Today is the birthday of my late grandpa, Alfred David Martin and Tim's late dad, Joseph Elmer Rabe. They were born one year apart and never knew each other, but I think that in some ways they were similar. They both lived through the depression, my grandpa's family was poor and some of the kids were in and out of the state orphanage during that time, as the family couldn't provide for them. Elmer's family were farmers in Western Pennsylvania, his dad was a difficult man. Grandpa Al and Elmer had been through difficulties in their lives. My grandpa served with Patton in the war and, whether because of the hardships of his childhood or issues from the war, he had a nervous breakdown when I was a kid and spent time in the VA hospital.
Elmer grew up to be a missionary and served 23 years in Senegal, West Africa. He and Tim's mom buried two of their six children there, Davy died at 6 months of complications from malaria. Joey died at age 10 - he was killed by a crocodile. Elmer and Jean continued to serve the African people that God had sent them to. Elmer, who was greatly overweight, was a well loved man there. He loved to bargain, which is a way of life in Senegal. He traveled in the country, handing out tracts and Bibles, but he also suffered from depression. When my husband was about 12 the family came home, and his dad went into the hospital to be treated for depression.
Both of these men loved their families the best they knew how. Both of them were saved by the grace of God. Today we know they are in heaven with the Lord, and I think they must know each other, hanging out with my Grandma who tells them both all about us all. Grandpa and Elmer both died before Tim and I met.
One day we will all meet again - without pain of depression or heartache. Just joy.
Happy Birthday Al and Elmer - we remember you and love you both.