Funeral notes from Auntie Hetty Last’s funeral service.
Friday 17th March 2017 – Woodville, New Zealand.
David Last: I’m Hetty’s eldest nephew. Thanks for all who have cared for Hetty and opened your homes to Hetty over many years. We think of those who can’t be here because of distance especially those in India. There is a bond there that words cannot express. I’ll just read parts of a letter from India. It was from Glory Batha (who is the Indian sister pictured with Hetty and Enid Hall on the back of the service sheet)
- I spend time in my first years in the work with Hetty and Enid and when they finished I was beside them too. Hetty was very straight but also very loving too. If she ever corrected me and found out that I wasn’t at fault she’d say, “Well that correction was for the future.” We are very thankful that Hetty left her beautiful home land to come and help us. -
The flowers on the casket are from the Indian staff.
Hetty was the 2nd child in her family, born in Woodville hospital… well not quite seems she came before they got to the hospital. She was a dressmaker in Danneverke and then went to Wellington with her dressmaking. During those times she trained as a nurse for babies. 6th May 1948 Hetty started in the work and then spent 51 years in India and when she came home in time she didn’t feel able to continue and she said it was the hardest thing she ever had to do. We are thankful to Beryl who made her time at Abbyfield much easier. Her last days where in Kumaroa which was part of her heritage too.
Lynette Love (Jean Last’s daughter):I had the privilege to be Hetty’s niece. We will remember her for many things. Especially the curries. Mom thought she could handle a hot curry but Hetty would bring home spices from India and it would make her eyes run. She always brought home trinkets for all her nieces and nephews when she came home on a visit. It made for very interesting school talks for me because no one else in my class had an Auntie in India. One night we asked her what she wanted for dinner, “KFC” was Hetty’s reply and we found out later that there wasn’t one in India yet!! One day she was telling me about how the people have to go to a well and get the cold water from the well and have a shower like that, so I thought I’d go get her a solar shower to take back with her then they could have warm showers at least but Hetty said she couldn’t take it. It would embarrass the friends she would be living with.
Anne Seager:Heb 8v10 “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall ne to me a people.” The greatest security we can have in life is a covenant with God. He’ll deal with our sins but won’t cast us out. Many advantages to being part of this covenant. When we visited Hetty she told us of when she was young and on a train not thinking about anything specific and this voice said to her “Did you read this morning, did you pray?” She had to admit that she hadn’t. But she then quoted that hymn to us “I’ve vowed to be true to the Savior, I’ve promised to serve Him for aye” and the chorus says “My Lord has the covenant sealed,” and from that vow Hetty always put reading and praying first. With a covenant there are two parts to it. Hetty has been absolutely true to her part of the covenant, she let God control her life. As a young person she responded to the Gospel and let God control her life. Then she had the call into this ministry, she obeyed. Later she had the call to go to India, she went. I was reading a letter from India and the sister said “Hetty had a shepherds heart.” In one of our hymns it says “Shepherd of Israel… never forgetting in slumber or sleep.” While we were with Hetty the last time she told us that she wishes she could just slip over to India and see them all but knew it wasn’t possible. Even in her last days she was still thinking of and caring for those in India, which she had labored for. A true shepherd never forgets in slumber or sleep. In 2005 we had a happy few weeks together, she never neglected to read and pray. I was remembering what was written on a ships log, “Nothing to report but still on course.” Hetty would have had many plain days but because she stayed on course she’s safely home now.
Alan Richardson: John 4v34-36 “Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, for they are white and already to harvest. And he that reapethreceiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both ne that soweth, and he that reapeth may rejoice together.”
John 12v23-26 “And Jesus answered them saying, the hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it, and he that hatethhis life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me and where I am there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.”
Hetty started in the work 6th of May 1953 and her first field was the Manawatu area with UnaTyre. In October 1953 Hetty and Enid went to India. Hetty returned in 2004, her mind was good and her voice was strong but in time she felt her body wasn’t able to continue.
In 1908 the Gospel came to Kumeroa where the Bryant Family (Hetty’s mothers side) and the Kemp family responded. We cannot estimate the influence one grain of wheat can have. A grain when it’s planted first puts down it’s root system seeking for water and then it sends a shoot up looking for light. Through all this the grain loses it’s identity. Hetty saw how necessary this was and it influenced her life to be willing to die for others.
In John 12 there was a mixed nation. The Sarmatians seemed to wear white garments. Jesus was saying look at all the people and the possibilities for the gospel which these people needed too. “Fields white and ready to harvest.” Hetty saw the possibilities that her life could help others.
1 Chronicles 29v28 (speaking of David) “He died in good old age, full of days, riches and honour.” Full of days means made the most of each day, each day was full because Hetty followed her convictions right through till death. Unlike David she didn’t die full of riches. She did finish full of honour. She had got great riches in heaven awaiting her.
Services like this are really for those of us left behind. We can have our focus reset. Hetty spent her life in the best way, getting ready for eternity.
1 Corth 15v35 “Some say, How are the dead rasied up? And with what body so they come?” We know of human bodies and animal bodies but in eternity we’ll have spiritual bodies.
We feel blest for having known Hetty and glad to think of her in the incorruptible body. v55 “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”
Lester Billings prayed.
At the graveside the 18 workers present sung the first three verses of “A little while” (Alan’s choice) and then all joined in for the last verse.
David Rundle prayed.
Workers present: Alan Richardson, Lester Billings, David Rundle, John Watt, Stan Townsend, George Slater, Colin Wood, Dalton McGuinness, Anne Seager, Kylie Walker, Beryl Ludlum, Betty Hannah, Jacinta Wood, Sharon Stockdill, Katie Stallman, Heather Holdaway, Rachel McBeth, Margaret Andrews
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