Today I attended the funeral of a christian titan. Thousands of people were ministered to her and very few probably remember this force of the gospel in such a diminutive form. Her name was Hazel and she passed away at age 91. Her adult life was evangelism to children, most of the time in Spanish. She served as a missionary in four countries in South America arriving in Mexico City just in time for the 9.0 scale earthquake of 1985. While serving in Latin America she helped write a teacher training curriculum that is used world wide. Through this Hazel continues to have a hand in the effective evangelism of children in every country on the globe (save one, It starts with North and ends in ea). I train teachers with her material year round and it is simply the best, it is clear, through, and doctrinally rock solid.
In her retirement Hazel volunteered to teach with me. Because she never learned to drive I would pick her up and take her to the elementary school we were teaching our Bible classes in. Even in her extreme age she was sharp as a tack. Physically slow, but an incredibly sharp mind. I loved our conversations, once we were caught briefly in the middle of a high speed car chase, it didn’t even phase her she had a point she was making and what was a distraction to me was simply an inconvenience to her. Once at our organizations Conference my wife, my friend Smythe, and I were Hazel’s ride home. The whole way she regaled us with tales of her adventures down south. We learned of a brief romance that never materialized, how to re ink typewriter ribbon, and how to tell if an enameled pan was cheaply made with lead. Along the way we stopped at a bookstore I love and after making our purchases she leaned over to my friend and whispered for him not to tell me because she knew I would frown on it but she had bought some, “christian romance novels!”
I am going to miss Hazel, she was a proper old school missionary. I looked up to her and am so grateful for her life.