This page will be dedicated to collecting stories about Jenna´s impact on others...many things have been coming to our attention and we would like to record them to encourage all of us that she has a legacy and that it lives on!!  (Feel free to send me something you would like to share about how Jenna has marked you, some special memory you have or what you remember her for.)

From Katelyn, Canadian cohort of Bruce´s (!!) and one of Jenna´s beauties & besties of APU.  SO glad she made it out to visit this summer!  So many precious memories for all of us...

¨I never expected to meet one of my best friends at International Orientation but I am so thankful that I did! Jenna, you were a world changer and have made a lasting impact on me and so many others. You had a radiant joy that went wherever you did and inspired others to do good. You have taught me so much about so many different things and for that I am forever grateful. I love you so much and will miss you forever.¨

From Lidia, our most special nurse-angel-friend (from Málaga) who blessed us more than any of us can ever say...Jenna adored her and Antonio, her husband.  They were with us to the very end...

" Sólo puedo pensar en lo privilegiada que soy de haber estado contigo todo este tiempo, cada noche en el hospital , de tantas risas , recuerdos, historias de tus súper aventuras, tu ratoncito Malaquias  ... Y sobre todo estos últimos días en casa, pudiéndote cuidar , junto con tu familia. Ha sido el honor más grande de mi vida. Hasta el final has sido fuerte, ni una queja he escuchado de tu boca... Una luz donde iba... Empática y la voz del indefenso... Tú y tu familia sois mi ejemplo número uno de lo que es el amor de Dios, integridad, valentía... Cada mirada, frase, abrazo... Siempre te voy a amar mi princesa."

From Nadia, one of Juanita´s sweet daughters where Jenna and Becca lived during their LA Urban Learning Term.  Jenna was in love with them all and Juanita worked hard to fatten her up on every Mexican delicacy possible!  Jenna and Becca were there when Nico was born.

¨Happy brithday my sweet Nico, you have a very special angel watching over you.¨

From lovely Evelyn from Normandy, France.  We have loved her since we first met a number of years ago and then her family was a great blessing to Jenna the year she lived in France.  She has tracked so closely this year with her journey and her friendship is an encouragement.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- From Rachel Liu Hedden, APU friend who recently ran a marathon dedicated to Jenna:

After 16 weeks of training and 420 miles, I crossed the finish line of my first marathon. This run was dedicated to the legacy of Jenna Elisa who passed away October 19 from stomach cancer. Please help me raise awareness for stomach cancer and donate to a cause near you! Let's find a cure!

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- From Saray...these two met in Argentina as little girls and have seen each other in Central Asia, SE Asia and Europe, too!  How they wanted to cross over to Morocco in August just to say they had also been Africa together!  Que locas!  Both of our families have a long, beautiful history together in many places.

Jenna -
Tus abrazos, el sello de nuestra amistad incondicional
Tu sonrisa, grabada en mi alma por siempre
Tu amor, eternamente en mi corazón.
Hoy me levante pensando en ella, en esa ultima conversación en su cuarto, desparramadas en el piso, riéndonos a carcajadas, hablando de la bendición 
de estar juntas, mientras nos hacíamos una manicura.
me acorde de ese ultimo abrazo que nos dimos el 27 de agosto,
el mejor de todos,con una fe sincera de que nos reencontraríamos.
de que nos volveríamos a ver.
La extraño.Ella es el ángel mas lindo de todos,su sonrisa
es el reflejo de su imagen y semejanza.
Su sonrisa es ella, Su sonrisa es El en ella.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- From la bella Carolina, dear friend (from Italy) Jen met during her time in Beirut:

¨مفروض تبقى بقلبي متل الروح"
"You must stay in my heart as the spirit inhabits the heart.¨

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- From Amritha, bestie from high school:

¨Jenna, te adoro.¨

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- From Becca, fellow world traveller and justice seeker, friend extraordinaire:

I never would have thought when we met at age 9 that you would grow to be one of my best friends...but you did and you certainly had a huge impact on me. I always knew that you were the one that was going to change the world and now my only hope is to live out your legacy. I'm going to miss you and your beautiful, compassionate, and feisty self.

I love you forever, Jen. 

From Cristy, Leila y Sonia, best friends from Málaga:

¨Dios nos hizo amigas, pero el tiempo nos hizo hermanas.¨
¨God made us friends, but time made us sisters.¨

From Kenny Ung, APU friend:

Jenna, it was an honor to minister and serve along side you. You had such a beautiful, adventurous, and giving soul. Your joy and laughter will be remembered in my heart. I miss you dearly. I know you're laughing and dancing with the angels. Don't be to competitive with them. Thank you for showing me true courage and faith.

"My life is in His good hands, and I have never been more convinced that those hands are good and loving and perfect. Though I write through tears, my hope is in Him - where else could I look?" - Jenna Elisa Sider

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- From Jenna´s soulmate, Ruthi from Argentina:

¨Mi casa es un desastre sin tu risa.¨ 

¨un alma dividida en dos.¨

¨Tu vida desplegada como arco iris sobre cielo nublado, desenrollado por el Tiempo como colchón de flores sobre desierto hostil. Porque fuiste y sos un respiro profundo y sanador. Porque fuiste, sos y serás el eco de todo lo hermoso, un esperanzador destello de luz en cada rincón de mi alma.
Para siempre, rubia.¨

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- From Jenna´s dear high school friend Almudena:

There is no combination of words I could put on the back of a postcard
No song that I could sing, but I can try for your heart
Our dreams, and they are made out of real things
Like a, shoebox of photographs
With sepia-toned loving
Love is the answer,
At least for most of the questions in my heart
Like why are we here? And where do we go?
And how come it's so hard?
It's not always easy and
Sometimes life can be deceiving
I'll tell you one thing, it's always better when we're together.... and we are ALWAYS together!

From Dr. Richard Slimbach, Director of Global Learning Term where Jenna spent her last semester for APU in Lebanon.  He was a brilliant teacher, leader and friend to Jenna.  We are indebted to him for his wise yet ¨risk-embracing¨ stance that he took with her in accompanying her to grow and dream.

Dearest Jenna:
I read your message and began to sob uncontrollably. The tears contained  sorrow associated with the prospect of losing you, but also deep gratitude for your life and faith. After being at APU for 25 years--a career that began near the time of your birth!--there are only a handful of students with the rare combination of spiritual conviction, compassion, intelligence, and written expression that I could label "truly remarkable." You are one of those, beautiful inside and out.
I remain in prayer and in faith for your life. But if this is your time to leave us, let me just say how proud I am of you. You have been a gift to my life. You have "fought the good fight," both in the classroom, on the field, and under medical care. Your courage in t he face of not knowing and not being healing has reminded all of us of our powerlessness.
You will not be forgotten, dear sister. With much affection,
Rich Slimbach

There is no “after” after death. Words like after and before belong to our mortal life, our life in time and space. Death frees us from the boundaries of chronology and brings us into God’s “time,” which is timeless. Speculations about the afterlife, therefore, are little more than just that: speculations.  Beyond death there is no “first” and “later,”  no “here” and “there,” no “past,” “present,” or “future.”  God is all in all.  The end of time, the resurrection of the body, and the glorious coming again of Jesus are no longer separated by time for those who are no longer in time." Henri Nouwen

From a precious international friend looking on from afar at Jenna and our family:

Dear Pam,

I wanted to let you know that I am praying for you and wanted to write and let you know the legacy that Jenna has left for me.

I only met Jenna once or twice as she manned the ice cream booth at the camp Priego years ago.  I appreciated her smile then but didn't know her past her name and the apparent joy she had.  A few years after that, at the same camp, Greg Bollen shared with the group how Jenna's church in France would ask if anyone needed prayer.  They would repeat this every week.  Greg shared with much passion that Jenna wanted to be prayed for every week because who could pass up this opportunity?!  This has stayed with me.  Her example caused me to reflect on my own heart.  Do I ask for prayer or do I act like I have it all together and am managing fine?  I am so thankful for her act of humility and dependence which set into motion an increased desire for prayer in my own life.

I have watched you and Bruce at different Spain camps translating for dear folks.  I have looked over during the meetings at your faces and have always been struck by your devotion and attentiveness to those you were translating for.  You were not detached but truly all there by shepherding, nurturing, and helping.  This was so reflected in your love poured out (that I saw through your blog) on Jenna this year.  I know that it might sound a little trite as you might be thinking that of course you would be all there for her because she is such a gem and so precious.  But for onlookers, this is something that was so beautiful to see that it brings me to tears.  A father and mother's love for their daughter seen so vividly--in action, in angst, wanting the best for her, pleading on her behalf, helping her as her body declined, your attentiveness, your joy, your shepherding.  It models how our heavenly Father loves us and I pray that I am a better person in love as a result of it.

Your writing is so authentic and clear.  My eyes were moist at almost every post.  Your willingness to let other people share in your sufferings was a gift.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.

I will continue to pray, Pam.  Dani in particular comes to my mind during the day and I lift her up to the heavenly throne.  From reading what you wrote after your mom's death, I remember that you said that going to the olive groves provides you some refreshment.  I pray that the Lord is giving you His living water these days and refreshing you.

With thanks and love, Alicia 

From Gus Zdanovich, one of the Directors of APU´s Urban Learning Program that Jenna did for a semester in LA.

Dearest Jenna,

I had to write to you, to say good-bye in some way. In your going, a month today, I pray for God's Spirit to comfort all your loved ones; this is, certainly, the most difficult time your family has ever faced. 

You were an example in every way to all at the Azusa Pacific University LA Term program (speech, behavior, attitude, et cetera). I vividly remember how bold you were in coming to talk to me and Prof. Paul Hertig after the Chief Border Patrol, Deputy Scott, briefed our group on the predicaments at the US-Mexico border. Your burden for the injustices was real, and you had so much to say...

I wept a lot, and for a long time, when the news were communicated to me by Paul; knowing the kind of person you were made to be, by God's grace and your family's amazing influence. It is close to impossible to process your absence.

From my own witness, you were an always giving, cheerful, honest and caring kind of a friend, an extremely brilliant student (the only other 'A' grade in your class). I was honored and blessed to have you in my immigration class as a one of my suma cum laude students. You always had so much to give, even when you reflected for the class on the Spanish immigration dept.'s bureaucracy (you brought so much wit and humor into it!) You were the true immigrant, like Christ, going from continent to continent and adopting amazing qualities that made you a beautiful, perceptive and inquisitive person.

I, and the LA Term at APU, will miss dearly miss you.

Because of our hope in Christ, we confidently only say 'bye for now.' 

With love and prayers to Pam, Bruce, Dani, Jordan and extended family,

Gus Zdanovich
Azusa Pacific University

From Hannah, one of Jenna´s dear international friends who grew up ¨among worlds¨ as Jenna did.  They shared the same heartbeat...

Dearest Jenna,

I want you to know how much I love you. You have filled my thoughts and dreams constantly and I pray for you day and night. My friends also pray for you. Even though they have not met you, you have touched their lives deeply, and they have wept and prayed for you. You are a person overflowing with love, strength, beauty, and faith so powerful that it physically moves people you have never met. My roommate Rachel has been struggling with serious doubt in God. Reading you story, she said, “wow, she has an incredible faith.” She has cried with me many times these past weeks. I have spent many mornings and nights weeping and crying out to God. At times the emotions have been too much to bear. But your strength has given me strength, your faith has given me faith. You inspire me. I am so thankful for you, so thankful you were born, so thankful I have the honor of being your friend. So honored to love and be loved by you.

You have an incredible sense of humor. You exemplify Proverbs 31:25. “She is clothed with strength and dignity. She can laugh at the days to come." You are able to laugh at silly things in life as well as hard things. You’re not afraid to laugh at your self, crack a blonde joke, or joke about your occasional (and endearing) clumsiness. Being with you is experiencing resilient joy in the face of life’s often confusing moments. I absolutely love your laugh. It’s silent at first, then a slow haaaa, haaaa, haaaa as you slap your knee and rock back and forth, your eyes squinted up in merriment. You are grace and beauty itself. You are one of the most beautiful women inside and outside that I have ever seen. Tall, elegant, honey-blonde hair, twinkling brown eyes, glowing skin. You light up any room. And a heart far too beautiful for words.

You emanate love. You have a deep and caring love for not only your friends and family, but the whole world. You have compassion for the poor and forgotten. You have a strong sense of justice, and standing up for the rights of the oppressed. I love how we have shared our passion for learning about people, cultures, travel, foods, international relations, and helping the poor. So many memories have flooded my mind again and again lately. I remember when we first met at IC. Betty introduced me to you and Saray. I was worried you guys might not want to hang out with me as much because I didn’t speak Spanish, but you were all so patient with me and welcoming. We sat on a hill together and ate hummus and onion sandwiches. Then we planned that hilarious dance that we practiced so enthusiastically. We thought we were so cool, but were totally self-conscious at the same time. 

And I will never forget Thailand 2009. What a whirlwind of adventures for a bunch of teenage girls. We all squeezed into that hotel room with our clothes and makeup all over the place, sleepovers every night. I thought (and still do) that you have such a cool sense of style. You had these leather flower sandals that were so hippy and cool. I remember prayer times during the group meetings, all of us sitting in the back and holding hands, crying together, asking for more of God’s presence. We would always sit in the back on the floor together (cool kids, yet again). And then the awesome whitewater rafting trip down the Ping River, where we saw the baby elephant in the jungle, and made fun of Chris Martin. The bus ride was the first time we got have a longer, deeper one-on-one conversation. You told me all about your trip to India. I thought you were amazing and wanted so much to be best friends.

Then my spring break trip to APU. Hanging out with Ruthi and Dani, you meeting Stephen. Our adventures hiking the A at 6 am, walking all over LA including Japan town, and our beach day at Newport Beach. I remember a long conversation late at night talking about your questions about God and your desire to feel him more. Our delicious dinner at the Mexican restaurant with Stephen. Drinking ten cups of mate a day, making french crepes, making smoothies and hummus from scratch. 

And finally the most incredible trip of all, to Malaga, your home. Those days are like gold in my memory, they seem like a part of another world. They were filled with so much joy and sweetness, that my heart could not contain all my happiness. There are too many wonderful moments to name, but I cannot help but mention your magical birthday party, our hours laughing at your baby videos, beach bum days in the sun, massaging your feet with coconut oil at night. So many special breakfasts with your Dad’s latte machine, times in the kitchen cooking and marveling at your food creations (Lebanese night, so good). And the early morning when I flew out, a sweet warm hug in the darkness of your room, with sleepy whispered words of love. I didn’t cry on the plane ride home, I was too filled with happiness. And now the hard days of being so far from you, missing you so desperately, praying for you through eyes blinded my tears. 

You have inspired me, you have inspired thousands of people through your incredible, selfless love, faith that can move mountains, strength like a lioness, hope in the midst of suffering. I hope in life I can be the woman you are today. Just as you do, I trust in God’s sovereignty and love. He loves you more than I can, he knows your pain intimately, he cradles you in his loving arms. 

If God determines in his wisdom that it is time to call you home, time for you to run into Jesus’ waiting arms, then we will have to learn to wait a little longer to see you again. Five years passed between IC 2009 and Malaga 2014, when we were all reunited again. And in the grand scheme of things, if the wait is fifty years that is not so much longer than five, we’ll just need a little more grace. I want you to know that you will be my bridesmaid. Whether you are there in person, or in spirit, you will be there, you will be an incredibly important part of my wedding day. I continue to pray and wait on God, knowing he is mighty to heal, mighty even to raise you up like Lazarus. No matter the outcome, God will give us peace, we will rest in his arms. Our lives have been forever changed by you and by your love.

I think of one of your favorite songs, Oceans. "Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me…when oceans rise, my soul will rest in your embrace, for I am yours and you are mine." Also, John 14:27, when Jesus comforted the disciples. “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father. For the Father is greater than I.”

I love you Jenna with all the love my heart can give.



1 comment:

  1. Heaven has come near to many in these months... such beautiful tributes... the halls of heaven will ring with them through the ages... the goodness of our God, revealed to such as us.