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Lorraine Ruth Hartt
1958 - 1980
 
Lorraine, Brad, Roy, William C, Aaron S., Aaron, Samuel Sr., Jonathan, Samuel, Isaac
Hartt's phone rang early in the morning, October 25, 1979. Dr. Fox, neurologist, was calling to say that their daughter Lorraine seemed to have suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. A series of tests began--cat scans, an angiogram, and finally a biopsy. The diagnosis--"an inoperable brain tumor". Lorraine was only 21 years of age and beginning her senior year of nursing school. She loved life and looked forward to many years of caring for others. But when she realized that the brain tumor would end her life, she said to her mother and father, "I belong to the Lord; I am totally His, and He can do with me whatever He wishes."

Lorraine Ruth Hartt was born May 30, 1958 in Cuba, where her parents were serving as missionaries at the Los Pinos Bible Institute. She was the second of three daughters born to them. Her grandparents were Mr. and Mrs. D. R. Hartt and Mr. and Mrs. L. E. Maxwell of the Prairie Bible Institute, Three Hills, Alberta, in Canada. The earliest memories of Lorraine are of a little girl singing when she woke up in her crib in the morning, and singing the last thing before she fell asleep at night. She would have been about a year and a half old at that time.

Lorraine's parents left Cuba in 1960, when her older sister, Margaret, was only 5 and she was 2 years of age. This was nineteen months after Fidel Castro took power in that country. The family settled in Tampa, Florida, where Brad had been called to pastor a Spanish-speaking church. When Lorraine was 4 years old, she commented, "I like my kind of Daddy. When I grow up, I'm going to marry a Christian 'cause I want to be nice. I like to be good, because I'm mad when I'm bad and sad when I'm bad." About a year later, she understood what it meant to become a Christian, and she opened her heart to receive Christ as her Saviour. In telling her mother about it, she said, "I started to be happy when I became a Christian. I am glad that my sister told me how to be a Christian." She gave a clear testimony in children’s' church that evening of how she had been saved. Her teacher said that we should have seen her glowing face. She was so happy!

Her growing up years was full of fun and mischief--like teasing her sisters. She had plenty of scrapes and bruises; in fact, her parents called her "our accident looking for somewhere to happen". But if she got hurt, she bounced back quickly and didn't take herself too seriously. She enjoyed being involved in church ministries like leading children's choir, teaching Sunday School, helping in Vacation Bible School and youth camp.

Lorraine graduated from Temple Heights Baptist High School in 1976. She was valedictorian of her class and in her speech spoke of the brevity of life and the need to be right with God. After high school graduation, she enrolled at Columbia Bible College in South Carolina. She really enjoyed that year in Bible College, and would gladly have continued her schooling there, but felt strongly that God was calling her to take nurse's training. So the next fall found her at West Suburban Hospital School of Nursing in Oak Park (Chicago), Illinois. It was also that fall that her parents and her younger sister, Carolyn, moved to the Chicago area to pastor a Spanish-speaking church.

Nursing school was a challenge and a delight to Lorraine. She had a heart of compassion for folks that were hurting and told her parents how much she looked forward to serving the Lord as she served people in their need. One of her chief joys was singing in the nursing school choir led by John Wilson, editor of Hope Publishing Company. Among her classmates, she found other young women who became wonderful friends and a faithful support group.

When she was in her Senior year and her sickness was diagnosed as terminal, she struggled with a deep desire to live, to marry and have children, and to serve a hurting world with her nursing skills. In her weakness, she went to the One she knew could help her. God spoke to her through His word and gave her not only strength, but joy. Within the hospital staff there was a group of interns who visited in her hospital room and asked, "What keeps you going?" They couldn't understand how she could face death and still be joyful. And she became excited to see the doors that were opening to share her faith. She said to her Dad, "If a certain professor of mine comes to know the Lord through this sickness, it will be worth it." When her doctor gave a compliment to her family, she responded, "Above all, my God is really great!" She wanted all of her friends in the hospital to know her Savior. When her dad had the opportunity to share his faith and to pray with one of the hospital guards, she exclaimed, "God is answering my prayers."

About a month before she died, she told her parents the music she wanted for her funeral. And she asked that all of her friends at the hospital be invited to attend. On September 17, 1980, she went to be with the Saviour whom she loved so much. We know where she is, and that we will soon see her again. As a result of Lorraine's life and her victory in death, many lives were touched and a good number came into a personal knowledge of Christ as their Saviour and Lord. What a reunion there will be in heaven one of these days! There is an old song that goes like this,
"When we all get to heaven,
What a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
We'll sing and shout the victory!

Written by Brad and Ruth Hartt - November 30, 2003
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