As we look toward the end of 2019, we are thankful to the Lord for all the friends of Onesimus Ministries. We are so grateful for your support of the ongoing chaplaincy ministry happening at Chester County Prison for the past 41 years. We are encouraged by the favor Onesimus has earned from the CCP administration, giving us permission to provide two chaplains as part of the spiritual ministry available to the residents at CCP.
It has been a good year with the encouraging work of Chaplains Heinrich and Rhonda who continue to build on the solid foundation from those who have gone before, most recently by Peter Roomet and Lil Anthony.
But 2019 hasn’t been without its pain. The unexpected and sudden death of Roy Fite, our treasurer, on June 1 was a blow. His financial expertise was invaluable, not only for his job at Herr Foods Inc., but also for the Board of Onesimus Ministries. His loss is keenly felt among us as we continue to make adjustments while finding our way to fill his shoes.
As we pray and look for a new treasurer, the Oxford CPA firm, Woolard Krajnik Masciangelo, has been hired to do the bookkeeping. We are grateful for their services.
Whereas Roy’s sudden passing was hard for Onesimus Ministries, the loss was far greater for his wife, Becky, of seven months and his young daughter, Mattie. It seemed far too early to “give up” their young marriage and family life that had “just begun.” The pain is deep.
As a testimony to the grace of God, we honor the man of God Roy had become. He was not always sympathetic to the grace of God. When Roy’s younger brother, Bruce, found faith in Jesus through the Young Life ministry, he excitedly went to his family’s business to talk to him about his faith in Jesus. Bruce’s encounter with Roy did not go well that day. He let Bruce know, in no uncertain terms, he did not want anything to do with his Jesus.
As Bruce tells the story, he “backed out” of Roy’s office that day, while praying inside, leaving his brother in the hands of the Holy Spirit. For the next ten years, Bruce interceded for his brother. Ten years to the day he revisited Roy in the same office. Something had happened! To his amazement Roy was talking about Jesus as the answer to life’s difficulties.
Roy had found a Bible and, knowing his brother as he did, Bruce surmises that Roy read the Bible cover to cover numerous times. Somewhere along the way the Holy Spirit sparked a heart change in Roy. He declared his faith in the forgiving grace of God in the person of Jesus.
Roy and Mattie joined his brother and family in worship at Andrews Bridge Christian Fellowship. Those were wonderful years of Christian fellowship as he grew in God’s forgiving grace.
During the years of waiting and praying for Roy, Bruce wrote a song he hoped to sing for his brother when the time was right. Little did he know, the “right time” would be at his brother’s funeral. Following are the lyrics:
Brother where have you been
I’ve been waiting here for you
Brother we meet here again
Now you’re a wounded healer, too.
It’s okay to be afraid
I know it seems so hard
This is why you have been made
But even a river needs a place to start.
For so long your beat was your own
The soil of your heart so bare
Little known the seed was sown
And now the fountain overflowing you share.
You’ll never know the battles you’ll see
With our common new friend true brothers we’ll be
Your new life has just begun
One thing’s for sure—the victory’s won.
Brother wherever you go
I’ll be walking here with you
Brother let your light show
Walking free in the Truth.
We honor the life of Roy Fite and his contribution to all of us. We face life’s difficult challenges as the Old Testament man of God, Job, did. From the Book of Job 1:20-22
I. In the face of deep loss—Embrace the truth God is still Sovereign. “Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I will depart.”
God has the first word and He will have the last word of life. We cannot change the formula.
II. In the face of deep loss—Embrace the truth of God’s Provision. “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away.”
Their marriage was far too short, but we are grateful Roy and Becky had each other and Mattie had both.
III. In the face of deep loss—Embrace the truth of God’s worthiness of worship. “May the Name of the Lord be praised.”
We are the most open to Jesus’ healing grace in our moments of worship—pulling Jesus into our deepest wound.
Thank you again, Roy, for all you did to bless Onesimus Ministries!