Tribute to those who were promoted to Glory in 2021
There were different causes for this dramatic loss of life, and the Covid-19 pandemic was the main cause. COVID-19 dramatically affected some of our partners and master trainers. In one Southeast Asia country alone, 18 of our key leaders/SIU trainers died from the virus in a very short period. Also, one of our long-standing Partners in West Africa, Rene Mbongo, succumb to the virus quickly and passed into Glory leaving his wife, Faustine, and many children and grandchildren in sudden loss and much grief. Rene had over 20 years of service and relationship with SIU and his personality and love of Christ will never be replaced. His passion for the Lord’s Kingdom lives on through his family and all of us who were blessed to be a part of his life. Rene will be deeply missed here on earth; however, there is a coming reunion where we see him with our King.
We also had much spiritual warfare and tragic unexpected events with recent loss of life close to home. My beloved wife and soul mate, Melissa Kiefer (“Sweet Missy” as she was fondly known) succumbed to a 14-year battle with Parkinson’s Disease with its devasting physical and mental illnesses. This month marks 30 years of marriage. We have four wonderful children. I praise God for her life and testimony as a follower of Christ!
As we grieve the loss of these believers and beloved family members, we don’t grieve like those who have no hope. As the scripture assures us, “…to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:8, NKJV)
So many of you have reached out to me in kindness and love with my wife, Sweet Missy’s recent passing into Glory. I thank God for each of you; your compassion, your love and your continued prayers for my family – especially for our four children. I am relying heavily on my faith in three areas right now: the Sovereignty of God, the peace of God and the love and goodness of our God.
First, do we believe our God is Sovereign?
I want to share just a few of the promises & claims in the Living Word about our God:
“God is in control of all things and rules over all things. He has power and authority over nature, earthly kings, history, angels, and demons. Even Satan himself has to ask God’s permission before he can act.” (Psalm 103:19)
“God is above all things and before all things. He is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. He is immortal, and He is present everywhere so that everyone can know Him.” (Revelation 21:6)
“God knows all things past, present, and future. There is no limit to His knowledge, for God knows everything completely before it even happens.” (Romans 11:33)
These claims make it clear to me and assure me that there is absolutely nothing that happens in the universe that is outside of God’s influence and authority. I also believe His presence is everywhere, and that as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, God has NO limitations.
Our Sovereign God is intimately involved in our pain. Our God was with Joseph in his brothers’ treachery and his long imprisonment in Egypt. Our God was with Jeremiah during the destruction of Jerusalem. Our God was actually IN Jesus when He was crucified on a cross. God’s hand had a purpose in each of these traumatic events. His sovereign will and perfect “Plan A” already counted on these trials to come. He did not frantically come up with Plans B or C because of an unforeseen failure in Plan A. No – He foreknew and designed His perfect will in “Plan A”.
Our Sovereign God knew every day of Sweet Missy’s life before it ever happened – including her fourteen-year journey with Parkinson’s Disease and her last day on earth before ushering her into His eternal Kingdom.
Secondly, do we believe God can provide peace – especially during the most difficult times?
The Lord spoke about His peace many times in His Living Word and said to His disciples and followers:
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27 NLT)
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.” (Isaiah 26:3-4 NIV)
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7 NIV)
These promises are firm and true. I am spending much time in His Living Word, trusting Him each day. Let me tell you, I have been receiving bucket loads of peace!
And finally, do we believe our God is full of Love and Goodness?
The Apostle Paul, led by the Holy Spirit, revealed much in the book of Romans about the love and goodness of our God in these passages:
“And we know that in ALL things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NIV)
The passage says that in ALL things, not just the good things, but even what we would call the “unexpected” or “tragic” events are within God’s sovereign nature.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39 NIV)
Nothing can separate us from His love. King Jesus brought His Kingdom to this earth to redeem us, to rescue and save us. He is near to us now and He is with Rene, Sweet Missy and all our loved ones who believed in Him and have fallen asleep before us. AND HE is coming again SOON, so let’s have our lights and lampstands on! To God be the Glory for these believers’ lives and testimonies. We, all who believe, shall see them again soon.
Come Lord Jesus! Maranatha!
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Missy was a blessing to my family often lightening our burden, a faithful servant to those around her.
She impacted my family with eternities values.
Now, Missy is free from the plagues of this life.
She is at peace and enjoying her Savior and friend!
Kent, through your personal grief, you take time to encourage us again to keep our eyes always upward on heaven’s sure promises.
May God continue to give you courage and endurance in this sojourn.
Thank you for your faithfulness.
Amen, dear brother Kevin! We look forward to our “Blessed Hope” and coming reunion with Missy and all those who have fallen asleep before us…
Keep looking up, our “Blessed Hope” approaches! Warmly in Christ, Kent
Thank you for your perspective. I can’t say that understand the pain of 15 years of suffering. I lost my wife on Sept. 23, 2021 due to a medical mistake as they just started treating her for stage 1 cancer. The port got infected resulting in a blood infection which caused a brain aneurism. Like your wife, mine is in heaven also. I look forward to seeing her again. But I miss her terribly. We had such a wonderful life together, two wonderful kids (adults now) and ministry with Wycliffe. (Have been doing SIU work in Chiapas, Mexico.) I like all your verses. I haven’t meditated on peace but rather on God’s promise of comfort. “Blessed are those who morn for they will be comforted.” In Psalms it says “God captures our tears and places them in a bottle AND writes them in his book.” Heb. 6:10 “He will not forget the good work you have done.” Someplace else it says, “He weeps with those who weep.” Think of it. God so close to you that he weeps with you. You can’t get closer than that.
So weeping is good. I have done a lot of it. Not weeping for Sarah. I try to rejoice with her. Not weeping out of self pity, instead weeping because I miss her so much. Jesus hates death and its effects. Witness his weeping at the tomb of Lazarus.
Thank you for your openness and transparency and so sorry to hear about your wife’s loss. It sounds like you had a wonderful earthly life together like Missy and me. We had 1000s of good days together and I am focusing on those and not the final days. God truly blesses us with special days and moments and I am so grateful and thankful for those knowing we have eternity ahead with the King in paradise.
Your scripture passages are encouraging to me too. The Lord’s promises are firm and true and I will be praying for you and your children. I am weeping too but as the Lord says in Psalms 30:5 “Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.”
We shall see them again SOON! Our “Blessed Hope” approaches…
Warmly in Christ,
I am grieving with you and to those who serves in this ministry who suffers the “unexpected” and “tragic” loss of love ones.
Thank you Luz, for your compassion, mourning and prayers for the families of our recently passed loved ones.
“Blessed are those who mourn for they will comforted”
Our God of great comfort and peace will meet every need and our “Blessed Hope” approaches!
Warmly in Christ,
I pray for all the family & friends of those whose loved ones died from Covid Holy Spirit I ask you to comfort fort all the rest of family ! TY l
Lord please be with all the families
, whose wives died, whose moms died& & ann help them recover .
Thank you dear Lois. You and husband John have been so good to us (me and our four children) and your ongoing prayers for the families of all those whose loved ones have passed recently are greatly appreciated (and coveted)!
Warmly in Christ,
Thanks Kent for your word and testimony, trust your children will process the departure of their precious Mom and be stirred to draw closer to Him by the dependence you both examplified, on Him, even in the face of delayed hope and answers to prayer, inevitable perplexities, and discouragement… yet she remained anchored in her God and that is her most beautiful legacy to your children. Blessings, in Christ, Daniel Peifer
Thank you for the kind words and remembrance of Missy and your prayers for our children. We need them much each day going forward.
Let’s keep our eyes set above on heavenly things as our “Blessed Hope” approaches!
Warmly in Christ,
Thank you so much for this blog and for honoring Missy, Rene and others who have passed away this past year. I think too of Nepal where so many grassroots pastors died during Delta.
We are praying so much for you and the kids. We think we can somehow be a comfort to you and yet you end up comforting us. I am so grateful for your faith which is seeing you through because of the Sovereignty of God, the peace of God and the love and goodness of our God.Thank you for sharing with us. We love you. Carla and Jim
Dear Carla (& Jim)
Thank you SO MUCH for all of your prayers for the Kiefer family, Mbongo family and all of these precious families across the world (yes India, Nepal and many other countries too). So much loss and grief BUT all of it is a part of God’s perfect sovereign will and plan to bring as many of His people to His eternal Kingdom. We love you and Jim much and thank God for your continued influence in growing and advancing God’s Kingdom! Our “Blessed Hope” approaches…
Warmly in Christ,
We are heartbroken by the death for so many family members of SIU and especially Missy who we will miss always. The Scriptures you shared bring so much comfort to everyone.
I trust and hope that these same Scriptures will bring you comfort and everlasting peace that passes all understanding.
We are praying for you and your children. We are believing God for that same peace that passes all understanding will find you and your children uplifted and renewed- this is the hope of the Gospel.
Thank for your kind words, encouragement and ongoing prayers for our family – especially our four children. We covet those prayers and ask for the Holy Spirit’s peace and presence in our lives daily now as we continue marching on toward our “Blessed Hope” and the return of the one true King! HE is coming soon…
Much Love in Christ,
Dear Kent, I am so sad to hear of your wife’s home going and the hole she will leave in your family’s lives. And to hear of so many faithful servants and key partners in your ministry who have been affected by COVID. May the Lord bring comfort to each family affected. God is Sovereign and His comfort is certain. May you rents in His peace these days ahead.
Thank you so much for your kind words and prayers for comfort and peace for my family and all of our partners families who have been impacted with these tragic losses (“holes” left in our lives as you called them which is a good word picture). The Great Comforter, our beloved Holy Spirit is showing up and getting us (me especially) through each day. The passage of 1 Corinthians 2, Verse 9 is carrying me often these days:
“That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”
HIS love for us and our love for HIM will carry us into eternity! What a great hope we have in Christ and the glorious homecoming that awaits!
God bless you, Kent