It is said that most people’s greatest fear is public speaking. I would disagree. I think it is the simple, “hello.” It is the stepping outside of our fear of possible rejection or the fear of being known that frightens most of us.
I first met him in the fall of 1972. He greeted me with the heartiest of “hello’s!” Everywhere he went he initiated the “hello”: In-N-Out Burger,the cockpit of an airline flight, a janitor, or a politician. He never met a stranger. He made ALL smile and he put ALL at ease.
On May 4th we said “good bye” to Dr. Forrest E. Westering. The man who said, “hello.” We called him Frosty. He was my college football coach and he was my mentor. He coached me on how to live life. Matthew 5:16 was his favorite verse: ‘…let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in Heaven.’ It is difficult to imagine the bright light his life cast and how magnificent the reflection of Jesus was to so many. Of the ‘many’ his life and message affected, each one of us individually felt like we were his focus, his favorite, his friend. His life was so fruitful even in his flaws, but I believe in his death there is a culmination to the message that resounded from his lips, his life and his family: ‘Men and women, this is all about Jesus! The ‘Blue Car’ is about Jesus. The ‘Man in the Arena’ is about Jesus. The ‘Double Win’ is about Jesus. Those Championships were about Jesus.’ We will cry our tears and our hearts will be broken, but his message will spill from our lips and his way of love will be expressed by each. And we will smile because we had the rare opportunity to meet a man who was like no other.
The following are excerpts from his family who spoke at his home-going celebration:
Nearly every speaker stressed that Westering’s strong Christian faith was what formed the basis not only for how he coached but how he approached life. His daughter Holly Johnson said the Bible was “his ultimate playbook.”
“He was my BEST FRIEND,” daughter Sue Westering.
Brad Westering, the late coach’s eldest son and a former PLU quarterback and team captain, noted that hundreds of people have told him that his father changed their lives.
“That’s fine,” he said, “but if you excuse Jesus from that, you missed it. That’s what it was all about. His power was in the Lord.”
“No one,” said son and current PLU Football Coach, Scott Westering, “‘kinda’ remembers the first time they met Frosty Westering. “If you met the man, you remembered.”
In his final days, with family gathered — five children, 13 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren — were “the most magnificent” display of his vulnerability and love. “He didn’t push us away,” she said. “He kept us close,” stated youngest daughter, Stacey Spani
“You knew that when Frosty was leading the way, there was going to be joy in it,” said Westering’s grandson, Chad Johnson. “Football was a vehicle, and he used it to show us what was beyond.”
Forty-one years ago, we came here knowing no one,” said Donna, his childhood sweetheart and wife-for-life who took the podium and spoke with clarity and conviction. “Thank you.” Then the house rose to a thunderous ovation as if the Lutes won another national title.
And so why do I take the time to celebrate and articulate the life of a man that many of you had never known? Maybe it is best said by my friend, John Burleigh: “I never had a chance to meet Frosty, but certainly owe him a huge debt, as much of what I love about you was shaped and instilled in you by him and his leadership and example in your life.”
There are those whose shoulders we stand upon and there are those whose feet we sit at. Take the time to say “thanks” to them now and when that day comes to say “good bye,” remember that this relationship only happened because one of you said “hello.”
“Make it a great day!”
“What values are our prayers rooted in? The Kingdom or ourselves?”
Some time ago I was struck by the question and the wisdom of this quote, stated by my good friend, Ryan Beardsley: “What values are our prayers rooted in? The Kingdom or ourselves?” I recently had the opportunity to put this into practice.
Last September I was released by my Board of Directors with The Northwest Network Foundation to serve as the interim CEO and President of Open Doors USA. Open Doors is a ministry to the 100 million Christ followers who live in the most hostile places around the world ( www.OpenDoorsUSA.org ). Our mission is to ‘strengthen and encourage what remains’ of the church in order to remain and be the church. So for 10 months Open Doors would serve as my “major donor” and I would serve them in fulfilling their mission.
During this time, I grew to believe I could do this work as the CEO. I was encouraged by many to apply and so I did. However, during that time there were several people who did not want me to be in this role. Because of the way in which they communicated this it caused me to step back and evaluate my moving forward. I sat down one day and said, “Lord, this is too important and I don’t want to get this wrong. What do You really want? Please tell me in a way I have not experienced before.” Several weeks later in late January I was in my bedroom and a very strong impression (I didn’t hear a voice) pierced my mind: “Take your name out of the candidacy!” It was so strong that I turned my head and said, “What?” There was no one there. But I said, “Okay.” From that moment on I have had a confident peace that I needed to head back home to Puyallup, Washington and resume what I believe is and has been, the call on my life
In mid June I will be resuming my role as The Executive Director of the Northwest Network Foundation. I will continue discipling men, connecting lives for Kingdom purposes, and traveling to The Middle East. Your financial and prayer support has been greatly appreciated and will continue to be as we move forward. My mailing address will be the same as The Northwest Network Foundation:
PO Box 158
Puyallup, WA 98371