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Who I amReside in St. Louis Missouri currently, Lived in California & Colorado.Husband.Father.Pastor.Football Enthusiast.Teacher.Learner.Dreamer.Reader.Friend. [thoughts & comments blogged here are my reflections living life trusting Jesus as God]

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cancer, Coffee, Community, Christ

Odd title for a blog post I know but this is a post that has taken almost a year for me to really put thoughts & words into without it feeling weird.

I already did a post about Losing A Friend and this is partially still in reflection of that post on top of a new one.

Chris Champion was a student in my ministry that was unlike any other students. He was outgoing, a leader, smart, quiet, really smart, funny, didn't like the status quo, intelligent, thought deeply about life & faith {read this post he wrote}, made me laugh, made me feel dumb cause of how smart he was.....did i mention he was smart?

This teenager knew way more than i will ever be able to cram into my brain. I first met Chris as a freshman. His family came to church on a Sunday and Chris was a kid who i never thought i would get attached too but i did. I got attached to him because he cared deeply about people, life and who God is. His personality was infectious. He wasn't outgoing by nature, but man did he draw people around himself. He had a way to make awkwardness go away.

He was the kid that when he didn't have school he'd come down the student ministry building & run cables for a sound booth, hang lights with his dad, find a way to rewire a sound board so it'd quit popping every time you'd play an ipod. Chris was great as all this, but what he was best at was sharing life with people.

I know of 5 other students that came to our ministry or were eternally impacted by Chris. He shared his life and what God was doing in it and it was contagious. Chris was in my small group. Chris was a part of student leadership. Chris was willing to lead worship. Chris stayed late to clean up. Christ told me when my messages sucked. Chris encouraged me when my messages were great. Chris shared life & he did so without shame.

I will spare you of the details cause there are long and painful to recount. But Chris and his dad both battled cancer at the same time in life and they both eventually lost their life here on earth to cancer. One man a College Sophomore, One man a husband & father of 3--both passionate followers of Christ

It was painful to watch. Painful to be around. It was a hard thing to experience while also in ministry. It was great to see them both when they felt fine. It was hard seeing them when they were miserable. Kim & I moved churches and were not around John, Chris & their family as much as we wanted to be before they left this earth. But what still lingers is their impact on me. John was a guy whom i would have coffee with and talk life, marriage & family with. I respected his heart, thoughts & desires. He was a guy who i enjoyed being around. He also was a great man to have around the youth ministry. I so wish I had another 'John' around now in our current setting.

Chris was a kid i never grew tired of. Ok so maybe i did when he got talking computers & science stuff but in terms of seeing a kid impact his school, friends & people who didn't know Christ-Chris was one of a kind. I know some people realize how awesome Chris was....i wish Chris was still here for me to say thanks one more time to him for the impact he had on me as a grown man.

I attempted to say a few words at his memorial service but am pretty sure what came out of my mouth did not ultimate reflect my heart. And that is just it. Even in attempting to post something about Chris it has been hard since he past away because you cannot truly write ANYTHING that reflects what your heart feels. It is almost an agony to try to get people to understand how great a person these two men were. But i know that i don't need to convince myself how great they were...that impact is already embedded too deep in my heart & mind to forget.

I will enjoy reuniting with Chris & John in heaven one day....i got a feeling that Chris will still be smarter than me tho!

Chris & John together [both were fighting cancer at this time]

John Cooking pancakes during a Youth Ministry Missions Trip to Mexico

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