“I’ll leave the light on”.
Those were some of the last words she spoke to me.
For a couple of years, Sunday Wesche and I had exchanged pictures of adorable cottages back and forth on facebook, declaring that these would be the ‘mansions’ on our heavenly streets and that we would want them right next door to each other.
Late summer, early fall, Sunday was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor.
Surgery removed some of the tumor but resulted in a stroke that left her going home to work on recovery, as her family rallied to help and so many stormed the gates of heaven for healing on her behalf.
Her healing came peacefully this morning with her family at her side, gently releasing her into the everlasting arms of the one she loved more than life itself.
Sunday learned about Jesus at a young age and when she decided to give her life to Him, she was “all in”.
She held nothing back when it came to the one who had died for her sins.
She went on to become a youth director while being a single young woman in her twenties at Central Christian Church in Wichita, Kansas.
She started the youth group with about 5 kids or so and asked them to pray that God would bring others.
He did. I was one of them who came and so were many more.
Young people came from all over Wichita and at one point, the group reached somewhere close to 500 youth.
She taught us to sing for Jesus with all of our hearts and to share our stories about how He had brought us from darkness to light.
We began to see firsthand what it meant to be “born again” because lives were truly being changed.
Parents began observing that their ‘rebellious’ teen was no longer mouthing off but offering instead, to help around the house or even asking forgiveness for his/her bad attitude.
Our group was named “All God’s Children” and we began to believe God to do the impossible and prayed that Wichita, Ks would see people turning right and left to give their lives to Jesus Christ.
We gave concerts and sang songs, sharing our life stories and what Jesus had done for us and even began seeing parents giving their lives to Christ as well.
Sunday would teach us that if we were going to sing for Jesus we better act like we meant it. If we were going to say we followed Him, we better live a life that looked like His. She detested hypocrisy yet was full of grace for those who struggled to find their footing.
Before every concert, we would pray for God to move in the hearts of those in the audience.
Sunday would tell us not to go out on the stage and sing if we held a grudge against a brother or sister. We were to go to them, clear it up and pray with them, making things right so that nothing would stand in the way of our proclaiming the love of Christ.
After all, if we couldn’t love each other, then how could we sing about His life changing love to anyone else?
So many young people and others have been touched by Sundays powerful faith and deep love for her Savior and I am one of them.
I can remember her coming to me one day and asking me to sing a solo for one of the concerts. I didn’t have a lot of confidence in my singing abilities and certainly not enough to sing in front of an audience of a couple of thousand people!
But Sunday reminded me that it wasn’t about the vocal ability as much as it was about shining for Him and being a light proclaiming his love.
The first time I went out on the stage to sing “Jesus I Love Thee”, the spotlight shone on me and all I could think about was Jesus. There was no audience, just he and I with Sunday praying in the background.
She prayed for all of us and believed that we could do anything if we had the power of Christ working within us.
Her signature song was “The God of Miracles” and we all loved to hear her sing it because no one believed that as much as she did.
After several years in Wichita, she married a good man in Idaho and moved there.
She left a legacy of young men and women who themselves either went into full time ministry or lived out their faith in their homes or work places.
Those of us whose lives she invested in will never be the same for having known her because what she invested in us was something beyond what this world has to offer.
“I’ll leave the light on” is more than Sunday knowing her time here would be coming to an end.
It meant her hope of heaven but also her desire that what she has left in the lives she has touched will continue to shine for the glory of the one who loves us most.
Someday, we will knock on her door and we will all thank her for caring enough to ‘leave the light on’.
Until that day, may we keep ours burning brighter than the day before.
I close with these words of comfort to all who believe in the giver of life who is the light of the world:
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, 4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” Revelation 21:1-4