January 2013 

Dust in the Wind
By John Ashmen

My brother traveled to Schopfloch, Germany, to explore the hamlet of our ancestors. His tour of the medieval town brought him to the Lutheran church cemetery. When he couldn’t find any headstones for Eshelman—our family name before colonial relatives Americanized it—he asked the vicar where they might be.    

Gesturing like a song leader with fidgety fingers, he said, “Sie sind pulver in der brise.” Translation: They are powder in the breeze.

Much to his surprise, my brother learned that after ten decades in the Deutschland dirt, if there are no relatives around to cover gravesite care, the caskets are dug up and the skeletons are ground to powder and cast to the wind. (And, I guess, the vacancy sign gets turned back on above the cemetery gate.)   

I once heard someone say that for 99.9 percent of the population, 100 years after we are gone, here on earth we will be completely forgotten. No living descendants will have met us. Our photos will have long disappeared from walls and credenzas. Any personal effects of perceived value will be locked in a trunk in a great-granddaughter’s attic—only to be discarded when eventually discovered.
For any future researchers who care about genealogy, electronic record will hold our names and lifespan dates. And with today’s technology, seekers will probably find an unflattering photo or two and a few lines about our career or standout accomplishments (e.g., he invented the skeleton pulverizer).

Herein lies the very clear life lesson: If you plan to leave anything that resembles a legacy, you need to start leaving it now, and you need to leave it with those who know you best. If yours is a life well-lived, your children and grandchildren will pass on the essence of your existence.

I was again reminded of legacy when I read all of the superlative comments about rescue mission patriarch Curt Thomas, sent in the wake of his recent home-going. One of the people he mentored said that Curt “poured encouragement all over me.” Another said Curt “cared deeply for me and checked in on me often.” One more said, “I will always consider Curt my spiritual father.”

At Curt’s memorial service, his children spoke about him with great emotion. His grandchildren talked about the things that they learned from their grandfather, and what they will pass on to their children. 

Today, consider the words of King Solomon, King David, and the group Kansas: 

“Good people leave an inheritance to their grandchildren” (Proverbs 13:22a, NLT).

“Those who are righteous will be long remembered” (Psalm 112:6b, NLT).

“Choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold” (Proverbs 22:1, NLT).

All we do
Crumbles to the ground, though we refuse to see
Dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind

It slips away
And all your money won't another minute buy
Dust in the wind
All we are in dust in the wind

Explore your reputation with family, staff, colleagues, and friends. If you sense that your legacy needs some enhancing, now is the time to get to it. Start with a heartfelt letter to your spouse and children—one that will be a keepsake they can treasure.
?Explore your reputation with family, staff, colleagues, and friends. If you sense that your legacy needs some enhancing, now is the time to get to it. Start with a heartfelt letter to your spouse and children.


Did you see the survey?
Accurate data is critical to our association’s ability to affect government legislation, change public opinion, gather significant funding, and much more. We need accurate data now more than ever. The problem is that we have no mandatory reporting requirement (some associations do), and therefore, the size and diversity of our missions makes extrapolations little more than estimations. Going forward, we need hard numbers—and we can’t get those unless we are engaged with all of our member missions.

To get the data we need, last Friday we sent to every mission CEO a 20-question statistical survey via email. Do you remember receiving it? We need all of our members to respond to this. For most missions, the survey will take less that 20 minutes to complete. Missions that do not respond to the survey by February 8 will receive a call the week of February 11 to determine whether staff received the survey, and see how we can assist in collecting the information. We can easily conduct the survey over the phone. Thanks, in advance, for your work on this.

We'll be in D.C. next week
The week of February 4 will be a busy one for several staff members. We value your prayers.

On the 5th, I, Rhett Butler, and mission CEOs Bob Gehman (Baltimore) and Alan Thornton (Syracuse), will address the Republican Study Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington. About 160 copies of Invisible Neighbors have been sent to the representatives. 

The next day, Nicole Daniels will lead a delegation of representatives and staffers on a tour of Central Union Mission in Washington. Additional meetings are planned with Democratic representatives and senators that afternoon.

The next day, I will attend the Presidential Prayer Breakfast. The table contacts that have been pre-arranged will be very important for AGRM.  

2013 CEO Summit to be September 10–12
Our third annual CEO gathering will be held at the Edgewater Beach and Golf Resort in Panama City Beach, Florida, September 10–12, 2013. Mark your calendar now. 

This is the event where CEOs drill down to the hardest issues facing rescue missions and have intense conversation in an attempt to gain understanding and perspective. We will have a limited number of special guests and a rich time spiritually as we convene and confer in arguably the nicest beach on the Gulf Coast.

Spouses are welcome to attend—and will certainly want to once they see the facility! Our local member, Panama City Rescue Mission, is helping with the arrangements. More details will be available in a few weeks. 

Association of Gospel Rescue Missions l www.agrm.org