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Death, where is thy victory? Comfort comes in memories of lives well-lived

On Feb. 1, Malcom Hinckley, longtime preacher and church leader, passed from this life. Malcom and his family had shared faith with us for many years. When I was a child living in the Bay Area, Malcom was preaching there. Much later, he took our family under his wing when we moved to Albuquerque, N.M., arriving several days before our furniture. Our first Wednesday in town, we went to church where Malcom preached. The next day, he delivered a card table, lawn chairs and an electric skillet to help us get by.
Before Sunday, Malcom invited us to dinner with him, his wife, Alice, and their children James and Kay. His older children, John and Arlene, were in college. While we were visiting that evening, I noticed that Malcom’s library was catalogued. When I commented on that, he told me he had earned a graduate degree in library science at Peabody in Nashville and that he had helped catalogue the original Pepperdine library.
During the next few weeks, Malcom was extremely attentive to our family and our needs in a new communicative. His preaching was biblical and informative. He had a passion for Mexico missions, and he would eventually become a regular at the Pan American lectureships. About the time we moved from Albuquerque, Malcom moved to Tempe, Ariz. Later, we both worked at Oklahoma Christian.
For nearly 40 years, he was a member and elder at the Memorial Road church in Oklahoma City. Shortly after he was named an elder, he retired from OC and worked full-time as an elder. He visited everyone in the hospital. He went to see every person from the region who visited a worship service. Every person baptized had a visit from Malcom, even as he visited every family that had a new baby. He was a beloved elder and helped create a community of caring believers. He served unfailingly for years.
Declining health and strength marked his last days, but he touched lives for eternity.
A mighty oak fell with the passing of Malcom Hinckley, who wore himself for his God.
Only two weeks earlier, a sturdy young sapling fell. Adam Langford died Jan. 16 on a dark road in Uganda as he traveled with Moses Kimezi to pick up a load of coffee beans for The Source Café (reported in the Februrary Christian Chronicle). Adam was 28 years old, and he had left a successful position as a financial adviser to go to help the poor in Uganda. He had observed to his brother that he was helping rich people get richer, but not aiding the poor.
As a college student, Adam was full of energy and had amazingly strong bonds with his varsity soccer team. He and his older brother, Ben, were inseparable. They had gone on numerous mission trips together. They had both worked in Portland, Ore., and they shared a passion for adventure as well as for the lost of the world.
When Ben and his wife, Kym, moved to Uganda, Adam followed about a year ago.
Adam’s parents, Kathy and Terry, have always been supportive parents who encouraged the adventures and passions of their sons’ faith and determination.
Over Adam’s casket, Kathy said, “I am comforted because I know that Adam plunged over that cliff into the arms of God.” Such faith has marked the support and pride of these parents of two sons who had decided to live for people in Uganda.
At Adam’s funeral, many of his friends spoke. A former Uganda missionary who now works with in Portland, Brent Abney poured out his lament in a wonderful poem of faith and assurance. Ben spoke at the funeral about the way that Adam had embraced the poor of Uganda and the world. Adam was working for the Christian Aid Network to help families of AIDS victims.
His friend Jay Paul observed, “Although he and I prepared for future business opportunities and life dreams, his heart was always with Africa. He heard the Lord pulling at his heart to join his brother’s mission teams and leave everything else behind.”
A week after Adam’s funeral, Ben Langford told the student body at Oklahoma Christian the story of his brother. He reminded college students that as a generation they were most concerned about getting rich and being famous, according to a Pew survey.
Ben made a passionate appeal to strive for something higher — caring for the poor of the world. He observed, “Adam died on Tuesday night. Wednesday he was supposed to go and visit the (Ugandan) king to speak of missions. The last text I received from Adam before he died was ‘I’m going to see the king tomorrow. You’re welcome to come.’”

Filed under: Insight

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