MY DEAR FRIEND MELISSA SAGER
God has been very kind to me. He has always blessed me with the most incredible friends, and none deserve that description more than Melissa Sager. Today we were doing a puppet show for a very large group of children, and I had just seen many children call on Jesus, asking Him to be their Savior. At the end of the program, I received a text telling me that yesterday my friend Melissa had been promoted to Heaven. I read the text three times as I struggled to believe the words.
Melissa always told me that she was so sorry that she had never met Mike. We were scheduled to speak at her church only weeks after Mike was killed in the car crash. I went without him and told everyone of God’s faithfulness. Melissa continued to tell me how sad she was that she had only missed knowing Mike by weeks. Now they’ve had the pleasure of finally meeting one another, and neither of them is sad anymore. Heaven is a real place. The older I become, I wonder how anyone faces life without Jesus. Even with Him it is very hard, but without Him it is hopeless.
I’ve known Melissa for over ten years and during all that time, she was critically ill. Because she had battled cancer for so long, so successfully, I began to believe that the cancer would not win. More recently, she had been diagnosed with a second incurable illness. Still, she persevered through both illnesses with amazing grace and complete trust in her Savior Jesus Christ. I knew that she was never going to get well, but I never thought that she was going to die.
She was very dear to me because she had a heart for children. I’ve been doing this work with the children for over 25 years, but I have never had another American decide that they wanted to lead an American puppet team. Melissa really cared about children. She saw them when others did not. More, she saw lots of people that others never saw. She and her husband loved each other very much and shared their faith with countless bikers through the years. She always challenged me to look at people the way God looks at people, to see them with His eyes. Melissa faithfully supported the puppet ministry and did so much to help children all over the world hear about Jesus. More, her daughter has traveled with me to many different countries.
Melissa was a true friend…Melissa is a true friend. Though this life has ended for my friend, she is very much alive. I spoke with her daughter, Hannah, today. She asked me to share her mother’s story. It is a story of courage and fearlessness and faithfulness. It is a story that does not end, because we truly do live forever when we know Jesus. Hannah told me that her mother believed until the very end, that her faith carried her into eternity.
I wanted to write to you so that all of you could know and be blessed by the life of my very special friend. Strange, I find that all my words are not enough. I have spent today asking myself one question, “What would Melissa want me to tell you?” I have my answer. I think she would want to make very sure that every one of you who read this letter know how to follow her into Heaven through faith in Jesus Christ. Second, I believe that she would tell you to live your life for the Cross. She never felt good, and she never quit, and she lived her life for others. May you and I do so well.
Please pray for the Sager family. Please ask God to comfort her dear husband and her two daughters and her son-in-law. Please rejoice with me that my friend Melissa is not hurting anymore, and that she is home.
SUNDAY, JULY 13TH AND SUNDAY, JULY 20TH
I need your help to fill two unexpected opening in our schedule in the area of Baltimore, Maryland. It has been many years since I’ve had an unbooked Sunday night (July 13th) and an unbooked Sunday morning (July 20) in this part of the schedule. I believe that it has happened for a reason, and so I write to you in the hopes that you can answer our prayers for these dates. I know this is very short notice. Please reply to this email if you are willing to let us come and either bring a missionary report, or do a puppet show, or both. I have an exceptional team of young people with me, and I do not want to miss the opportunity of talking about Jesus with someone and sharing with others stories of what we’ve seen God do. Please make this a matter of prayer.
Please also pray for us as we have one more show in the Tennessee area tomorrow, Thursday. Then we are driving to Roanoke, Virginia, and onto Baltimore, Maryland on Friday evening for another program. Please ask God to keep us safe and to help us finish well in this area.
Linda for Drake, Billy, Mary, Kelsey, and Leslie