When we penned the last Langstaff Letter on “Letting Go,” we did not know it would be so prophetic and timely. You may recall that we shared a number of times that God had led Dorothy and me to let go of things in our lives. Things that were not wrong or sinful but in actual fact were good and right. Among them were letting go of two churches and letting go of our ministry and family in Australia, and moving to America. We finished off these testimonies with a personal story by Dorothy telling how she was called upon to let go of her daughter Beth, who was at Princeton Seminary in New Jersey. Dorothy did not know then that Beth would eventually marry a German student and move to Germany, where she has lived for almost 30 years. Well, that is not the end of the story about letting go of Beth.
About three years ago, Beth had treatment for cancer. There were miraculous events associated with it. However, she needed further treatment, and at Christmas time 2021, she entered the University Hospital in Tubegin, Germany, to receive a stem cell transplant. It necessitated her being in isolation in the clinic for weeks. The doctors seemed to be pleased with her progress so much that they were going to release her to go home for the weekend two weeks ago. Then, at the last minute, she developed a fever and was not able to go home. Things changed suddenly, and within two weeks, we got a message saying the doctors now believed she only had a few days to live. We were shocked by the news but couldn’t help but notice that it came at the time that we had written on “letting go” and using the call on Dorothy to let go of her daughter Beth. It was like God was calling us to do that again.
Last Saturday morning, our grandson Mitchel came to our home to set up a Zoom video call to the hospital room. Beth, at this stage, was asleep, probably heavily sedated, but we were able to speak to her and pray over her. Her children Jessica and Jonathan were there too.
That afternoon, I was in the family room. I dozed off, and when I woke up, I had four words going through my mind so strongly, “She is with Jesus.” I knew she was going to Him. Now, I have often said, “I would rather die in faith that live in unbelief,” so we kept praying, knowing God could still work a miracle. However, in my spirit, I knew, “She was with Jesus,” and we had to let her go. On Sunday morning, we received the news that indeed, “She was with Jesus.”
We have so appreciated the messages we have received from many friends. One of the first calls we got was from a friend of Beth’s and ours in Ireland. We appreciated the prayer. Jamie Van Gelder prayed at the House Church in Eagan, Minnesota, at the Sunday morning service. We felt loved! So thank you for your love, prayers, and kind words.
We cannot express how blessed we are by the life of our daughter, Beth. We have hope and peace in knowing that “She is with Jesus.” However, we also can not express how deeply she will be missed. This is an exceedingly difficult loss for Dorothy and me, her sister Joy, her children Jessica and Jonathan, and also the rest of the family. It has been difficult to be separated, with Jessica and Jonathan in Germany and the rest of the family here in the United States. Due to health conditions, neither Dorothy, I, or Beth’s sister Joy are able to travel to the funeral that will be held in Germany on March 29th. The last time we were all together as a family was in 2017 for Mitchel and Katie’s wedding (see photo above – Jessica, Beth and Jonathan are standing on the left).
We appreciate your prayers in this time as we have had to let Beth go.
“LETTING GO” RESPONSES
We had a great response to the first part of “Letting Go,” so I want to share some of what we received. Interestingly enough, a number came from people we had worked with in the past, so here they are.
A response from Ken Chant in Australia, a one-time colleague in ministry: We’ve had to do our own share of ‘letting go’ over the years, not least when, against our own inclinations, but out of love for you and Dorothy, we decided to accept your urging and to join you in the USA! Although almost nothing worked out as we had expected, nonetheless, in the end God had his way, we moved to San Diego, met Stan, and now the College is worldwide! To the best of my knowledge, over the years we have surrendered whatever the Lord asked us to let go of.
A response from Ian Peters, Global Apostolic Alliance: Great word Alan. As I read this I was reminded of all the ministries that have been released/activated because someone “let go.” I have come to believe it is as important a lesson as having a vision or starting a ministry – maybe even more so in some cases. I remember when… You said something to me that I have repeated in various ways and situations. “We Charismatics types are great at starting something but we don’t know when to let something go.” Sometimes it takes more faith to “let go” of something than to “take it up”.
A Response from Ireland: The way I like to look at the “letting go” that you mention is that of an open hand. Am I holding on too tightly to anything (ministry, a person, a job, a house, a possession) that I would fight to let go of if God asked me to?
Sometimes I practice giving things away just to be sure I can. This can be money, but usually is possessions that I feel could benefit another, just to be sure I am not holding on too tightly to anything. Or, even giving things away rather than trying to sell them at a garage sale or online once we are finished with them, to bless someone who might be in need. Also, giving away my time, especially when it is scarce, can help remind me that my time is the Lord’s time and not my own.
I also visualize in my mind what it would be like to “let go of” a thing that is important to me, like a ministry, a job, my home, etc. If it is a struggle in my mind, it gives me the opportunity to pray and ask the Lord for the willingness to give it up if He asked me to. Living with an open hand means we can receive what God gives us, use it for His glory, and let go when He wants us to be done with it.
A response from St. Paul Minnesota: I took some time before replying to this letter, wanting to ponder on it more than usual! I was taught to “hold things loosely” so that God could put in or take out of my life whatever was necessary! It was part of entrusting my life to Him! Thanks for this thought-provoking letter! Well done!
A response from a Messianic Jewish Believer: I loved reading this!!! You and Dorothy’s lives inspire me and your words comfort me. A confirmation of the people, the places, the dreams Abba, Father has asked me to let go of through the years. Just yesterday I was singing the song from the children’s movie, Frozen, Let It Go, Let It Go, and finding His peace soon after. Ah, the beauty of surrender and trust in the One Who died for us, the enabling of beautiful Holy Spirit to help us to do so.