Here is John (jr) at his soccer game. Everyone was having a kick about before it started. I know my Dad would much prefer to look and see him running with a rugby ball. I can coach John at soccer but wouldn't have a clue about rugby.
This picture was taken this past fall (2008). John, like his Grandad loves the outdoors. He will be ready to play again in the Spring.
I was thinking about all Dad's grandchildren today. I realize Natalie and Kayleigh know him so well and then it just breaks my heart when I think how the little ones will grow up not knowing him personally. Oh for sure they will hear about him. We talk about him everyday in our home and Olivia often picks up a picture of Dad and dances around the room with it. (Dad would always dance and swing her around.
So here we are missing Dad/Grandad and we realize that he is closer to us than we can possibly imagine.............all the while wishing his grandson would be playing rugby league :)
Lance, Mom and I were in Prospect Centre (Mall) when this picture was taken. The cute lady here was collecting money for "Age Concern". I had given some money when Lance took out his camera and the lady was more than happy to have her picture taken. Isn't she so cute?
Dad was all about giving. He didn't die a rich man. (in monetary terms that is) He was known for his generous and giving soul. He would often be seen going into a sandwich shop with a guy who was begging for money. Dad would always give everything he had.
For those of you who were not at the funeral or haven't had a chance to read the talk our good friend Alan gave, (Click here to read it. ) he mentioned how he had gone to visit my Dad after the funeral of our good friend, John Fountain. Dad realised Alan had traveled a long way to be at the funeral and asked Alan if he could give him some money to help out with his petrol/gas. I was not shocked in the least to hear this. Dad did not do this to demean anyone in the least. He simply did it because money was not important to him. He wanted to share all he had.
It has been mentioned many times before and it will be mentioned many times again how Dad lived his life serving his fellowmen and his God. What a wonderful example he was of ALWAYS putting the needs of others before his own. In the case of the story with Alan, here Dad was dying and STILL caring for his friends and did so right until the day he died.
Dad was very proud of his place of birth, Kingston Upon Hull, England. He was very proud to be a Brit and loved his home city. He loved to visit us here in the US but Hull was always his home.
This picture was taken Feb 09 at Princes Quay in Hull. It is a shopping center/mall. Dad liked to go in here and he did so pretty often. He would often say "There's nothing like this in America is there love?" and laugh as he was saying it.
This mall has "Security Guards" walking around and Dad would make us laugh when we would see one of them. Dad would say "WOW look at him, I am really shaking with fright"..... oh and that was another thing he said "Look at him, he couldn't knock the skin off a rice pudding."
That was one of the many things I admired about Dad: He had no fear. He instilled that in us. Not to be fearful of anyone. He told that to my brother in law, Gary. Never show fear. Always stand up to people.
His famous saying "The bigger they are the faster I run" and yet I didn't see him run from anyone.......except my Mother when it was pay day (Tee hee)
This is my beautiful Mother! Can you believe she is almost 71 ;) This picture was taken in Feb 09.
Dad was always so proud of how 'his' Val looked. He would tell everyone how old she was. Mom would get embarrassed and didn't (and still doesn't) like us to tell her age. I love to tell everyone as I think it is awesome. She has 30 years on me and look how wonderful she looks.
They say that when a loved one passes on, you seem to get an inner strength. I have really seen that in my Mom. Of course she has her moments, ROUGH moments I am sure but it is because of our knowledge that we are able to move forward. I will always be grateful to her for all she did for Dad throughout the years they were together, but especially for his last months. I can't even begin to imagine how traumatic that must have been for her.
Now I am in tears, I have to remember that Dad is in a much better place. He told me, not too long ago that if I could get just a glimpse of him and see what he is doing now and how happy he is, I would never want him to come back here. I can just imagine him waiting for the time when 'his Val' joins him.........although I have told her she can never die as I can't go through this pain again. :)
Isn't it amazing how much we miss something when it is taken away from us?
I miss my Dad's letters. He was always so good at writing. He would always let us know what was going at home and share with us his feelings about his family, his faith and his life.
Dad never complained about what he was having to deal with.
Here is the same location. (Feb 2009)
I couldn't resist asking Lance to take a picture of me standing by the mail box. I got emotional so we had to wait a few minutes so I could compose myself.
I can't mail a letter to Dad nor can he mail one to me, but we both know what we have in our hearts. I have many, many letters that I will treasure forever.
If there is anyone you can think of that would appreciate a letter from you, then I would advise you to send it now. A letter can make someone's day brighter. I don't think Dad realized at the time of his writing and mailing letters just how much they would mean to me.
"I am the way the truth and the life; No man cometh unto the Father but by me."- John 14:6
I have been thinking so much about resurrection and eternal life just lately. Today as I spoke with my Mom, who is doing remarkably well by the way, I shared with her how I was contemplating life without Dad. If I live to be 80 years old, that will mean my whole life time again without seeing Dad. To me, that is rather unbelievable. I cannot comprehend that.
This is a picture of Dad's resting place. This was taken on the day I flew back to the US, 2 weeks after the funeral. The flowers still looked beautiful. Red and White, the colors of his beloved Rugby Team, Hull Kingston Rovers. I picked a red rose and took it to my Mom.
Can you imagine how life would be if you thought you would never see your loved ones again? If you are someone who doesn't know/believe you will, my heart aches for you. I cannot imagine that feeling. There is no doubt in my mind that I will see Dad again. Not only will I see him, but I will live with him forever. That used to seem hard to imagine for me years ago. Eternity, forever and ever, I could not imagine it. NOW I can. I can imagine how wonderful that will be now I have lost such a special person in my life. I cannot comprehend fully, but I can imagine. Imagination is a wonderful thing. I can imagine living with all my family forever, as I never want to be parted again.
I am just so grateful that my Dad lived his life in such a way that I have no doubt in my mind where he is , what he is doing and where he will be once the judgment day is here.
Whilst at the graveside, the day I left my home city, I said the following :
"Dad, thank you for being such a wonderful Father. I love you so much and my little heart aches so much. I feel saddened you were taken away, and under such heart wrenching circumstances but I am so grateful for the knowledge I have. Until we meet again xxx"
One of the many things Dad taught me throughout my life and indeed reminded me of during his final year was to always live life to the full. I often wondered how I would ever be able to have fun or literally laugh with Dad's passing but this simple reminder has been great for me.
Dad obviously wouldn't want me or any member of his family moping around and not wanting to enjoy ourselves. "Life is for living" he would often say.
Today, Lance, John, Olivia and I went to our property in Duchesne to have a 'fun day'. Lance often reminds me of how Dad would want us to be enjoying ourselves and so off we went. Natalie and Kayleigh, being teenagers had their own agenda and they had fun going to the salon and getting ready for a birthday party.
It was great to be outdoors. Today was a beautiful day. Warm compared to what we have been used to and a clear blue sky. We had so much fun 4 wheeling and walking around. This property is in the middle of nowhere and was so neat to be there. We have taken Mom and Dad there on several occasions. I had a good ole cry (which always makes you feel better). I found it very hard being in England this past month as there are obviously so many memories there. As Dad loved the outdoors when he visited us here and often commented on how beautiful it was, with the mountains and blue skies, I shed tears as I thought on those memories.
Reality really hit that I never would see Dad again during my mortal life but the tears were quickly replaced by smiles thinking of how joyous life will be in the eternities.
This verse is not in our hymn book but it is worth posting
(Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away. )
Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessèd we shall meet at last.
Musical Item -
Come Thou Fount of every blessing Tune my heart to sing Thy grace; Streams of mercy, never ceasing, Call for songs of loudest praise Teach me some melodious sonnet, Sung by flaming tongues above. Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it, Mount of God's unchanging love.
Here I raise my Ebenezer; Hither by Thy help I'm come; And I hope, by Thy good pleasure, Safely to arrive at home. Jesus sought me when a stranger, Wandering from the fold of God; He, to rescue me from danger, Interposed His precious blood.
O to grace how great a debtor Daily I'm constrained to be! Let that grace now like a fetter, Bind my wandering heart to Thee. Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love; Here's my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above.
Come Thou Fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it,
Mount of God's unchanging love.
Closing Hymn -
Our Savior’s love Shines like the sun with perfect light, As from above, It breaks through clouds of strife. Lighting our way, It leads us back into his sight, Where we may stay To share eternal life.
The Spirit voice Of goodness whispers to our hearts A better choice Than evil’s anguished cries. Loud may the sound Of hope ring till all doubt departs And we are bound To him by loving ties.
Our Father, God Of all creation, hear us pray In reverence, awed By thy Son’s sacrifice. Praises we sing. We love thy law; we will obey. Our heavenly king, In thee our hearts rejoice.
Our friends Bryan and Chris Skelton are serving as Mission President (and wife) in Singapore. They are both life-long and eternal friends. Here is a message that was shared by Chris. Again, have the kleenex at the ready. It is very touching.
JOHN SIMS (Part of a talk given at the Singapore Zone Training Meeting)
A few weeks ago we received a phone call from one of our children who told us that a good friend in our Ward back home, John Sims, was so ill with cancer he had been admitted to a hospice and wasn’t expected to live much longer.
We were saddened greatly by the news that we would never see him again this side of the veil, and so I decided to phone his wife, Val, just to let her know that they were in our thoughts and our prayers. As the phone rang, the thought crossed my mind that I was grateful it would be Val I would be speaking to because I wouldn’t know what on earth to say to John. Val answered and we talked for a few minutes.
Then she said something I was totally unprepared for, "Actually, John’s here. He’s just come home for a few hours because he wants to spend as much time at home, whilst he can. He’d love to talk to you." I felt instant panic. What do you say to a dying man except words that sound completely hollow?
John came on the phone and whilst I’m still racking my brain, he said, "Is that you, Chris? I’ve got a great joke for you." John has always told some terrible jokes and I wondered if a spell in hospital had improved them, but it hadn’t – they were just as bad as ever. He said, "I’ve got some new hospital jokes." Then he proceeded to tell me several more jokes and we were both laughing together. This was far from the conversation I had expected and feared.
After a while, John became serious and broached the subject of his health. "I’m going to die, you know, but I’m not in the least bit worried. I know where I’m going and I have no fears whatsoever." Well, I knew he meant that. John Sims would not be worried about dying for two reasons:
Firstly, he had a testimony of the gospel that was a mile high and knew that death was simply a passing on to greater things. Secondly, when John finally met His Maker, he could look Him straight in the eye and honestly say that he had done his best to keep the commandments and the covenants he had made.
Eventually, the phone call came to an end. I had phoned Val just to try and uplift her a little by letting her know we care. Instead, I was taught by a dying man about courage, strength of testimony and spiritual preparedness (with a few corny jokes thrown in for good measure).
In our opinion, John was still too young to die, but if I’ve learned one thing from visiting a number of cemeteries, it is that death does not have much to do with old age. We can be taken at any time. How crucial it is that we are ready and remain ready.
I hope we can all follow this example and when our great call comes, find ourselves like John Sims – constantly faithful and enduring in righteousness to the very end!
I also spoke at Dad's funeral. He asked if I would play the piano but I told him they didn't work underwater.....:) I was really surprised (as were many others) how I controlled myself and didn't cry all the way through this. As much as I miss Dad, I am so much more at peace now I know he is no longer suffering.
What a glorious day this is! Thank you for being here to share this special time with us as we pay tribute and respect to our husband, father, grandad, brother, uncle and friend. A man who will be truly missed. A man who touched so many hearts, lives and souls.
I would like my Dad's brother and sisters to know that he thought the world of you your husbands, wives and children. He loved to visit you. I am glad that I got the many chances to visit with him. He often spoke about each of you individually with kindness, I might add. I would like to thank all the Macmillan and Marie Curie nurses. I think you do a wonderful job and I appreciate all you did for Dad.
My wonderful husband Lance, is on standby. If I can't get through this today he will come up and take over. I have to thank him so sincerely for all he has done to enable me to see my Mom and Dad during the years I have lived in the US. I have so many memories of the past 7 years alone. Thank you Lance.
I have had to condense my thoughts. With 40 years of memories it could have been about 8 hours so I had to squish it all into 10 minutes.
What comes to your mind when you think of John Sims? Having spent so much time with him in person, on the phone and through letters I can think of so many wonderful things. Dad was a person whose word truly was his bond. If he said he would do something, he would do it. The important thing here is he would do it with a loving heart and a caring soul. He would not complain nor wish he had not been asked. He truly loved and lived to help others. I asked him why he had taken a different way home one day and he said it was because he was looking for people who may need his help.
Dad loved to associate with everyone. It didn't matter what walk of life they were from he could strike up a conversation with anyone. He really lived up to the scripture in Matthew 25:40 "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."
Dad was never one to think of anything in monetary terms. He was happy with his life and money didn't mean anything to him. He paid his tithing without fail and Mom continued to do so right to the very end for him. He always thought about the homeless and those without. He wanted to help all who needed it and never thought about being paid for it.
Dad's sense of humor was something that will always make me smile and will help me get through the sadness that comes with this loss. He was known for his jokes and by the way he wanted you to know that if you still owe him the tenner you need to give it to my Mom. I am assuming for all the people he said that to, my Mom will be a Millionairess.
Missionary work was a very important part of Dad's life. He loved to talk about his faith and shared a message with all he came into contact with. He is a legend amongst Missionaries who have served in this ward and many others he came into contact with. He did all he could to further the work and spent countless hours with the Missionaries. I know he is now doing what he did best on this earth.
His love for reading was well known. He really enjoyed learning and one thing I wish I had a record of was how many pages/books he has read. When he would visit us he would always have books to read and when he had read those, we would go to the bookstore to buy more. In honor of this, I have decided to write a book about Dad. The title will be John Sims, My Father, My Hero, My Friend.
My Mom got salmonella, a form of food poisioning and was in the hospital for quite some time. Dad had to take care of us and my biggest memory of that was his cooking skills. I think that is when I grew to really love fish and chips:) We ate many sandwiches and beans on toast and on the Sunday we thought we were in for a right treat when he told us we would be having meat pies. When he placed them on the table, I raised my eyebrows and said "Dad these look a bit pale, they are not cooked." He replied " Ohhhh they are fine, besides we asked a blessing on them" I answered "Yes and I am sure they asked a blessing on the food at the wedding"
One of our famous memories was when I bought a leather jacket. I had wanted it for so long and being a single Mom at the time, I couldn't afford much. I ordered the jacket from a catalog company and was so pleased to see how great it looked when it arrived. On the day it arrived, Dad asked if I wanted to go out for the day with him and my Mom and of course I wore this fabulous jacket. It was a rather warm day and decided it was too warm for this jacket. I placed it in the trunk/boot of the car. The next day I realized where I had left the jacket and called Dad. "Dad I left the jacket in your car" There was a long silence when suddenly Dad confessed he had taken some clothes that very morning to DR Barnado's charity shop and YES my beautiful jacket which I had worn only once and for about 30 minutes was amongst the clothes he had dropped off. He told me he would go to the shop and let them know what had happened. Alas, not good news. The jacket was nowhere to be seen. Dad was convinced the jacket never even made it to the shop floor. A lesson was learned that day, apart from the fact I never left ANYTHING in the car again, that worldly possessions were really not that important, not important enough to follow through with the fact I wanted to scream at him. He taught me then that "if our family was alive and well then nothing else mattered" I now think it is time to get the leather jacket back :)
Dad suffered with Bowel Cancer in the early part of this decade. He had surgery which proved to be successful. A special memory for me was when I went to visit him in Castle Hill hospital. Usually I visited him in the evening due to my work schedule. On this occasion, I visited him just after lunch. As I walked into the hospital ward, I saw him just laying there and my heart was full. I reached for his hand and he had tears streaming down his face. He told me that just that very minute he had prayed and asked God to send him an angel to comfort him and as he said "Amen" I walked in the door.
Rugby League meant everything to Dad. This was the one and only thing Dad and I did not have in common. I was converted to football. I told Dad I could answer every question about football except one........How much Gum Alex Ferguson has chewed in his life. "This past May, I watched Manchester UTD win the Premiership Cup, Hull City get into the Premiership and England beat the US all with Dad. Every now and again he would say "Oh int this a load a rubbish. Nowt like rugby is it. That's a real mans game."
Whilst I was waiting for my connecting flight to Manchester in the US this past May, I overheard a guy on his cell phone calling his wife. I told him after his conversation how good it was to hear the British accent. We chatted for a while and this guy, whose name was Mark told me how the one thing he missed when he came to the US was Rugby League. I looked at him almost shocked and said "WOW you sound like my Dad, he says the very same thing. I told Mark how my Dad had played for Hull Kingston Rovers and he asked me his name. "John Sims" I replied. Mark answered, I remember him. I used to play for Bradford Northern. Johnny Sims, That guy was like lightening when he ran down that field. We talked about Roger Millward, Steve Mcnamara and Len Casey and I really did try to act like I had an interest in rugby. He was rather shocked when I told him I preferred Football.
Planning this trip to England this past May has been one of the best decisions of my life. We had so much fun together. I followed Dad round like a little lost pup. Every where he went I was right there with him. As usual, we went to visit many people.
I learned many lessons and good things from Dad. He taught us all well. His love for my Mother has been so apparent over the years. He didn't like to spend anytime apart from her.He lived for her. He couldn't have lived without her. Mom "Thank you so much for all you did for Dad. He loved you more than anything in this world. I know he joked around that you struck oil when you married him, but he knew it was the other way round. As you know Dad always asked me if there was anything he could do for me in every phone call. I used to tell him "the best thing you can do for me is to love my Mother" In all my life, I have NEVER seen anyone love his wife more. One who wanted to be with his wife every minute of every day and feel incomplete if he was not around you.
He would tell me that the best thing I could do for him was to take care of you when he was gone. I promised him I would and I intend to keep that promise. Thank you for granting him his last wish - to die at home. Had it not been for your caring nature and your unconditional love for him, that wish would not have been granted.
There are obviously so many more memories I could share about Dad and we really would be here for another 8 hours if I shared them. I could go into detail about the time he put shelves up and not long after I put the books on the shelf, it was hanging on one side whilst the books were on the floor in a heap. He locked himself out the house one day and I had to climb in the bathroom window. Good job that was 20 years ago and before I had 4 children.
In closing my remarks today, I would like to share my analogy of my Dad and Chess. He loved to play chess. It really was the only time he sat still. I remember him chatting with Uncle Gordon on the phone when Mom and Dad visited us last Christmas. Dad told him that I had just beat him at chess and that he had let me beat him. I said "No you didn't" and Dad said "Yes I did"......I told Dad he should be proud of the fact I had beat him, it showed I had a good teacher.
The pawn - I think of this piece as one of importance. Although this piece is the smallest it is the most powerful. One of Dad's famous sayings on the rugby field was "the bigger they are the faster I run". He never worried about wealth or possessions. He always wished he was taller. Although Dad was short in stature he was a giant amongst men.
The Castle/Rook - The object of a castle is to protect, be a safe place. Dad always protected his family and provided a safe place for us.
The Knight - Dad was our Knight in shining armor.
The Bishop - Dad was the Bishop of this ward
The Queen - He always referred to our Mom as his Queen. He loved her more than anything in this world and always wanted her to be by his side.
The King - Dad is the King. Dad's life was not a stalemate. It was not defeated. His body was plagued with a disease but his spirit lives on and one day we will be reunited. I am so thankful for the many happy memories I have of my Dad. He will always be in my heart and forever in my thoughts
There were so many people at Dad's funeral. If you knew him well, that won't be a surprise. I was impressed to see so many people there as I knew there would be. The flowers were beautiful, as was the music and how my Mom composed herself as well as she did, I will never know. What an angel xxx The refreshments afterwards were so well prepared and appreciated. It was so nice to sit and chat with people whose lives were touched by Dad. I am biased of course, but I believe this funeral was the most special of all funerals I have been to.
One of Dad's very good friends, Alan was asked by my Father himself to speak at his funeral. We love Alan just as he loves us and I am so thankful Alan sent his talk to me so I could post it here.
WARNING: Have your kleenex ready!
There are times in our lives where we receive great gifts. Sometimes even in those great gifts there are some that stand out. When John asked me to speak at his funeral I took it as one of the greatest compliments that I have ever received.
Many centuries ago a man by the name of Job asked a question that many of us have probably asked ourselves at some time. Maybe we have asked ourselves this question since the passing of John, and maybe even this morning. Job simply asked, "If a man dies, will he live again? (Job 14:14.)
Over the centuries men have tried to answer this question through science, logic, poetry, religion, psychology, etc. The only common factor is that they disagree with each other on the answer.
Madame Marie Curie, the world renowned physicist is quoted, after her husband’s funeral as saying, "We buried Pierre today. He is sleeping his last sleep. It is the end of everything, everything, everything." It sounds as if her answer to Job’s question would have been, "No." Another great scientist said, "To believe that man came about by accident is the equivalent of believing that the Unabridged Oxford Dictionary could come about as the result of an explosion in a printing works." His answer to Job’s question appears to be "Yes."
I believe that mankind did not come about by accident. I believe we were created by a loving Heavenly Father. The English poet, William Wordsworth, speaking about our birth, said, "…Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star, Hath had elsewhere its setting, And cometh from afar: Not in entire forgetfulness, And not in utter nakedness,But trailing clouds of glory do we come From God, who is our home:…" Ode. Intimations of Immortality. (William Wordsworth.)
A young lady, Jeanette Szabo, was captured by the Gestapo during World War Two, and mercilessly tortured in order to release the whereabouts of her fiancé. Rather than betray him she suffered all that was done, and was eventually shot to death. After her death a note was smuggled to her fiancé that said;
The life that I have Is all that I have And the life that I have Is yours The love that I have Of the life that I have Is yours and yours and yours A sleep I shall have A rest I shall have Yet death will be but a pause For the peace of my years In the long green grass Will be yours and yours And yours."
Her life was immortalised in the movie, "Carve her name with pride," starring Virginia McKenna. Jeanette’s answer to Job’s question would have been a resounding, "Yes." What of Job himself? Did he have an answer for his question? He did, and it is magnificent. It comes just five chapters later. It resounds beautifully down the centuries. He said: "23 Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! 24 That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever! 25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: 27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me. ( Job 19:23 - 27) That is a definite, clear, wonderful "YES," Job had confidence and faith in his Redeemer, and his Redeemer will not let him down.
Job did not have an easy life. He was described by God in the following words: "…there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?..." (Job 1:8) All that Job had was taken from him, his children, his wealth, his health. The suffering caused him to make the statement:
"For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me." (Old Testament Job 3:25) His family, seeing his suffering told him to "…curse God, and die…" His response is so John Sims-esque. He said simply, "…"Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD." (Job 1:21)
John Sims, like Job of old has been called upon to suffer. I recall when he had to finish playing his beloved Rugby League due to an injury that left him in much pain. Sometimes just to move led to excruciating suffering. The doctors told him that it was psycho-sematic. In other words the pain was "all in his mind." For many years he was to undertake that suffering, and had insult added to injury when they took him to a local hospital, and gave him electric shock treatment, to "get this out of his mind." John suffered all of that, and still was positive.
After years of suffering the doctors finally discovered that when John had injured his ribs in a rugby match he had somehow trapped a nerve between his ribs. Every time he moved awkwardly the nerve ends would be shredded, causing much pain. When this was discovered there were those of us who told him to sue the doctors and the hospitals. His response was so typical of the man we all love and respect. He put things so succinctly, "I’m just grateful to have my health."
In later life John was called upon to suffer cancer of the bowel, and undertook many bouts of chemotherapy. He never complained, and was an example to all who saw and visited him. He was cheerful, and always had a joke for everyone. John was called upon to suffer more cancers that eventually took his life. His courage was there for all to see. There was never a "Why me?" He knew that he would eventually win, as he had total conviction that his Father in Heaven would not ask him to suffer beyond his ability to withstand. When asked why the Lord would ask him to suffer in this way, his response was "Why not?"
Whenever I think of John I always think of courage, perseverance, patience, strength, faith, humour, love and example. That we will meet John Sims again is beyond doubt. Whilst John’s body has passed through death, his real self, his spirit, lives on, and will progress and grow. He will meet again with loved ones, and have glorious reunions. My guess is that after meeting his relatives he will seek out his beloved Joseph Smith. (Maybe Joseph will even seek him out.) There has surely never been a more avid student of the Prophet Joseph.
One day we will also pass beyond the veil, and will meet John again. I know that when my own time comes I will hear, amongst that welcoming throng, a voice that says, "Hey Alan, UP THE ROBINS….By the way, have you got that tenner you owe me?" (One of his very favourite jokes, and one of his best known. How many of us have fallen for that one.)
I know that the answer to Job’s question is "Yes." We will live again, and this is down to the Atoning Sacrifice of Job’s Redeemer, and our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. I have tried to find a poem that sums up how I feel about this, but could not find one. As a result, I have tried to write one. You will quickly see that I am no Wordsworth or Tennyson, but the poem sums up how I feel.
Where, O death, now is thy sting? Where, grave, thy victory? A Son of God has come to earth, and set thy captives free. Not in riches did he come, He was born in poverty. In a stable in Bethlehem, but King of Kings was He. He walked the dusty paths and roads by the Sea of Galilee, He called upon the fishermen, and said, "Come, follow me." They dropped their nets, and followed Him. They did so immediately. And they became the fishers of men that He had promised they would be. He healed the sick, the lame could walk, He caused the blind to see. They brought their children to be blessed by Him, He cured men’s leprosy. And when Mary and Martha lamented their loss, He showed His power over thee, He called Lazarus from the tomb, and from thou, death, he was set free. He called to the boisterous waves, "Be still," and He walked upon the sea. And when my heart is filled with pain, He brings His peace to me. He took upon him the sins of the world in the Garden of Gethsemane. There he was betrayed by one He loved, and was taken to Calvary. They took Him up to Golgotha’s Hill, and nailed him to a tree. He hung and suffered on the cross, and did so for all my friends and me. And now when death a loved one takes, through tear-stained eyes we see That death, thou really hath no sting, and grave no victory. For death is swallowed up in Him, and holds no fears for me. Through Resurrections miracle the grave is but temporary, And all this was done through love, and Grace by this Son of Deity. Yes, death, you are beaten for all time, for CHRIST’S is the victory.
All of us will try to leave some things behind for our children. For some it will be money, for some it will be a house, a car, a watch, a necklace or some other possession of financial worth. John Sims has never been one for accumulating wealth. He truly lived in the world, but was never of the world. He was never going to be rich. Everything he had would be regularly given to the poor and needy. The last time I met him in this life was so typical of the man. Gina and I came up to Hull for the funeral of John Fountain, and spent the afternoon after the funeral with John and Val at their home. As it approached time to leave for home, John pulled out some money, and said, "Alan, it must have cost a lot for you to come up here today. Let me give you something towards the cost.
John has truly learned that to give is better than to receive. I know that John will not leave a great deal of financial gifts to his children, but he will leave them wealth untold. These gifts are beyond rubies and gold. He has left them gifts such as truth, courage, example, fidelity, strength, faith, integrity, caring, love, obedience, knowledge.
When people judge other men they have set guidelines that they will judge them by as either success or failure. Often they will judge them by position, wealth, possessions, rank, profession, sporting prowess, looks, dress and status symbols.
John Sims' life here stands huge as a success in anyone’s "book." He is a great husband to his beloved Val. This is an example of a perfect couple. They were like Morecambe and Wise, Abbot and Costello, Little and Large. If you saw one, you saw the other. John is a great father. Just look at his children, and you see his success. Both sons served missions, and his sons and daughters are all sealed in the Temple of the Lord.
He was a great Bishop. When I was a young missionary he was my Bishop. There were three missionaries serving from the ward. Each of us, John Fountain, Neilson Forsberg and I, would get a letter every week from our beloved Bishop. This was before the computer and word processor. Each letter was handwritten and geared to the needs and personality of the individual. I still have mine at home. He also travelled all of the way to Merthyr Tydfil (Wales) to marry Gina and I. There is no Bishop I would rather have had to marry Gina and me.
John is a great friend. There is nothing he will not do for his friends. In forty years as his friend I have always known that my name was safe with him. If you have John Sims as a friend, no-one, but no-one will ever say anything bad about you in his presence. He loves his friends, and we love him.
Here lies a great Latter-day Saint. He has been faithful for over forty years. He is as good up close as he is at a distance. Sometimes people are to all outward appearances good, honourable people, but when you spend time around them, close up, you discover that they are not as good as they appear in outward appearance. In forty years as a close friend of John Sims he is the same no matter where he is or who he is with. He does not have two sides. What you see is what you get.
I recommend John Sims’ way of life to you. He is a noble son of his Father in Heaven. I bet when he gets to the Pearly gates he gets Peter with that tenner joke. I unreservedly love and admire him.
I know that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ, and that John Sims lives on. We will see him again, and when we do, we will see that sincere look straight in the eye that was his trade mark. We will receive that firm and uncompromising handshake. We will still owe him that tenner. We will hear again that confirmation that he loves us, and has missed us, and if we go where he is, we will dwell in the presence of God forever. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Thanks Alan. I have just used a rather large amount of kleenex. I am so grateful to Alan for sending this to me. I was listening at the funeral but obviously my mind was wandering so it was great to be able to read this and share with you our friends and Dad's grandchildren.
Thanks for visiting. It is my intent to share many memories and pictures of our dear Dad, loving Husband and caring Grandad with you.
For those who know me, you will know I love to scrapbook and preserve memories. I planned on putting together a huge scrapbook with pictures of Dad, his memories, our memories but realized that with a Scrapbook, you are limited to who can see it and worrying if it got damaged or even lost. This blog was then born.......I knew this would be the most quickest and efficient way to keep a record of pictures and memories. Memories that are fun, wonderful, sad and even heartbreaking.
For those of you who know 'John Sims' personally, you will enjoy reading our family memories and who knows 'YOU' may be a part of those memories. For those who don't know 'John', you will feel you do if you visit this blog regularly.
You will see many references to "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" and to our God whom we give all the glory. I make no apology for these references. Religion, and in this case, Mormonism, is John's life.
Join me daily as I share memories of the most giving man I know.