It's times like these, we tend to question how unfair life is, especially for someone in the prime of her life. Her father said simply, "God needed her more than we did." The Winkfield Family is a remarkable one... so loving, caring, strong and faithful. The love for one another overflows and at many times before and after the service, it appeared that they were the ones comforting the visitors. They were the strong ones and we were the ones who needed consoling.
About 500 people attended the service at the Saipan Community Church on Wednesday and it was standing-room-only. Brothers Jacoby and Jeremy, along with Audra's fiancee Jordan, gave an amazing and eloquent testimony about Audra's love, kindness and compassion towards others. Jordan described the moment he received the call about the accident to highlights of his relationship with Audra. He recounted a time when he altered his plans from going to the gym to the church, just to be close to Audra at choir practice. Jeremy, in his first public speech, told the story about how he notified his officers about the accident and how God led him triumphantly through the ordeal of going to the accident scene, identifying his sister's body and taking care of her things so that she can be laid to rest in Saipan. Her strong Christian faith naturally attracted others to her and she truly loved others, even though it sometimes led to pain. Sister Tami read a loving letter from Audra's best friend, which drew laughter and tears from the crowd. The Carolinian Community sang as a choir, former Saipan Community student, Shin Kimura wrote, performed and wowed the crowd with an authentic ukulele song and Gabe White played his uke and sang lovingly for his friend. Her uncle, Funtain, read scripture and Pastor Greg's sermon spoke about God's Plan for all of us. Lastly, her entire family went up on stage to sing Audra's favorite song.
One thing I learned this week is that we have a choice each day to be grateful for life and appreciate others or be pessimistic and complain. I know which one I choose. You just never know when your life on earth will end. Audra is celebrating her new life in Heaven now and we know she would have been proud of her family during this tragedy.
Audra served as a Senior Airman in the US Airforce
This beautiful photo showcases her awesome, gorgeous smile!
Bobby, Jacoby, Jordan and Jeremy greet the lomg queue of visitorsFor Audra...her favorite color was purple.
Bev & Tami exchange greetings
Jordan and Jeremy... became brothers through this experience.
On Thursday, Audra was laid to rest in the Veteran's Cemetery in Marpi.
Audra... your life touched so many people. We love you!
Jeremy, in his marine uniform looks so sharp! We remember Jeremy as a lanky teen and now he's all grown up and married!
Jordan gave such an impressive speech at the service and we learned then that he'll become a pastor in the Air Force. He said that he's "got his whole life to live and Audra's whole life to live, too".
So many friends have commented on how remarkable the Winkfields are, as their courage & strength and love for God have intensified throughout these last two weeks. They said to everyone, "It was God who gave them the strength they needed." I agree. I don't know how anyone can get through something like this without faith.