Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | January 11, 2019

Honoring Cooper’s Memory

In September of last year, I received a text message from my friend Kara Potts. I had just returned home from Rwanda the day before and was at a birthday celebration. Gil Harris was celebrating his 60th birthday and his family had asked me to say a few words about our friendship.

Kara’s message came just moments before I was to speak. When my phone vibrated I took a quick peek to see who was texting. With a quick swipe of my finger I read Kara’s message: “Cooper passed away.”

It didn’t register.

I replied with a single word — “What?” And then, hoping that it was not true, I typed out “Cooper?”

A few days later I spoke again, this time at Cooper’s memorial service. Cooper’s family had asked that in lieu of flowers, gifts be made to Kingsland’s missions ministry. In the days following the service, the outpouring of gifts was so great that it moved the meter to the generous end of the scale.

A key initiative that will be funded by gifts to Cooper’s Memorial Fund is a center to train Christian children’s workers in Nepal. This center will be dedicated to equipping Nepali Christian leaders in best practices and teaching methods they can use in their cultural context.

This past week, my friend Gil accompanied me to Nepal for meetings with our partners. The focus of our meetings was to lay the groundwork for the purchase of land and to outline the details concerning how this training center will operate. We covered everything from legal issues to the hiring of instructors. We also sketched out conceptual drawings of the building.

After sixteen hours of meetings over a two and a half day period, we settled on action plans, timetable for construction, and a bunch of other details that we must address as we move ahead. Barring anything unforeseen, we hope to dedicate this center by the end of this year.

The first thing our partners asked me to share was Cooper’s story. They wanted to know what kind of person he was, how he lived his life, why so many came to his funeral, and how his family is coping with his loss. They leaned in as I shared and were visibly moved by Cooper’s story.

And then they each took a turn to express their gratitude for the center that will honor Cooper’s memory. “Although Cooper is in heaven,” one said, “God will continue to use his life to help us reach many children in Nepal.” They all promised do their respective parts in guiding the work of the center to fulfill its intended purpose and to honor Cooper’s life and memory.

In the Hebrew language, the word “honor” comes from a word that means “to have weight.” In ancient times nomadic peoples carried everything they had with them. Someone who owned much was said to carry a lot of weight. The word honor came to mean to give weight or consideration to another.

And so we honor Cooper by giving weight to his life and consideration to his memory.

We have much work to do over the coming months. Our prayer is that the ministry of this center will impact the lives of children even beyond our own generation. Cooper would have liked that.


Responses

  1. This is a beautiful way to honor Cooper! Thank you for sharing this with us Omar.


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