Remembering Stephen Luth

In a few minutes, I will be attending the funeral for Stephen Luth, which is happening this morning in Muscatine, Iowa his hometown. Stephen was a young man we had just brought on board at Teen Mania, and I was so touched by his focus, professionalism and heart for this generation during the time I spent with him during his interview process.

I just want to share with you a little bit about this young man, and how God was working in him up to the point of his death, and even more so after. Stephen’s life, and the lives of Austin Anderson, Garrett Coble and Luke Sheets are such a wonderful testimony of the work of Christ and the cross, an example for young people just like them to live sold out for the mission.

I want to make sure everyone is aware of the opportunity to make memorials in honor of Stephen, Austin, Luke and Garrett, to continue the legacy of these young men. Please go here to see how you can honor these young men.

Below is Stephen’s obituary, and I encourage you to leave comments of prayer and support for the Luth family as they deal with the loss of their son. Please lift them up today in your prayers, and ask the Holy Spirit to comfort them and bring them peace.

Stephen Luth

Services:  Due to the overwhelming response, the funeral has been moved to Calvary Church 501 West Bypass Highway 61 #16 Muscatine, IA 52761. Near junction of Highway 61 and Highway 38.

Burial: Memorial Park Cemetery.  Online condolences:  www.wittichfuneralhome.com.

MUSCATINE, Iowa—Stephen J. Luth, 22, a former resident of Muscatine, died on Friday, May 11, 2012, in Chanute, Kan.

Reverend Al Perez and Reverend Steve Russell will officiate the service.  Casket bearers will be James Luth, Joshua Luth, Jonathan Luth, Ryan Kral, Ben Kapella, and Brendon Kapella.

Memorials may be made to the Stephen Luth Memorial Scholarship Fund.  Click Here to donate: http://stephenluthmemorial.com/

Stephen was born on August 6, 1989, in York, Penn., the son of David and Cyndi Youngblood Luth.

He graduated from Oral Roberts University on May 5, 2012.  He was on the Cheer Team at the university and also served as Chaplin for his dorm floor.  He was Captain of the Cross Country and Track Team at Muscatine High School, and was on both teams all four years.  He was part of the Nexus Program at Calvary Church where he led a small group.

He had worked for Fareway in the Meat Department.

Those left to honor his memory include his parents, David and Cyndi Luth of Muscatine; three brothers, Joshua Luth and wife, Britney, of Broken Arrow, Okla., Jonathan Luth and wife, Jennifer, of Tulsa, Okla., and James Luth of Muscatine; his paternal grandmother, Mary Luth of Davenport; his maternal grandmother, June Halkens, of Mountain Home, Ark.; his maternal grandfather, Fred Youngblood and wife, Martha, of Eagle Point, Ore.; several aunts and uncles and cousins; and a special friend, Tori Dollar.

He was preceded in death by his paternal grandfather, John Luth.

Remembering Garrett Coble

This afternoon I will be attending the funeral for Garrett Coble in Tulsa. Garrett has served with Teen Mania’s Global Expeditions ministry for years. He went on 15 trips with us between 1999 and 2006. He had a heart for missions and reaching the lost with the gospel, and he died in pursuit of that mission.

Please pray for Garrett’s family today, and for his fiancee Rachel Fouts. It will be a very difficult time for them and for those of us who worked with Garrett in the mission field. We have peace that he is in Heaven with the Lord, but on earth we will dearly miss him.

Below is Garrett’s obituary and a place to leave condolences. Please let the Coble family and Rachel know how much you loved and appreciated Garrett.

- Ron

Garrett Coble

Garrett Vincent Coble, a resident of Tulsa and assistant professor at Northeastern State University of Broken Arrow, died in a plane crash near Canute, Kansas on Friday, May 11, 2012 at the age of 29.

He was born Oct. 21 21, 1982 in El Reno to Vince Coble and Catherine R. Graham Coble.  He lived in Yukon until this third grade year of elementary school when he moved with his family to Henryetta.  Garrett grew up in Henryetta and graduated from Henryetta High School .  Following High School, Garrett continued his education at Tulsa Community College and at Oklahoma State University.  While completing his undergraduate studies, Garrett spent two semesters abroad studying international marketing at the University of Lima in Peru and at University of Colima in Mexico.  He taught international  business marketing for one year at Oral Roberts University.  Garrett had completed his studies and lacked only his Doctoral dissertation in completing his doctorate degree at OSU.

Garrett leaves a legacy of love and giving.  Through his extensive travels he touched thousands of lives.  Garrett completed travels to mission fields in Russia, Panama, South Africa, Peru, Mexico, VietNam, Chile, Belize, Guatemala, South Korea, and Thailand among others.  Especially important to Garrett was the El Nino Emanuel, an orphanage located in Peru, which Garrett supported by donating the funds to build additional rooms, facilities, and provided clothing and shoes for orphaned children.

Garrett was a member of the Nazarene Church of Henryetta and also the Life Church of South Tulsa. He was very involved with Teen Mania ministries, an organization that was dear to his heart.

Garrett is survived by his mother and father, Cathy and Vince Coble of Henryetta;  by three brothers, Blake Coble and wife Kali of Henryetta, Austin Coble and wife Ashley, all of Henryetta, and David Coble of Tulsa; by a sister, Patricia Coble of Tulsa; by his grandmother, Edna Thomas of Henryetta; by  his grandfather, Roy Coble of Okemah; by grandmother, JoAnn Graham of Yukon; by two great aunts, Eva Cottington and Elaine Ray, both of Henryetta; by an aunt, Mona Coble of Henryetta; by an uncle, Jimmy Graham of Yukon; by a nephew, Parks Coble of Henryetta; by a close friend, Josias Alverado Coto of Tulsa; and by the love of his life, his fiancee Rachel Fouts of Shreveport, LA.

In honor of Garrett’s continued commitment to missions, the family has designated the El Nino Emanuel orphange in Peru as appropriate for memorial contributions.  A fund has been established at Oral Roberts University. Please make checks payable to ORU, attention Mark Rutland, president (write Garrett Coble in the memo) send to 7777 S. Lewis Ave, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74171.

A Memorial Service and Celebration of Garrett’s life will be held on Thursday, May 17, 2012 at 2 p.m. in the Chapel at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa under the direction of Integrity Funeral Service in Henryetta.

Update from Kansas City

I just wanted to give you an update from Kansas City where Katie and I are with Hannah. Hannah is continuing to improve and were thanking the Lord for that. She was laughing and joking with the nurses yesterday, which was great. Indications are that she is feeling better. She is eating a little bit of food. Even though she is taking pain medicine, she still is experiencing a lot of pain.

Hannah’s burns are mostly on her arms, legs, and back. The nurses have to redress those wounds two-three times a day, which means they have to take the bandages off and wash things down and put everything back. As you can imagine, that’s quite painful. Its also quite cold because of the dressing they put on the wounds before they wrap it up.

Hannah is going in for her second procedure today to deal with some of the wounds on her back. We have continued to receive an outpouring of love through emails. Friends from all around the world say they are praying. You may have seen the Today Show, but if not here is a link to that story: http://www.teenmania.com/today-show-feature-tragedy/  

Yesterday was the funeral for Austin Anderson. It was moving to see 2,000 people gathered in his small town to honor his life, including a number of his fellow Marines. I met with Austin’s family, encouraged them, and listened to their stories. The president of Oral Roberts University, Dr. Mark Rutland and the dean of the School of Business Dr. Steve Green, who has been to the Teen Mania campus several times to help us, were in attendance, too.

As you can imagine, it was difficult for me to get through the funeral without losing it. It’s because of the friendship that Hannah and Austin had, and the fact that he recently joined the staff here at Teen Mania. Also, it’s because of the role he may have had in helping Hannah actually survive the plane crash.

I was given the opportunity to speak, and part of what I shared with the attendees is the fact that en route to the event, where they were going to worship the Lord with 2,500 other young people, four of those on board the plane instead encountered the ultimate worship service in Heaven. They were on their way to learn how to help a whole generation meet Jesus face-to-face, and then in a moment, they met Jesus face-to-face. Austin, Luke, Stephen and Garrett were determined and focused, consumed with God’s call on their life to make a difference in this world. Rather than focus on starting big, money-making careers after graduating with business degrees, Austin and Stephen instead decided to become part of Teen Mania and do everything they could to rescue this generation.

In the middle of that focused mission God had for them, they lost their lives. What better way to go? Isn’t that the way we all would want to go, instead of being distracted by media, living a life that is meaningless, and treading water your whole life? They died in pursuit of a mission, and while their death seems senseless, they joined the ranks of people like John the Baptist, who was jailed for sharing the gospel and killed over a ridiculous whim of a king, and Jim Elliot and Nate Saint who were on a mission to reach the Auca Indians, whose lives were ended in pursuit of that mission.

What better way to meet Jesus face-to-face, when you’re all-consumed and focused on what He has called you to do, throwing yourself into spreading His message, abandoning every other possible treasure and honor that the world might offer. Then, in the next moment there you are with Him. This provides a great example for all of us. The way Austin and these three others went to Heaven is the way I want to go, focused on the call until the very end. May we all re-examine our focus on Jesus, that we might live like this until the very end.

Please pray for me as I am traveling to Tulsa for Garrett Coble’s funeral, and tomorrow to Muscatine, Iowa and Saturday to Sturgeons Bay, Wisconsin for the funerals for these three great men.

Thanks again for your prayers.

Remembering Austin Anderson

I will be attending the funeral for Austin Anderson at 2 p.m. today in Enid, Oklahoma. I wanted to share with all of you Austin’s obituary, which gives a beautiful testament to this young man’s life. Please take a moment to read and then leave a message for the Anderson Family at the link provided below.

Please keep the Anderson family, and Austin’s fiancee Elizabeth, in your prayers today and as they continue to deal with his loss.

- Ron

Austin Grey Anderson

From the Enid News and Eagle

ENID — Austin G. Anderson, 27, passed away Saturday morning, May 12, 2012, at St. Francis Hospital in Wichita, Kan. Austin was born Feb. 6, 1985, to Monte Grey and Mary Frances Anderson.

Austin graduated from Ringwood High School in 2003, where he excelled in football, making the 8-man All-Star Team.

Following graduation, he joined the U.S. Marine Reserves and served two tours in Iraq. In 2012, Austin was pinned Staff Sergeant Anderson in Washington, D.C., and was later honorably discharged after eight years of dedicated military service.

Austin accomplished a life goal of graduating from Oral Roberts University on May 5, 2012, with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

Immediately after graduating, Austin began his dream career at Teen Mania Ministries in Tyler, Texas, as Head of Operations and Marketing. Austin was a dedicated member of Faith Center Fellowship, the church founded by Austin’s father.

While serving Teen Mania Ministries, Austin’s plane went down north of Wichita, Kan. Austin was one of two survivors of the accident and was able to heroically carry the other survivor from the scene of the accident. Once a Marine, always a Marine.

All who know Austin will forever profess of his inspiration to others to find purpose in life and strive to help all those in need. His favorite movie line quotes, “Every man dies, but not every man truly lives,” and Austin is one of the few that truly lived for each day.

Austin is survived by his fiancée and love of his life, Elizabeth Thaxton; his mother, Mary Anderson; brother, Aubrey James; sister, Allie Joy; grandparents, Don “Papa” and Carrol Ann “Annie” Anderson; grandmother, Edna Parker and husband Neil; and many extended family.

Proceeding in death is Austin’s father, Monte Grey Anderson; uncle, H.O. Scott; and grandfather, Don Steidl.

The celebration service will be 2 p.m. Wednesday, May 16, 2012, at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Enid, Okla. Arrangements by Anderson-Burris Funeral Home.

Memorials are to ORU Veterans Scholarship.

Condolences online at www.andersonburris.com.

Life is a Journey

“Life is not a race-but indeed a journey. Be honest. Work hard. Be choosy. Say “thank you,” “I love you,” and “great job” to someone each day.

Today Show Feature on the Tragedy

The Today Show’s Matt Lauer interviews Ron Luce about the details of the crash, the four young men who died, and Hannah’s recovery.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

More from Hannah’s sister Charity:

More from Hannah’s sister Charity:
I spoke with Hannah tonight. She sounds like herself, and that makes my heart light. She’s in a great deal of pain, but she is a fighter if I ever knew one.
I told her how many have reached out and expressed how much she means and how deeply they care–she was in awe. She said, “Tell them I love them too.

More from Hannah’s sister Charity:

More from Hannah’s sister Charity:
I spoke with Hannah tonight. She sounds like herself, and that makes my heart light. She’s in a great deal of pain, but she is a fighter if I ever knew one.
I told her how many have reached out and expressed how much she means and how deeply they care–she was in awe. She said, “Tell them I love them too.

Memorials Set for Stephen, Luke, Austin and Garrett

To honor the lives of the four men who gave their lives in pursuit of sharing the gospel with the young generation, the families of Austin Anderson, Garret Coble, Stephen Luth and Luke Sheets are asking that in lieu of flowers, memorials be made in honor of these men.

A memorial ensures that the legacy of these men carry on and that many more lives can be touched by their testimony. If you are interested in making a memorial for Garrett, Luke, Stephen or Austin, you’ll find the information on how to do that below:

Austin Anderson

Austin’s Memorial Fund is set up at the Anderson Burris Funeral Home, which is serving as the custodian for it at this time. Cash or checks made out to the Oral Roberts University Veterans Scholarship may be sent to 3002 N. Van Buren, Enid, OK  73703

Garrett Coble

The Coble family has arranged a memorial fund in Garrett’s name at Bank of America In Tulsa. Memorial gifts will be designated to the El Nino Emanuel orphanage in Peru. 

Stephen Luth

The Stephen J. Luth Memorial Fund has been established at the Central State Bank in Muscatine, Iowa. Donations may be made in his name by cash or check. Please include the account number on the check: 7264054. Checks may be mailed to Central State Bank, 301 Iowa Avenue, Muscatine, IA  52761. The bank’s phone number is 563-263-3131.

If you would like to donate to the memorial fund online, CLICK HERE: http://stephenluthmemorial.com/

Luke Sheets

The Sheets family is asking that memorials be made to one of three designated place. A memorial fund has been established at North Shore Bank. Cash and checks made out to the Luke Sheets Memorial Fund may be sent to 2614 S. Bayshore Dr., Sister Bay, WI  54234. The phone number for North Shore Bank is 920-854-2381. You may donate online as well by clicking the button below:









The Sheets family is also asking that memorials be sent to the Oral Roberts University Department of Missions. Checks may be mailed to Oral Roberts University – Attn: President’s Office, 7777 S. Lewis Ave., Tulsa, OK 74171  (Luke Sheets Memorial / Missions).

Additionally, the Sheets family is requesting memorials be made in Luke’s name to Teen Mania Ministries. Donations may be made online at www.TeenMania.com. Click on the “Donate” button at the top and select “Luke Sheets Memorial/Teen Mania” from the drop-down menu. Additionally, you may send a check to the Luke Sheets Memorial/Teen Mania at Teen Mania Ministries, Inc., Attn: Memorial Gifts, P.O. Box 2000, Garden Valley, TX 75771.

 

Update from Hannah’s Sister, Charity

My daughter Charity shared this update in an email with some of our friends yesterday, and it gives a more complete picture of how Hannah is doing. Please continue to pray for her healing, and continue to lift up the families who lost their precious sons over the weekend. – Ron

Dear ones,
Hannah did so well today. She went into surgery at noon, the doctor decided to do a dermal abrasion sort of procedure, removing all of the dead skin from her wounds; they will complete this process in a surgery on Wednesday. The doctor decided to wait on her skin grafts until next Monday to let her heal more in preparation. Thankfully, they will be able to harvest all of the graftings from her own skin in her thigh. Hannah is in a lot of pain, so please pray for strength.
They expect her recovery to accelerate significantly after that last surgery. She’ll spend a week to ten days in the hospital after her last surgery, and then will potentially spend some time at a physical therapy center in Kansas City.
As difficult and heart-rending as this time is for all who love Hannah, we turn our hearts toward those who have lost their precious sons. It is hard to fathom the exponential grief they are experiencing, but we hold them up in our prayers and aim to do everything we can to love on them.
My mom, dad, Cameron, and I thank you for all of your heartening words and prayers.
We love you and we’re feeling your love,
Charity