It has been about a year since I last wrote and much has happened. The best way to sum it all up is to put the testimony of my husband's life here. Though his earthly chapter has been concluded the faithfulness and grace of God goes on in the lives of us left behind. We are still upheld.

JUNE 29, 2016

Lawrence Paul Strandquist wasn’t due to be born until April 1947, but to the surprise of his parents, Willard and Novia, he was born Monday, February 24th at the Watertown hospital. In 1947 babies that premature were very unlikely to survive. But God was in control and had his plans for Larry.

He, his parents and sisters, Judy and Jane lived in the farm house his maternal great grandfather Peter Lars Beckman built circa 1915. As a young child he helped his mother wash the chicken eggs which she then sold. Evidence of his ability to tease came out early as he would say, “watch, momma,” and then drop eggs on the basement floor. Other times he had some responsibility in his sisters encountering the electric fence.

Being brought up and surrounded by a family with a long Christian heritage where he attended Sunday morning and evening church services he grew to love the hymns of the church. When the pastor would preach about the need to repent and be saved he didn’t think that applied to him. He was a good and obedient child. He had great respect for his parents and grandparents. He didn’t see himself as a sinner. He attended the many prayer and revival meetings with them. At age 10 however, when he heard as if for the first time the scripture ‘for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God’ he was deeply convicted that he was indeed a sinner who needed and now wanted to be saved by Jesus’ death on the cross.

He received most of his education in 2 different one-room school houses. The country schools at that time didn’t offer kindergarten and not wanting to be left behind he started first grade with his cousin Carol at age 5. In 1964 his class was the first to graduate from the then new Watertown High School. In his senior year book under his picture it says, ‘he never said all he was thinking.’ There is evidence he may have out grown that though.

Farming was never the future he was planning on but when his father was unable to farm for a time he stayed on rather than attend college.
Then being drafted during the Vietnam War he chose to enlist in the Army National Guard in 1966. That way he could serve his country and continue to help his father. He did his basic training at Fort Lenard Wood, Missouri. When his six year enlistment ended Larry received an Honorable Discharge and returned to farming.

By now he was 25 years old and desiring to be married. Recognizing after years of praying that this may not be the Lord’s plan for his life, he surrendered his long-held desire to his Lord. The first weekend of August 1975, while unloading a gravity box of oats, he met Linda Miller, his sister Jane’s friend from Bethel College. She had been invited to sing at the Oster Covenant Church. Linda didn’t pay any special attention to him due to their age difference but two weeks later when she came to visit again she began to flirt with him by teasing him about his dirty car. He didn’t mind that all. His sisters did what they could in getting them together and encouraged him to ask her out. But even they weren’t ready to hear at the end of September after their 2nd date he had proposed to her.

On Saturday night, April 3rd, 1976, after the cows were milked and before the spring planting season had begun they were married at the Buffalo Covenant Church.
For five years Larry and Linda lived in the former home of his grandparents, Arthur and Hannah Sutherland. While living here they had their two sons, Tom and Kyle. On their 5th anniversary they moved back to his boyhood home. Later that year their daughter, Heidi was born. His children were now the 5th generation to live in that house.
Larry, Linda and their children farmed together for the next 20 years. During those years they grew together in love for each other and in their love and trust in the Lord. Those years proved to be a testing of their faith with fluctuating milk and crop prices, the 1988 drought along with Larry falling head first from the hay loft to the cement floor many feet below, the breaking of his ankle in ’94 and his first diagnosis of a very rare form of cancer in his right eye in ‘97. Scripture rightly says, ‘Many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers them out of them all. And God did then and He would do it again and again in the years to follow.

Many an evening the radio in the barn was tuned to 8-3-0 WCCO to listen to the Twins or Viking’s game. And from spring through the late summer and in later years in the winter Larry pitched horseshoes in different horseshoe leagues and in many tournaments. His love of these sports he passed onto his children and grandchildren.
From 1982-2001 he was a very active member of Blessed Hope Church. Larry served as a Sunday school teacher, an elder and led worship.

September 1998 Larry sold the dairy cows and the land was rented out. The next spring he helped his father and Uncle Wally prepare for their joint machinery auction. When the auction was over he found work at the Chanhassen Post Office and later at Medallion Kitchens in Waconia.

In October 2001 he and Linda took a big step of faith and in obedience to the Lord moved to Alexandria, MN to volunteer to be the Mom & Dad to a group of college students at Alexandria Technical College. They invested themselves in these young men and women and counted it a blessed privilege to walk with them through this important time in their lives. Those precious relationships endure even today. While in Alexandria he and Linda were involved in Lake Community Church as members and Larry again served as an elder.

Steady work for Larry proved to be difficult during the years in Alexandria. Nevertheless, the Lord provided a number of different jobs. He first worked in a custom cabinet shop, then at nursery and landscaping business. He help build a house; was part of a large souvenir sales team in Sturgis, South Dakota and the 2005 Super Bowl, and finally worked 12 hour shifts at a plastic extruding plant, in Brandon, MN.
In August 2005 Larry gave his daughter away in marriage after which he and Linda put their house on the market.

Late December 2005 he was laid off from his job in Brandon. When he came home after that last day of work he slipped on the ice and broke his wrist. Finances became tight to say the least with no work, medical bills to pay and Linda working only part time.

In February 2006 while his wrist was healing he saw an ad in the local paper for a job in the Twin Cities. It seemed to be just what they needed. Or as a friend put it, ‘it sounds like this job was tailor made just for you.’ But the house still wasn’t sold after so many months on the market. No problem. That same month God brought a man from San Antonio, Texas looking for a house to rent. April 1st, 2006 he and Linda moved to St Louis Park to be caretakers of a newly built condominium. Finally in November of that year the house sold and closed in a month and all before the bottom dropped out of the housing market.

Living in the city in an apartment proved to be a big adjustment for this former farmer and his wife. But being embraced by members of Sovereign Grace Church and sitting under the teaching of its pastors for 10 years along with serving in several different areas within the church more than eased their transition. Larry, forever a farmer at heart, sowed the seeds of his hard-learned lessons in hearts of the many friends he came to love.

During Larry’s last 10 years both his parents and brother-in-law passed away along with many other dear relatives; Kyle and Tom married and 8 grandchildren were born and he met many of you who are here today. 

In the fall of 2014 he was diagnosed with a rare form of Non Hodgkin Lymphoma. Although many people near and far incessantly prayed for him to be healed and Larry integrated every form of cancer treatment he knew of, the cancer only went into remission for a matter of weeks then returned again and again.

During his last 21 months he wasn’t bitter at God about the cancer, rather he saw it as a platform to tell others that God alone is worthy of their worship.

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, (Titus 3:4-6)

Larry smiles as Pastor Rick reads from I Peter 1:3-9

Had God chosen to heal Larry you wouldn’t be here today, you’d be doing what you typically do on a Wednesday afternoon. But God had his plan for Larry and you were part of it.
Larry was at home when he passed from this life to his eternal home on June 17th, 2016 just after 8 o’clock in the morning.

Finally, Larry often said, ‘never say never,’ because he had learned that if God takes you where you never wanted to go or asks you to do what you never wanted or expected to do, He will go with you, enabling you by His grace to fulfill His good purpose for your life. Your reward and your delight will be to behold the eternal glory of God who alone can promise to never leave you nor forsake you both now and forevermore.


 To my children

Earlier this week we buried your father’s ashes and just yesterday we honored him at a memorial service. My heart is overflowing with unspeakable gratitude for all those who have helped us in so many ways to prepare for these last days and those that came to show their support.

As wonderful as that was and thankful as I am for them I’m exceedingly more thankful and proud of each of you for your endless support and love to dad and me through the years but in particular through the last months of dad’s earthly life.

You each honored him at the memorial service in your individual ways. This blessed me and makes me grateful to say that I have such wonderful children.

Moreover, I thank you for walking sacrificially with me through these last days, meeting to  talk about and make plans for a reality we would much rather not have to own. In spite of this though were moments that I will cherish through tear-filled eyes as I recall how you displayed the depth of your love for your father.

Brazened upon my memory is the humility it took for you, Tom to help me care for dad in some very personal ways. What courage it must have taken to assist the mortician in carrying dad’s body out of our home. I can’t imagine that you ever thought you would have to do such a task. And Kyle you embraced me as we stood at the railing watching this happen. Then said so tenderly, ‘I’m so sorry, mom.’ I can’t tell you how precious that moment was and is to me. My sons, you loved your father in life and you loved him in death as you lowered your father’s ashes into the grave. My mother’s heart couldn’t possibly ache or be more proud of you in that singular moment.

Heidi, you stayed with me those last three days reading and singing to him, helping me care for him as we waited painfully but prayerfully, watching for and listening to his breathing. Then the moment came when you said, ‘I haven’t seen dad’s chest rise and fall for several minutes now.’ Together we walked to his hospital bed. I laid my hand upon his chest to confirm he was indeed no longer with us and we said our goodbyes.

It was so hard to watch him decline over the last several weeks to such a helpless state; to see his appearance change so drastically, so unlike the man we each loved. To the less committed it may seem completely unthinkable and maybe even repulsive that I would find him more lovely and in love with him in this condition, but I did. Our heavenly Father grants us sufficient and unearthly power and grace to meet such trials. He does not leave us as orphans.

April 3, 1976

June 5, 2016

Our last time altogether. It was a great day!

Isaiah 41:10, this promise, was given to us as a family when dad was diagnosed with his first cancer and we can all testify it has been fulfilled in the past and now again in recent days.
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

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