Five years gone now from us, our precious five. Some days it feels like just yesterday, some days it feels like two lifetimes ago. Today it somehow feels like both. Five years ago when this unexpected journey began, there was no road map for us. The sudden, shocking, searing pain was new to us. If I had been asked what would have been an unimaginable tragedy, this would not have made the cut. I could not have fathomed this. With no road map, we now mark five years. We are five years closer to seeing our loved ones, which is a blessing and gift. Five years closer to our heavenly reunion. Yet, we are now so far from our last embrace, word of encouragement, joyful announcement to eachother, picture texted, silly joke, and all of our memories. With time, the intensity of the grief has subsided. Its now more like a dull ache. The shock has worn off, although I still wake up at times wondering if they’re really still gone. As time creates a chasm between our last embrace and conversation, I long for intense feelings and memories, which were so frequent in the beginning. It is a true gift that life goes on, and the Lord comforts our broken hearts, brings new life, and gives us an eternal focus. But, as time goes, and the searing pain turns to an ache, I feel further from them. It is comforting, while also heartwrenching.Kathryne was beautiful, inside and out. She was quiet, calm, intense, competitive, strong, loving, and servant-hearted. Her heart’s desire was to be a mom, and she lived that to the fullest for the last years of her life. Jamison was wise, servant-hearted, a wonderful husband to my baby sis, an amazing dad, and so much more that I was never blessed to get to know. Ezra was energetic, strong-willed, playful and wanted to be a worker guy when he grew up. Violet was almost two, spoke so well for her young age, loved to suck her finger and go to Caribou, and lit up the room with her wrinkle-nose smile. Calvin was just a babe, so sweet and innocent. As we long for our heavenly reunion, I can close my eyes and clearly see Kathryne, Jamison, Ezra, Violet and Calvin. They’re forever frozen in time for us. We age, and they stay the exact same as we remember them five years ago today. They entered glory together, five years ago today, all five of them, never a moment apart. They fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith. As our journey and race continues here on earth, I am so thankful for the hope we have in Jesus and the joyful reunion we will have with all of the saints that went before us. Kathryne, Jamison, Ezra, Violet and Calvin, you are missed intensely, remembered clearly, and having a huge impact for the kingdom. I long for one more embrace and conversation, but cherish the time we were blessed to have with you. May our roadmap of this unexpected journey continue to point our hearts and minds to God’s faithfulness, love and comfort.
July 29, 2021
July 31, 2021, marks the five-year anniversary of the homegoing of the Jamison & Kathryne Pals family. As we approach this date, the following is a story of joy, grief, forgiveness, and the sovereignty of God, as seen by Cedrick Pals, father of Jamison Pals …
Jamison & Kathryne Pals were appointed as global partners with Bethlehem Baptist Church and commissioned by WorldVenture. They planned to join Christ Bible Institute in Nagoya, Japan. Their theme verse was Psalm 67:4, “Let the nations be glad and sing for joy …” The name of their blog, joyofjapan.org, is derived from that verse. In the words of Jamison, “I will be happy when a multitude of Japanese people gladly put their faith in Christ. We desire to go to Japan with a message of indestructible joy.”
They had prepared well. They had raised all of their support. They had one final month of training before leaving for Japan in October 2016. They embarked on their final training trip in July 2016.
Perhaps we received a word of prophecy from Jamison: “I do not know how things will turn out for us. As a husband, I feel obligated to lead our family toward obedience, whatever the end may be—whether it is life or death or discomfort or disappointment. It is clear that the Lord Jesus calls us not to an easy life, however he calls us. He bids us to take up our cross—just as he did—to suffer and die. Perhaps we will toil for years to raise support and never make it overseas. Perhaps we will go and utterly ‘fail’ as missionaries from all worldly perspectives. Perhaps we will labor for decades without any visible fruit. Or perhaps through willing obedience, many will pass from death to eternal life.”
Jamison & Kathryne Pals, and their three children, Ezra, Violet, and Calvin, never made it to Japan. On Thursday, July 28, 2016, I texted Jamison, “What time do you leave (for training) tomorrow? Will be praying for safe travels.” Jamison texted back. “Planning on leaving mid-morning. Thanks Dad! Love you.” On the morning of Friday, July 29, the family loaded into the van in Wayzata, Minnesota, and drove to Orange City, Iowa. There they stayed on the farm of Jamison’s cousin. On the morning of Saturday, July 30, the family once again loaded into the van and left for Nebraska. In Eastern Nebraska, they stayed in a hotel and enjoyed some family time at a waterpark. On the morning of Sunday, July 31, 2016 the family loaded into the van to drive the last stretch to Colorado where they would complete their training. Years of preparation were finally coming to fruition. At about 11:30am, the minivan came to a complete stop in a construction zone near Bruhl, Nebraska. At that time, a semi-trailer rammed into the back of the minivan at 65 mph.
Jamison Brownlee Pals (29), Kathryne Lucille Pals (29), Ezra Adoniram Pals (4), Violet Joy Pals (2), Calvin Boaz Pals (10 weeks) all died at the scene and entered eternity together.
That evening I received a call from my daughter Malia:
“What Malia, what’s wrong, what happened?”
“Jamison has been in an accident.” There was a short pause. “There were no survivors.”
“No, Malia, that can’t be right. There must be some mistake.”
“No, Dad. They are all gone.”
Each family member has their own story of how they heard the news. It is impossible to overstate the grief that both families (Engel and Pals families) suffered. There was an overwhelming sense of loss. Even now, as I write these words, I weep. I feel like David when he wrote “I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping. My eyes waste away because of my grief” (Psalm 6:6).
Naomi, in the book of Ruth, declared “‘the hand of the LORD has gone out against me.’ … ‘the Almighty has brought calamity upon me.’” (Ruth 1:13, 21). Her husband and two sons had been taken in death. I knew just how she felt.
Almost two years later to the day, Tony (the driver of the truck) was being sentenced for six counts of vehicular homicide in Ogallala, Nebraska. My wife Kathy and I attended. I took the opportunity to extend forgiveness to Tony on behalf of both families. The Apostle Paul instructs us in Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” I know how much God has forgiven me. How can I not forgive you, Tony? The next day I received an email from one of the reporters in the courtroom:
… I also wanted to let you know that as I watched your testimony, I noticed many of the inmates at court for unrelated hearings nodding, wiping tears, and bowing their heads. I know you also reached both myself and the TV reporter that day, and I would imagine that your amazing message of faith, forgiveness, and mercy reached others who needed it the most.
This, of course, was all God’s doing.
The Sovereignty of God
But that is not the end of the story. God has been orchestrating events beyond our vision, just as he did for Naomi and Ruth. “So Boaz took Ruth .… and the LORD gave her conception, and she bore a son. … They named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David” (Ruth 4:13, 17).
God has also used the story of the Pals family. He used it to immediately call two families to be “goers.” One family is in Japan and the other is in Ireland. We have received hundreds of letters from around the world describing how the Pals family’s story made an impact on them personally, and that much fruit has been produced. Gordie & Nancy Engel (Kathryne’s parents) have had many opportunities to share the story publicly, including at a Faith & Family Night at Target Field and at a National Day of Prayer event.
A foundation was established in their honor (The Jamison & Kathryne Pals Family Foundation). The foundation currently supports 11 missionary families, six of whom are in Japan. Christ Bible Institute started the Joy of Japan Center for Church Planting and Discipleship in Nagoya, Japan. The name was chosen based upon the name of Jamison & Kathryne’s blog.
Ruth never knew that her lineage would produce the long-awaited Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. Even in the worst circumstances, God never stops working. Even if you do not see it, he is working. What is he doing in your life? Your story matters.
Thank you Father, thank you Lord Jesus, thank you Holy Spirit for calling Jamison, Kathryne, Ezra, Violet, and Calvin to be used in this way to spread the glorious gospel.
We exist to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ.
—Cedrick Pals, Father of Jamison Pals
Remembering the Pals today. We think about them a lot – even 5 years later after their home going (July 31, 2016). Whether it be marriage, parenting, theology, missions, Japan, godliness…The last year plus has been uniquely challenging. And when I think of Jamison & Kathryne, I think of their focus on endurance in Jesus; their gentle presence and kind reminders for all of us to remember Jesus as we journey forward in this life (Gal. 6:9); their silly yet controlled way of
seeing our world and how to laugh and enjoy as we learn to navigate the brokenness of it all; their humility and desire to serve all especially each other as husband and wife. We miss them deeply. Even 5 years later. I’m not sure that feeling of loss will ever dissipate. But the closer we get to glory ourselves our hope increases to be reunited with them again…Lord willing with many Japanese brothers and sisters worshiping Christ forever. We remember you guys. #GodsGloryinJapan#JoyofJapan#remembering**Picture from WorldVenture training in CO we did with them and many other special people one year prior to their homegoing (July 2015). They were passionate to see the joy of knowing Jesus seen amongst the Japanese. They had a great passion to go themselves and serve.
Precious Deaths: A Meditation on Deliverance in Psalm 116
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.
God’s deliverance at some point means death. It is an inevitability. In the face of death we ask for deliverance, but eventually deliverance means death. The Christian doctrine of salvation is somewhat ironically undergirded by the certainty of death. We are saved from eternal death, but impending death continues to cling to us in this life. Until Christ returns, eternal life comes after death and not before. This is a very uncomfortable idea and many Christians handle it by not handling it — we ignore it.
Then something happens that brings death into the forefront so that it cannot be forgotten or ignored. When the pregnancy becomes a miscarriage. When the basic checkup shows cancer. When the depression will not “just go away”. When a car crash claims the lives of an entire family of missionaries. Death approaches and refuses to be ignored. Death presses us and dares us to trust in Christ alone. Like the Psalmist who wrote Psalm 116, we cry to God for deliverance grasping for his salvation.
I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy.
Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me;
I suffered distress and anguish.
Then I called on the name of the LORD: “O LORD, I pray, deliver my soul!”
It is unclear if the Psalmist faces his own death or the death of someone close to him, but his fear is evident. Death is a snare that seeks to swallow him. Sheol, the place of the grave, holds him in its grasp. Suffering ensues. But this is a Psalm of Thanksgiving, and when the Psalmist prays for deliverance, the Lord hears his voice and answers. The Psalmist shows faith that to follow God means deliverance from death. He is saved. This promise of deliverance is available to every Christian, and this psalm is written in part to teach us how to cry out to God in times of trouble.
But like all of the Bible’s promises, we must understand deliverance eschatologically. We are already delivered, but not yet fully delivered. Our best is yet to come, but our immediate future may mean increased loss and suffering. This is difficult to square with our humanity. Death is a product of the fall and there is nothing truly natural about it. Now it is a norm, but deep in our hearts we know this is not how things are supposed to be. When we ask for deliverance from trials, we may receive help immediately and obviously, but often it is not like that. Sometimes we lose a job, a child, a spouse — and when we do, it feels like we lose everything. We need a more full and final deliverance from death.
When does the Psalmist receive deliverance? Now? Or in the future? The answer is, “Yes!” The Psalmist has experienced the salvation of God from his sin and fallenness through faith in a coming Messiah, and this leads to all sorts of deliverances in this life. But the Psalmist knows that deliverance is not yet full and final. Any deliverance that we can experience in this life is a partial deliverance; it is simply a glimpse of the full deliverance that we await after death. We wait now for the death of death itself and remember that death has lost its sting (1 Corinthians 15:26, 55).
For you have delivered my soul from death,
My eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling;
Perhaps the Psalmist tells us more about one great Deliverance and less about particular deliverances. The Psalmist is thankful for deliverances in this life, but he praises God ultimately for Deliverance found in a coming Messiah. This same idea is found in Philippians 1:19–21. Paul writes of his certainty of deliverance through the work of the Spirit and the prayers of the saints. At first glance, Paul seems thankful to have not died in prison, but Paul himself will die a martyrs death nevertheless, was his deliverance for nothing? The next thing that Paul writes is profound and it is essential that every Christian grasp this: “For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). This belief is founded in the resurrection and it transforms everything.
Paul’s ultimate joy is found in Christ alone. He thanks the Philippians for their prayers and professes his faith not simply for the many deliverances he experiences in his life, but for the one great Deliverance that Christ has won for him. It is this salvation that is eternal, and death is no longer the final destroyer it once was. To die is gain! To live is to enjoy Christ and to die is to experience the fullness of joy in Christ. Thus Paul becomes indefatigable because the worst thing that could happen to him has already happened to Christ, and death becomes a servant — an escort — into the presence of Christ and ever-augmenting joy.
The Psalmist sees this truth by faith and reminds us that because of the Gospel, the death of any and every saint is precious in the sight of the Lord. The Lord rejoices to bring us home to himself in glory. The Creator of all things finds great delight in the glorification of his saints. He is bringing about his sovereign purpose for the renewal of the world and the salvation of many. Our deaths are precious to him because he delights in us, and we will live with him forever in glory.
But for those who remain, death seems a monster who robs us of our own. Every death reiterates the utter finality of our finitude. We are dust and to dust we will return. Every death is tragic because it is an end to life, and we are made to live. Death takes our friends and family, and each time it happens it threatens to take more. Death cuts short great works for God and leaves us wondering, “What now?”. It is sad to lose an elderly grandparent, but it is gut-wrenching to lose a child. In this life, death feels so damning.
But it’s not.
Because of the resurrection, it’s not!
I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living.
The resurrection is an article of the Christian faith and without faith we will not hope for a resurrection. Just as we cannot fully reason from a beautiful sunset that the universe was created by the word of God, the seen from the unseen, so we cannot posit the resurrection with our minds alone. We must look to God’s word in faith. We rely on the Spirit of God giving us hope from his word and illuminating our understanding.
Resurrection doesn’t simply mean coming to life again — various ideas of reincarnation offer that. Resurrection promises a continuation of life. We live our lives here now in our bodies, we die and live with Christ in patience, and in that Day we will receive our bodies remade and glorified like the new heavens and earth where we will dwell. There is a beautiful continuity of living that stands alongside the discontinuity of death. Resurrection is not simply a starting over or an undoing of our mistakes. Resurrection is a purification (1 Corinthians 3:13–15), a refining (2 Peter 3:11–13), and a renewal (Revelation 21:5). The Psalmist captures the future work of Christ delivering our eyes from tears and our feet from stumbling (Psalm 116:8; Revelation 21:4). Resurrection establishes the glorious things God has done in our lives, all of the deliverances pointing to this great Deliverance.
I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people,
In the courts of the house of the LORD, in your midst, O Jerusalem.
Praise the LORD!
This new life is eternal. Death is dead and sin is defeated. Joy is unveiled gradually yet in its entirety. The Psalmist can see this land of the living, and it is a place where we walk before the LORD in purity and friendship (Revelation 21:3). All of the living are there, the children once lost, the parents we have missed. All who have looked to the Lord in faith and trusted Christ for their salvation. Resurrected, we rejoice in the Lord together forever. We will pay our vows of thanksgiving, “in the presence of all his people” (Psalm 116:18–19). Life continues for those dead in Christ and death awaits those alive in this world, but because of the resurrection, together we join the Psalmist in singing now and forever: “Praise the LORD!”Brett Rayl
Executive Director and Team Leader for CBI Japan. cbijapan.org This is my personal account.FollowBRETT RAYL FOLLOWS
Shown here is Tony Weekly, his wife Deb and his parents. Rick and Kathy Pals were able to meet with them in Nebraska for the sentencing trial. Shortly before the accident in 2016, Tony had dedicated his life to Jesus. He has been deeply saddened by what happened. He has served his six months in jail and is now trying to put his life together, using this experience to give God glory in any way he can.
Almost exactly three years before the accident (July 31, 2016), Jamison writes
….As we approach three years of marriage and nine months of parenthood, my prayer is that we would be a family that is zealous for serving the Lord….There is much that could be written to sum up the past three years of marriage. I must say this, that it is good to give thanks to the Lord (Psalm 92). His steadfast love was upon us, and His faithfulness has continued with us. He has never left us, though we often strayed in our hearts and with our actions. As surely as Jesus died and now lives again, so surely is the Lord’s goodness and mercy upon us.
Father in Heaven, we have hope and confidence in the days ahead, because Your son Jesus bore our sins in His body on the tree. You are faithful and just to forgive–sin can’t be punished twice –and to cleanse from all unrighteousness. I ask for your favor on the next three years–should we be given them–in the name that is above all other names, Jesus Christ. Amen
Dear Heavenly Father, By resurrecting your Son, you defeated death…it’s sting, sin, no longer has dominion over those to whom You’ve given your Spirit. And yet Lord, I fear death. Not because I’m afraid of dying or being dead, but because I’m afraid of leaving my wife, or being left behind by her. Never before have I felt this fear!
….The thought of being on my death bed and looking Kathryne in the eyes, knowing that I go to be with You while she stays behind to face the world and it’s pain without me is the saddest thought I’ve ever had. Even sadder than the horrible possibility of her going first and spending days or even years of life without my one-flesh mate.
….Help me to see that to live is Christ and to die is gain. Comfort me to know that both Kathryne and I will be with you together someday, no matter how we get there….I pray that by your mercy, you will strengthen both of us in the day of our separation. And, if possible, let us go away to You together.
As the legal sentencing of the truck driver who hit Jamison’s family was being planned, the parents were allowed to write a letter to the judge giving their input regarding sentencing. Following are the letters written by Jamison’s parents, Rick and Kathy.
Letter to the Court by Rick Pals, father of Jamison
I want to thank the Court for allowing me to speak. Thank you, to all of those who took care of our family and the others at the scene and afterwards.
On Thursday, July 28 at 7:53 pm I texted Jamison. “What time do you leave tomorrow? Will be praying for safe travels.” At 8:52 pm, Jamison texted back. Planning on leaving mid-morning. Thanks Dad! Love you.” On the morning of Friday, July 29 the family loaded into the van in Wayzata, MN and drove to Orange City, Iowa. There they stayed on the farm of Jenni and Jesse Kroese, Jamison’s cousin. They spent the rest of that day on the farm. Violet fascinated with the cows and Ezra climbing on every piece of machinery the farm had to offer. On the morning of Saturday, July 30 the family once again loaded into the van and left for Carne, NE. There they stayed in a hotel and enjoyed some family time at a waterpark. On the morning of Sunday, July 31st the family loaded into the van for the last time, to drive the last stretch to Colorado, where they would complete their last four weeks of training before moving to Nagoya, Japan in October. There they would join a team at Christ Bible Institute. Years of preparation finally coming to fruition. At about 11:30 am local time, the van came to a stop in a construction zone near Bruhl NE. At that time, a semi rammed into the back of the minivan at 60 mph. Jamison Brownlee Pals, 29 years 4 months 18 days; Kathryne Lucille Pals, 29 years 7 months 23 days; Ezra Adoniram Pals, 3 years 8 months 14 days; Violet Joy Pals, 23 months 12 days; Calvin Boaz Pals, 10 weeks 1 day: All died at the scene.
That evening around 7:00 pm I received a call from my oldest daughter Malia. “Dad???” “What Malia, what’s wrong, what happened?”
“Jamison has been in an accident.” There was a short pause. “There were no survivors.” “No, Malia, that can’t be right. There must be some mistake.”
“No, Dad. They are all gone.” Each family member has their own story of how they heard the news. I struggle to find the words that describe the grief that gripped me. It was unrelenting anguish. I didn’t know that grief could be so intense and so constant a companion. I get up every morning and go to bed every night knowing that I will not see them again in this life. I will never again hear Jamison say “I love you Dad.” I will never again watch Kathryne lovingly nurture her children. I will never again work on a project with Ezra. I will never again see Violet running to me with her arms wide open. I never did get to see Calvin roll over, sit up, crawl, walk or talk. No more birthdays with them. No more anniversaries with them. No more holidays with them. No trips to Japan to see them.
Despite the anguish, there were other words that came to me. Words like forgiveness, mercy, and hope. FORGIVENESS In Matthew 6, Jesus teaches his disciples how to pray and in the prayer, he says “and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” and he follows that with “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” The Apostle Paul instructs us in Ephesians “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” I can honestly say, Tony, that both families have forgiven you and have expressed that openly. I know how much God has forgiven me. How can I not forgive you? MERCY In Luke 6, Jesus says Be merciful, just as your Father (in Heaven) is merciful.” In Matthew 5, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” I am not in the position of authority to extend you mercy. However, I can request mercy for you. Your honor, I ask that in your wisdom, knowledge of the law, and your experience to also consider mercy in the sentencing of Tony. HOPE Were it not for hope, I do not believe I would be in this life anymore. But I do have hope. Our families have hope. And what is that hope in? In John 11:25-26 Jesus tells Martha “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” In 1 Peter 1, Peter tells us Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you. In Revelation 21, John is told “God will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” That is why I have hope. I will see them again and get to spend eternity with them. The grief is very real, but it is temporary. The hope is even more real, and it is eternal. Thank you again for allowing me to speak. I leave you with those three words: FORGIVENESS MERCY HOPE
As Rick read his letter in the court, in front of Tony, the judge, lawyers, other offenders and their families, it was reported that there was not a dry eye in the room.
Kathy’s letter to the Court.
To Whom is May Concern:
I am the mother of Jamison Pals, who was killed in a tragic accident on July 31, 2016. He, along with his wife Kathryne, and my precious grandchildren, Ezra, Violet, and Calvin were some of the most generous, humble, godly people I knew. As a mother, I was by no means perfect and claim no credit for the beauty in Jamison’s character. In fact, as he grew up and lived at home, he struggled greatly with anxiety and depression. Once he began college, I believe the Lord Jesus Christ got a hold of him and changed him completely. Having lived so long with his grief and depression, Jamison developed a heart for the down trodden and felt called to go to Japan to work with those who were strong candidates for suicide, which is so prevalent among young adults in Japan. After spending years preparing and raising 100% of the support monies needed, their family was traveling to their final training in Denver prior to leaving for Japan.
While stopped in the construction zone, they were hit by a truck driven by Tony Weekly and were consumed in an unquenchable fire. Rick and I have watched an hour long video from the policeman’s car that showed the van being consumed in explosions and fire. We have seen pictures of our precious son and his wife, sitting in the van, burned and scorched. We have heard the story of those first on the scene… I have wrestled with the questions of how God could allow such a death for those who loved Him so much, and come up with very few answers which satisfy. Jamison and his family only wanted to serve and obey God, telling those who didn’t know Jesus, how much He loved them. Through unbelievable media coverage and God’s answers to our prayers, many around the world have heard about the God we serve and are giving their lives to Jesus. Many missionaries have committed to going to Japan, or are now there serving. We see good out of this situation, but it does not erase the fact that daily our hearts break and find little comfort, as we think things like, “Oh Ezra would be almost 6 now and going to first grade.” Jamison’s children’s only cousins on our side of the family, now have no other cousins except a baby adopted this year.
I believe that Tony Weekly had no intention of killing six people the day he struck our children’s van. I have also heard via the chaplain who visited him in jail in Ogallala, that Tony was remorseful and had given his life over to the very God our children served. I know that Jamison and Kathryne would gladly have given their lives if it brought others into the kingdom of God. We, the parents of Jamison and Kathryne, have forgiven Tony from the beginning. Though he is responsible for whatever distraction caused him to hit the van, I believe that knowing one has taken the lives of six people (another person died as a result of the accident) is a great burden to bear. The knowledge will most likely haunt and traumatize Tony the rest of his life, as it will our lives. I would like to request that sentencing of punishment for Tony Weekly be minimal. I do not know what is appropriate for this type of crime, but trust you to make the right decisions.
Sincerely, Kathy Pals
Star Tribune 2018 Article
A Twin Cities family forgives:
Nebraska judge gives 6-month term to trucker who killed 5
By Paul Walsh Star Tribune, July 25, 2018
Thanks to a Minnesota family’s forgiveness, a truck driver who triggered a distracted driving crash in Nebraska that killed five of their family members will serve just a few months in jail. Tony Weekly Jr., 55, of Baker, Fla., was sentenced in Keith County District Court on Friday to six months in jail and two years’ probation for the crash nearly two years ago in an Interstate 80 construction zone near Brule in western Nebraska.
With credit for 30 days he’s already spent in jail, Weekly will serve five months behind bars starting Aug. 3.
On July 31, 2016, Weekly smashed his semitrailer truck into the back of the Pals family’s minivan while on his hands-free phone and reaching for a drink, according to prosecutors. Jamison and Kathryne Pals, both 29, died in the five-vehicle pileup, along with their children: Ezra, 3; Violet, 23 months; and Calvin, 2 months. The family was about to move to Japan to work as Christian missionaries and were heading to Colorado for a final training session. The crash also killed another motorist.
Weekly pleaded no contest to three felony and four misdemeanor counts.
Tammy Bain, Omaha World-Herald
Tony Weekly Jr. speaks Friday at his sentencing in Keith County District Court.
Prosecutors had sought a much tougher sentence. But Cedrick Pals, Jamison’s father, spoke during Friday’s sentencing and asked Judge Richard Birch to show mercy for Weekly. “I struggle to find the words that describe the grief that gripped me,” said Pals, who lives in Hugo, reading from his statement. “I know how much God has forgiven me. How can I not forgive you?” Pals said there are three words that come to mind: “Forgiveness. Mercy. Hope.”
Weekly wept during his own statement in court, the Omaha World Herald reported, saying there are some days when “I can’t go to work.” After sentencing, Pals and Weekly met outside the courtroom and embraced.
Signs of forgiveness from Jamison Pals’ parents were evident within days of the crash. His mother, Kathy, said that she was saddened to hear that Weekly had been charged, saying that it would be hard enough for him to live with what he had done.
Witnesses said that Weekly’s semi was speeding in the construction zone and didn’t slow down before impact, according to the charges. The force pushed the family’s van into three other westbound vehicles. Both the van and the truck burst into flames. Besides the Pals family, 56-year-old Terry Sullivan, of Denver, was in another vehicle caught up in the mayhem and died days later.
The Pals met at the University of Northwestern-St. Paul, an evangelical Christian college in Roseville. In the months before the crash, they had given away or sold most of their belongings in preparation for the move to Japan, which was expected to happen in late October. They moved out of their Minneapolis home and in with Kathryne’s parents in Wayzata, where she grew up. They were given the assignment by Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis.
The young family had been planning the move for a couple of years and made multiple treks to Littleton, Colo., for training with WorldVenture, a Christian mission agency. They tracked their preparations on a blog called joyofjapan.org, where they wrote expansively about their faith and family.
Jamison Pals graduated from Centennial High School in Circle Pines, then Northwestern and received a Master’s degree from Bethel Seminary in St. Paul. He worked as a grant writer for Feed My Starving Children in Eagan. Kathryne Pals graduated from West Lutheran High School in Plymouth before getting her degree at Northwestern. She intended to teach English to preschoolers in Japan.
Brett Rayl, Director and Team Leader for CBI Japan. cbijapan.org. This is my personal account.
Aug 1, 2016
A Surprising Thing in our Lifetime: A Eulogy for the Pals Family
Note: This post was updated 8/4/2016 to include a Japanese translation. Many thanks to Miho Gemmill for her hard work.
“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” (Psalm 116:15)
Jamison Pals first contacted me, June 4th, 2013. I had been serving as CBI’s Team Leader for only a few months, and he was following up on a conversation with Michael Oh about possible foundations CBI could connect with for support. It was a short but helpful email, and I remembered him — perhaps because he was trying to help us fundraise (which no one normally wants to do) or perhaps because he had such an interesting name.
ジェ ミソン・パルズと初めて連絡を取ったのは、2013年6月4日のことでした。私がCBIチームリーダーとして働き始めて数ヶ月経ったころで、マイケル・ オーから引き継ぎ、CBIと今後関係を築ける可能性のあるサポーターの方々に連絡をしていたときのことです。簡潔なやりとりでしたが、とても協力的なメー ルをもらい、彼のことを覚えていました。なぜなら、たいてい誰もがサポートレイズを嫌うものですが、彼はそれを助けたいと申し出てくれたからです。もしく は彼の名前がとてもユニークだったからかもしれません。
What I didn’t know at the time was that eleven days later, Jamison sent a “second proposal” to his wife, Kathryne, inviting her to consider missions in Japan for their family. Here is part of what he wrote:
Kathryne, I am asking you to go with me. Let’s go…or at least let us do everything in our power to go. The Lord may see fit to keep us here, but if he does not, let’s go. It may cost us much, but would you have it any other way? Whatever we lose will be worth it if we gain more of Christ. I believe the Lord is sending us. I am asking you to trust me. More importantly, I am asking you to trust God’s sovereign guidance and care. He will be with us, and he will go before us. Surely, his goodness and mercy will follow us all of the days of our lives. We will dwell with him forever, wherever we dwell for this life. You will never be without your God and your Savior.
キャ サリン、僕と一緒に行きましょう。せめて、行くために私たちが出来ることをすべてやり尽くそう。もしかしたら主は私たち家族がここにいることが適している とみているかもしれない。でも、もしそうじゃなかったら行こう。たくさん犠牲を払わなければならないかもしれない。でも、それほど価値があることだ。もし 僕たちがキリストをさらに得るのであれば、失うものには価値がある。主が僕たちを派遣しようとしていると僕は信じている。僕を信じて。いや、それ以上に、 神の主権ある導きと守りを信じて。神はいつも僕たちと共におられ、僕たちの先を行ってくださる。確かに、僕たちが生きている限り、神のいつくしみと恵みは 僕たちを追ってくるだろう。僕たちはどこにいようが、永遠に神と共にいるんだ。君は救い主の神と離れることは決してない。
Jamison had long had a heart for Japan and began to sense an undeniable call to go and share the gospel amongst the world’s second largest unreached people group.
My next interaction with Jamison was that November when Rob Boyle, a missionary on our team, connected us via email to let me know that their family was beginning to investigate opportunities to serve. That began a long and encouraging exchange about the possibility of them serving with CBI in Japan.
They didn’t skip steps and Jamison led his family well. We kept talking and the Lord made it clear to them and to us that they should spend a season serving with CBI via World Venture. They would work to learn the Japanese language and seek to build relationships for evangelism via our Heart & Soul Cafe ministry. Kathryne felt called to be a mom, and we told her from the beginning that because of that call, she would have more natural opportunities for outreach than Jamison would. Jamison already knew a lot about Japanese culture and their family was actively involved in ministering to Japanese people in the Twin Cities. They connected us with some of the students they were working with who were returning to Japan. Their passion for serving the Japanese people was apparent and compelling. They even began to mobilize others to consider Japan and helped send a vision team from Bethlehem to CBI this past summer. They had one more trip to Colorado and a just few more dollars to raise before they would be with us in Japan. I did their departure call with World Venture just two weeks ago. Our staff team emailed Jamison last week with apartment options for them to consider. We were all ready for the Pals to have a long season of faithful ministry with CBI in Japan.
彼 らは順序を飛ばすことなく、ジェミソンは家族をしっかりと率いてきました。私たちは話し合いを続け、主は彼らと私たちの両者に彼らがワールド・ベンチャー という宣教団体を通じて、CBIで奉仕することを明確にしてくださいました。彼らは日本語を学び、ハート＆ソウルカフェのミニストリーを通じて伝道する予 定でした。キャサリンは母親としての使命を感じ、私たちは始めに彼女にそういう感情があるからこそ、ジェミソンよりも多くアウトリーチの機会が与えられる でしょうと彼女に伝えました。ジェミソンは日本文化をすでによく知っていて、彼らはツインシティーでの日本人ミニストリーに参加していました。彼らはミニ ストリーに関わっていた帰国する日本人学生たちを私たちに繋げてくれました。彼らの日本人へのミニストリーに対する熱意は明らかでした。さらに、他の人々 が日本での宣教を考えるために、この夏ベツレヘム教会からCBIにビジョンチームを送ることに協力してくれました。彼らが日本で私たちと共に働くまでに は、あと１回のコロラドへの旅と金銭的サポートを少し集めるだけでした。２週間前にはワールドベンチャーと出発の合意の連絡をしたところでした。チームの スタッフは先週ジェミソンに日本で住む場所に関するメールを送ったところでした。私たちはパルズ家がCBIで長期ミニストリーに携わるために、準備万全で した。
It was providential that Mike Tong, one of the pastors from Bethlehem, even thought to call. We only met one month ago when he was with the vision trip. He knew the Pals well from Bethlehem. We spent a while talking about them when he was here, and he was kind enough to call us with the tragic news. I had just stopped off for a lunch with my family, but walked outside to see what was so urgent from Mike. He then told me that the entire Pals family had been killed in a rear end collision on Sunday, on their way to Colorado. I fell to the ground in disbelief and horror. Jamison, Kathryne, Ezra, Violet, and Calvin — all gone from this world.
ベ ツレヘム教会の牧師の一人であるマイク・トングが訃報の連絡をくれたことは、ある意味で神の導きのように感じました。彼とは一ヶ月前にビジョントリップを 通して出会ったばかりでした。彼はパルズ家のことをベツレヘム教会を通じてよく知っていました。パルズ家について長い時間話をしました。彼は親切にも訃報 を私に知らせてくれました。訃報の連絡があったとき、私は家族とお昼を食べるところでしたが、マイクからの緊急の連絡が何なのかと思い、外に出たところで した。彼はパルズ家全員が日曜日、コロラドに向かう途中後方追突事故によって亡くなったことを教えてくれました。倒れこんでしまうほど信じ難く、恐ろしさ を感じました。ジェミソン、キャサリン、エズラ、バイオレット、カルバンがこの世から消え去ってしまったのです。
This loss is still very fresh and our team is weeping and praying for the families and friends of this precious family. We are so thankful for the ways we have already seen Bethlehem Baptist Church swift to love them well. Below is part of a post I wrote to update our team and to begin to process this hard providence. I share it here as a tribute to this family and their unwasted lives.
彼 らを失ったばかりで、私たちのチームは悲しみの中にあり、この素敵な一家の家族、友人のために祈っています。さらに、ベツレヘムバプテスト教会が残された 家族や友人たちのために愛を示してくださったことに感謝しています。下記は私が書いた今回の訃報の神意に関するチームへのアップデートの一部です。この家 族のため、彼らの無駄でなかった人生のためにこれを分かち合いたいと思います。
A Surprising Thing? Worth the Effort to Find out
I know you all did not know the Pals family well, but we feel the loss just the same. If you’d like to continue get to know them and their precious heart for the Japanese people a little better, you can visit their blog. Jamison was a gifted writer and these posts remind us that their calling was no accident and God was with them every step of the way. They have gladly laid down their lives for the Japanese people.
み なさんは、パルズ家のことをまだよく知らなかったかもしれませんが、彼らを失ったことについて、私たちと同じように感じていることは確かでしょう。ぜひ彼 らのブログを読んで、彼らの日本への思いを知ってくださればと思います。ジェミソンは書くことに長けていて、ブログを読んでいると彼らの使命は偶然でな く、神様がすべてのステップにおいてともに歩んでおられたことがわかります。彼らは喜びとともに、日本人のために人生を捧げました。
John Piper was a major influence in their call to missions (as was Michael Oh), and this story from Don’t Waste Your Life came to mind almost immediately after hearing the news. I share it with you now as a reminder of the glorious calling we all share to serve the Japanese people as ministers of the Gospel:
ジョ ン・パイパーは彼らの宣教に大きな影響を与えました(マイケル・オーと同じく)。訃報を聞いた直後、彼の著書である「無駄でなかったと言える生き方」にあ る、あるストーリーを思い出しました。日本人への福音の働き人として、栄光の使命に召されている私たちへ今与えられているストーリーだと思います。
In April 2000, Ruby Eliason and Laura Edwards were killed in Cameroon, West Africa. Ruby was over eighty. Single all her life, she poured it out for one great thing: to make Jesus Christ known among the unreached, the poor, and the sick. (Editor’s note: Ruby was also a relative of Rick Pals’ uncle, Norris Magnuson. Also in this accident and surviving with severe injuries, was Patricia Magnuson from Circle Pines, Minnesota, wife of Rev. Linden Magnuson [one of Jamison’s first pastors and Uncle Norris’ brother.) Laura was a widow, a medical doctor, pushing eighty years old, and serving at Ruby’s side in Cameroon. The brakes failed, the car went over a cliff, and they were both killed instantly. I asked my congregation: Was that a tragedy? Two lives, driven by one great passion, namely, to be spent in unheralded service to the perishing poor for the glory of Jesus Christ…No, that is not a tragedy. That is a glory. These lives were not wasted. And these lives were not lost. “Whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” (Mark 8:35)
２０００ 年４月、ルビー・エリアソンとローラ・エドワーズは西アフリカ、カメルーンで殺されました。ルビーは８０歳を過ぎていていました。生涯独身で過ごし、その 人生を唯一の素晴らしいことにささげました。それはイエスキリストを、まだ伝えられておらず、貧困で、病気に苦しむ人々に伝えることでした。ローラは未亡 人で、医者であり、８０歳で、ルビーとともにカメルーンで奉仕をしていました。車のブレーキが壊れ、車は崖を落ちていき、彼女らは即死でした。私は教会の 人々に聞きました。これは悲劇なのかと。一つの情熱によって導かれた、すなわち、イエスキリストの栄光のために捧げられた、途方もなく貧しい人々への無名 の２人の人生。。。これは悲劇ではありません。これは栄光です。彼女らの人生は無駄ではなかったのです。そして、彼女らの人生は失われたのではないので す。「いのちを救おうと思うものはそれを失い、わたしと福音とのためにいのちを失う者はそれを救うのです」マルコの福音８：３５
My heart breaks for the experiences we will miss together. Their family planned to focus on studying Japanese while serving with the Heart & Soul Cafe with a long term goal of helping with church planting in Japan. Jamison had a background in grant writing and was excited to help me with fundraising; he had already shared several opportunities to help us. Kathryne’s greatest desire was to be a mom, and she was encouraged by ministries like Baby English and looked forward to building relationships with other young moms. More than anything, they wanted to share the Gospel with new Japanese friends. They had already built relationships with many Japanese in the Minneapolis area and had helped connect some of them to Heart & Soul Cafe. They loved the vision of CBI and Jamison often asked how he could pray for us, even when he was needing help with their application process. They were excited about the development of the Church Planting Center and hoped to serve with a new Japanese church plant in the future.
彼 らとともに経験するはずだったことが叶わないという事実に、私の胸は張り裂けそうになります。彼らは日本語の勉強しながら、ハート＆ソウルカフェで奉仕を し、長期的には日本で教会開拓を助ける予定でした。ジェミソンはサポートレイズの働きにも協力的で、すでに何度か手伝ってくれていました。キャサリンが最 も望んでいたことは、母親として、ベビーイングリッシュなどのミニストリーを通して若い母親たちと関わりを持つことを楽しみにしていました。そして何より も、彼らは日本で福音を宣べ伝えることを望んでいました。すでに彼らはミネアポリスに住む多くの日本人と交流を持っており、ハート＆ソウルカフェに繋げて くださったこともありました。CBIのビジョンに同感し、ジェミソンは宣教師の準備期間にも関わらず、私たちのために祈れることはないかと時折聞いてくれ ていました。また、彼らは教会開拓センターを建て上げることを楽しみにしていて、日本で新しい教会開拓に携わることを願っていました。
Yasuyo san and I were just emailing with Jamison last week about where they would live. They had hoped to be here this past Spring, but decided to delay with the birth of their third child, Calvin, and support raising delays. They were almost fully funded and they were on their way to MTI for their last training before coming to Japan in October. This news is shocking and sad, but we know that it is part of God’s good plan.
先 週、やすよさんと私はジェミソンにどこに住むかについてメールをしたところでした。彼らは今年の春に来日することを希望していましたが、３人目のこどもの カルバンが生まれたことや、サポートが十分でなかったことを理由に来日を遅らせていました。今サポートはほぼ十分となり、１０月に日本に来る前の最後のト レーニングのためにMTIに向かっていたところでした。この訃報はとてもショックで悲しいです。しかし、私たちはこの事故が、神様の良い計画の一部である ことを知っています。
Jamison wrote back in March about the first real resistance they experienced in trying to come to Japan. They had some health battles, hit a lull in support raising, and began to wrestle with discouragement (can anyone relate?!). Jamison reflected on Ephesians 6:10–19 and shared this reminder:
For the first time, it feels as though something or someone is actively setting itself against us going to Japan. Strangely enough, I find that incredibly encouraging. I take it as a sign that we’re headed in the right direction.
ジェ ミソンは今年の３月に、日本に宣教師として来ることに初めて抵抗を感じたと書いていました。その時彼らには健康上の問題があり、サポートレイズがなかなか うまく進まず、挫折感と戦い始めていました(共感できる方もいらっしゃるはずです)。ジェミソンはエペソ6:10–19に注目し、このように綴っていま す：
They were indeed headed in the right direction, and this is all a part of God’s sovereign plan. The resistance for the Pals family is over. They have fought the good fight, they have finished the race, they kept the faith. They now wait for that Day when they will enjoy the crown of righteousness laid up for them, a reward they will enjoy with our team and all the Japanese who have loved his appearing (2 Tim 4:7–8).
彼 らは確かに、すべて神の主権なる計画のうちに、正しい道へと進んでいました。パルズ家が感じていた抵抗はもうありません。彼らは勇敢に戦い、走るべき道の りを走り終え、信仰を守りました。 彼らは、義の栄冠を授けられるその日を今待っています。主の現れを慕っている私たちチームとすべての日本人たちとともに、その報いを喜び楽しむことでしょ う(第二テモテ４：７−８)。
So what now, brothers and sisters? We know that could have been any of our families. And the loss to our team is real, we will never have the honor to serve together in Japan. This news can be like a stomach punch to our faith. What now?
主 にある兄弟姉妹のみなさん、今何をすべきなのでしょうか？このことは、私たちチームのどの家族にも起こりえたことです。彼らを失ったことは現実で、彼らと ともに日本で仕えることはもうありません。この訃報は私たちの信仰に強い衝撃を与えました。今何をすべきなのでしょうか？
God’s word speaks to us in our time of need. Now we fight, not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places (Eph 6:12). Now we race, running with endurance the race that is set before us (Heb 12:1). And now we keep on keeping on, not losing heart, for we have this ministry by the mercy of God. (2 Cor 4:1). As we mourn with the friends and family of the Pals, we do not lose hope, but rather gain inspiration. For the love of Christ controls us and we are ambassadors of Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore the Japanese people on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God (2 Cor 5:14, 20). May this news be no tragedy for us. May God raise up a hundred to take their place. May we gain fresh energy and zeal for making disciples in Japan. We may see little fruit from our efforts but, to quote Jamison once more, “who knows, perhaps the Lord will do a surprising thing in our lifetime? It will be worth the effort to find out.”
神 の御言葉は、必要なときに私たちに語りかけてくださいます。今私たちは血肉に対して格闘しているのではなく、主権、力、この暗闇の世界の支配者たち、ま た、天にいるもろもろの悪霊に対して格闘しています(エペソ６：１２)。今私たちは、私たちの前に置かれている競走を忍耐をもって走り続けています(ヘブ ル１２：１)。そして、私たちは、あわれみを受けてこの務めに任じられているのですから、勇気を失うことなく、続けていきます(第二コリント４：１)。パ ルズ家のご友人やご家族とともに悲しむ中、私たちは希望を失わず、むしろ聖霊の働きを覚えます。キリストの愛が私たちを支配しており、私たちはキリストの 使節であるので、神は私たちを通して訴えておられます。私たちはキリストに代わって、日本の人々に願います。神の和解を受け入れなさい(第二コリント ５：１４、２０)。この訃報がただの悲劇で終わることがありませんように。神がパルズ家の代わりに多くの人々を立ち上がらせてくださいますように。私たち が日本で弟子をさらに作るための新たな力と熱心さを得ることができますように。私たちは私たちの努力の実をほとんど見ることができないかもしれませんが、 ジェミソンはこのように言っています。「主が私たちの人生において驚くべきことをなさると誰が知っているだろう？それは努力してでも見つけ出す価値がある ものだ。」
Come, Lord Jesus!
On July 31, 2016 Jamison, Kathryne, Ezra, Violet and Calvin were traveling to their final training session in Colorado, prior to their long-term deployment to be global partners with Christ Bible Institute in Nagoya, Japan. (See article in Omaha World Herald.) On a long stretch of highway in Nebraska, while stopped in a construction zone, a semi truck rear-ended them at over 60 miles per hour. The van Jamison’s family was in, as well as the truck, burst into flames and was slammed into several other vehicles. The entire Pals family went into eternity together.
We deeply love them, and will sorely miss them. We weep and mourn and ache together. Pastor Jason Meyer writes, “Some look at death and see a tragedy—the tragic end of all their hopes and dreams. As Christians, we look death in the face and see ultimate victory, not tragedy, because Jesus defeated sin and death for all of his people. Facing death without Jesus is an eternal tragedy—weeping that never ends.
“And so, while we grieve, we rise up with resurrection faith as we embrace together our blessed hope that Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. And so, we celebrate the fact that the Pals family is not dead, but more alive than ever because of the grace of God that is ours in Jesus Christ.”
The Jamison and Kathryne Pals Foundation has been established to spread the Gospel of Joy through Jesus Christ to Japan and beyond. Donations may be sent to the Pals Foundation at 3570 Vicksburg Ln N, Ste 100, Plymouth, MN 55447. palsfamilyfound.org.
To view the memorial celebration of their lives at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, MN, click below.
To hear Dr. John Piper’s funeral prayer, visit: