10 days before Katie went to be with Jesus we had the opportunity to go visit her in Rockford, IL where she was enrolled in the Masters Commission. My younger daughter Laura had advanced to a regional spelling bee and the district finals were in of all places Rockford! We had not seen Katie since Christmas break and were excited to not only be part of Laura’s upcoming bee but also to again see Katie.
She called before we drove up there and requested for us to bring 5 items. They were her pogo stick, electric guitar, amplifier, a childhood banner that read God is Love (which she made when she was 6 years old) and a Picnic Basket. The Picnic Basket was purchased by Katie earlier that summer at a thrift store. When we arrived in Rockford hugs abounded and then we opened the trunk of the car. Katie grabbed her pogo stick and in front of many of her fellow students who were nearby started jumping up and down! Other students then attempted to do the same on the pogo stick only to fall off balance which led to laughter by all who were present. I then pulled the basket out of the trunk and asked Katie why she wanted the Picnic Basket with but a couple months left and the weather quite cool that time of the year. She smiled and said “Daddy I want to go on a picnic with some friends!” I was just so happy to see her I didn’t pursue any other reason nor did I want to discourage her by questioning any further.
Upon Katie’s home-going with the Lord the Masters students and leaders so kindly packaged her belongings and returned them back to us. Katie’s mom Pat found in her writings a letter she wrote 5 months prior about Heaven and what she thought it would be like. (Please see Heaven 2005 below to view and download copy) When she found it and brought it downstairs to me to read needless to say it was quite an emotional time for both of us. It was the last sentence that really had an impact on me. Katie ended this beautiful description of Heaven with “Let’s Go For A Picnic.” I looked up and there tucked in the corner along with so many boxes of her belongings staring at me was the Picnic Basket! It was a couple days later that I knew what the Lord wanted us to do. He told me to take the letter about Heaven and literally have picnics with family and friends. We are to share this letter with them and let them know what Katie is experiencing, and ask them if they too would like to receive the free gift of eternal life. The picnics we have had so far have borne much fruit and suffice to say friends and relatives of Katie who she had prayed for years have come to know about eternal life at these picnics.
Please, I encourage you to have your own picnics by taking Katie’s letter about Heaven and sharing with your loved ones and friends. My family and I anxiously look forward to spending eternity with the Lord, Katie and you!