Sunday, July 14, 2013

Austin: My Precious 18 year old Son "With Christ, which is far better"

On June 1, 2013 our oldest and dear son, Austin,went to be with his, and our, Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  He was one of the best friends I ever had, a steady and constant companion, an absolute delight, and a young man of integrity who feared and walked with God.  He had my respect as his Dad. And he had my trust.  He knew how to make me laugh and worked hard on the ice and off, at school or cutting the grass or helping load a wheelbarrow.  It was just good to be around Austin, that's the kind of son he was/is. He will always be my Aust and I'll love him throughout all eternity, as we share the presence of our Lord in that land where there is no sin or death.  I love and cherish all my children equally (Austin, Calvin, Fraser and Emma) and just as they each share a special place in my heart, so does Austin, for I could not have asked for a better first born son.  I love you so much Austin, with all my heart - Your Dad.      

Austin was born on April 8, 1995 and was just 18 years of age when he was taken to glory by our Lord.  His funeral was on 10 June 2013, attended by approximately 400-450 friends and family members and also broadcast live over the Internet where friends and family tuned in around the globe.  The service was officiated by our Pastor where the gospel was clearly proclaimed, just as Austin would have wanted.

The order of Austin's funeral service was as follows:
  • Canadian RCMP Members in Red Surg:  Moment of respect & honour
  • Hymn:  A Mighty Fortress is our God
  • Tribute to Austin:  Howie, Camille, Calvin, Fraser & Emma
  • Hymn:  How Firm a Foundation ye Saints of the Lord
  • Uncles’ Tribute: Nathan, Michael, Morgan, Kevin (in absentia), Steve
  • Piano Tribute to his brother:  Fraser, A Brother’s Deepest Love, music composed by Fraser
  • Cousins’ Tribute: Chelsie, Alex, Kristy, Kylie, Jonathan, Julie-Ann, Rebecca, Rachael, Carrie
  • Hymn:  When this Passing World is Done
  • Photo Memories of Austin:  “A life lived for the glory of God, by His grace” ~ Music composed by Austin or Fraser, as well as selections from Soundforth Singers & Orchestra
  • Gospel Message from Austin’s Pastor:  Pastor J.B (Reformed Baptist Church)
  • Doxology
  • Ushers: Simon, Trong, Mark, Doug
  • Sound/Tech: Harold
  • Video: Jonathan, Lucas
My Tribute to my Precious Son, Austin (aka: Teeno, Galiantro)

June 10, 2013 Funeral.
Howie (Dad), NOTES.

Worship & Thanks to our God

From God’s Word, the Bible:   “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created... And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away.... And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.... Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”

Prayer - Howie

Thanks To:
  • Church.  Thank you Pastor G, elders and family of God at CBC for making available the church.
  • Many thanks to the Royal CDN Mounted Police for knocking on our door, without any media presence, flowers in hand when they found out Austin did not make it... and for coming today (on their own time and in regimental uniform) to honour our Austin; thank you.
  • Our sincere appreciation to our doctors, emergency medics and the nurses who cared for Austin throughout the years, and in crisis. 
  • And of course...  Thank you to Family, FGBC Church & God’s extended family around the globe, to our Pastors past/present, to Austin’s teammates, Heritage teachers, coaches, neighbours, friends – for all being part of Austin’s life and for supporting us in such meaningful ways during our agony.
  • And finally, thanks to my dear wife Camille and our wonderful children, Calvin, Fraser, and Emma.  Austin could not have asked for a better, more godly, more industrious, and smart Mum nor could he have asked for better siblings who share many of his wonderful traits.  He loved, respected, and cherished you all so incredibly.

Dad’s Tribute to a
son so dearly loved

Austin’s life to me as a Father was framed by the Bible text:  Honour your Father and your mother.  

And he did.  He honoured us by his:
  • Love to God and reverence for God’s Word and unwavering trust in his Saviour and God;
  • He honoured us by his deep love to us, thoughtfulness and kind ways;  by his gentle yet strong spirit, by his courage, his humour, his consistent integrity...
  • He honoured us by giving respect and attention to old folks / little kids, and everyone in between;
  • He honoured us by his adventuresome spirit, intellect and inquisitive mind; by his creativity and amazing drawing ability  in anticipation of becoming an Architect;
  • He honoured us by his gifted violin playing and music composition; and by being a patient and talented violin teacher after school;
  • He honoured us by his hard work in so many areas and by his strength and perseverance in the face of ongoing adversity and challenge;
  • He honoured us by his honesty and trustworthiness; by his smile and encouraging ways, sometimes shown by notes left on our desks or tucked into my briefcase;
  • He honoured us by being teachable and humble.  He willing gave us his respect and his heart;  He was a blessing to us and so many.

As his Dad, it was an absolute honour to call Austin my son, our son.  He was not only our son and brother -- he was our Best Friend & companion

BUT – Austin would pause me here:  “Dad”, he would say, “make sure you point out that those qualities you’ve mentioned about me are only because of the transforming love and forgiveness of Christ in me.”

  • Austin never grew up to have earthly children...    
  • In reality, it was his deepest desire that he would have spiritual children; that God would use his life as an instrument to turn people’s hearts to the living God through the infallible Word of God... and away from the “illusions of permanence” that often foolishly govern this vapour and spec of time before we all meet our Maker.
  • Austin explains this far better than I...  in his testimony written out when he was 14 he wrote:
"We are all sinners.  The Bible clearly states that in Romans 3:23.  Since the Bible is true, (we know that it is true because it is God-breathed), we know that this statement is true.  Ever since Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, everyone born into the world is born with a sin nature.

When I was 4 years old, (almost five), I became a Christian.  We, (my family and I), had just finished our family devotions and us kids were heading off to bed.  I asked Mum if I could become a Christian,  She sat down with me and we read a portion of Scripture and then I prayed.  I knew that I was a sinful person before God.  That night, I asked the Lord Jesus Christ, My Saviour to wash my sins away with His blood.

You see, Christ died on the cross to (save me) from my sins.  He paid the penalty that no one but Him could pay.  To pay this massive debt, Christ needed to live a perfect life and then die an innocent death that was horrible down to the nails that were thrust through his hands. After he died, he was buried... but not for long.  On the third day, Christ rose from the grave -- not defeated but totally sovereign!

The Lord Jesus Christ paid my penalty.  If he had not, I would be walking, no, running headlong to Hell -- a real place.  When Christ entered my heart, I  became a new person.  I now have Christ's blood as my covering: I could not cover my own sins with my "good works". Praise God."

  • In closing...   My precious son Austin – who I love so deeply – is experiencing indescribable blessedness in heaven because he was made righteous before a Holy, just and loving God when he believed and trusted soley in the work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • We do not sorrow today without hope or certain expectation.  I will go to my dear son one day, because Austin has gone ahead to his, and my, heavenly Father and Saviour in heaven.
Austin’s deepest desire would be that you would have this same certain hope...  a certainty that punctuated his life and which continues to touch lives with the immense love of God in Christ Jesus.


Julia said...

Howie...What a beautiful tribute to your beloved son! I just want to let you know how privileged I felt to be able to " attend" Austin's funeral from my computer here in New Zealand. I know that probably sounds a bit weird but it was special and precious and I thank you and Camille for sending me the link.

In my prayers,
Julia (your Sister-in-Christ)

Howie said...

Thanks Julia - it was precious for all of us to know that friends and family were tuning in from various spots on the globe. It's wonderful to be part of God's family and of that blessed company of believers.

In Him,


Anonymous said...

This is one of the most beautiful things i have ever read. May God continue to comfort and heal your hearts. Your son's life is such a beautiful testimony.I have an 18 year old son too,and was reading through my tears,thank you for sharing his story,his life,which is eternal,will always be a testimony to God's transforming power in all things.Mrs.JM Guidry

Becky L. said...

This is the first time I've read this. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and giving praise to our God for all He's done in Austin's life and so thankful Austin was blessed to have a family like he had...loving, teaching your children the ways of God. Hugs and prayers for you and your family!

Howie said...

Thanks Mrs. Guidry and Becky for your kind and thoughtful comments. Austin's 2nd "year" in heaven just happened yesterday (June 1)... what a reunion there will be one day for all those in Christ; of course, as incredible and wonderful in scope as that will be, it will be eclipsed by seeing our Lord and worshipping Him perfectly. What a future we have, all because of gracious and loving God who saves sinners who come to him to the uttermost! In Him, Howie

Howie said...

John 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.