Sunday, November 9, 2008

Tribute to a Great Little Woman

With tears and much joyful sadness, I write a tribute to Sophie Kapitaniuk, my 75 year-old grandmother.

After years of battling illness, her heart stopped last night (Friday 7th November) and the doctors were unable to do anything. She has gone to be with Jesus and I know her to be most happy now. 'Mamy', as her grandchildren called her, was a pillar and model to me. Her influence upon my life is incalculable as she was a woman of prayer with strong faith.
75 years-old, she still laughed like a child to express her joy. God and the Bible were her greatest sources of happiness. She was perhaps the most excited of all my family when I dedicated my life to missions as she had been praying that at least one of her eight sons would become a missionary. In my grandparent's view, missions and the pastoral ministry were the two highest callings and Papy and Mamy wished to see the world engulfed in the worship of Jesus.
The Bible was a daily source of comfort and strength. Because her sight was so diminished, she had to be read to. She savoured and meditated upon God's word each day. I often wonder why God would take away the sight of a woman who so loved the Bible, when most of us see and do not treasure His word as we ought.

Her grandchildren were another source of great joy. She always has loved children. Mother of eight, grandmother of 25 (this number is always on the rise), she loved having children around. Her grandchildren sensed this and reciprocated her love. Offerings of drawings, paintings and countless 'bouquets' of flowers adorned her house. Her smile will be a wonderful memory to cherish until I see her again.
By her death, Mamy leaves a void in my life. She was a friend, a prayer-partner, a counsellor and my grandmother. Though short in stature, she is high in my esteem. Her treasure was Jesus, and therefore, in heaven was her heart. She lived out Psalm 71:

"Even when I am old and grey, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come." Psalm 71:18
Though she experienced suffering that would have made most modern men doubt or renounce their faith, she clung to Jesus knowing that He held her tight. Her heart was for the lost and Bill and Sophie were always on the lookout for an opportunity to tell people about the forgiveness found in Jesus. How often I heard Mamy say, "Bill, give them a new testament!" or "Bill, here is a tract to give to that person!" She also told people about what she had experienced with Jesus, but Mamy was the praying strength in the 50 years of my grandfather's ministry of evangelism.
Though dead, her life will continue to speak. Death was gain to her, so her life was well-lived. If there is one thing she would want for each of us, is that we not waste our momentary earthly lives. 'The best is to come,' she told me recently and now that time has come for her.

No comments: