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I have been thinking about my friend Billy latley, and id like to tell you a bit about him, and how we met, and just how much he inspired me in the short time i knew him..

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Back in Michigan, i listened to WMUZ Christian radio station. in the mornings they would have Pastor Clark, of Pontiac Rescues Mission on, and he talked about things that went on or were going to happen at the mission, and then oneday, spoke about Billy..

My 3 children and i had went to the mission one Thanksgiving and served Thanksgiving meal to the residents, and 2 of the Detroit Lions were there helping out! what a blessing it was for my family. and showing my children how much better you feel when you help others out!  

Well, Pastor Clark started talking about on of the residents one day. His name was Billy, and his story really blessed me, and inspired me.  

Billy grew up with his mother, and younger brother and sister. he entered the US Army and served his Country, he also served over in Europe. 3 years later, he was discharged, and then began his thirst for alcohol.

Billy got married  and had 3 children.. He worked as a firefighter, and got severly burned. because he spent so much time in the huspital, he aspired to be a triage nurse. at this point in his life, alcohol had a firm hold on his life. because of this, his marriage ended, and he had an early retirement from the fire service.

Later on Billy went on a blind date, with Shirley, and they ended up marrying 14 days later! Billy remained sober for 4 years before succumbing to alcohols nasty grip! Shirl (as Billy lovingly called her), and Billy separated because of his alcoholism, and Billy was taken to the mission.

Billy was lost and angry when he entered the mission in December 1997. it was there his life turned around. Sadly, Shirl passed away six months after Billy entered the mission. Through his grief, he came to realize the love, comfort, and support he had from those at the mission.

it was during that time that i met Billy. His love of the Lord, and of life just was amaizing to me.. we would talk for an hour or more on the phone, write back and forth, e-mail, etc.

Shortly after we met, billy was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in his stomach, the size of a grapefruit. it didn’t really slow him down, he kept up his daily chores and activities!

Eventually the chemo and radiation started slowing him down.. our conversations on the phone started to get shorter, and his voice started getting rhaspy.  

I failed to mention that Billy Native American. it was his dream to go back to his reservation, and take the word of Christ to others there! Surprisingly, Pepsi Cola, sponsered and paid for Billy’s trip to the reservation AND paid for a Yankee’s game. ( i don’t remember the name of the team.. if i can find my bio of Billy, i will fix it )

Billy taught me how to LISTEN to the sunset! so my children and i started listening to the sunset at night, and its truly amaizing! We talked about God alot and how much we both love Him. how God has brought us through EVERYTHING!  

Eventually, Billy got very weak, and couldn’t get to the phone. So the mission put a phone line in his room, and that way, he could talk to people... the last night i got to talk to him, i told him just how much his friendship means to me, and i thanked him for being who he was. He told me how important my friendship was to him, and how he appreciated the time we had gotten to know.

Billy went home in his sleep the morning of 07 August 2000. he is now reunited with his beloved Shirl. that night, my children and i were listening to the sunset, and i felt the breeze come, kiss my cheek, and fly away.. i KNEW that was my friend Billy, passing through on his way to Heaven!

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i know this is long! thanks for reading!
be blessed!
Linni



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