When Elijah the Prophet was depressed, God told him to anoint his replacement and several other people to carry on God's work as leaders of Israel and Syria (Aram) and, basically, whatever one didn't finish, the other would (1 Kings 19:14-18). When Elijah's time to go to be with the Lord came, he was taken up, but his mantle (cloak) fell to the ground (2 Kings 2:1-14). His replacement, Elisha, picked up the mantle and was able to carry on the work with the same strength the Lord provided as indicated by the parting of the water so he could pass over (Philippians 4:13, 19). A heavy mantle of leadership and service has fallen in Tucumcari and throughout New Mexico and it will take many to carry on the work.
Sue Day was a great foster parent, mothering an average of over 10 children per year during a difficult period of their lives, and my friend. She was more than your average foster parent; she was our Foster Parent Liaison and wore many hats. Sue did a lot of coordinating to provide the tools, training, and other assistance we need to do our service as well as setting up activities for the children. That often included finding other people to look after our children when we couldn't due to travel or illness. Sue often went beyond the mark providing the care herself because there is a shortage of foster parents to help out. It seems that taking care of children and their families was Sue's ministry of love and taking care of foster parents and CYFD staff was her higher calling.
I believe Sue Day could do all this because she kept a proper perspective on life and the relationship between God and her work (Colossians 3:23-24; James 1:27). Sue's church is just about across the street from her office and I think it OK now to reveal that she is the friend who made the statement about driving by church twice every day that became the basis for my Oct. 17, 2012, article entitled, "No one will enter heaven on another's coattails." Sue's daughter, Sherry Folts, who also died that tragic evening, helped Sue carry her mantle, and she was about as great with the children as Sue was.
A heavy mantle has fallen and it will take several to pick it up because we've lost two very hard working foster caregivers. Sadly, there already was a shortage of helpers and many communities in New Mexico have none. So, the children must be exported even further out of their comfortable environment placing an even greater burden on them and the parents striving for reunification.
So, now these questions arise: First, how do you view your relationship with God regarding your life's work? Every form of honorable work can be viewed as a ministry. Second, will you help pick up Sue's mantle? Her and Sherry's shoes cannot be filled, but the work still must be done. Contact your local CYFD office for details.
Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ in Logan. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org