December 27, 2022, Mr. James (Jim) Blankemeyer, SAT-7 USA Board Director Emeritus, went to heaven.
Jim had been a longtime board member, key leader, and with his wife Carolyn, a significant ministry partner who gave generously and faithfully.
Rita El-Mounayer, SAT-7 CEO, and Dr. Terence Ascott, SAT-7 Founder and President, traveled from Cyprus to South Carolina to spend time with the family and attend a beautiful memorial service on January 7, 2023. I, too, was privileged to attend this service.
Sometimes I’ve heard that sadness and grief are un-Christian emotions. But this is not so. When a good friend passes on, there is separation, a sense of loss, and this results in sadness and grief. Scripture never told believers not to grieve, only that they should grieve differently, for we have hope in Christ and life eternal. Grief is a form of remembrance and respect.
The passing of an older person who has lived as unto the Lord is a special time. Of course, there was sadness at Jim’s passing, but there was also a wonderful sense of here was a life well-lived, a life for which we could thank and praise God, a life for which we could rejoice.
During the memorial service, the officiating pastor said, “We know where Jim is, and we know how to get there.” We hear the first phrase often, for it is true and comforting, but the latter phrase struck me. It is a profound observation, for it addresses our grief with the biblical reminder of, indeed, “absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord,” then by implication it shares the Gospel with one and all. The pastor turned the thought back to our own futures.
At a different point in the program, a family member shared memories and concluded with, “This is not really goodbye, but we’ll see you later.” Ah yes, we know where Jim is, and we know how to get there. This is the beauty of the Christian faith. Death is swallowed up in victory.
Jim was known not only for his generosity but also for his sense of humor, practicality, extensive business experience, leadership, and humility. He sought to serve the Lord, not achieve recognition, and he loved SAT-7’s ministry sharing the Gospel and communicating biblical truth in the Middle East and North Africa.
Jim’s legacy with SAT-7 goes beyond financial support, facilities built, and programs advanced. We will remember him as a man who fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith.
We know Jim is not “gone” but merely “absent,” now more alive than ever in heaven, not resting but rejoicing in peace.
To God be the glory.
Dr. Rex Rogers
President, SAT-7 USA