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Finishing Well

By Steve Gregg

Most of you know by now that the Creekside family lost a longtime member and friend on April 1. Don Forrester and his wife Gabe (who went home to be with the Lord in 2017) were members of Creekside for decades, serving faithfully in countless ways over that time.

 As I’ve been thinking about Don and the legacy he leaves behind, there are several things that keep coming to mind: Don’s passion for serving in Haiti, his steadfastness in prayer, and his and Gabe’s extraordinary care for their disabled son, Mark for almost five decades.
Of all the ways Don was an example to emulate, however, the one I keep coming back to is the wonderful way Don finished well (2 Tim 4:7). He did so in many ways, but there are a few that I especially appreciated.

Don stayed connected to the Body: There can be a natural tendency for folks to gradually disengage from others as they grow older. I noticed, however, that although Don dealt with significant health issues the last few years of his life, he still made time with others a priority. Don attended two OAGs, as well as an evening prayer time. It was clear he wasn't doing so out of duty or habit, but because he genuinely enjoyed spending time with his church family.

Don continued to serve: Right up to the day God called him home,  Don not only faithfully attended events, he was also plugged into several ministries both in and outside of the church. Whether it was serving our sister church in Haiti, going to Gainesville Community MInistry to pray with folks or work in their food pantry, or serve on the missions council at Creekside, Don continued to find a way to serve people. His children told me they found in his car his notes for a Haiti team lesson, all prepared to give the weekend he passed away.

Don consistently encouraged others: Becoming increasingly negative is, unfortunately, an all too common trait as we grow older. If a lack of life experience can give younger folks a tendency towards naivete, then perhaps many years of experience can tend to make us older folks grumpy and cynical.  Don, however, set a wonderful example of consistently seeking people out to encourage them and thank them for what they were doing.  Many people made it a habit to seek Don out at church each week because they knew they were going to be encouraged by him. That’s a wonderful gift to give to a church family, and a tremendous legacy to imitate.

It’s  important to remember though that Don wasn’t a superman. He was a sinner saved by grace just like anyone else.  He was also someone who spent his life faithfully walking with Jesus and serving others.  We as his church family had the privilege to be witnesses and beneficiaries of that faithfulness.

Over the past few years when Don’s children have come to Gainesville, they have been effusive in their appreciation and admiration of the way Creekside loved their father. They wrestled with their desire to move Don closer to them in the DC area, but every time they considered it,they counted the myriad of ways people at the church were caring for and loving Don. They knew they could never replace that loving care, and always came back to the decision that Don was much better off remaining here. I know that one reason Don finished well was because of the love many of you poured out on him. So well done, Creekside. Thanks for your faithfulness and example.  

I hope you can join us in remembering and celebrating our friend and brother, Don Forrester at a memorial service tomorrow, April 15, at 10 a.m. at Creekside Community Church.