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Commentary: Let my heart say, Blessed be your name

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A UMNS photo by Billy Reeder

Becky Jackson of Arkansas Tech University Wesley Foundation observes a class at the nursing school in Kamina.
Feb. 16, 2006


A UMNS Commentary
By Becky Jackson*


My journey to Kamina began with a phone call just before midnight on Aug. 23, 2004.

The phone call was the news that my brother Bobby was gone. While riding his yellow bicycle to the Wesley Foundation for a meeting, he had an accident and died from head injuries. I was heartbroken.

Actually, my journey began long before that. My journey began with the birth of my first friend and my only sibling, Bobby, on July 3, 1981. Bobby and I had a very happy childhood on a small rural farm. We both shared a love for theater, missions and the Lord.

After high school, I enrolled at Arkansas Tech University. He followed the next year. While at Tech, we spent every free hour at the Wesley Foundation. Following graduation, Bobby was hired by the Wesley Foundation as worship director.

Throughout our college years, Bob and I talked of missions. He and I both dreamed of leaving the United States to serve. Bobby wanted to lead worship, and I wanted to work with children. Over time, I became resolved that if either of us would ever go, Bobby would be the one. Bobby’s passion was greater, his faith stronger, his light brighter. I began to dream of his future ministry abroad and was eager to live vicariously through him.

When Bobby’s life was cut short, I thought the dreams were cut short, too.

In the days following his death, the dream of a memorial in Kamina grew and spread like wildfire among the students and alumni at the ATU Wesley Foundation. Soon money was raised to build the first Wesley Foundation in Africa — a Wesley Foundation that would be built in memory of Bobby. In less than a year, the building was complete, and I was planning a trip to Africa. A pushed-aside dream of mine was becoming reality. Rather than live vicariously through my brother, I would leave the States and serve in his memory for the glory of God.

My brother loved praise music. In the last couple years of his life, Bobby was rarely found without it. In that last year, as Bobby led worship at ATU Wesley Foundation, one song was heard more often than others. I call it “the Job song” because it reminds me of Job 1:6, but Matt Redman, who wrote the song, calls it “Blessed Be Your Name.”

Throughout this journey to Kamina, from its beginning that night in August, I have remembered this favorite of Bobby’s. My favorite part of the song is the bridge:

You give and take away,
You give and take away,
My heart will choose to say,
Lord, blessed be your name.


Bobby is gone, taken away from a world that would have been blessed to keep him. However, through Bobby’s memory, the Lord gives! He gives life to my brother’s dream of foreign mission, hope to college students in Russellville, Ark., and Kamina, the Democratic Republic of Congo, for years to come, and, to me, He gives an incredible journey filled with beautiful people from near and far.

On Sunday, Jan. 8, we dedicated the Bobby Jackson Memorial Wesley Foundation in Kamina. That afternoon in the new building, I stood before a congregation of Kamina townspeople who had never met or even heard of Bobby Jackson. After I shared about him, my mission team and I worshipped by singing “Blessed Be Your Name.” I sang as loudly as I could, and, as I sang, I could hear Bob’s voice, too.

God has given me a great experience with Bobby. Something I would never have imagined after his death. Oh, how the Lord gives!

My journey continues. I dream of returning to Kamina. I also dream of more Wesley Foundations for the students in Africa. As more dreams are born and more people are touched by the love of Christ, Lord, let my heart choose to say, “Blessed be your name.”

*Jackson wrote this commentary after attending the dedication of the Bobby Jackson Wesley Foundation in Kamina, Democratic Republic of Congo. For more information about the foundation, go to http://www.atuwesleyfoundation.org/bobbyjackson.htm.

News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

Video Highlights from Kamina

Larry Jackson, Bobby's Father: I think its going to be a bright light here.

Becky Jackson, Bobby's Sister: On August 23, 2004, I lost a great friend.

Bishop Nkulu Ntambo: He?s not with us but we can see him.

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