"What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?"
- George Eliot
I hope this blog post finds you well and in the holiday spirit.
I'm afraid this letter is not the usual cheery (some might say cheesy ;-) Progress news full of good laughs, sneak peaks of great offers and fun stuff happening in and around the cafe'.
Instead, what I'm about to share with you is sad family news that's weighing heavy on my heart. So as you indulge me, please forgive me for using the Progress Posse Newsletter in this way. However, I'm confident you know and hopefully have experienced the purpose and power of the Progress Posse which is all about community and supportas well as spreading goodness and kindness in ways that benefit us all.
With that thought in mind, I'd like to introduce you to my father-in-law, Sam Broughton (my wife Sarah's dad and our son Samuel's namesake- pictured together here). Sam and Sarah's mom, Jenny, live in Oklahoma City where Sam has been a Southern Baptist minister for most of his 30 year ministry.
After several months of increasingly painful headaches, sinus pressure and hearing loss in one of his ears, Sam underwent an MRI two weeks ago. Sadly, it revealed several brain tumors in the back of his head towards his brain stem as well as around his ear canal. A biopsy showed that the larger tumors are benign and operable, which was the answer to a lot of prayers. However, Sam must under go major surgery on December 15th to remove three tumors followed by a course of radiation which may render him deaf in that ear. True to his nature, Sam remains positive and is holding up well. Of course, it's been damn hard on the family to say the least. Sam is a wonderful father and grandfather who has taken great care of and is very much loved by Jenny and their three amazing daughters: Jana, Sarah and Abbie. As for my wife Sarah, the news has been hard because she and her dad are extremely close. Sam is a strong, loving presence in her life (as he is for her two sisters and their husbands and kids), and since my marriage he's had a profound impact on me as well. For instance, Sam's support and encouragement were instrumental in the creation of Progress (he even helped me build the main bar at the café).
In fact, Sam has made his career all about being an anchor in other people's lives. Like his father before him, Sam has served multiple communities over the course of his ministry. He began as a youth minister in Texas and acquired his theological degree in seminary while working full time and being a strong and supportive husband and father.
Throughout his ministry, Sam has selflessly served his congregations while also working behind the scenes in his neighborhoods and communities, which for him were not defined by geography. A self taught carpenter, he has spent dozens of summers all over the U.S. and South America leading young people in building and repairing houses for those less fortunate. Sam has visited thousands of sick people in their homes and at hospitals, bringing them hope and peace. He has stood by many at their death beads, holding their hands, praying for them, providing kindness and comfort, and sharing with them the love in his soul.
Sam never talks about his actions, nor does he complain about the many sacrifices he and his family have made in service to others. He truly is the altruistic archetype who are seemingly born to dedicate their lives to bringing joy and security to others-usually at great cost to themselves. They're the rare benevolent ones who have so much concern for others that it's as if kindness is the lifeblood rushing through their veins and love is the very marrow in their bones.
And even in times of great distress, the hearts of these chosen ones are still somehow filled with gratitude. When I called him on Thanksgiving, shortly after his diagnosis, he told me multiple times how "many things we have to be grateful for." He's a wise man, seemingly quiet and stoic, yet full of joy, love, peace, passion and grace.True role models like Sam are welcome gifts to those of us lucky enough to cross their paths.
It's an understatement to say that Sam has been a blessing in my life, and as you now know has blessed many people's lives. Knowing him as I do, I believe Sam truly never expected any "reward" in this lifetime, only that God might forever keep him close to His heart. But Sam now faces an unthinkable medical and emotional trauma that no one-not even Sam-could possibly be prepared for. And let me be blunt-very few of us are financially prepared to deal with such a situation-particularly those among us who've completely dedicated their lives to others.
So that's the reason for this letter-to ask that you now join me in supporting Sam and Jenny in their time of need. So, if you're willing and able to help financially-or any other way- my brother-in-law Mauricio and some close friends and I have put together a fundraiser called S.O.S.- Support Our Sam. Click here to go to the site.
If you feel it in your heart to help, then you can click on this link to donate. All donations are tax deductible charitable donations that will be processed through their church (info and address below) Thank you for helping us help Sam. Our world is a much better place because of him- and you.
May your Holidays be blessed.
My Deepest Gratitude, Joshua
Sam & Jenny Broughton E-Church 6020 Marlow Lane P.O. Box 2555 Oklahoma City, OK 73132 Edmond, OK 73083 (405) 330-1700