After many months of illness, my sweet grandfather passed away early Monday. He was the most godly, loving and compassionate man. He's been described as a true gentleman pastor and friend. I was extremely close to him and am who I am thanks to his shaping (and my parents and other grandparents of course). To know him truly was to love him. He didn't know a stranger. He exemplified Christ in all he did. If I turn out to be half the person he was, I will be blessed.
Shortly after we talked to my mom Monday morning, I pulled out my Bible to look for his favorite verse because I knew I had it written down. Ironically, the passage I opened to was the one above, 2 Corinthians 5:17. He had preached on this May 30, 2004. Over the past few days, these verses have popped up numerous times including as a local radio station's verse of the day yesterday. These words brought so much comfort. These verses are a testament to how he lived his life.
I wrote this late Tuesday night and it was shared at his funeral yesterday. He will be missed by all.
The Story of Our Bruce Hall
know Bruce Hall was to love him. And if you knew him, you know that he was a
story teller. An amazing storyteller in my book. And today, I’d like to tell
you a story to honor him.
in the late fall heat of 1926, he was the second of five brothers. He grew up
on a farm in Maple right outside of Conway. He was a star student, quite
athletic, handsome and graduated as the president of his class.
worked his way through college at North Greenville and Furman all the while
helping his family as much as he could. That’s because he was a helper and a
college, he hitchhiked across the country to Ft. Worth Texas to attend
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. There’s even a story written up
about this hitchhiking journey in the Baptist Courier. Don’t worry, he was
always sure to tell Stephanie and me about the dangers of hitchhiking today.
was in Ft. Worth that he spotted a beautiful blonde woman who he immediately
fell in love with when he saw her beautiful bright blue eyes. I’m so thankful
that he saw her across the cafeteria that day. A few years later, they started
their story when they were married in November, 1952. Their love story of the
past 61 years of marriage is a storybook and one that I hope my own marriage
emulates for our children and future grandchildren just as theirs has for us.
he didn’t think his story would include moving back to South Carolina, it did.
And he came here because the Lord called him to a church in Aynor. After a few
years near his hometown, that chapter of his story closed and he started a new
one right here at Mt. Zion Baptist Church. That story has continued until this
loved his church, his family, his friends, and most of all, his Savior. For
over fifty years, he’s impacted those all around him in this community, and
while I’m here telling you this story of his, he’d be the first to tell you
that this story is not his, it’s the Lord’s.
Hall taught me so many things throughout my life. His influence has shaped me,
my sister, our parents and so many of you in this story that I call his
incredible life. His fingerprints are all over my life. There’s not a day that
goes by that doesn’t include something I do that isn’t influenced by him.
every memory of my life includes him in some facet and those memories and life
lessons will stay with me throughout my life. He taught me so many things
including how to drive – and on all those drives – you guessed it – there were
stories. Afternoons of stories that I’ll cherish forever. He taught me that the
glass is always half full, that good comes from all things, that faith and
family come before anything else, that there is always good in the world, that
little things matter, that memories are important, that love conquers all and
so many other things, but the greatest thing he ever taught me is about our
Savior’s love and amazing grace.
is the love of Christ and His amazing grace that he was able to live his life –
his story - the way that he did.
didn’t meet a stranger and if he didn’t know you, he wanted to. And he wanted
you to know His Jesus, our Lord and Savior. He wanted everyone to know that
being a Christian isn’t about following some set of rules. He wanted everyone
to know that Jesus loves them just as they are. And he wanted everyone to know
how they could spend eternity in heaven.
vividly remember the night I accepted Jesus as my Savior and Lord as a 9 year
old little girl sitting on the floor of my pink room with my Bruce Hall by my
side. The joy I felt that day has only increased in my walk with the Lord and
that’s what Bruce Hall would want you to know. To know the Lord is to know joy.
To know the Lord is to know peace. To know the Lord is the most incredible
thing that you can do. And if you knew Bruce Hall, you’d know he’d tell you
that to experience this incredible gift – this free gift – all you have to do
is to ask Christ to live in your heart, admit that you are a sinner, confess
all the wrongs in your life and to turn away from your sins. He’d tell you that
God doesn’t expect perfection, He only wants our best. And Bruce Hall strove
for perfection in all he did.
story of his life is the greatest thing he’s ever taught me. And while he’s not
here with us physically, his story hasn’t ended. It lives on in all of us and
we all will continue to strive to live up to the legacy he has given us.
was an incredible husband to Nana, a wonderful father to my mom and a spectacular
Bruce Hall to Stephanie and me. And boy, did he love his boys – my dad, Kevin,
and our sweet K.C. and Kaden. He was the light of our lives and the one we
could always count on. Our best friend and confidant. He was our Bruce Hall.
feel so blessed that the Lord allowed us to have him for all these years. We
can smile today because we know that his life is now beginning. He’s realized
all those things that’s he’s shared with all of us for all these years. He’s in
heaven with his Savior and he’s celebrating. He’s lived every day of his life
preparing for this day and working to build God’s kingdom. I know that the Lord
smiled when he welcomed him home and as unbelievably painful as it is to not
have him physically here with us today, we all know that he’s home. He fought
the good fight, ran the race and he’s telling stories in heaven today.
there you have it. The story of an unbelievably incredible man. A devoted
husband, father, grandfather, friend and most of all, Son of God. From today
forward, we’ll cherish the sweet memories we have of him and take the things he
taught us and showed us and continue to tell his story – the story that’s not
really his own – the story of Christ to those around us. And we want you to do
the same because after all, that’s what he would want. To know him was to love
him and oh how we love him.
you, Bruce Hall, for your stories and most of all, for your love.
Labels: Bruce Hall, faith, family