Bill and Merri Ann Pursley have been dear friends and faithful members of our church for the past few years.  When I first moved to Lancaster twenty-two years ago, I began meeting members of the extended Pursley family who are long-time Antelope Valley residents.

Bill, who owns and operates a large landscaping company, has visited the church over the years and has been a contractor on a number of our building projects.  I had given him Gospel tracts and witnessed to him for years, but it wasn’t until two years ago that I finally had the opportunity to sit down and go over the Gospel one-on-one.  What a great delight it was to see Bill bow his head and receive Jesus Christ as his Saviour.

The next day his wife Merri Ann came into my office and said she would like to know more about Bill’s decision.  After a wonderful conversation, I was able to lead her to the Lord as well.

Merri Ann’s growth has been a tremendous blessing.  Over the past two years she has attended the ladies Bible study taught by my wife, Terrie, and has exhibited a great desire to learn, grow and witness to others.

Several days ago, Merri Ann was taken to Cedar-Sinai Medical Center in Beverly Hills with an acute infection.  Suddenly and unexpectedly, the infection spread throughout her body.

This past Wednesday, after driving to the Los Angeles area through Hollywood Hills to the hospital, I finally stepped into the elevator and went up to the seventh floor of the acute care building.  As the doors opened, Bill was there in the waiting area.  As I walked over to him he said, “Merri Ann is with the Lord.”

It was certainly a shock to hear those words, yet as we contemplate their meaning, it was a blessing to know that she had been saved two years ago.  Please pray for Bill and the entire family as they walk through this valley.  It is my desire that we might be a blessing and an encouragement to them.

I was scheduled to preach in Brisbane, Australia, in the early part of the coming week.  However, due to the funeral services, I have asked Pastor Lloyd if I may be excused from the National Leadership Conference in Australia in order to be here for this time of need.  I appreciate so very much Pastor Lloyd’s graciousness, and I’m confident that God will bless the meeting there at the Good Shepherd Baptist Church.

Finally, may each one of us remember the important need of witnessing and sharing the Gospel while there is time.  We never know when God may call a friend or loved one home.

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