Sometimes, God shows up as you never expected. He does something that you would not believe, even if you were told. When the tears come, He counts them and holds them in heaven. In exchange, He fills our mouths with laughter; our tongues with songs of joy.
This is the story of Linda.
Linda was a missionary to Korea. Actually, she always said that she was a missionary to her own family first, so I suppose Korea was second. She had three girls and a boy and a husband who adored her. She made her home in a foreign land. Her home was simple and cramped for six, but as rich as rich could be.
I remember a lot of things about Linda. Like how she could whip up the best chocolate chip cookies ever. Always perfect and melt in your mouth. And then she introduced me to this cherry dump cake stuff. Oh my word. For three years, I lived on kimchee and rice and cherry dump cake. It was that good.
Linda loved Jesus, marriage, and babies. And she was not quiet about loving any of those things. She lived out her passion for God where He called her. Sometimes God had her stay at home and raise her family. Sometimes God had her on a street lined with bars and strip clubs. We loved going there on Friday nights to invite others to church. I’ll never forget those Friday nights.
Eleven years ago, I introduced her to Paul, when he flew to Korea. She was almost as happy as I was to have met him. Her joy for my joy was unmatched. At my wedding shower her words of wisdom included, “Kristin, have lots of beautiful babies.” She would have been so proud with our two.
God placed Linda in my life for three short years. She welcomed me into her home, her life, her faith. Through her, I got to see what devotion looked like. She was my friend and my mentor. A few steps ahead of me in life, she encouraged me to run consistently and set a good pace. I loved her. We all did.
Last week, in the midst of a special breakfast with the kids, I got the devastating news. While speaking to eleventh graders about Christ, Linda suffered a massive brain aneurysm. She was 52. Tears fell as raindrops from a deeper place within me and I couldn’t make them stop. Her death sent a family, a school, a church, and a community into a swift unexpected grief.
This is where God shows up. Granted, He’s been there all along, but His presence becomes undeniable now.
Linda made a decision, years ago, to donate her organs. Because of that one small decision, three people’s lives were saved in Korea. Her liver and kidneys were perfect matches to people who had been given a death sentence. In addition, her skin was donated to burn victims. Her corneas were given that others might see.
It was a small decision on her part at the time. Consistent with her life, she gave even in death.
What no one would have ever imagined was that Linda was the first foreigner ever in Korea to have donated her organs. Organ donation in Korea is extremely rare, with only one in a million Koreans even doing it. This simple act of love was unprecedented for a foreigner. News agencies stirred.
In a matter of a couple days, numerous articles have been penned about Linda. Three of Korea’s biggest news channels covered her memorial service. The good news about Christ has been aired for a nation to see. Reporters have said that she gave her life and her death to a people that were not her own. Countless have come to grips with their own humanity and with a Savior’s love.
And this, all because of the faith of a woman named Linda.
Who taught me how to live and who taught me how to die.
“But your dead will live, their bodies will rise.” – Isaiah 26:19
”I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” -Psalm 27:13-14