Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | February 20, 2012

What We Leave Behind

Playa Salinitas, El Salvador

Lloyd and Cindy Dunlap have experienced every parent’s worst nightmare — the loss of a child. Two years ago their son Christopher, a medical student, was killed in a catastrophic car accident. At the moment they received the news of their son’s death their lives immediately changed forever. It’s still difficult for them to hold back the tears when they talk about Christopher. Cindy tries to control the tremble in her voice but it’s there, even if ever so slightly. This morning when our team met for our devotional time, Lloyd shared the story of Christopher’s death and how they are dealing with it. We hung on his every word. After Christopher died, his sister found a file on his computer labeled “Life Lessons.” Christopher had never told anyone about this personal project to essentially write his own proverbs. The Dunlap family is so glad to have discovered what Christopher left behind because it has given them deeper insight into his walk with God in the last year of his life. Lloyd has started writing a book about these Life Lessons and how they have impacted their family since Christopher’s death. I want to buy the first copy.

I’m really glad that Lloyd and Cindy are a part of our water well team here in El Salvador. But I’m especially glad that Lloyd shared Christopher’s story because it reminded me that one day we will all die in one way or another and our survivors (or somebody) will look through our stuff to see what we have left behind. Christopher never expected to die at the age of thirty much less consider how what he left behind would touch and encourage his family. Thankfully Christopher left behind something good. His story has reinforced my determination to leave behind something good, something that can bless my survivors and those who knew me. Each of us can leave behind notes and letters and stories and lessons for those who survive us. As I have been reminded by listening to the Dunlap’s story, even little things can take on a huge significance for others after we die, helping them to cope and to find a new normal that is comforting because it helps them to hold on to our memory.

We had a full day of drilling and teaching today. As I stood under a spray of water while operating the drilling machine, I thought about what we will leave behind in the village of Las Tablas when we return home at the end of the week. I am confident that we will leave more than a well that will provide clean water for the families in this small community. We will also leave an imprint of love and goodwill in the hearts of the recipients. I know that in the future our names and faces will fade in the memories of the people we have met here and that’s ok. And I know that one day this water well will become just an ordinary part of normal life for the people here. The new will wear off. And, that’s ok too. But perhaps one day a child or someone in this village will go to the well to fetch water and pause to give thanks to God for what we left behind in this village — a source of clean water provided in the name of Jesus who is the giver of the kind of water that can become in them “a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (Jn. 4:14). That is a good thing to leave behind!


  1. What a blessing this is. I am so glad we came.

  2. Thank you for you faithful blogging while y’all are there. It’s always a blessing to read.

    Praying for y’all,

  3. Thank you for sharing this. I too would like to get a copy of this devotional once published. When we lost our 14 yr. old daughter, we discovered a school poem she has written on “hate” it was very profound for her young soul. We hold it dearly.

    God bless,

    • I am so sorry for your loss, Michael. Lloyd is still writing and also exploring options for publishing these lessons. I will definitely do a follow-up post as things progress, including info on how to secure a copy once published. Blessings to you.

  4. Michael, thanks for your comment. Let us know how to contact you when we get it finished. It is about 50 percent written at this time. Lloyd.

    Happy to talk prior also.

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