What he didn’t know was the impact he had on our lives. What he didn’t know was that first Sunday when he hugged our then seven year old’s neck as a greeter at church he changed my heart about a “big church”.
We’d been in town three days when we walked through the doors of a church I was sure was too big for us coming from our small church in Mississippi. Scott was set on going and I agreed. As we walked up to the doors the greeter said “hello sweetheart” as he hugged Shelton. Next he hugged me and said “you are such a good momma” then he hugged Scott and said “come on, you too dad”. From that day, Sunday August 18, 2019, we were greeted with hugs and love almost every Sunday. In fact, many Sundays his line was longer than the other doors to get in. Shelton smiled as other greeters called her to come to their door. She waited patiently for her hug.
One Sunday after Benji hugged Shelton he looked at me and said “you know I love you too” I smiled as he hugged me and said I love you. He yelled back into the church, once we were inside “I love you more” He truly was an angel on earth!
At Christmas he asked to take pictures in front of the church tree. He laughed and put bunny ears on Shelton telling her “I love you” I took pictures of him with his best friend and his family. It was such a happy day as we had not seen him in a few weeks.
Our last hugs were Sunday February 9,2020. The toll of his battle had him in a wheelchair. Once inside his Sunday school class he stood up and hugged us and asked us about “the cat next door”. His hugs were warm and loving though he was in pain. He called Shelton “sweetheart” and me “sweet momma”. We left in tears knowing he would not be with us much longer and those hugs would be a loving memory.
Even after he was unable to come to church we kept up with him through his sister and brother. The amazing part…we’d prayed for God to give us godly people around us. God moved us across the country where we knew only one couple then surrounded us with godly people from all walks of life. God answered our prayers in a way I never expected.
I’m not sure if Benji knew the impact he had on our lives. Since he first welcomed us that August Sunday, we joined that big church, were baptized as a family, plugged into bible studies, Awana, and are blessed by not only his church but his sweet family. We give thanks to Jesus for Benji’s life. We thank God for bringing Benji into our lives. We are better today for knowing Benji. We rejoice knowing his body is healed and he is singing praises with the angels in heaven.
Every time I think of you I thank God for you. I have joy in my heart every time I ask God to help you. I thank God for the joy we share in telling the good news from the very first day until now. Philippians 1:3-5