Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Full House For A First Funeral

The Funeral

Today I conducted my first funeral and I can truly say that I couldn’t have asked for it to go any better. The Lord enabled and blessed in a wonderful way. If there is an event that a pastor wants to go smoothly it would defiantly be a funeral. For the last week or so we have been communicating with the family and preparing details for the funeral, graveside, and dinner. Although it seemed like every day I got a few more details figured out there were still many loose ends this morning. Everything came together in enough time for me to be free and available to spent time with the family.Picture taken in Hartville Cemetery


The Figures

Pastor Randy Simmons at Faith Fellowship told me over the phone that I would be experiencing a “baptism by fire” doing this funeral. Knowing that (1) the Martin family is well known in this area, (2) Wade was everyone’s friend, and (3) he was only 52, Pastor Simmons told me that the crowd could be anywhere from 100-150. There was no possible way that we could fit them in our little church when our church can only hold about 50 and there was no other church in town that could handle a much bigger crowd than that. The Family made arrangements to use the Armory’s Gym south of town. It was a good thing they did because there were about 300 people there at the funeral. The chairs and bleachers will filled and there was standing room only.
After the Funeral around 150 people came to the graveside service according to the funeral director. (The photo to the left was taken in the Hartville Cemetery, but is not the actual gravesite.) Everyone gathered around as I read Psalm 23 and made a few comments. After closing in prayer people began to comfort one another and slowly make their way back to their cars. There were about 10-15 mule deer that stood on the hill behind the cemetery watching the service. This was significant to many of those who knew Wade because he was always taking rides in the country looking for deer to take some pictures. He loved nature and was constantly taking pictures. The deer served as a good token for good to the family in this time of grief.


The Focus

The last time I saw Wade was when I was visiting his parents at their ranch. Wade saw Andrew standing by the four-wheeler with his hands in the air saying, “up” over and over. Wade picked him up and took him for a ride around. Both Wade and Andrew had smiles from ear to ear. As we spent time with the family I discovered that Wade had a reputation for making peace. I thought of how that beautifully pictured Christ who is the Prince of Peace.
The Lord led for me to prepare to preach along those lines. I opened Isaiah 9:6 and explained that Christ is the Prince of Peace. I then turned to Ephesians 2:14-24 to show that Christ as the Prince of Peace broke down the wall of separation between man and God.  I then read John 14:27 where Christ left a parting gift of peace to His disciples and the church when He ascended. I explained how the Holy Spirit was sent as the Comforter and true peace only comes from God. After establishing all of this I quoted Matthew 5:9 where Christ said, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Focusing on that verse I explained that peacemakers are those who make peace with other people, but also bring peace between men and God by declaring the good news of the Gospel. Shifting to the second part of Matthew 5:9 I explained that peacemakers have God’s favor smiling upon them. The verse says, “they shall be called the children of God" and I compared this to when a parent at a ball game or sporting event yells from the bleachers, “That’s my boy!” after their child does something well. God is in heaven watching His children on earth and when they are peacemakers by resolving problems or bringing others to the Savior He thunders from heaven, “That’s my child!” Before giving an invitation I closed with a quote from the Puritan Thomas Watson where he said,
God the Son is called the Prince of Peace. He came into the world heralded by angels announcing peace; "On earth peace..." He went out of the world with a legacy of peace, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you." Christ's earnest prayer was for peace; He prayed that His people might be one. Christ not only prayed for peace, but bled for peace: "Having made peace through the blood of His cross." He died not only to make peace between God and man, but between man and man. Christ suffered on the cross, that He might cement Christians together with His blood. As he prayed for peace, so He paid for peace. (Thomas Watson, Gleanings From Thomas Watson (Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 1995), 86.)

The Fellow Laborers

IMG_6313There was no way that we could pull off everything ourselves. With almost a third of our church grieving their lost and another third with a sister in the hospital we just couldn’t see how we could pull it off ourselves. As a result we had help and support from many places and want to publically thank all who labored with us. First, we couldn’t have done it without the help of Faith Bible Baptist Church in Greeley, Co. Their Assistant Pastor Ken Curtis and his wife Bessie brought four ladies from their church to help with the food preparation, serving, and childcare. Second, Pastor Randy Simmons from Faith Fellowship and those who came from his church to help with the food and childcare also. Third, Pastor Roy Phillips from Douglas Baptist Church was there to lend a hand and support the family as well as me. Fourth, Jason Crossman, Pastor Robbins assistant at Pioneer Baptist and The Lunch Box did a great job getting food prepared for the group from Greeley as they made themselves busy preparing food for everyone else.


The Follow-up

Follow-up for this funeral began long time before the funeral. We were able to spend a lot of time with the family and support them through this time. Also a few days before the funeral I was talking to the librarian in Guernsey as I was checking my email and she asked, “What do pastors do to prepare for funerals?” Could you ask for a better question to open the door to spiritual things? I shared with her in a nutshell what I would be preaching at the funeral and before I knew it she was asking about church and said she intended to come visit. She also was at the funeral and was able to hear the full message. After the funeral as we were leaving one of the military personal in charge at the armory asked me what denomination I was and explained that he was from a Southern Baptist background, just moved to Guernsey, and was looking for a Baptist Church. There are so many other encounters and Divine appointments that have surrounded this funeral that I can’t tell them all. I also know that this funeral may have more effects than I even know as God works behind the scenes.


The FatigueIMG_6312

Although everything went smooth, everyone was exhausted when it was done. The group from Greeley, Co had a long drive home and we had some last minute cleanup to finish. Even Elizabeth was so exhausted that she crawled up in mom and dad’s bed and went to sleep by herself before 8:00pm while we were still working. That was a shocker for us. Thanks for all the prayers and support. They certainly impacted today more than we will ever know.


The Flub-Up

Before the funeral, as we made preparations and spent time with the family I discovered that the family had a few computers that belonged to Wade that had passwords. Before they spent $50-$100 to get around the passwords I offered to do it for them. Back when Windows XP was popular I had a few tricks to erase the password but those tricks didn’t work with the new Windows Vista and Windows 7. After I found some instructions online I emailed them to myself so I could print them, but instead of emailing to me I emailed them to our blog and the instructions were posted. The post has been deleted but many of you may have received a strange email that seems completely irrelevant. Sorry about the confusion and by the way you might not want to let your mischievous teenagers read that email.

The Fond Remembrance


Funeral services for Albert Wade Martin, 52, will be held at 2:00 P.M., Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at the General Spence Wyoming Army National Guard Armory in Guernsey, Wyoming with Pastor Jason Miller officiating. Inurnment will be held at the Hartville Cemetery near Hartville, Wyoming.

Wade died Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Wade was born August 29, 1960 in Casper, Wyoming the son of Albert Paul and Eldora Joann (Goolsby) Martin.

Wade was a football and basketball player for Wheatland and Guernsey High Schools. He graduated from Guernsey High School in 1978. Wade attended Torrington College on a basketball scholarship. On July 3, 1982 he married Shelly Dickinson, to this union they had two daughters, Tricia born on March 18, 1990 and McKenzie born on December 30, 1992. Wade worked at the Wheatland Power Plant for seventeen years and later took a job traveling for Intec Services based in Fort Collins, Colorado. Recently he returned home to be with family on the ranch that he had always loved. Wade enjoyed playing golf, bowling, hunting, collecting hot wheels, watching Lonesome Dove, hanging out with his nephew Ned, his girls, and Rock, his ever faithful dog. Wade had many loyal friends, a large family, and he loved every single one of them.

He is survived by his parents, Albert and Dori Martin of Guernsey; daughters Trish (Tristen) Martin of Cheyenne, Wyoming, and McKenzie Martin of Wheatland, Wyoming; his fiancé Tiffany Savageau of California; four sisters, Jackie (Bill) Holtz of Guernsey, Lynne (Dave) Mesenbrink of Casper, Liz (Eric) Henneman of Lead, South Dakota, and Ellen (Scott) Nelson of Hartville; two brothers, Pete (Sheila) Howes of Fort Laramie, and Matthew (Sabrina) Martin of Guernsey; as well as many nieces and nephews, great nieces and Great nephews, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Wade is preceded in death by his maternal grandparents, Jesse and Jennie Goolsby, paternal grandparents, Harley and Nellie Martin, and niece, Ashley Howes.

Serving as honorary pallbearers will be Dan Cooley, Doc Jeffries, Marc Martinez, Mike King, Rex Martin, Danny Martin, Dale Woodrick and all of his many friends.

A memorial to the Wade Martin Memorial Fund in care of Lusk State Bank, P.O. Box 1400, Lusk, Wyoming 82225 would be appreciated by the family.

Friends and family may call on the funeral home on Sunday, December 2, 2012 from 2:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M.

The Gorman Funeral Homes – Platte Chapel is in charge of the arrangements.

Condolences may be sent to the family at


Wade Martin was the kind of individual who could make you smile on your worst day. His presence filled any room and his laughter filled any heart. Wade never knew a stranger; he could sit and talk to someone he just met for hours. Always happy, Wade never stopped smiling. However, he seemed to be the happiest when he was round his family.

When Wade wasn’t spending time with his nephew Ned, his daughters, or his fiancée Tiffany, he was finding more stuff to pile at his mom and dad’s house. His dad was his hero, but he loved every member of his family unconditionally. His faithful dog Rock never left his side since Wade bought him some “special” Jerky. As far as his daughters are concerned, he was a hero. In his eyes they could do no wrong and he was always proud of them.

Wade always said he had a degree in everything, but one of his biggest passions was music. He knew a song for any occasion. One thing Wade was really good at was teasing people. He had a joke up his sleeves at all times. Wade enjoyed golfing, bowling, collecting Hot Wheels, and gadgets. Everywhere Wade went, he was taking pictures. His friends were as dear to him as his family and he kept in touch with all of them.

One way that Wade showed his affection was by placing two fingers on your cheek. Nobody quite knew why but they all accepted it as his token of love. Wade loved all and was loved by all. He will forever be in our hearts.

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