Sunday, February 21, 2016

In Memory of JoAnne Miller Minnis


On Wednesday the 17th of February 2016 Joanne Miller Minnis went to be with the Lord and her husband Jim at the age of 86.

We were on our way to Harare to fly to the US to see her when we received the news she had died.  We had hoped to be with her to help take care of her in her final days, but God saw fit to take her in His time and to help her not suffer here on earth.  We are now here with her daughter, Laura and family to help where we can in planning the memorial service and encouraging the family in this difficult time.

It was just a month ago that we eulogized her husband, Jim Minnie, Pa to me.  Just the day before his funeral Ma found out she had Pancreatic cancer which had spread already to her liver.  The next day after the funeral for Pa she told her family she had about a month to live.  All of us were in shock as she had not really had any symptoms until then.

I met Ma and Pa in 1995 when they had moved from Southern CA to Sebastopol in northern CA to "retire."  They attended my home church with their oldest daughter, Daryl Anne and her family.  Someone said I should meet them because they might come and help at Chidamoyo.  I challenged them to come and work with me at Chidamoyo.  They arrived a few months later for a 6 month stay.

The very first day Pa arrived his first job was digging out the sewer at the hospital and emptying it! Literally he was up to his armpits in "shit!" and we told him his jobs at the mission could only get better.  Ma cooked for us--sometimes 8 or more people for 2 meals a day.  I would do breakfast and she would cook lunch and dinner.  We had several long time visitors during their first visit and Cheri, Carolyn, Lori, Sylvia and Will and I were all made a part of Ma and Pa's family and for years after they all had an effect on all of us and we all competed to be the "most favorite" of the family--of course I always won--that is what I told the others!  Ha!

This visit was when they became Ma and Pa Minnis to us all and over the years they continued to come to Chidamoyo for many times until health issues made them unable to travel anymore.  Ma did a lot of sewing for us over the years.  She made everything from glove wrappers to surgery drapes to curtains for the hospital.  She also did a lot of cooking.  Everyone knows that Ma cooked wonderful meals, used up those leftovers and made the most delicious food. 

They made so many trips to Chidamoyo and stayed usually 6 months most of the time.  They were always happy to work and we always had a "honey do list for Pa as well as Ma."

When I talked to Ma after Pa had died I told her I looked forward to her coming back to Chidamoyo in the future.  She said she would love that, but in the meantime she wanted me to tell her what sewing she could do for the hospital while she was still in the US, as she would have lots of time for that!

Unfortunately, she did not have that time.  From the time of funeral on she went downhill very fast, unable to eat, she felt very nauseated and just wasted away.  Her family and friends constantly surrounded her and she told her family, don't restrict anyone from coming.  She spent time recalling all of her years of living and she always talked about their time at Chidamoyo. 

I was able to talk to her on the phone until a few days before she died.  She kept asking when we were coming and she knew we were on the way when she died but God was calling her home and she didn't wait.  She very emphatically told her family and friends "don't cry for me!"

Her memorial service is on the 27th of February.  We will be here  until about the 4th or 5th of March and then head home.

We arrived on Friday afternoon after leaving Thursday evening from Zimbabwe.  We had a 9 hour flight to Dubai and then a 16 1/2 hour flight to Los Angeles.  That was a long 2 days!  I watched more movies at one time then my whole life!

We seem to be over our jet lag now and enjoyed going to Target yesterday and just looking and staring at all the choices!  It is always overwhelming to us!  Every time we come back to the house it is so strange not to hear Ma and Pa talking to us!  We expect them to be sitting in their living room watching the news.  We really miss them but rejoice they are together again and just waiting to greet us all in heaven someday.

The memorial donations are to buy a van for "Jackets for Jesus" a ministry Ma and Pa have been involved in for the last several years that takes dinner and jackets to the homeless on the streets of Los Angeles, every Sunday evening.  This ministry is run by their nephew, Eric Denton.  You can donate: www.gofundme.com/vanforjoanne

Please continue to pray for the family.  It has been hard for them to grieve when they have died so close together.  We are so thankful for their life and their ministry even in their retirement.  This is a great lost to Chidamoyo and we thank for your prayers and support.



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