There was an article in today's local paper. This is too good not to share:
|Love of God and each other...|
Family, friends of slain couple say the deaths were not in vain.
They loved God.
They loved nature.
They loved each other.
That's what friends and family of Jason Scott Allen and Lindsay Christine Cutshall had to say Saturday in their first public comments since Jason and Lindsay were found dead on a remote beach about 75 miles north of San Francisco.
The bodies of Jason, a 26-year-old Zeeland High School alumnus, and Lindsay, 23, of Fresno, Ohio, were found Aug. 18. Both had been shot in the head.
Poised in front of an altar at Immanuel Baptist Church in Holland encouraging worshippers to "This Do in Remembrance of Me," friends and family remembered Jason and Lindsay as a vivacious and adventurous couple who were excited about their faith and their Sept. 11 wedding.
"When he (Jason) found her (Lindsay) they were just so perfect for each other, we were so excited," said Jason's sister, Elizabeth Westra of Overisel. "He always said he was never going to get married."
Westra said her older brother lived his life to the fullest.
"He's crazy," she said with a matter-of-fact smile. "He was funny, very laid back, very open.
"He never got mad about anything, and from a brother-sister point, that's hard to say. ... He was unique, that's for sure."
Friends said Lindsay shared Jason's sense of humor and love for all things outdoors. The couple met at Appalachian Bible College in Bradley W.Va., and spent the summer working as river guides at Rock-N-Water, a Christian adventure camp located on the American River in Coloma, Calif.
Together they led youth on white water rafting trips and taught hands-on Bible studies in nature. Collages of pictures decorated the Baptist church in Holland and showed a smiling Jason hunting, fishing, crossing land with a kayak strapped to his back and battling the rapids. Several of the pictures included a smiling Lindsay.
A centerpiece of the memories was a framed collage compiled and signed by Rock-N-Water's staff. Two individual full-color pictures feature close-ups of Jason and Lindsay on a California river while two black and whites and one full-color photo captured the couple, surrounded by children, safely guiding them through the roughest of the river's waters.
A peace lily, one of a few dozen flower displays sent to the families, carried the sympathies of the Westside Baptist Church in Yakima, Wash., where Jason and Lindsay ministered in July.
Delores Allen, Jason's mother, said she was confident that the children's deaths were not in vain.
"Many people have shared stories about Jason and Lindsay's lives that have caused us to laugh and to shed tears," she said. "Their ministry through death will touch far more (people) than a lifetime of work."
Delores, her husband, Bob Allen, and Lindsay's parents, Chris and Kathy Cutshall, said they found strength in the knowledge their children were in heaven. Chris Cutshall, a minister at Fresno (Ohio) Bible Church, said rather than causing the families to question their faith, the deaths strengthened it.
"We are experiencing the wonder and power of divine peace," Chris Cutshall said. "God has and God is blessing Jason and Lindsay."
The minister added that they would stick to their Christian beliefs and not seek vengeance on the person who killed his daughter and would-be son-in-law. Rather, he said, they would leave it up to the proper, and ultimate, authorities.
"We want justice and we're looking forward to justice, but as far as revenge, we'll leave that up to God," Chris Cutshall said. "None of us are experiencing bitterness or anger."
That's just the sort of attitude that Lindsey Paulson and Eric Freckman, Jason Allen's childhood friends, said Jason would have wanted them to take.
"Jason would want us to be having fun," Paulson said through tears. "He would want us to share stories, share a laugh. He was very fun."
"We know he's in heaven," Freckman added. "We know he's happy so we're OK with that. ... He knew where he was going and how he wanted to get there."
Delores Allen said her son decided at the age of 5 that he wanted to be a missionary. He held steadfast to that goal and was involved in the Immanuel Baptist youth group. He spent the summer of 1995 in Grenada on a mission trip, Paulson and Freckman said.
Deanna Hovey, Jason's maternal aunt, said she shared a special bond with her only nephew. She added that she was glad he was waiting for her in heaven -- most likely with plans to teach her to kayak.
"He'll probably greet me at the gates with a paddle," Hovey said. "He'll say, 'Aunt Dee, it's OK, you don't have to cry anymore. And you don't have to be afraid of water anymore.'"
A family visitation was Friday night at Immanuel Baptist Church. A joint memorial service for Jason and Lindsay will be Saturday at Coshocton Nazarene Church, 1058 Orange St., Coshocton, Ohio, at 6 p.m.
Contributions in memory of Jason and Lindsay may be sent to Wyandotte Federal Credit Union, 114 S. Waverly Road, Holland, 49423. Checks should be made payable to Robert or Delores Allen and proceeds from the fund will help Rock-N-Water camp establish adventure camp ministries.