By Lavern Nissley
(With personal reflections from Gloria Hoover)
DeLynn Hoover was a pretty memorable kind of guy. I had the pleasure of working together with him and his wife, Gloria, for seven years at Vineyard Northridge as he oversaw the youth group and Gloria directed the children's ministry. For the past 15 or so years the two of them have been directing a youth missions training camp in Costa Rica, a thriving location that Ronda and I have visited the past three Decembers to lead relationship skills training.
DeLynn died suddenly and unexpectedly last week of a heart attack in Honduras at the way too young age of 48. The news sent shock waves and grief through the many circles of acquaintances in the United States and Central America. It was one of those times many of us were feeling and saying, "No, please, no!"
His funeral service was live streamed on Facebook July 14 with over 650 viewers. Hundreds of people posted their reflections and memories, as well as prayers of comfort for Gloria and immediate family and staff.
Of the many things DeLynn was known for (constantly joking, driving aggressively, pushing people out of their comfort zones), a beautiful legacy he has left is a healthy, vitalized marriage. I'd like you to hear from Gloria as she reflects on his kindness to her and her last morning with him.
(Facebook post July 17, 2020, 4 days after DeLynn's passing)
"Today DeLynn and I would have had the chance to fly home to Costa Rica. And even though that’s what I would rather be doing, for some reason God has chosen me to walk through this season of grief.
The last four months we have been in Honduras. There were times when I was ready to jump on a plane and go home, but I didn’t want to leave DeLynn and our son. God gave me the spirit of perseverance. But he also gave me DeLynn who helped me through the last four months. DeLynn spoiled me...buying me chocolate, my favorite drinks and snacks, taking me out to the only restaurant that was open near us. He bought me a fancy fan that I could put ice into to make the breeze cool. He took me to a cabin for several days because he knew I needed some privacy. He knew how to take care of me so perfectly.
We were not expecting to be in Honduras for four months. But looking back, it was God’s gift for us. We had a little room that he and I and our son shared. Every night we read the Bible together as a family, played games, watched movies, prayed, read stories, put puzzles together and had so many meaningful talks.
The morning he passed away, he said “good morning honey,” came over and gave me a kiss. He said, “I know this is how you like to be woken up.” Little did I know about an hour later he would be gone.
My heart is broke. I have wept. My worst nightmare came true.
While it was all happening I released him to the Father. I told Jesus to do whatever would bring Him the most glory.
I want to thank all of you for your kind words and prayers. I am headed to the States for an indefinite time. Right now I’m taking one moment at a time."
(End of excerpt from Gloria's Facebook post)
I was very touched with Gloria's tribute to DeLynn during the funeral as well as the brief reflections above. He leaves an enduring and inspiring legacy of truly loving and caring for his wife. Thank you, DeLynn, for your reflection of God's nature and love!
Lavern & Ronda Nissley are co-directors of Encompass. Married since 1978, both enjoy coffee, riding their tandem bicycle and working together to build strong relationships.