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    In Memory

    April 7, 2006 by Brandy Vencel

    It isn’t every day that you find out an old friend has died. But that was how my day went yesterday. We received our latest Biola Connections yesterday, and I unwittingly flipped to the News & Notes section, hoping to learn of an old friend’s marriage, or an old friend’s welcoming of a new baby, but not an old friend’s death.

    And so I did what any normal person would have done. I thought, No…not the Katy I once knew, and ran for a yearbook, just to make sure. But it was her. And she is gone now.

    KatyIn the fall of 1997, I volunteered to lead a weekly Bible study for a small group of incoming freshmen girls. It ended up being just three of us: me meeting with Katy and her roommate Heather. It was a good semester, and I felt I learned at least as much from them, if not more, than they did from me. All I wanted to do was help them adjust to Biola, but I learned they didn’t much need my assistance to do that.

    We touched base now and then as the years went by, but we lived in different dorms, ate at different times, and took different classes. I didn’t make the effort to keep in touch after graduation. I haven’t seen Katy in years. She died January 2nd, and I didn’t even know. But there is a sad place in my heart today.

    When I read her name in the Connections, I instantly remembered her face, her brilliant smile, and her contagious giggle. I remember how she worried about her friends, and desperately wanted to see them follow the Lord. And I remember her telling me that she didn’t know what her major was supposed to be, but that she knew she was supposed to give her life to the poor.

    And that is what she did.

    On November 14, 2004, Katy wrote this in her journal:


    When I look back on my life I want to be able to say that I lived it fully – not being inhibited by fears, insecurities, or apathy. I want to have learned to fully trust, love, and obey. To have learned to rely on a strength that

    I want to be able to say that I made hard choices, took the great risk, and chose the extraordinary over the comfortable.

    is not my own, and trust a direction that I have not contrived. I want my life to have meant something. As I grow older it is my desire that my life become more simple, more honest, and less my own. I want to be able to say that I made hard choices, took the great risk, and chose the extraordinary over the comfortable. I want to have lived a life of passion – I hope I am still called a spit fire even when I am 80 and should be “slowing down” as culture suggests. I hope that I am always going to and living in scary places and being in community with people who know no other way to be than be themselves. I want to live a life of no regrets. I hope that I am more true to myself and given passion with each passing day.


    To read more about Katy, go here.


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  • Reply Brandy April 11, 2006 at 6:06 pm

    Thanks, girls. 🙂

    Kris, This might sound kind of morbid, but I told Grace the other day that I thought there was nothing more inspiring than a good obituary! It is so true, though. To get to wittness or hear about someone who finished well in spite of huge trials and tribulations gives me great hope for myself. I was so inspired by her desire to shun the cultural “safe” life and take the “greater risk,” as she put it. I love the idea that the Christian life truly is a great adventure, and the most rewarding life a person can live.

  • Reply kristie April 11, 2006 at 5:10 pm

    I read through the final tribute on the blog you linked. I’m struck with the fact that God is even more loving and jealous than we think. She was such a beautiful servant who could have been so useful here on earth, but God wanted her with Him more than anything. I feel challenged to make my life as meaningful as hers was.

  • Reply Kim April 9, 2006 at 8:21 pm

    I also saw that in Biola Connections as well and I was wondering if anyone we knew was touched by her life. I think it is wonderful that you have an entry from her journal and how powerful that message is with her recent passing. I am sorry to here about your loss. Thank you for posting your memories of her.

  • Reply rebecca April 7, 2006 at 10:21 pm

    I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I will be praying for you.


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