Posted tagged ‘Costa Rica’

Who Am I

March 17, 2009


This is Brittney Strom. I have never met her. She lived – and died – in South Carolina. She was a friend to my niece and nephew and the daughter of my sister’s teaching buddy. I knew of her through them. And yet a day goes not go by when I don’t think about her…..either a fleeting remembrance…or a wish to have her love of people and passion for Christ.

Our story together actually begins on January 7, 2005. My mother called me from her home in Florida to ask me if I knew my sister’s friend, Robin. Of course I did. My sister yakked constantly about Robin’s creative bent, her organization and love for teaching Science.  My sister was disappointed when their school split into grade k-2 and 3-5 buildings and Robin Strom would be moving with the upper el faction to a new building. And then my sister took a Science Lab position in her building and she and Robin were looking forward to planning and organizing together again. The next words from my mother cut me cold. She had just learned that Robin, her husband James and their children, Brittney and Bradley, had been killed in a small plane crash. She told me to call my sister….and to hurry.

And so I was a telephone confidant during that time.  Someone my sister could share with.  We talked every day during the next few days.   Sometimes more than once.  And I was tremendously stunned and humbled by the shock waves that spread through that small community in South Carolina.  I heard about Teachers who spontaneously came together to mourn a colleague and friend, students who sought ways to honor their teacher and their friends and plans for a funeral that should not have been.

A song that was used for the service was ‘Who Am I’ by Casting Crowns. It seems that Brittney had spent the night before she died at a sleepover teaching a friend how to sign that particular song.  The friend taught another friend and they did it together at the funeral.  As a tribute to their friend.

The song is on my i-pod and my computer. I listen to it every single day. And when I hear it, every time, I think of Brittney Strom.

She was just a typical teenager.  A high school student who had skipped a grade in elementary school, she was a soccer player, a gymnast, a cheerleader, a confident Christian and a loving soul.  She was not above challenging someone about their beliefs.   She knew where she was going to end up and wanted to make sure you did as well.

In June,  14 year old Brittney had gone on a church sponsored trip to work at a new children’s camp in Costa Rica .  She came back having made the decision that she wanted to be a missionary and work with children like the ones she had met there.

And that’s how her friends have chosen to honor her and the entire Strom family.   The Brittney Strom Foundation supports ‘Camp Brittney’  in Costa Rica.   It is a place dedicated ” ….to reaching out to the Costa Rican people to promote the word and love of Jesus Christ by providing a place where children, youth, and adults can go to learn more about God’s word…”  In a word, it’s a growing church camp.   Just what Brittney would have ordered.

You can read more about Brittney and the mission her death……no, her LIFE…..inspired here.  It’s the kind of thing that breaks your heart and at the same time sends your soul soaring. 

It’s amazing the kind of impact one person’s life can have on others.  Even if you have never met her.