Some people are harder to surprise than others. Wally Schoon has historically proven to be one of the more difficult nuts to crack (in more ways than one…). There was the time when we stuck a long airline baggage tag on Wally’s back while traveling to Staff Conference at Capernwray. Oblivious to the scene he was causing on the train as several people mistook him for an item of lost luggage, he was surprised when someone finally mercifully removed the tag several hours later while standing in line at the Capernwray dining room. An historic surprise!
And last week an even more devious and international plot to surprise Wally was pulled off to perfection. With Donna acting as chief plotter and double agent, coded messages were exchanged with fellow conspirators Ric Schoon in Asia and Renee (Schoon) Nickles in Alabama (USA). The event was a surprise family reunion in honor of Wally’s 75th birthday.
The Schoon family at Solklint, Holsbybrunn
He set my feet upon a rock,
steadying my steps and establishing my goings.
As serious discussions swirled around the Holsby community about the ethics of lying to protect the “innocent” while trying to keep a secret, the Holsby staff prepared yet another surprise in the form of a pot luck birthday party at John and Christine’s house. As the staff yelled “Surprise!” – Wally asked Donna whether she had any more lies to spring on him?! He didn’t think his 75-year-old heart could take any more deception…
Three Holsby Directors: Ric, Wally & John
In all seriousness (although I’m not sure the words “Wally” and “seriousness” are compatible), it was a pleasure to honor and celebrate God’s goodness in and through Wally. Wally was presented with a framed collection of antique post cards depicting the very early days of Holsby. The frame, fittingly, was made from an old window that had been gathering dust in the workshop for several decades.
As we all wish Wally a very Happy Birthday and a year filled with God’s richest blessings, we look forward to the next time we can pull off a successful surprise. Included below is the message on the card presented to Wally by the Holsby staff.
Happy Birthday Wally!
In the span of a year, two significant milestones come together with your 75th birthday and the 40th anniversary of the founding of Holsby. The focus of both of these events would seem to be on the past and what God has already done through your life and your involvement in the ministry of Holsby. However, we are confident that the best is yet to come as God’s 75-year investment in you and your 40-year investment in Holsby will continue to bear fruit.
The thousands of people into whom you have poured your heart and life will continue to make an impact for the Lord in this world. Your spiritual sons and daughters will carry the life of Christ and His good news into places where you have never been, in ways that you could not even have imagined. But they will do it better equipped and with more enthusiasm and more creativity because of your example and investment in their lives.
So, today we not only remember and celebrate a colorful and successful past, we look forward with hope and anticipation to a glorious and fruitful future because of Christ in you. Thank you for being Wally!
With love and respect,
The Holsby family