Yesterday, after a long and tiring day of surgery, I came home to find an email informing me that my brother Mike’s son, Josiah Galat, was found dead with stab wounds outside his campus residence at the University of Toledo. Shocked by this unexpected news, I grabbed my phone (which displayed several notices of missed calls from my parents) and made calls to my family to try to get more details. I first spoke with my father, who told me that Josiah called his mom in the final minutes of his life, and then my brother, who was completely exhausted after being up all night, yet reaffirming his faith in Christ and God’s sovereignty. Last night, sleep was cut short as thoughts and prayers for my brother, his wife and boys flooded my mind.
Today, the work continued at the hospital. Thankfully, we were able to get four operating rooms, helping to clear some of the patients from the long pre-Christmas queue. Four new admissions today, however, with more certainly to come. Tonight, hungry for more information, I found several news articles on the internet which reported that Josiah was involved in an apparent altercation with his roommate that escalated into this tragic event. The other boy, Erik Littleton, is in the hospital, himself with multiple stab wounds. Many parts of this story do not make sense to me.
I spoke with Heather and the kids and we all agreed that, if possible, I should fly back to the states for the funeral, even though it would mean leaving on Christmas day. As I called Delta, I prayed, asking God to provide a reasonable fare and good itinerary. For once, Delta was especially kind on the phone and within a few minutes, the ticket was purchased at $1000 less than I was able to find on-line. So, I will be leaving Christmas evening, and returning to Kenya before the New Year. God is so good to provide this opportunity to be with my brother and family during this time of grieving.
As Heather, the kids and I have sat together to process this news, God has opened the doors to some really meaningful conversations. What we have concluded together as we consider Josiah’s untimely death at age 20, is that we have one life to live which is unpredictable and short, and that Jesus is so worth living this one life for in a radical, “all-in” way. One day, whether tomorrow, or 70 years from now, we will all stand before our Creator, and give an account for what we did with that one life.
Please especially keep my brother Mike and his wife Sheila and their other sons (Alex, Mason and Jared) in your prayers. Please also pray for my travels to the U.S. and that my time with my Galat family, although short, will be very meaningful. Thank you for your ongoing prayers and support of our family as we continue, in faith, to serve at Tenwek Hospital in Kenya.