Columbia Astronaut Wives Celebrate Husbands' Faith
- Saturday, February 14, 2004
HOUSTON — It has been the most horrific year of their lives, and yet, they say they have not grieved as ones who have no hope. Theirs has been a public grief following the tragedy that took the lives of their husbands on Feb. 1, 2003, and left a mark on millions of people around the world.
The loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia – just 16 minutes from touchdown in Florida after a 16-day mission in space – gave Evelyn Husband and Sandy Anderson a global platform for spreading the Gospel.
It is not a platform they stepped upon voluntarily. But they are determined to honor the memories of their husbands and set an example for their children by proclaiming the faith in Jesus Christ their husbands shared.
During a tribute Jan. 25 to the lives and testimonies of Columbia Shuttle Commander Rick Husband and Payload Commander Mike Anderson, the wives of the two astronauts testified of God's provision during the past year. Grace Community Church, where the Husband and Anderson families attend, hosted the memorial concert featuring Steve Green and the church choir. Green had become friends with the Husband family years earlier, making his tribute more than a professional overture.
Steve Riggle, pastor of Grace Community Church, introduced Evelyn Husband and Sandy Anderson during the concert as the audience gave the women a standing ovation.
"It has been such a blessing to celebrate Mike's and Rick's lives," Husband told the crowd. "We have grieved so horribly, but not without hope."
"It's [God's] strength that gives us the power to stand," Anderson added. "He gives us a future and a hope."
Anderson said she was so proud that both men knew the Lord, that they had answered life's deepest question of who Jesus is. Noting the uncertainty of life and its end, she said, "It doesn't matter how many days we have. It's the content of our days."
The days of Mike Anderson and Rick Husband were filled with their faith in Christ. And it is that faith that sustains the families left behind and steels their determination to make something good of something gone terribly wrong.
During a news conference prior to the concert, Anderson and Husband fielded questions from the Houston media. The women injected their faith into almost every answer. When asked how they have dealt with their losses, Husband said, "It's been the most difficult year I've ever been through, ... [but] in the midst of absolute anguish you can have joy" because of faith in Jesus.
What has been painful, Husband said, is thinking of "all of the lasts" – the last prayers with Rick or the last time he came through the door of their home.
Anderson said time has helped in the healing process, but ultimately, "What helps the most is my relationship with my Lord Jesus Christ." Anderson added she was so appreciative of the support and prayers from the community.
Husband laughed and said she believes the children are dealing with the situation better than the two mothers. Laura, 13, and Matthew, 8, are the children of the Husbands. The Anderson girls are Kaycee, 10, and Sydney, 12.
"My kids are doing much better," Anderson said. God, she added, has made so many provisions for them.
Both Mike and Rick were tremendous fathers, Husband said. They had their priorities straight – God, family, career. The influence of the men on the lives of their children – even in such a relatively short time – is evident in how the children are dealing, in faith, with the loss of their dads. There is no bitterness, no anger, she said.
When asked if they saw their husbands as "larger than life" as the world does with its heroes, Anderson laughed and said, "He was just a real person. ... He was a very kind man. He was a good dad, a good husband. I miss talking to him." She said she misses all the things about him as a husband.
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