see us.
Just two days later we welcomed Matt and his family for overnight. Kate had received the congressional award for her outstanding volunteerism while she was in high school. After the award ceremony the whole family came to visit us. It was so much fun to be able to show them all around the grounds and introduce them to all of our friends here at Keswick.
In February of this year we received a phone call from our dear friend Dr. Bob Alderman who lives in Roanoke, VA. He had just met a family he felt could benefit from meeting us. He told us this story. Mark and Joyce Bryant were the parents of nine children. Joyce drove 8 of the children to visit Joyce's sister in Corunna, Michigan. After tucking the little ones in for the night, Joyce and her sister drove a short distance to help another sister, leaving Rebekah, 19, to watch over the brood for just a few minutes.
Less than an hour later, Joyce and her sister were leaving for home when the phone rang. "There has been an explosion at the house, we don't know who has survived; please come quickly." Joyce and her sister got within a mile of the house and were caught in a traffic jam of police cars, ambulances, and fire trucks. Joyce finally found a policeman who would help her when she said, "My children were in that house!"
Joyce arrived to ultimately learn that six of her children were dead and 14 year old Caleb and 6 year old Sarah were clinging to life.
Mark Bryant called me in March. We arranged that we would visit with him and his wife on our way to Keswick this summer. We drove through the beautiful mountains of Virginia to an arranged meeting place because Mark and Joyce wanted to take us to their children's burial sites. As I got out of our car to meet Joyce and Mark, my first thought was "They are way too young to have nine children. What a dear couple." The Bible refers to the Fellowship of suffering, and Joyce and I experienced that sense of fellowship immediately. Our hug could never last long enough.
We got into their Suburban and Mark began to drive us to the children's graves. We started down a private lane, and I thought "How can there be a cemetery back here?" Mark drove across a hill top and I could see two fenced areas. Joyce explained, "Our friend's husband died very suddenly and she chose to have him buried on her property. When our children died, our friend offered this property for a burial site for our children." We read the markers, Rebekah, (19); Joseph, (10); Nehemiah, (9); Martina, (7); David, (4); and Jackson, (2). We were standing on Holy Ground.
I have a hunch that the Bryants think we helped them. They have no idea how privileged we feel to have met them, God's fellow strugglers. We realize that God has placed us in an arena we would never have chosen; however, what a privilege we have to serve Him. If you would like to read more about the Bryants, please go to:  Click here:  http://www.roanoke.com/news/roanoke/wb/45822
When we arrived at Keswick, it took little time for us to be put to work. Glen has already “healed” several computers. We both shared our testimony at the Couples’ weekend and at devotions last Sunday. I will be speaking to the staff at devotions on Tuesday.
I am preparing my talks for the national conference of The Compassionate Friends in Dearborn, Michigan, July 14-16. Please pray we will have safe travels and that hearts will be comforted.
I am continuing my studies at Trinity Theological Seminary in Newburgh, IN, but I have changed my major from Biblical Counseling to Pastoral Studies with an emphasis in Conflict Management. I believe this major is most definitely a better fit for me. I had the chance to visit the Trinity campus and meet many of the staff, including my friend Nikki whose niece Melinda was killed in the Newburgh tornado last November. I had a chance to meet Melinda’s dad Kerry who was in a coma for several months.
We are hoping that many of you will visit us at Keswick this summer. Please check out the summer schedule at www.Americaskeswick.org.
I believe I am in much better health now and Glen is feeling fine as well.  Glen had his first blood test last week since the procedure so we should know soon if those little seeds are doing their job.
Marilyn Heavilin
author of Roses In December

Welcome Home sign at Keswick

Kate with medal

Glen, Matt, Nathan, Me, Deb, Kate, Caleb, baby is Colin, a friend of ours at Keswick

Mark and Joyce Bryant at burial sites of six of their children

Nikki and Marilyn

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This page was last updated 7/04/06 ©Copyright 2002-2006 Marilyn Willett Heavilin