Dear Friends & Family,
I have been trying to write this letter to you for the last few weeks. As you all know by now, Ericlee completed his final race here on earth on September 9, 2014, and today experiences the ultimate glory. This is certainly a journey I never would have predicted or even chosen but I can say with full confidence today that God knew and has walked with us every step of the way.
I am writing to express my deep gratitude for all of your support during this difficult journey. I think back over the last four months and I have truly experienced God as Immanuel, God with us. Many of you wrote cards, letters, emails, Facebook and blog posts. Many of you sent money, gift cards, came to wash our dishes and fold our laundry. Many of you came to the house to pray, sing worship songs and encourage. Many of you came to sit, cry, hold and “be God” dwelling among us through your presence. I cannot begin to tell you how those gestures have brought healing and bolstered my faith.
Perhaps the most encouraging part of this journey has been seeing and hearing the stories of all the lives changed because of Ericlee’s influence. I know many have been challenged in their fitness, relationships, faith and call to serve the underprivileged because of the example my man set. Thank you for sharing your stories with me. These stories help his legacy continue. They also remind me that all these things were not some horrible accident. God knew Ericlee would live 40 glorious years. He knew I would enjoy 11 ½ years of marriage to him. He knew Ericlee’s influence would stretch wide and deep. He knew the ultimate healing of his body from cancer would be in heaven. We trust we will see our daddy and husband again one day.
I have posted links to Ericlee’s “Celebration of Life” service on our blog at www.AlohaGilmores.blogspot.com for those who were not able to attend. Our blog also has several articles written by Ericlee before his death. I encourage you to go there or the “Ericlee Gilmore Memorial” Facebook page and even share your own memories.
Moving forward, I have decided to take a break from ministry through Christian Friendship Ministries and The Haitian Bead Project. Ericlee appointed Tanner Munro as the new director of CFM in August and I fully support this decision. In September, I asked two friends and board members, Gina Wathen and Kim McCurry, if they would assemble a team to continue the work of the Haitian Bead Project. Admittedly, it is difficult for me to step away from these leadership roles but I strongly believe this is a choice God is leading me to so I can focus on the girls and my own healing. This ministry in Haiti has not just been a service project for our family – it is our life and heart. This transition will be hard but good on many levels. Rest assured, the ministry is in good hands. We have an ambitious and prayerful board of directors and Ericlee’s mom, Christene Karlyn, has chosen to stay involved. Peter Constantin is continuing in his role as the Haitian Director working closely with our board.
Thank you for supporting our family prayerfully and financially these past five years. We know your partnership was vital in helping us fulfill our calling. Many of you have expressed concern about my current financial situation. God has already been providing for the girls and me in miraculous ways. We are still negotiating medical bills, which will not be covered by insurance, but we see that God has already provided for a lot of that. I am teaching one class at California State University, Fresno this semester, and we will be getting social security “Survivor’s Benefits” along with the life insurance plan Ericlee invested in.
If you desire to keep helping our family, you can support us directly by sending gifts to my address: 4711 N. Harrison, Fresno, CA 93704 or by Paypal at firstname.lastname@example.org. Any donations given through CFM in the past few months will help toward our medical bills and a trip I hope to take back to Haiti to visit friends in spring 2015 with the girls. For more ways you can personally stay involved with God’s work in Haiti, see www.ChristianFriendshipMinistries.org.
For His Glory,
with Meilani, Giada & Zayla Gilmore