Memorial Service December 14, 2018
I want to begin by apologizing to all my friends, co-workers and esteemed leaders for not being there in person for such an important gathering….but due to health reasons, I was not able to make the long journey. I’ve asked our dear brother Ezra to officially represent me as well as our Jewish Voice U.S. leadership and staff.
Gerald was my dear friend and I, like all of you, feel a great sense of loss.
From the day we first met here in Addis Ababa over 14 years ago, I knew our destinies were intertwined. Gerald loved Ethiopia; he loved this land, he loved the people, he loved your unique history and culture. It was a part of him. And that love, and divine call to serve your nation and in particular, the Scattered Tribes of Israel here in this land was something I inherited from him. And I will be forever grateful to him for this legacy.
When his beloved wife Elly passed away suddenly and tragically just 3 months ago, he wrote to me to share the sad news. His email to me was a reflection of who he was:
He began by quoting Nahum 1:6: "The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him"
He went on to write: “In May we have been married for 55 years. The most wonderful years in my life because we shared our faith in the Lord and she was such inspiration with tremendous support for the ministry, especially in Ethiopia and with Jewish Voice. Now I know for certain she is "safe in the arms of Jesus" with no sorrow, sadness or sickness" where God wipes away every tear from our eyes”
He then closed the email: “Greetings in His wonderful Name! "His grace is sufficient in every situation", Gerald.
If Gerald were here today, he would tell us not to mourn him….for he is “safe in the arms of Yeshua”, rejoicing before the One he faithfully served throughout his life. No more sorrow, sadness, sickness or tears. For half a century he lived here, he ministered here …he belonged here…..and it is from here, in Ethiopia, where he wanted to finish his race when his time on this earth was complete.
There will never be another Gerald Gotzen. He has left a void in our lives with his departure we will always feel. He was our mentor, our co-worker, our spiritual father, our teacher, wise counselor, encourager, mediator…..and we will miss him greatly.
Yet in the midst of our sadness over his loss, Gerald would remind us….”His grace IS sufficient…in every situation.