Posts Tagged ‘Andrew Allard’

Who Is Andrew Allard v.5

This will be the last post for the week about who Andrew Allard is.  This post will share with you the insights of several friends. One of Abbie’s(Andrew’s sister) best friends, Alisa Etkie, who knew Andrew and saw him a lot because she spent a lot of time at their house.

“Andrew always had a smile on his face, which brought many smiles to the faces of others. I remember one time when he sneakily took my purse when I wasn’t looking and hid it from me. I looked everywhere for it, and then asked him about it. “Andrew, where’s my purse?” He said, “I don’t know” and tried to hold back a smile. Finally, he returned my purse. I’ll always remember his light-hearted spirit and how bad he was at telling a lie without cracking a revealing smile.”

Abbie, Andrew’s sister, shares this:

1367319050_lBeing his big sister, I saw the good, the great, the bad, and the ugly. But throughout our lives we were always there for each other. Because Andrew and I were only sixteen months apart, people would always ask if Andrew and I were twins. Of course, I would always make it a point to let them know I was older. And of course, Andrew would always make it a point to tell them he was in the same grade as me. Because we were home schooled from the very beginning, almost every hour of every day was spent together. He was my other half; the connection we had made it feel like we were actually twins.
Andrew was the silly one. He was always goofing off, making every situation fun. I remember his last Halloween back in 2006. We were having friends come over and going trick or treating in my huge neighborhood. Thirty minutes before they were suppose to arrive at my house, Andrew said to me, “So, what should I wear for a costume??” Being all concerned and serious, I replied, “Andrew! Why are you thinking of this now?! You should be ready!” He went into our attic and compiled all these random items and put together a costume. “Flava Flaveeeeeeeee!” he said as placed the handmade clock necklace around his neck. My friends and I all just laughed with him at his strange costume.
So many people remember Andrew for his contagious smile, compassionate heart, and love for a good time. I would have to agree that those things really did define who he was. In addition to that, Andrew had a love for life—never wasting a moment doing something he didn’t want to do (unless it was English homework that we would both put off together.) He was very self-motivated to accomplish the goals he had for himself. He wanted to pitch the best fast ball; he worked hard. He wanted to reach out to his friends; he spent quality time with them. He wanted to play a sweet guitar solo; he practiced—for many hours at a loud volume! His love for different things was very apparent, not because he just spoke about them—and let me assure you… he spoke about them. A lot!—but because his time was spent on what was important to him. Many days I get caught in the cycle of doing the same old thing. Wake up, homework, eat, class, gym, sleep. I do things just to get through them, so I can get to the next thing I need to get through and so on. Andrew was never like that. He always lived in the here and now. His example of loving things enough to made time for them still teaches me that is how I need to live my life. I miss so many opportunities to love those who need it because my focus is everywhere but where I am at the moment.
Out of every human being on this earth, Andrew was the one I was closest with by far. We shared laughter, tears, arguments, joys, pain, and friendships. Though I miss him terribly, I know his influence lives on. His name is on a flippin’ building! I hope my legacy will impact people tremendously like his does.

Joey Libby, Andrew’s band mate and the “L” in AKL (the band that Andrew played in) shares these memories:

l_79fff6bbb9a359d368702b5abcab622a“I remember the first day I ever really got to start talking with Andrew was when I was either 8 or 9 years old in the minor league field baseball dugout. The thing that stuck out to me the most was the never ending smile on his face. And then there’s the times with the band and me going to visit him in Florida. No matter what vacations I go on in the future that will always be the greatest trip of my life. One thing I’ve never told anyone because I guess its just not that important to anyone except myself – but after everything that happened I tried to imagine the last time I ever got to see Andrew’s smile and that was the day before I left Florida and we were throwing a tennis ball with gloves on the street he lived on.  I can’t remember which one of us threw it over eachothers head but Andrew had laughed over something I said before one of us went to get it and that one image will never leave me for the rest of my life. I tell Andrew’s story at every concert AKL plays now and I’m always going to. The main thing I say is “after me saying this the point I’m trying to make is God is over us and watching us and I know Andrew’s doing the same and he always will be.” Andrew will always be #1 in my heart.”

Bottom line, Andrew will always be missed and always remembered.  Yes, we have a soon to be finished youth center that will bear his name and will stand for many years to come.  Many will pass through the doors and may never have the chance to know who Andrew was.  But who Andrew really was, the essential Andrew, will always live on.  The youth center is being built so that we will have one more opportunity to reach outside of our own building and be a blessing to our community.  That is who Andrew was, he was never self-serving, always looking out for others who may have a need, and he never missed an opportunity to share the love of Jesus with people.  My prayer is the legacy of Andrew’s life will live on through the youth center.

We love, miss, and wait for the day when we will see Andrew again – but for now, we will continue to share the love of Jesus with many young people throughout Central New Hampshire.

Advertisements

Who Is Andrew Allard v.4

l_d86b32fd7c176048fadf9d7b1cc1ce4c

Tyler Clark, a good friend of Andrew’s shares some of his experiences with Andrew:

“First me and Andrew met at the little leauge baseball game in Donati Park, I was watching the game and was playing with my yoyo and Andrew came up to me and we started talking then he pulled out a yoyo and showed me tricks that were out of this world!  I wanted him to show me more and I was amazed.  I was amazed about a lot of things Andrew did.  We exchanged numbers and became close friends. During the summer me and Andrew played golf all the time.  I remember we bet who would win on our golf games.  After 18 holes whoever won wouldn’t have to buy lunch.  Andrew always got alot of free lunches from me:).  He was an awesome golf player.

As the days passed we became closer friends.  I rememeber the first sleepover we had.  Andrew came over in the summer and we played mini hockey in my basement.  Andrew fell in love with that too.  When he left to go home we gave him one of my brothers old hockey sticks.

Andrew and Joey were soon in a band together and it was fun to watch them play because they came up with the best guitar solos and songs without singing yet.  Andrew loved coming to me and Joey’s hockey games.  I remember when we went to Dover to play a game and Andrew came with us. When I got in the car Andrew asked me if I had ever heard of the “best band ever.”  I was like, “no show me and he later let me listen to a song called “Who I am hates who I’ve been” by Relient K.  I fell in love with Andrew’s favorite band.  I remember during the trip he showed me the band on his iPod.  I fell in love with the iPod and later I got an iPod and Relient K was the first band on my iPod.

Those were the best memories I had with Andrew.  Theres alot more but those personally are my favorite. When Andrew passed away me and Joey had hockey playoffs and we felt as though Andrew was right there with us.  This helped me and Joey have the best hockey games of are lives that weekend.  We told the team about Andrew and his bright smile that showed everyone who he was just by the smile on his face.  I’ll never forget this part of the story – during one of the games we were all tied up in the 3rd period I gave Joey a pass and he scored a beautiful goal!  I went up to Joey and gave him a hug while we were both in tears as the crowed roared.  Andrew was on our shoulders helping us through every minute of the game.  Andrew is always on our shoulders every minute of our lives and I’ll never forget those memories with him and he’ll always be number one in my heart.”
– Ty Clark

Who Is Andrew Allard v.3

Andrew_07 school

Today we hear from Jeff Towne.  Jeff was Andrew’s cell group leader for a couple years.  They had a great relationship.  Jeff shares:

“I can’t honestly remember when I met Andrew Allard but I won’t ever forget knowing him.  Andrew and his sister Abby were part of a youth cell group that met at my house every week for several years.  He played the guitar for our cell group because he loved to worship the Lord and I’m absolutely certain that hasn’t changed.  He’s probably back stage somewhere in heaven right now, most likely behind the throne of God, looking for an autograph or a free t-shirt.

His insight into the love of God was beyond his age.  He could always be counted on to get a conversation about Christ started and he encouraged others to share their thoughts as well.  His joy for life was contagious!  We had so many awesome conversations – many of which were serious and some just hysterically funny.  He led others to Christ at the age of 11 or 12 like he had been doing it for 50 years.  He didn’t make it complicated to come to know Christ he just introduced people to his friend Jesus.  His life example was often times enough for people to want to know his Lord better.

We also both love the Red Sox!  We talked so much about who was playing well, who blew it or even worse about the dreaded New York Yankees.  We both had the same opinion about that team – enough said.  We always talked about going to a game but never got the chance.  Hey Andrew – apparently you have no pull this year!  What happened?

Who knew the Lord would want him so badly in heaven?  I can only imagine that the Lord wanted Andrew’s joy around the throne – a true worshipper with an awesome smile and laugh!  In Numbers 14 the Lord stated that Caleb “had a different spirit; he follows me passionately!”  God would also say that about my friend Andrew.  He had a different spirit than most people his age and he loved the Lord passionately.”

Who Is Andrew Allard? v.2

andrew_penguin

In my continuing efforts to spread the word about who Andrew Allard was and why the Youth Center that is being built at Grace Capital Church will bear his name I have asked one of his closest friends, Jorden Bonanno, to share a bit of who Andrew was to him.

“Andrew Allard was a fun loving kid who loved the lord, and loved life. He was a good brother, friend, son and uncle. Andrew was a strong influence to a lot of people. He played sports and was always full of energy. He also really loved the red sox. Andrew wanted to be able to live life the way God wanted him to live it. He was a great kid and truly did obey the Lord and follow in Jesus’ footsteps. He was only 13 when he passed away but he had a strong faith with the Lord. The fact is that a lot of people miss Andrew, but we all know that he is having a great time up in heaven. Andrew will be in a lot of peoples hearts forever, and will be a good reminder to be obedient to the Lord and live life the way God has planned for us.”

Check back throughout this next week as we have others share who Andrew was to them.  If, as you are reading these, you have some personal memories of Andrew and would like to share them with others please feel free to write them down and email me at revkev (at) gccnh.com

Who Is Andrew Allard?

Andrew_Allard

That’s the question that I find myself being asked often now that the Andrew J. Allard Memorial Youth Center is being built.  I have answered many people and given my thoughts about who Andrew was and why his name deserves to be on the youth center that we are currently building.  This week, rather than using my words, my stories (however I will post my own personal thoughts later in the week) and my memories of Andrew Allard, I have asked a few of his close friends to describe who Andrew was to them.

To start you off with some basic knowledge.  Andrew was a young man who attended Grace Capital Church with his family.  He played guitar, loved music, and had a smile that would not quit.  He was thirteen years old when he contracted bacterial meningitis and passed away.  It was very sudden.  That was on March 4, 2007.  There are many who were impacted by his life while he was here with us and there are still many who are impacted by his life, his story, and his love for God.

First up in describing who Andrew was is Paul Thiemann.  Paul is a friend of Andrew from Florida.  5 months out of the year Andrew and his family lived in Boca Raton, Florida.  Paul shares with us:

“Andrew Allard was an amazing friend; you could always count on him for a good laugh. It didn’t matter if we were just playing some xbox or chillin at the beach, he was always really fun to be around. I still crack up whenever someone mentions one of our old inside jokes. One of the best things about Andrew was that he would tell you straight out what he thinks you need to know whether or not it’s what you want to hear. Andrew’s the one who convinced me to take music lessons and stick with it. Andrew was always there for you if you needed something, whether it’s a small favor or just someone to talk to, he was there for you.  Through him a lot of people met, and are still continuing to meet, Jesus, and that’s really something great. Andrew was truly a great friend, and was immensely dedicated to the Lord.”

Check back throughout this next week as we have others share who Andrew was to them.  If, as you are reading these, you have some personal memories of Andrew and would like to share them with others please feel free to write them down and email me at revkev (at) gccnh.com

One Year Later – Abbie Allard

Yesterday Linda shared her thoughts. Today we hear from Abbie. May you be encouraged as you read her reflections and perspective…

When I was asked to write something here on Pastor Kevin’s blog for the one year anniversary date of my brother’s passing, I thought to myself, What words could I possibly come up with that would be able to say exactly what I want to say? and What do I even want to say in the first place? I read what my mom had written and thought she did a great job with explaining her thoughts and feelings. I said to God, “What is it that I could write about? I don’t even know where to begin…” That same day, I was listening to a CD that I had not listened to in a quite a while, and one song stuck out to me unlike it ever had before. The sun had not even gone down yet when God gave me a hint on what my heart really wanted to share.

“Who can hold the stars and my weary heart?
Who can see everything?
I’ve fallen so hard
Sometimes I feel so far but not beyond Your reach
I could climb a mountain, swim the ocean
Or do anything
But it’s when You hold me that I start unfolding
And all I can say is
andrew_allard.jpg
Hallelujah, hallelujah
Whatever’s in front of me
Help me to sing hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah
Whatever’s in front of me
I’ll choose to sing hallelujah

The same sun that rises over castles
And welcomes the day
Spills over buildings into the streets
Where orphans play
And only you can see the good in broken things
You took my heart of stone
And you made it home
And set this prisoner free

Hallelujah, hallelujah
Whatever’s in front of me
Help me to sing hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah
Whatever’s in front of me
I’ll choose to sing hallelujah”

-Hallelujah by Bethany Dillon

When Andrew passed away, I could have easily blamed God, hated God, or even turn my back on God altogether. Too many questions existed without a trace of answers that could be found by human insight alone. I searched for answers in places beyond myself and my own thoughts, and could not find any there as well. And yes, that was a fancy way of saying I could not find the answers in even God, the only place I knew to look. Yet in the midst of all the confusion and lonesomeness, God wrapped his arms around me and gave me a peace, a tranquility, that was unlike anything I had ever felt before. My heart was not overwhelmed with the sorrow this world expected me to feel. At times I felt guilty because I was not as broken as the people around me that were affected by the loss as well. Instead of pointing the finger at God and blaming him for taking Andrew away from me, I chose to ’sing hallelujah’ and ‘see the good in broken things’; and to my surprise, there were more good things than I expected.

According to Isaiah 55:8-9, God’s way are not my ways; his thoughts are not even close to my own. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” After pursuing any answers that could satisfy the deep questions burning inside of me, I came to a realization that God’s ways really are higher than my own. Even though I did not find any of the answers I was originally looking for, I became satisfied in knowing that God had the whole situation in the palm of His hands. Even though I had to go through a major loss, I have been able to see many lives gained into the Lord’s kingdom because of Andrew’s life. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Ps. 23:4) So true.

“Hallelujah, hallelujah
Whatever’s in front of me
I’ll choose to sing hallelujah”

My heart has learned to sing those few lines since last year; not only during tragic circumstances such as losing someone dear to me, but during every situation that comes my way, good or bad, big or small. Trusting God is no longer just a Bible verse that sounds really sweet, but a daily choice of action to give Him all my cares and worries. I have found that the more I trust God with the little things, the easier it is to trust Him with the bigger things. I honestly don’t know who I would be if I had not gone through what I did one year ago. However, I do know my confidence in Him has been strengthened through it all.

One Year Later – Linda Allard

I had a thought a few weeks ago that I would ask Linda & Abbie Allard to be guest bloggers today and tomorrow. For many of you familiar with this family you will know that March 3, 2007 Andrew Allard went home to be with Jesus at the age of 13. It has been very encouraging to see this family go through something as horrific as losing a son and a brother. One year later I still miss the kid like crazy but I know that he is having one heck of a time asking Jesus some of the craziest questions imaginable (since he can’t hang out in my office and ask me any more…)

Without writing anything more, here is Linda.

It was one year ago today (wow—it only seems like one very loooooong day) when the doctors came to us after reading the results of yet another test, to let us know that we had to “let go” of Andrew. We had spent 3 days and nights praying for Andrew’s healing and on March 3, at 3:33 p.m., I looked up at the clock on the wall in his room and knew it was time to “let go”. Although it would not be until the following morning that the doctors would declare him legally dead (their terms—we know that Andrew is more alive than us), we knew that the time had come.

Yet how do we “let go”? We have spent the last year trying to figure that out and here it is, one year later, and I think we might be getting it! There is a song by David Crowder that has recently really ministered to us….it is called “Never Let Go” and the part of the words go something like this…

andrew_allard.jpgWhen clouds brought rain
And disaster came
Oh my soul, oh my soul

When waters rose
And hope had flown
Oh my soul, oh my soul

Ever faithful, ever true,
You are known, You never let go.
You never let go, You never let go
You never let go, You never let go.

Oh my soul overflows
Oh what love, oh what love
Oh my soul fills with hope
Perfect love that never lets go.

In joy and pain
In sun and rain
You’re the same
You never let go.

I remember shortly after Andrew’s service, somebody had said something to the effect “just wait—-it doesn’t get any better—in fact, it will get worse” and I thought to myself “WHAT? You mean that the Lord Who has been lovingly carrying me through the worse nightmare of my life during the past several weeks is all of a sudden going to just drop me flat and let me go?” I knew that there was NO WAY that the Lord would ever do this to me.

Why? Because as a Mom, I know that I would never do this to one of my children. I would never faithfully pour out my love and affection to my children over and over and then all of a sudden one day just “let go of them” and walk away. As the song says, the Lord never lets go; Our Heavenly Father is ever faithful and ever true.

When it comes to “letting go”, we will never be able to “let go” of Andrew and I don’t think the Lord expects that of us. Andrew is and always will be a huge part of us and our very DNA is in Andrew. In the realm of the Spirit, a part of us is sitting in Heavenly places with Andrew, hanging out with his family and friends who have gone before him and of course, the very One Who died so that Andrew could live—-our Lord Jesus Christ. We will never let go of the wonderful memories, the amazing love and the overwhelming joy that Andrew brought to us as a family. We will never let go of the funny and goofy stories as well as the incredible stories to come of how this 13 year old came to impact our lives as well as the lives of so many others.

We will, however, continue to “let go” of anything that keeps us from remaining in the realm of the Spirit—the place that Andrew dwells presently—and that is the pain, the sorrow, the hurt feelings, the disappointments, the lost dreams.

As I was singing this song “Never Let Go” just the other day, I spoke the words “Andrew, I will never let go of you” in my heart and just as I finished, I looked up into the sky where I saw many strands of light coming through the clouds. Together they formed what looked like the neck of a guitar. And I had to smile and cry at the same time—-because I felt like the Lord was showing me how totally limited my mind is—-I picture Andrew playing some fancy expensive guitar in Heaven (the kind of guitar he would drool over and could never afford) and yet I sense that Andrew’s guitar is made of “strands of glory” and is not from this earth. It is far better than my mind can conceive.

I don’t think there will ever be a day when I don’t think about Andrew a lot (he truly made an impression on everyone he met). However, as a Mom, I know that the greatest joy the Lord can bring is the assurance that your child is faithfully serving the Lord—-and there is no question that today Andrew is now fulfilling my heart’s desire.

Happy “One Year” Birthday, Andrew, as you celebrate your new life with your Father. We love you and will never let go of you as we long for the day when we can see your huge smile once again face to face. Thank you for bringing to our family a JOY that we will never let go of—-YOU.

Always, Your Mom
Tomorrow Andrew’s sister, Abbie, will share.