Sunday, February 16, 2014

“Make sure the important people in your life know how important they are before its too late.” ― Keith McDow

When I first met her at a Bible study I was teaching years and years ago, her name was Martha Albright.  She had been divorced but had children and grandchildren that she loved and they loved her back—as they should.  I asked if she could help me file some stuff a couple of hours a week, she agreed, and so began a relationship of many years that ultimately led to my life in Africa.  She helped me in so many ways as I worked as a traveling evangelist and Bible study teacher.  Then, when we had come to Africa together (she was in the first group of 14 along with my wife), she fell in love with the place as we did.  She returned many times.  As we began to build, she asked me how much I thought a well would cost because without a well, we could not build a mission or home on the property we had.  All I knew about well costs was what it had cost Pete O’Neal in Arusha to dig his and that was $25,000 so that was what I told her.  Within a week, she had transferred $25,000 worth of Wal-Mart stock into our foundation.  We not only dug a well—we dug two, one for us and one for the community around us.  There was enough money left over to build our main building, an assembly hall (patterned after the one at Pete’s) that we named for her, “Martha’s Place” which it is still called today and has a sign to remind us.  There was still enough money left to build half of our house and we provided the rest.  She was so important to the Maisha Na Maji mission that it would not have existed or have continued to exist without her help and support.  Once, she brought all her children and grandchildren here to see it and to go on a safari.  She raised money for the mission and served as the Vice-President of our foundation, the One Book Foundation for many years.  She later fell in love with a wonderful man named Leonard McCandless and married him.  She continued to help and serve as Martha McCandless, but Leonard, in spite of his sky diving passion (yes, Martha did it too) had severe health issues and, in the end, Martha turned her attention and passion to him—as well she should.  She no longer is actively involved with our mission or the foundation, but she and her work and support will never be forgotten.  She was one special lady.  She even climbed what we call “Cobra Mountain” while in her seventies.  We think about her and pray for her every day.  Thanks to her, Maisha Na Maji exists and continues to serve God’s children.  For her work, her prayers, her financial support, and her passion for mission—we thank her ever so gratefully and will never forget her or her gifts that continue to give.  Well done, Mrs. Martha McCandless and God bless you and yours forever.
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