Thursday, June 12, 2008

My Friend Sam Thomsen

There is nothing good about phone calls at 3:00 in the morning...

Unfortunately, there are no training manuals for what happened last night.

One of the bright young men in my youth group, Sam Thomsen, went to Scout Camp in Iowa on Sunday. Last night, his parents held their breath as they waited for information.

My heart dropped at 1:00 AM when his mother told me that Sam's name was not on the un-injured list. "However," she said, "we still have not heard the hospital lists."

But Sam was not on those lists either.

Sam lost his life in the tornado.

Today, there is a twisted feeling in my stomach. I keep expecting to see Sam jump out at me, smiling and poking me, trying to provoke a mini-wrestling match.

Sam was like everyone's little brother. He loved the Huskers (which resulted in many good-natured arguments between him and our Razorback preacher!) Sam had a never-ceasing smile plastered to his face EVERY DAY! I'm beginning to wonder if he ever had a serious moment in his life! Even while he practiced sermon delivery for LTC, all I had to do was crack a smile and he couldn't resist smiling back!

Most recently, I saw for myself that Sam had a wonderful gift of preaching. He crafted a beautiful lesson from God's word with no help from adults (beside his mom, asking him to correct the spelling!) His lesson was about his namesake, Samuel, and the way he listened to God throughout his life. Nothing could describe Sam better than that.

Sam loved helping other people. Last December, he went downtown to help feed and care for the homeless. In February, he fasted for 30 hours, raising money for World Vision to feed hungry kids.

Sam was a light everywhere he went. He was just one of those people who made your day better after you saw him. His sense of humor and kindness were evident to all.

Sam, I miss you, little brother. But I know you're wrapping up an awesome first day in heaven.


Kathy said...

I just read the story on and my heart breaks for you, our extended church family. It is devastating to lose such a young person and this boy sounds like an incredible person. Our church family experienced a similar loss, 3 years ago tomorrow, of a beautiful 17 year old. From experience I know there are no words to make sense of such a tragic event and few that will comfort. Only prayers will fill this need and please know that you will have them in earnest.

In His Service,
Kathy Taylor, Coeur d'Alene, ID

Tim Anderson Jr. said...

I bring you greeting from the Kingsley Terrace Church of Christ in Indianapolis, Indiana. The prays of our youth and myself go out to you in this time of sorrow. It sounds like Sam was a great kid with a contagious spirit. We just lost a young man tragically two weeks ago and are still putting the peices together. The comfort is knowing that God is still God. This same God has gained much glory from Sam's life and will now give him a celebration like never before. May God bless you and keep you!

Your brothers and sisters in Christ in Indianapolis!

Tim Anderson Jr.
Youth Minister

Tricia said...

I am so sorry.

Dona Cross said...

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, greetings from Victory Church of Christ in Geneseo, Illinois. I have been following this tragic story as both of my sons were Scouts and OA members. My prayers for God's peace and comfort go out to Sam's family and church family. But, I rejoice for Sam. He has claimed the victory that Jesus secured for us. He sounds like he was a wonderful achiever in life, and he is now the champion in eternity. Please know that you are all in our unceasing prayers.

In Christ's love,
Dona Cross

Jane Keith said...

I have been reading about this tragedy and was stunned to see that this young man was a member of the church. Our small church family is in Calhoun City, Ms. The greatest comfort after reading about his life, was the certainty that he is in the arms of the Lord. In christian love.

carrie said...

Our prayrers are with you all as you grieve the loss of a young christian. May God grant you all peace!

Neal Whitlow said...


What a nightmare...may God bless you and your church family and especially the Thomsen's. I understand the nightmare, my brother and his wife were killed by a tornado in Kansas three weeks ago. And it still feels like yesterday. Let me know if you need anything.

Tony Wrigley said...

I remember Sam from the short time we spent with the family in 2004 and believe he is now in a better place. Unfortunately who is going to get us lost looking for a Walmart this year? Our church family in NZ are praying for the family and the extended church family for Gods Grace and Wisdom to come upon you.

Tony Wrigley said...

I remember Sam from the short time we spent with the family in 2004 and believe he is now in a better place. Unfortunately who is going to get us lost looking for a Walmart this year? Our church family in NZ are praying for the family and the extended church family for Gods Grace and Wisdom to come upon you.

Morgan said...

I'm so sorry. I first heard it on the news, about the boys. Then I read Tracy's blog, and found out it was one from your congregation. What a just makes me cry. Sam's family, the congregation, and you are in my prayers. Lean on Him in times like this.

Tracy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Franklin Wood said...

Thank you, thank you for the kind words. Your encouragement and prayers mean so much to us. It is a faith builder knowing that other Christians are sympathizing with us. Sounds like Jesus to me!
Thomsens are doing as well as can be expected right now.
Funeral is now set for 10:00 am on Tuesday.
Monday would have been Sam's 14th birthday.
Keep praying.
blessings, Franklin

Greg Campbell said...

Know that your brothers and sisters in Walled Lake, Michigan are praying for you during this very difficult time.

In His Love,
Greg Campbell
Youth Minister
Walled Lake Church of Christ

One Observationist said...

Franklin - Great celebration of Sam's life service last night. You did an awesome job and Christa and I were privileged to be a part of it. I feel bad for you and Sam's family. What an amazing kid.

Afterwards we went out to grab a quick bite with another couple and one of the things we talked about was how much of an impact Sam will have on those left behind. I was thinking about how negative I can be in my life, about my life, and how unmotivated I am at times to perform the tasks in front of me. Sam is truly an inspiration from the standpoint of living life passionately and with purpose. Man, what a bummer and at the same time a call to live a better life.

I really liked what the one lady said about Sam wanting to be an evangelist and how he ended up being one. With the Omaha World Herald posting his sermon online and wondering how many people read that and how many of us will look at his life as an amazing example of how to live better.

Take care bro.
Jeremy Divis

Jason Goldtrap said...

Condolences from the Central Church of Christ in Haines City, Florida.

I did not know Sam Thomsen, though, in a way, I've know his rambunctious and lively spirit through other kids over the years. I cannot fathom the pain his family must be experiencing right now.

All I can do is praise God for this young man's life, influence and the number of souls he'll reach by his unfortunate passing. Thousands of others, all around the world will see his name and then see Southwest Church of Christ, Omaha, Nebraska and perhaps look deeper to see what manner of people we are.

In such dark times, the Light of Life can shine even brighter in our world and that is truly an endearing legacy.

Jason Goldtrap

Lacie and Stephen said...

My heart cries out to Sam's parents as well as his church family. I lost a daughter before she got a chance to live a life here on earth. We constantly think of all of the things that we will never get to see her do. We never forget, but we are slowly being able to move on. We seek comfort in knowing that our child is in Heaven! I also knew the couple in Kansas that was killed in a tornado. This year's weather has been so devistating! My heart reaches out to Sam's family and church family! Again, it is such a comfort just to remember that he is in Heaven enjoying everything without tears or pain; nothing but joy!

In Him,
Lacie Hutchins
Westlink Church of Christ
Wichita, KS

Bonnie said...

I wanted to share my deepest sympathies with you and Sam's family. I did not know Sam, in fact, I am halfway across the country. I read Sam's sermon on the internet and it touched me deeply. It seems that he was very wise for his years. It seems to me he made a great impact on so many people, in his much too short life. I hope you all take comfort in knowing that he is with God now. I will continue to keep you all in my prayers.

Boston, MA

Jay said...

I am Jay Wiles, a member of the Brentwood Oaks Church of Christ in Austin, Texas, and I remember getting the breaking news from the Christian Chronicle on my email about the loss of a brother in Christ.
I want to extend my sympathies to you and his family.
I wish I had had the opportunity to know him. He sounds like a great young man!

In Christian Love,
Jay Wiles
Austin, Texas

Jesse said...

Dear Franklin ;

Maj. Jesse Carnes here from Baton Rouge. I was a scout, and so was my twin brother. I am deeply saddened by your loss and that also by Sam's family and friends.
Here is a poem which I wrote and also sent to Dr. White.
I pray that it will minister.



‘Here I am’ Scout Sam ...
Giving to—Helping others :
Smiles, Humour and Warmth.

His Light burned brightly,
But only for a season.
How can he be gone?

Oh Lord, we miss Sam ...
He fasted, and he aided ;
Sam fed hungry kids.

You’d brightened the days ;
But our hearts ache without you!
Sam—our miracle.

Franklin Wood said...

Thanks again, for your comments and prayers. The family has really been comforted by many, many people, including strangers.
Keep those prayers coming, as the family now has to look at the quietness of their home without Sam. (The two older sisters will be off to college at summer's end.)

Michelle said...

Hi - I'm from Westside & we have the privilege of serving as the host for Sam's upcoming Memorial Concert. Your blog entry was moving & a beautiful tribute to a Godly, wonderful young man. We are praying for a great concert turnout to honor Sam's life and to bless the poor & homeless in our city.