There is Something I Need to Say

THANK YOU.  Ten years ago, I never could have imagined the trials and joys my family would face over the next decade.  But as I look back, God has been right there with us every step of the way.  Particularly over the past month, during my father-in-law’s last days of life, so many of you have reached out to my family and have done the little things that have showed you are truly of God.  No, I’m not talking about random facebook posts, I’m talking about tangible things you have done for my family.  As we have watched a man go and touch the face of eternity, my family has been marked by the endless pouring out of affection and care from those around us.  But tomorrow before we celebrate his life I wanted to thank those who are too many to name, but let try and capture a few here:

Don’t EVER forget to say thank you…


Gary with the Love of His life, Marlys on one of their countless Cascade Mountain treks.

1 – Family – Family is well, family.  no matter what, you forgive, step forward, choose to love, take care of, and sacrifice for.  We aren’t perfect, but we are family.  Dad, you accepted me. Even though I wasn’t perfect, you gave your daughter to me and then you loved me.  I NEVER doubted your love.  Mom, you are persistent, patient, serving and unconditionally caring. Extended family, you define unconditional love and care.  I have watched you all come together and you have endured and Gary’s reward has been received a bit ahead of you.  Grandma Ivalene, you and Grandpa Jack raised an exceptional family. Your legacy in uncommon.  #THANKYOU

2. Caregivers and Cancer Community –  You are INCREDIBLE.  My wife told me stories of the hospice nurses who treated Gary with outrageous love and compassion.  You are amazing.  You do the unthinkable and you choose to stand beside those in the last days of their lives.  You truly have modeled what it means to live with purpose and quiet humility, I have learned much.  For those who walked the mountain trails with Gary, may you have peace and strength in your struggle. #defeatcancer.  #THANKYOU

3. Our Bend, Oregon Church Family –  I can’t say enough about your devotion to Jesus.  You brought meals, fixed tires, called, edited video for his celebration of life, and walked alongside Dad & Mom.  There really isn’t anything we could ask that you wouldn’t do.  16 years ago, you adopted Summer and I as family, then you met Gary and Marlys and they became family.  You are an example of the Gospel of Jesus in action.  #THANKYOU

4. Our New Jersey Church Family –  The last month has been chaos at my house.  This is entirely because I was the boss while Summer was in Oregon :).  But you brought meals, visited, prayed and stood beside me in support.  I will never forget just hours before Gary passed away, a family visited my house and prayed on my door step.  You will never know how much that moment meant to us.  You stepped up when I wasn’t there and led well in the church.  Pastors, small group leaders, all of you.  You even are taking care of our puppies as I write this.  You are Incredible. #THANKYOU

ONE FINAL THANK YOU…Maybe you will be privileged enough to find a wife who is peaceable, patient, and passionate.  Summer, you have been strong through Jesus, there really is no other source of your strength. I love you and I know we will miss Dad, but as he said just hours before he met Jesus, “He has it easy, we have the hard part now.”


Gary’s Celebration of Life will be at 11AM November 29th at New Hope Church in Bend, Oregon.  20080 Pinebrook Blvd, 97702.  All are welcome: 

You can Follow Marlys Johnson’s Cancer Adventure blog for more encouragement


Josh is the lead pastor at 217church, a multi-site, contemporary church in Mercer County NJ.  217church is a family with small groups in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that meets Sundays in the Hamilton AMC24 Theater 9:30 & 11am and Starplex Cinemas in East Windsor, NJ at 10:15.  Our new East Windsor Campus meets every Sunday.  If you are looking for a church in East Windsor NJ, Lawrenceville NJ, Ewing NJ, Robbinsville NJ, Hightstown NJ, Hamilton NJ, Mercer County, Middlesex County or Bucks County, PA, don’t miss our weekend services. Visit for more information.



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3 thoughts on “There is Something I Need to Say

  1. To Pastor and Lady Conn,
    I am deeply sorry for your loss; sending prayers, love and condolences. I pray for strength for your mom and your other family members I know that you’ll continue on doing the work of Christ has given to your hands

  2. Dear Josh and Summer,
    I am so sorry for your loss. May our wonderfully gracious Lord grant you both, and the entire family, with peace, love, and strength at this time. My prayers and love are with you.