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News report (in 2008) –  Vaal River outing ends tragically: Late evening, Kelly Duvenhage, her husband Russel, and their friend Bradley Wilson peacefully floated on the river in their rubber duck. Both Russel and Kelly had a skipper licence, and Russel is the kind of person who keeps to the rules. The lights of the boat were on. Suddenly they saw a power boat speeding towards them. Bradley succeeded to jump off the rubber duck timeously. The Duvenhages were not so lucky. Russel’s top and lower jaw were broken and he suffered concussion. Kelly was gone.

The following morning her body was found 7 metres below the water’s surface. Kelly’s dad said: “Russel admired my daughter. They were married in May this year. She would have turned 21 on 21 October this year.” André Duvenhage, Russel’s dad, remarked: “Russel was so happy with Kelly. Everybody loved her. She always wanted to help and make others happy.” Russel kept on saying his babe was gone but he would see her in heaven.

Kelly Duvenhage was young and enjoyed life. One moment she was still peacefully passing the time on a boat with her husband and their friend, and the next she was dead. But is she dead? Shortly before their marriage Kelly accepted Jesus as her Saviour. We are assured that someone who does that will live forever: For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life (John 3: 16). What a wonderful consolation this is to family and friends who know that the one who has died is at peace peace with God. Her untimely death brought intense sorrow to her husband, family and friends, but untimely death is unknown in heaven.  Her departure from here was her arrival in heaven.  The Bible compares our earthly body with a tent: For we know that when this tent we live in—our body here on earth—is torn down, God will have a house in heaven for us to live in, a home he himself has made, which will last forever (2Cor. 5:1). It was  made possible by what Jesus accomplished on the cross: Death is destroyed; victory is complete! … But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1Cor. 15:54, 57).

People who knew Kelly said of her: “Everybody loved Kelly. She always wanted to help and make others happy.” It would be wonderful if people could say that of each one of us at work, at home and in the street. To make others happy without expecting something in return is precisely how we must be if we belong to Jesus “… and if one of you wants to be first, you must be the slave of all.  Jesus Himself sets the example: For even the Son of Man did not come to be served; he came to serve and to give his life to redeem many people” (Mark 10:44, 470. If we live like that, we are Jesus’ fellow-workers.

Mother Theresa said: “Holy living consists in doing God’s work with a smile.”


Loving God, thank you that You gave us the great gift – eternal life in Jesus our Lord. Amen.