When the Spirit moves, it brings His children together… We consider ourselves fortunate and blessed to have met a fine lady and sister like Virginia Hepner. Ever since our first visit to FBC in Bridgeton, we knew that God’s mission was the motor of her life. The first mission society’s world missionary map we saw was in 2004 at Virginia’s church; Virginia had made it… That is part of the inspiration and legacy Virginia leaves us, of a pioneer woman who loved the Lord and served Him passionately till her last breath. In each of our visits (December 2004, February & June 2005, August 2007 at the hospital, September 2009 at church and home, and November 2012 at her home), we enjoyed Virginia’s humor, her joyful spirit, and her determination. Through her, we were blessed to meet many at the congregation where she was a faithful member for many years… Last time we were in town was last November 2012, in the post-Sandy era. We visited Virginia at her home. We had been there the previous time and knew how to get there. Connie Chann, one of her caregivers, was very gracious with us and we were able to stay in touch since for updates on Virginia’s wellbeing. We knew Virginia was ready to go home, and are surely grateful the Lord has given her rest during this Holy Week. That day, Virginia said: “I knew you guys were in the States and last night I was praying you’d stop by and visit before I go home.” It was difficult; we were so connected with Virginia! She was ready; we were not. One special connection was that Virginia and Carlos shared their birthday (July 30th, though 40 years apart). Each year since we met, we would talk to each other to express our love and birthday wishes. As much as we’ll miss Virginia hereafter, we rejoice in God’s promises to His children. We know Virginia is already enjoying what we still can only imagine. She and our dear pastor friend of ABCNJ, Jim Berger, already enjoy the health, peace, and shalom Jesus came to buy on our behalf with His precious blood on a week like we just celebrated.
Virginia’s body was laid to rest yesterday, April 1st, but don’t be fooled by the day; Virginia made sure Psalm 14:1 wasn’t describing her! Everybody around her knew God existed because of her life. She invited many others to new life in Him, away from all foolishness. As we celebrate Virginia’s life, we are praying for her siblings at the congregation and the many friends of ABCNJ she had. Virginia will be sorely missed by many, including us! We pray that her example and commitment to God’s mission (locally, nationally, and internationally), will inspire many to continue to do the same as it had been her legacy and the history of the congregation that was her home till her very end.