This post doesn’t really have much to do with my trip to India. But it is related to my first ever missions trip, to the Philippines back in 2008. It may be a little long, but it should be worth the read.
This is the story of my friends, Cory and Jessie Lyons.
I met Jessie Myrick when I was in elementary school and she in high school. Jessie was a counselor at Junior Camp every year I went, I believe. I grew to look up to her and adore her.
About five years later, I met Cory Lyons. He had grown up as a missionary kid in the Philippines, the son of a couple very closesly connected to our church. Their family had decided to come back to the states for a year of furlough and were basing themselves with the family they had in Hutch, as well as Westside.
Cory, being in his early 20s, didn’t do all the travelling with his family. Instead, he got super involved at Westside. Friends with his cousin, I got to know and love him very quickly. Cory went to high school camp with us, was always around and open to talk to, and just a great guy.
I spent a lot of time talking with him, hanging out with him and some others, and just growing to love him as an older brother!
During this time, Jessie and Cory fell in love, and got married, and all that mushy stuff. :)
I was blessed to be a part of their wedding day and honored that I was chose to help participate out of the many people they knew. It was a joy to watch their relationship develop and see them fall in love. I’m not sure I had ever been happier to see a couple get married, and I was just ecstatic for what Cory and Jessie meant to me and what they would mean to the world!
About six months after their wedding, Cory and Jessie helped lead a group of 19 of us from Westside on a missions trip to the Philippines.
This was my first missions trip, and an experience I will NEVER forget. My life was changed over those two weeks, and I still consider it the best experience of my life thus far.
Cory and Jessie were on deputation to become missionaries to the Philippines, so I didn’t see them very often as they were out traveling and raising support.
They eventually found out that Jessie was pregnant. It doesn’t take long knowing Cory and Jessie to know how much the love kids, how much they wanted a large family of their own, and how great they would be as parents. Everyone shared in their ecstaticness at the fact this dream was coming true for these wonderful people!
Not much later, Jessie had a miscarriage. Heartbroken, they picked up the pieces somehow and continued on deputation.
Awhile later, Cory and Jessie found out their second baby was on the way. They were again elated, but this time a little more cautious. Everything appeared to be normal, and everyone was overjoyed for this couple!
Jessie and Cory had by now moved to the Philippines. When they went in for the ultrasound to find out the gender of their baby, they found out their precious little boy had something very, very wrong with him.
Cory explains it well in this video:
There was devestation for this couple. Jessie’s parents are in our church and everyone who knows this couple loves them to death. Hearing this news was heartbreaking for our entire church as we surrounded them metaphorically in prayers and support.
I remember countless Sundays that our church prayed for a miracle, in tears, for baby Corbett, Cory and Jessie, and both sets of grandparents we knew so well.
Unsure whether the baby would live to full term, whether he would survive birth, or how long he would live after birth, each day was full of questions and prayers.
Eventually, it came time for the baby to be born (last May, of 2011) and Jessie’s parents left Kansas to travel to Manila. The Sunday before they left is vivid in my mind as we all sent them off with a huge prayer service full of tears and hopes of miracles for this sweet, sweet baby and family.
I love that you can see the Bible on Jessie’s bed next to her. What a testimony in this picture alone even.
Corbett was born via c-section. I remember the day well – watching Facebook for updates.
Baby Corbett survived to full term.
He survived the birth.
And he lived 17 hours and 6 minutes on this earth, surrounded by family the whole time.
When news that baby Corbett Josiah had passed away made it here, there was simply heartbreak. This sweet couple that we all loved so much did not deserve this, and they were thousands of miles away.
All we could do was pray. And so we did. Lots of people. All over the world. Praying for this sweet family.
Here’s a map that Cory did of just SOME of the people who prayed for them after the birth of their sweet son. Look how many countries are covered. Phenomenal to know that your prayers were joining in chorus with people literally around the world with one common request.
Now, fast forward nearly a year to today.
Cory and Jessie are back in Kansas for the first time in two years.
And today, they both stood up in church and gave testimony to the grace of God, the goodness of God, and the blessings of God in relation to the death of their son. Could you do that? Could you stand up in front of a church and say that God is good, and still praise Him, and continue serving Him thousands of miles from home after the death of your son?
We sang a song today in church called “Where I Belong” by Building 429. This song states that:
All I know is I’m not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong
This world is SO obviously not our home. Cory said today that Heaven feels so much more like home when you have someone there waiting for you. The pain that this family has felt can only be eased through God and KNOWING that we are just passing through this world. That this world is not where we belong, it’s not our home.
Cory and Jessie, I love you guys. Know that my prayers have been and will continue to be with you. I don’t know why this happened to you, but I know that your story has touched my life in addition to hundreds, maybe thousands, of other people as well.
And someday, you will be great parents. You already have been. :)