My dear friend Amy passed away last Friday. She had an aggressive form of cancer that doctors discovered a little less that 1 year ago. Her birthday is the same day as Brian and my anniversary – April 30. She would’ve been 42 this year. She was such a sweet friend to so many. She lived an exemplary life, loved Jesus more than anything or anyone, and was the definition of what it means to be a Proverbs 31 woman. Personally, she taught me, and demonstrated to all, how to live like Christ.
I had the honor of serving alongside Amy in our church’s missions organization- Global Impact. That is where we first met. I then had the honor of learning from her as I moved from mission team leader to mission team coach. She was the women’s coaching coordinator for Global Impact for many years. She LOVED the women she coached and poured into on a daily basis. She was always so selfless to give freely of her time, energy and love and she always generously shared her passion for Jesus. I also had the privilege of being in a bible study with Amy in the last months of her life. We studied Lord I Need Grace to Make It by Kay Arthur. Despite her discomfort, Amy attended many of our weekly sessions and even through her pain personally encouraged and invested in the lives of every woman in our group. I cant think of a more selfless individual- always putting the needs and concerns of others before her own.
My most powerful time with Amy was spent talking, learning, praying for, and loving the people of the Middle East, particularly those who are believers in Jesus and are being persecuted for their faith. Last year, I learned that her passion for Jesus fueled another passion of hers- and that is a passion to pray for the persecuted church. Amy was moved at a heart level to intercede on behalf of the countless men, women and children around the world who are mistreated, abused, tortured and even killed because they believe Jesus Christ is the son of God and the Savior of mankind. If you have never traveled to any of these countries where persecution is a harsh reality for many, its difficult to imagine that this kind of thing can happen in our world today. But Amy was well aware of the countless believers suffering in the name of Jesus all around the world and she prayed ever so faithfully for these people. She taught many about the needs for many prayers for the persecuted church – including me.
I have talked often on my blog about my trip to Israel and my love for the Holy Land. Amy was on the trip I took there last year. It was so amazing to be with her in a land and region full of people she loved so dearly. We had many amazing talks about how much God loved people of Jewish and Muslim faith and prayed together that these beautiful people would understand and personally know the love of Jesus in an intimate and life changing way. She wanted so badly to see the Church (big C) be a blessing to Israel and her neighbors. She prayed for this, and actively engaged in practical ways through her leadership on the board of The Joshua Fund — a non-profit organization committed to blessing Israel and her neighbors through supporting local humanitarian efforts in Israel and neighboring countries.
In light of Amy’s passion for Israel and her neighbors, I am very pleased to pass on some exciting news from Joel C. Rosenberg, founder of the Joshua Fund:
In Amy’s honor, therefore, The Joshua Fund is raising $300,000 to produce 300,000 copies of the new DAMASCUS film for distribution in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and the Holy Land. The film is a powerful docudrama about Saul of Tarsus, a religious extremist and persecutor of the Church, who came to faith in Christ in the first century A.D. through a vision on the road to Damascus, and then went on to become known as the Apostle Paul, writer of nearly half the New Testament and one of the greatest leaders in Church history. The film, made by Arab Christians, was recently seen and endorsed by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and premiered in Assad’s personal theater in the Syrian capital. The film will premiere at the Vatican on May 16th. It will then be shown in theaters and distributed on DVD throughout the Islamic world. Because of the film’s message of peace, redemption and hope, The Joshua Fund is proud to stand with the producers of the film and assist with its distribution, and we do so in honor of Amy Knapp who gave her life to advance these messages in the epicenter.
I am overjoyed to receive this news and I know that somewhere, somehow, Amy is full of extra joy knowing that her life for Christ is making an everlasting impact on the people she loved so dearly even after her departure from this life.
Its taken a few days for me to honor Amy in some way on my blog. There is so much more I could say about her… how much I admire her and respect her… but honestly I am starting to feel overwhelmed with emotion again and probably need to stop for now.
But before I do, I want to tie all of this back to my previous posts about inspiration. While I still hold to my statements that I am more inspired by experiences than by individual people, I must amend that statement to say…
The person who has inspired me the most in my life is, indeed, Amy C. Knapp. For the reasons listed above, and for many more I don’t think I can put into words at this particular moment. But while I sat in her memorial service on Monday, I thought of that blog I wrote last week about inspiration, and at that moment I knew that the one person who has inspired me most in my life is Amy.
At her memorial service, Joel shared some of Amy’s favorite verses of scripture. One of those verses was from Romans 1:16, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.”
Amy was not ashamed of the Gospel. At all. I confess, with tears and humility, that there have been times in my life where I have been ashamed of the gospel… Times when I have not stood firmly on the truths of Gospel, or shared boldly the promises of the Gospel to those who are perishing – always due to my own pride or fear.
Moving forward, and in honor of Amy’s inspiration to me, I will purpose to never shrink from or deny the power of the Gospel of Christ, in me and through me to a lost and dying world in such desperate need of hope and help, no matter the personal cost… be it embarrassment or harassment, I can almost guarantee it will never be mistreatment or persecution in the manner of those Amy loved so much and prayed for throughout the Middle East.
So, it is through the experiences and interactions with Amy that I came to know, love, admire, and respect her. Now, her legacy inspires me to press on to take hold of the things that she loved so dearly: loving God, serving others, and proclaiming the Gospel- the power of God for all who will believe.To learn more about Amy Knapp’s legacy, and the Damascus film project — please click here