Pray For Hank & Janet

“O Lord, the God who saves me,
day and night I cry out before you.
May my prayer come before you;
turn your ear to my cry.
~Psalm 88:1-2

Please take a moment right now to lift up a prayer to our Father for some dear friends of mine, Hank & Janet Lewis. I just learned last night that their 18-year-old daughter, Jade, was killed in a car wreck Thursday evening.

Hank & Janet and their sweet family live in Smithwick, just a few miles east of Marble Falls, where Hank owns a construction company. The little church in Smithwick doesn’t have much of a youth group, so Jade and a couple of her buddies came to our congregation in Marble Falls most every Sunday night and Wednesday. As the default youth minister there for a little over six-months in ’05, I got to know Jade by teaching her in Bible classes and worshiping with her at devotionals. We took her to WinterFest. She was in our home. A beautiful and talented young lady with big dreams.

Jade’sTheOneInTheMiddle-MizpeRamonI didn’t meet Hank and Janet until January ’07 when we all spent two weeks together in Israel. Through friends they had at Austin Grad and the Brentwood Church in Austin, they had arranged to take Jade with them on our trip. Jade was the youngest in our group of 25. Janet was the sweetest. Hank was the funniest.

I fell in love with this couple, this family. Huge hearts. Giant faith. Generous spirit. Hank and I wound up working in the HammerinHankAtTamarsame corner of the 10th century B.C. fortress in Tamar during the archaeological portion of our tour. And we began calling him Hammerin’ Hank because of the relentless way he attacked the nine layers of 4,000-year-old dirt with his pick. There was no quit in Hank. He worked harder than all of us.

And he played just as hard. If I live to be a hundred I’ll never forget Hank picking up boulders the size of small cars and tossing them over the 600-foot cliffs at Mizpe Ramon and hollering with delight as we watched them tumble almost out of sight. You could hear him laughing and screaming a mile away. He was acting like a ten-year-old boy. And we fed off that.

Janet’sTheOneOnTheRightJanet’s penchant for beautiful scarves almost caused an international incident at the Israeli-Jordan border. We had to negotiate with machine-gun-toting soldiers to secure her passage.

And Jade was the adventurous one. We lost her on a couple of ocassions, once for a little over an hour, when she hiked ahead of our group and took a wrong trail.

In May of ’07, just two days before we moved from Marble Falls to Legacy, Hank and I shared a two-hour breakfast at the Bluebonnet Cafe. And we talked about preaching and construction and faith and hope and raising daughters. We talked about God’s Church and the eternal scope of his Kingdom. And we prayed for each other.

And I just found out last night that Jade is gone.

My heart is broken today. But nothing like theirs.

I just got off the phone with Hank. He’s hurting. But his faith is strong. He encouraged me more than I encouraged him. He’s prayed for years that our God would keep his daughter safe. And he and Janet realize that Jade is now in the safest place she could possibly be. There’s nowhere safer than in our Father’s arms.

Please pray for Hank and Janet today. Pray for their other children, Caitlin and Keenan, and the two kids they just adopted a few months ago from Ethiopia. (I told you they have big hearts.) Ask our God to comfort them with his peace and love. They are wonderful Christian brothers and sisters who are, right now, going through a deep, deep valley. The visitation is this evening. The funeral is tomorrow. Please pray for them.

TheWholeGroupAtScorpionPass-Hank&JadeRightInTheMiddleAnd hug your kids a couple of extra times today.

Peace,

Allan

12 Comments

  1. Dan B.

    Thank you.

  2. Alexa Chisholm

    Thank you for your post Allan, I met Janet and Hank approximately 22 years ago here in Miami, florida and I just heard of the terrible news. I haven’t really kept up with them over the years, but have heard of them through friends over the years.

    We have 5 children ourselves and I just can’t imagine the pain. I am praying that the love of our heavenly father will just surround them at this time. It is so encouraging to read of their faith and perseverance.

    Love in Christ,
    Alexa

  3. Wilma

    Dear Allan thank you for your post. I just received it through a very good friend. I met Janet and Hank also many years ago and always remembered their love for life. My heart and prayers are with them during this trying times. It is my hope and prayer that they will allow God to heal their pain and will find greater strength through this challenging time. Sincerely, Wilma

  4. Lynda Wadsworth

    Janet, Alexa and I were all friends together in Miami, Fl years ago. Then Janet and Hank moved to Texas and I moved to New Mexico. Alexa just told me the terrible news and directed me to your site. Thank you for your beatutiful post on a beautiful family. Somewhere I have a picture of Jade and my daughter both asleep in their carseats in the back seat of the car as Janet and I drove around together.

    The last time I saw Jade she was probably about 12 or 13. She came with her family for a visit and we made pumpkin pie and had an early Thanksgiving Feast. I am so thankful for the blessings of friends. I pray that God will protect their hearts and all our hearts in these hard times.

    In Christ’s Love,
    Lynda

  5. Melvern

    Thank you for the post. I also know Hank and Janet when they were in Miami years ago. I am sorry for their lost.

  6. Marilyn Liepelt

    Wow – dumbfounded by the news of this most heartrendering passing. I remember taking photos of baby Jade and seeing her dance relentlessly to “The Achey-Breaky Heart”. Two fine, wonderful, gut-level real people, Hank and Janet. Beautiful article as a tribute to beautiful people. My heart aches and my soul uplifted to hear of the courage of this family. Much love & prayers and only good wishes for them – all.

    Love, Marmelana

  7. Dennis/ Paula McCrae

    My soul is overwelmed with emotions I never new existed as I learned of this tragedy.
    I thank our GOD who created all things for the covenant of comfort and Peace which only he can give in times like this.
    I and Hank have stood with each other as we struggled in the early days before Texas. A brother with a heart as big as TEXAS.
    Blessed be the name of the Lord.

    Dennis/Paula

  8. Carolyn Liepelt

    I am so sorry to hear of this tragedy. What a tremendous loss for Hank & Janet & their family. Only our gracious Lord can bring tremendous good from this situation, which is my prayer. I am another who has been out of touch with the family since visiting my sister in Miami, so I truly appreciate the opportunity to hear how God is being glorified by this family. God Bless you all!

    Love, Carolyn

  9. Hank

    Y’all are too kind. It has always been good to be part of The Body, but never as much as right now. The local outpouring of love & support has been mind blowing; actually, heart blowing is more like it. We were at the hospital for almost 36 hours begging God for a miracle. It seemed like days. And we were never alone; not even almost. To walk down what seemed like the longest hall on the planet, come through those double doors & see 70 or 80 people standing, sitting, leaning there, waiting with us moved us to tears time & time again. You could see it in their eyes. They were hurting with us & for us. They wanted to do something, anything to minister to us. And they did. They brought food, drinks, bedding; everything we needed & then some. Two guys(brothers in the Lord) that I buy pipe from went & rented us a hotel room, a suite(I’ve lived in apartments smaller than this thing) so we could have a place to get showered & take a nap. Another family went & bought us all a change of clothes since we were far from home. Amazing.

    And now this. Someone turns me on to Stanglin’s blog and Legacy.com & here’s all these folks from all over saying the coolest things about Jade, missing her and lifting us up to the Creator of All; He who gives & takes away. You folks give us courage.

    And Allan, I appreciate hearing that you were encouraged by our phone conversation. But you have no idea how much the Lord used you that day. That talk was just what the doctor ordered. I was incredibly encouraged! I’ll be needin’ it again in a couple of weeks.

    Y’all are awesome! We Love y’all & thank God for you. If you don’t know or haven’t heard lately the song “Praise You In the Storm” by Casting Crowns you should listen to it. If I didn’t know better I’d swear Mark Hall wrote that song just for us. It’s amazing! It makes me cry & praise Him all at the same time. Another one that so hits home at this time is “Homesick” by Mercy Me. It just makes me cry.

    Once again; many thanks for all the prayers. But don’t quit yet. Especially lift up my gorgeous wife & our 4 remaining children: Caitlin, Lemlem, Keenan & Abraham. Blessed be the name of the Lord!

  10. Bill and Jill Garzia

    Dearest Hank and Janet,
    Our hearts are stunned with the news of the loss of your beautiful child, Jade. She was only a baby when we knew of her…..and of the times we had the opportunity to visit with you when you were back in Miami. There is nothing in this world that can bring you the comfort that our precious Lord and God can give you at this time. And I see that you are embracing His Love with a courage far beyond what Bill and I can imagine. You are incredibly brave and couragous and we can only offer you our love and prayers and encouragement at this time. May God continue to comfort you.
    Much Love,
    Bill and Jill Garzia

  11. Ruth and Roland Adames

    Dear Hank and Janet,
    Ruth and I learned only yesterday of your tragic loss and what can we say. We are devastated. We did not know Jade but from what we’ve read from others she was an amazing young woman who was loved by many. We love you guys and often think of you fondly. Hank, I tried to read your entry to my own children but I couldn’t. My emotions got the best of me. You are a beautiful person. Janet and your children are blessed to have you in their lives. Janet, we love you so much and mourn with you at this most difficult time. We are moved by the comfort you are embracing in knowing that your baby sleeps under the watchful eye of our Father. We are thinking of and praying for you and Hank, Caitlin, Lemlem, Keenan and Abraham, and both of your families.
    God bless,
    Ruth and Roland

  12. Ted and Dora Gay

    Hank and Janet,
    We’ve been praying for you to find strength from God, we prayed again for you in our Bible study yesterday (8/24/08). Here is a scripture Psalm 34:18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit. Dora lost her sister, age 18, in an auto accident. At first it made her question God but then it led her to seek and to find the good news of the gospel. A few years later two of Dora’s brothers were murdered. Dora offers the consolation that the passage of time will eventually bring relief. We love you very much, and we will continue to pray for you.

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