Darkness to light: West family will continue ministry

Published 3:04 pm Tuesday, June 28, 2016

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In the midst of heartache and loss, many have questioned how the West family has managed to navigate the physical, emotional and spiritual toll such an experience can bring. For the family, it’s been a simple answer.

“Christ knew when Myron was born this day would come,” Etheridge said. “Christ knew when Holly said ‘I do’ to Myron, this time would come. The love of Christ can reach beyond any obstacle. This is a situation completely out of our control. We can’t control it. Only Christ can. We trust him.”

Myron’s son Ryan said God alone could give such strength and such abilities.

“I really believe God has blessed our family with the ability to see others hurting,” he said. “I know that if I don’t do something about it, there’s a chance no one else will.”

Holly, Ryan, Rachael and Myron’s parents, Doug and Barbara West, have said they intend to go back to the Acholi. The ministry isn’t finished. It’s ongoing as others have stepped into the role Myron and his family was playing in Uganda.

But for Holly, her children and Myron’s parents, the mission is more than a ministry, it’s personal.

“I will go back,” Holly said. “It is our home. We love [the Acholi], and they love us. We are family.”

God-given ability: The Wests’ son Ryan (left) said he believes God has given the family the ability to see other hurting.

God-given ability: The Wests’ son Ryan (left) said he believes God has given the family the ability to see other hurting.

Many have speculated it is the authenticity of the West’s faith that has had such an influence on so many. Scripture says, “No greater love has any man than this, that he would lay down his life for his friend.”

The West family believes Myron gave his life for the Acholi people because God led him to do so. One selfless act explained by Etheridge.

“He died for the Acholi people and the cause of Christ. That’s the Love of Christ. You can’t fake that kind of love. It’s a love more people must experience. You can’t really understand it until you do.”

That love, according to Myron’s parents, doesn’t stop the sorrow they feel, but it tempers it, offers hope and makes them proud of their son’s sacrifice.

“We are so proud of the man of God Myron is,” Doug said. “He followed where the Lord led him, and loved the Acholi. His heart was there and he gave his life for them. That’s what Jesus did. That’s what Myron, because he loved the Lord, did too.”

Barbara said she misses her son, but because of Myron’s faith and that of his family, there is no doubt in her mind they’ll be reunited soon.

“He’s not here right now, and it hurts so bad,” she said. “But we know where he is and who he is with, and that helps. I know he’ll be waiting on us when we get to heaven.”