Published on April 14th, 2008 | by tdnimz7S0
With the Lord: my mother, Elizabeth Joyce Hyland MacGowan Ambrose
As I flew over the Sahara desert en route to Nairobi, I was praying. I felt led to say, “Into Your hands I commit my mother’s spirit.” It was around that time that she passed away.
Eulogy: Elizabeth Joyce Hyland MacGowan Ambrose
Although we cannot be present at this service, we would like to thank God and honour our mother, mother-in-law, grandmother and great grandmother. She was mother to Ken, Mike, Don and Debbie; grandmother to Gordon, Allan, Lynda, Sherry, and Judy. She was great grandmother to Lauren, Ethan, Kathryn, Adrienne, Elijah and Caleb, Isaac and Rachelle, and Dillon.
In the words of Psalm 45, she was truly a daughter of the King of Kings. As a mother, she was an example in prayer and loving care. As a child I saw her minister to my invalid brother, Lorne, throughout his 12 years of life. I also learned how God intervenes in our lives, by healing my childhood sports injuries, and helping me forgive a gang for putting me in the hospital. As she drew closer to God and became progressively more influenced by the Holy Spirit, I followed her example. Many times I have met adults who were influenced for Jesus Christ, as children, through a lending library that Mom started, out of our home in Dorval.
She put God first, when we first went to Africa in 1970, then again in 1982, 1986, and finally in 2006. It wasn’t easy for her to say good-bye, but she knew we were representing her in Africa, as she under-girded us in prayer.
I know she would want each of us to pause and reflect on our relationship with Jesus Christ. Have we surrendered to Him? Have we confessed our wrongs to Him? Is He Lord of each area of our lives? Is He first?
He was to Mom, and I thank God for her. I know she is presently continuing an ongoing life of communication with Jesus Christ, and I look forward to seeing her again.
Lovingly, Ken MacGowan
My first recollections of Mom were when I was a teenager in our church and a very rebellious one at that. I was amazed at the attention she always gave me and later I was told that she made me a matter of prayer for my salvation on a daily basis. For that I am truly grateful beyond words. Between my own parents and Ken’s I feel very privileged to have had their fervent prayers throughout my life. Also, her support in anything that we have felt the Lord directing us to do was always there and not until recently did I realize that at times it has been extremely difficult for her to let us go. This will have been the fourth time that Mom has had to say “Good-bye” to us as we departed for Africa once again. She was not feeling well at the time but thought it was just a temporary disorder due to some regular medication that she was taking and that once the Doctor readjusted the dosage, she would be fine. Because of her love and devotion to God, she was not about to discourage us in any way from following our calling. What an example of faith and obedience in spite of an aching heart knowing that she might never see us again on this earth. What a life for the Lord. I believe that deep down she knew her problem was not only due to medication. For the first time she allowed her emotions to come to the surface and we were a little disturbed because she was not usually like that. For that I feel very badly. She quickly recovered though and buried herself in a prayer and telephone ministry and she said she felt like a missionary too. What a trooper. 4:00 A.M. wasn’t too early for this lady to begin her prayer ministry and she continued to pray down several lists until all was covered. Her tenacity was almost supernatural and must have been a gift from God. Each one of her children and grandchildren knows that they have been well and truly bathed in prayer daily and also who knows how many people in Africa and other places of the world. Who will continue this great ministry? Will I? Will you? There are so many in this world who have nobody to pray for them. What an opportunity for us all no matter what else we have to do.
Another great attribute about my mother in law was that she never judged people. In fact, the more trouble you were, the more she liked you. She loved the unlovely, the trouble-maker, the drug addict, the prostitute, the most uncivilized in deepest Africa, or anyone else that came across her path. She was determined to reach them for Jesus as He was her mentor and she desperately wanted to demonstrate the character of Jesus to everyone she met. I will never forget this example she has left for us to follow.
Ken came home in time to spend quality time with Mom in the hospital for eight days and during that time our three children Gord, Lynda, Allan and Sarah our daughter in law, Elijah and Caleb, our two grandsons who live in Canada, along with Ken’s brothers Mike and Don all had a wonderful family reunion at her bedside. Debbie, Ken’s sister arrived just after they all left but has been there for Mom all along. Sherry our youngest is in Kenya with us and finishing up grade 12 at the moment so was not able to make it home. We are so happy many met together before she died and unfortunately, just after Ken left on the airplane to go back to Africa, the time came for her to be taken away from us, and Ken, Sherry, and I were not able to come back for the funeral. Sherry feels very badly that she didn’t see her at all since last summer. God only knows why things happen as they do sometimes but our great hope and confidence lies in the fact that we will all be together sometime again in Heaven.
Our thanks to all those who reached out to Mom and the family during this difficult time. She loved Lakeshore Church and the Pastors so much. Her long time friends meant so much to her and in particular, Jane Findlay and Ruth Baxter knew her so well and were wonderful. Jane, you were amazing to my family as well. They can’t say enough about you. God bless you all for your love and support on this day of Mom’s good-bye to us. We appreciate and love you all.
Grandma was never an ordinary grandmother; always sharp, witty, and energetic, even to my very last moments with her last summer. She was never a pushover, and never fooled. She was an incredibly intelligent woman, and never behind on such things as technology or current world issues. She was classy and respectable. Most impressive, however, was the way Christ shone through her life. I was always proud she was my grandmother.
I will never forget her unfailing, genuine interest in any of my involvements, big or small. I could be sure that whatever she heard of, she would devote to her early morning prayers. A woman of prayer is one description Grandma could surely be put under. For as long as I can remember she was involved in the church prayer meetings, and kept a consistent devotional life which always involved a long list of people and causes she was faithfully supporting in prayer. At one point in the last five years I believe that list took her four hours to complete, yet she never complained. She would often speak of a wonderful time of prayer she had had in her home with a friend, always thanking the Lord instantaneously for his blessings. Grandma’s prayer life was one of the things that made her so admirable to me.
Grandma was never short of a friend. I won’t ever forget her enthusiasm with each of our visits about a new friend she had met, and how she was influencing that person for Christ. Whether it was in church, in her home or someone else’s, Grandma found a way to reach people who needed to be reached to her very last years. Not only did she want to teach them, but she loved these people. Always ready for a new life to invest love, Grandma was truly a servant of God. Christ shone through her as she devoted herself completely to loving people in her response to her own intense love for Jesus. She never grew weary of it because the joy of the Lord truly was her strength.
I so regret that I didn’t get the chance to see Grandma one last time. My heart breaks at the thought of her brilliant mind and body being corrupted possibly by cancer, or even old age. Both are inconceivable to me due to her ever-young and alive spirit. I do, however, have peace in the thought that she now is in the place she has been looking forward to her entire life. I am so thankful for Grandma. Her example is one that is irreplaceable in my life. I love her, and will miss her dearly.
Ken & Marge MacGowan