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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Victory From Tragedy

By Larry Hatfield
Sept. 16, 2012

Medical science saw very little chance for children in David and Tracy Zentz’s future. God had other plans. The couple became biological parents of two sons. In the spring of 2009, older son Michael David Zentz was a Marine sergeant stationed in Okinawa, Japan. Younger son Aaron was finishing his junior year of high school.

Aaron was blessed with a unique ability to make people laugh. He loved children’s ministry, something he had done alongside his parents since 2002. Aaron had traveled more than 19,000 miles with his parents, helping to raise some $16,000 for Boys and Girls Missionary Challenge (BGMC).

In 2009, the Zentz family was gearing up for a busy summer schedule. Numerous details had to fall into place in a very short time. Tracy was understandably frustrated when an ankle sprain caused her to miss a day’s work.

Looking back, she now views the timing of that frustration as a special gift from God. Seeing Aaron at breakfast and lunch that day would soon become a treasured memory. In less than 24 hours, their world would be shaken. Their 17-year-old son would be safe in the arms of God.

On May 21, 2009, after Aaron finished a doctor’s appointment, he called to let his mom know he was on his way home. Less than three miles from his house, Aaron’s vehicle was T-boned by a car traveling 65 mph. Two hours later, two policemen informed David and Tracy that their son would never be coming home again.

A nearby surveillance camera revealed the other driver ignored a red light. In the following months it became apparent there was a need to address negligent homicide in the Zentzes’ home state of Oklahoma. Working with state lawmakers, Tracy began drafting legislation. On May 11, 2011, surrounded by Aaron’s family and friends, Governor Mary Fallin signed the legislation appropriately called “Aaron’s Law.”

But Aaron’s influence reached far beyond Oklahoma. After Aaron’s death, his church family set up a memorial fund in his name. In a short time, $5,000 had been contributed. David and Tracy prayed for God’s direction in dispensing the funds.

Soon they were made aware of a missions project overseas: a microeconomic program using goats. Tracy commented, “Knowing Aaron, we thought that this would be the perfect project.” So, proper contacts were made, and soon the goats were on their way.

Once they had been delivered, special things began to happen. The goats developed twice as fast as those native to the area, and grew three times as large. They savored the type of grass growing in that mountainous region, and they were content to eat the weeds the local goats wouldn’t touch.

But there was another blessing as well. Multiple births were a rarity among the native goats. However, one family reported that of the three female goats they received through the program, one had produced a set of triplets and another, a set of twins.

One year into the program, the goats had been so prolific one village was able to afford sending one of their own pastors to evangelize another village nearby.

But God was about to bless the goat project in yet another unique way.

An epidemic of hoof-and-mouth disease swept through the area, wiping out much of the livestock. Although the outbreak had killed most of the goats indigenous to the region, the new goats didn’t seem to be affected at all. Villagers refer to these special animals as “gospel goats.” Aaron would have loved that!

Hebrews 11:4 records a powerful word regarding Abel, the young son of Adam and Eve: “By faith he still speaks, even though he is dead” (NIV). The same could be said of Aaron, as many continue to be impacted by his example.

It is the prayer of David and Tracy Zentz that God would use this tragedy for His glory. In that, He has more than answered.

LARRY HATFIELD retired in 2010 as senior pastor of Grand Assembly of God in Chickasha, Okla.

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