Hello friends. For the next weeks we will be posting a series of tributes written in honor Luke. If you'd like to write or suggest a tribute, please let me know. This one was written by Aaron Porter.
So often since I got the news of Luke's passing, I have thought about the mission trip where I had the amazing opportunity to serve along side Luke. Before we went on the trip, James Granger had everyone who was going on the trip over to his house for a cookout. We were all gathered in the basement and talking about the upcoming trip. James asked us to share a bit about ourselves, including what name we preferred to be called. Luke said (jokingly, I think) that he preferred the name "Thunder." So...that is what we called him. Only he could get away with re-naming himself, "Thunder."
But that is just who Luke was. He was funny, he was charming, he was charismatic and he was definitely a friend to whoever met him. He connected so well (see photo) with the kids in Mexico. And he was GREAT at magic. I am still trying to figure out the magic tricks I watched him do in the lobby of Riverview. He was amazing.
Luke was these things and so much more. He was so strong in his faith and he was an inspiration to so many. I was (and continue to be) inspired by his strong faith. For someone who was about to have his leg amputated in his fight against cancer to have written Romans 8:18 on that leg ("For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us") inspires me in so many ways. Most importantly, it inspires me and it encourages me in my relationship with Jesus.
I will miss Luke and my heart aches for James and Laura, Jay and Sam. At the same time, I am comforted in knowing that he is in heaven with Jesus, completely healed and cancer-free.
We miss you Luke!
Hello friends. For the next weeks we will be posting a series of tributes written in honor Luke. If you'd like to write or suggest a tribute, please let me know. This one was written by Danielle Pyle.
Last night was the first night in 2 years we haven't asked God to heal our friend Luke. In some ways it feels like our prayer was unanswered, but the truth is, Luke is healed and whole in heaven now. We are profoundly sad to have lost our friend...one of my son Jude's very best buddies, but take comfort in the truth that because of his faith, Luke is in a place of no more pain, tears, or cancer. We are so thankful for the ways Luke loved and invested in our boy and that he got to meet sweet Everett. We will choose to celebrate Luke's life and legacy over this next week, but we will deeply miss his wisdom, musical talent, humor, and the gift of his time that he generously shared with our family. I want to be like Luke when I grow up...I think that means he had a life well lived.
We love you Luke!
When I go, don't cry for me
In my father's arms I'll be
The wounds this world left on my soul
Will all be healed, and I'll be whole
Sun and moon will be replaced with the light of Jesus' face
And I will not be ashamed, for my Savior knows my name
It don't matter where you bury me
I'll be home and I'll be free
It don't matter where I lay
All my tears be washed away
-All my Tears
Hello friends. For the next week we will be posting a series of tributes written in honor Luke. If you'd like to write or suggest a tribute, please let me know.
Today's tribute is from Matt and Stacy Santen, who have been our close friends since High School. Matt was on my High School tennis team, and was the person who invited me to Young Life, which is how I eventually came to faith in Christ. Stacy (then Barham) and Matt were both on Work Crew with Laura at Frontier Ranch for a month after their senior year in High School. Fifteen years ago, Matt and Stacy planted River Ridge church in Charleston, West Virginia. River Ridge has now grown to 1900 attenders at two Venues. The Santen family owns a cottage up north near Petoskey, which allows our families to spend time together each summer. The attached photo of Matt and Luke shucking corn is from the summer of 2015, about a month before Luke was diagnosed. My guess is that Luke had just smoked Matt on that outdoor ping pong table, though I'm sure Matt remembers differently. :)
The link below is from Matt's sermon from yesterday, September 17, 2017, after spending the week here in Michigan for Luke's memorial events. Please take a moment to listen. We are grateful that Luke's life of faith is having impact in all kinds of places.
James & Lu
(for Sam, Jay, & Luke)
Hello friends. For the next week we will be posting a series of tributes written in honor Luke. If you'd like to write or suggest a tribute, please let me know. This one was written by Jim Granger, Luke's grandfather.
"Broken on Earth; Made Whole in Heaven"
That is how Luke described himself to the campers at Young Life camp about a month ago. All of the work crew were asked to write about themselves on a cardboard (two sides) and this is how Luke introduced himself to "tell his story". The cardboard is now on the mantle of the house. I wanted to let you know the thoughts going through my head about Luke, some of which you know, others may be new insights:
--To know Luke was to love him, so there is an emptiness already; I'm sad for what could have been, while being thankful for what was
--Luke was a very special young man, ready for any challenge, the bigger the better
--He was an intellectual, strategic, inquisitive
--As a very young kid, when presented with a gift that needed construction, rather than pouring it out all over the floor and floundering to find pieces that fit together, he would first get out the directions...read them, and then begin to put the toy/structure together in an orderly manner. He could easily have become an architect, or an engineer
--As many know, from the family reunion and other venues, Luke was a very talented magician. Among the many things over time that he became obsessed with learning about, magic was high on the list. He utilized the internet to find tricks and how to do them, then practiced for days and weeks in front of his mirror to perfect his delivery. He only performed them, even for family and friends, when he knew that he had the trick perfected. He wowed us all
--He was a "natural" decision-maker...somehow he innately knew how to utilize the decision-making process to his advantage
--He was a supreme multi-tasker, enough of one to sometimes drive me crazy. Playing a game, talking, checking his various electronic devices while also watching a program on TV. And, not falling short on any of these....while beating my pants off at whatever game we happened to be playing
--Luke was a people-person, easily going up alone to strangers, or groups of strangers....and 10 minutes later it is like they knew him for years. For that reason he was a magnet for people, loved people and they loved him in return. He had loads of friends (his "crew/posse") and kept them all in his "sphere"
--He was amazingly comfortable with adults from a very young age
--He was a musician, learning quickly to play many instruments. Had a real ear for music, loved the piano mostly, but also the flute. In order to play in the school marching band last year, he learned how to play the vibraphone (similar to a xylophone) in about two weeks....and was stationed right in front of the Band Director as the band marched prior to the game and during half time. He loved the band and all the players. They wore yellow armbands all year on their uniforms in honor of Luke
--He was a movie buff, and had an amazing critic's eye
--Luke was a "games king" and loved any game that could be played competitively..from Words with Friends, to chess, to pool and ping pong, and the list goes on and on. His Dad was his closest competitor (except for the electronic games that he played with his friends over the internet), and they had many, many knock down, drag out competitions. Neither liked to lose!
--Luke was very spiritual, a practicing Christian who walked the walk. He loved Young Life, Young Life camp and his last, greatest wish...which was fulfilled, was to be able to be on the Work Crew at TimberWolf Lake this past Summer. He was set up to work for four weeks, and was able to do it for just short of that goal
--School came easy for Luke, almost too easy. In several grades he was bored most of the time, even though the teachers would give him extra work, higher level, just for him. When he could no longer attend school in person, they would send work home for him to keep up with, and a tutor to go over the tough stuff. He did that for almost two years, and kept up with his class enough to be able to move on to the next grade
--Luke was a big picture guy, with that inquisitive mind, he was always one step ahead of most of us. He saw beyond the obvious.
I could go on and on, but I know you now have a solid picture of my third grandson, Luke. We will miss him deeply, and I know that the world will miss him also.
And Lord, especially now, please take care of our boy. We miss you Luke!
Thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate Luke's life and mourn his death with us earlier in the week. We were blown away by how far you traveled, and how you changed your plans and took time off work and school in order to come and be with us. We are grateful for your prayers, for your tears, and for your presence. We miss our boy so much, and we are lifted by the fact that so many saw Christ in his life.
We know that not everyone was able to join us at the memorial service on Wednesday. We would love to capture your memories and stories about Luke as well. At Luke's service and reception we asked those in attendance to share their favorite memories or thoughts about Luke on memory cards, which we will then bind together into permanent "guestbooks" to allow us to enjoy our memories of Luke into the future. If you would like your memory captured in these books, please email email@example.com with a typed memory/thought about Luke and your contact information, and we will be honored to include it.
In addition, at Luke's request we have established the Luke Legacy Fund to provide affordable opportunities for kids to experience Jesus at a Young Life camp. Earlier this year Luke received a $10,000 gift to use for anything he wanted, and he decided to use it as seed money for this camp scholarship fund. Our goal is to raise $200,000 by January 1, 2018, and that money will then be invested through the Young Life Foundation (all gifts are tax deductible!) and distributed to kids who need help funding their trip to camp. The response has already been overwhelming! For more information, you can visit lukelegacyfund.com, or you can make checks payable to "Young Life" and send them to P.O. Box 818, Mason MI, 48854. We are so excited to be able to remember Luke through helping kids hear about Jesus.
Thank you for everything you have done, and continue to do, to help us honor and remember Luke.
James & Lu
(for Sam, Jay, & Luke)
Hello friends. For the next week we will be posting a series of tributes written in honor Luke. If you'd like to write or suggest a tribute, please let me know. This one was written by Rachel Matuszewski, who served on the housekeeping (or "Towashie") crew with Luke at TimberWolf Lake. She seated front left on the couch in the photo.
I remember Luke telling our "Towashie" team, “I wouldn’t replace my cancer with the friends I have made from it." We were sharing the happy and crappy parts of our day, where Luke refused to have a crappy. In living out his favorite verse from Roman’s 8:18, the pain of Luke’s illness did not compare to the joy he brought everyone he touched through his perspective.
Yellow outfits. Rubix cubes. A deck of cards. A servant’s heart. In our month of service together on Work Crew, this is what Luke brought every single day with a smile. I don’t think I have ever owned anything yellow until I met Luke, but I can’t imagine him in any other color. He shined God’s light and the yellow reminds me of it. He spread the Lord’s love into every corner of Timber Wolf Lake, through his commitment to serving in Housekeeping and in sharing his deep faith. In presenting his cardboard testimony, Luke shared the truth of Christ’s promise. Broken on earth…made whole in heaven.
At the end of a long day, Luke was always up for a game. Any game. His shared his collection of diverse Rubix cubes with everyone, and could beat us with any deck of cards. He was incredibly smart while playing and incredibly patient (with me) while teaching. Regardless of how he was feeling, Luke’s joy was contagious.
When Luke’s dad first told us about Luke, I immediately thanked God for his servant’s heart. In a matter of weeks, Luke taught everyone on Work Crew what it meant to be the hands and feet of Jesus. He was always willing to serve with all the energy he had, and loved everyone as the Lord loves us. Luke taught us God is in everything. I remember him standing up after another week of camp had passed. Luke told us he saw God through being able to throw a Frisbee again. He taught us God is in every victory and lesson learned. Hundreds of kids saw Christ in one way or another this summer at camp. I think if they looked at Luke, they would know the kind of person Jesus calls us to be.
Luke, I love thinking about you "made whole in heaven". I love picturing you playing Frisbee, games, and standing with our Heavenly Father. You taught us so much about what it means to be a servant of God and to do His good work. I am so thankful for the amazing work you have done in our lives.
Thank you for everything,
Hello friends. For the next week we will be posting a series of tributes written in honor Luke. If you'd like to write or suggest a tribute, please let me know. This one was written by Holly Corr. Holly and her husband Joey are long time friends of ours, and Holly has graciously volunteered to clean our home for the past couple of years as we cared for Luke.
Luke: "Oh no, what season are you on (for Gilmore Girls)?"
Me: "I'm a season behind you but I'll just wear my headphones while I clean."
And sometimes he would say no and change it to another show, or sometimes he would watch Gilmore Girls anyway.
Two years ago in August, I started my cleaning business after much prayer. I KNOW God led me in that direction because I was going to be able to contribute financially to our family. But God's path is never just one dimensional. It is a work of art...a multi-layered path. God said yes to the cleaning business to also bless me by having me bless others. I am so honored to say that for the past two years I have cleaned for my friends James and Laura. I am honored because I had no idea that cleaning for them would allow me to get to know them better, along with Sam, Jay and Luke.
There are so many things I loved about walking into their home and yes, I'll admit, sometimes I walked in with apprehension because I would never know how Luke was feeling. But my momma taught me to walk in anyway. And that kid...that LUKE! Yes, I saw him at some weak times but also some wonderful ones, despite his condition. This boy lit UP one day when his dad returned home from a conference and another time when Grandpa Granger entered the room. This boy L-O-V-E-D his momma. It always made me laugh that he would watch Band of Brothers or the Walking Dead with his dad and then watch Gilmore Girls with his mom, always pausing the show if she left the room for a minute...so they wouldn't miss anything. This boy got me hooked on Gilmore Girls and other teen shows I'm not exactly proud to admit. Oh, Luke.
Just over a month ago, I showed up to clean as a friend of Luke's was leaving to get him some kind of coffee that, according to Luke, would take away this friend's man card. I started to work but Luke stopped me. "Sit, sit," he said pointing to the chair next to him. He wanted to understand a conversation he had overheard me having on my cell as I had walked into the house. He and I sat and talked for like an hour. I learned so much in that hour: Luke loved skyscrapers and has been to many. Luke knew city sky lines by looking at the pictures. Luke was interested in other people's perspectives...and was not afraid of his own opinion! Luke liked to beat the snot out of you when playing any and every game ever made (hey, thanks, Luke, for giving me a 30 second head start on the Rubix's cube game even though I needed a few hours to even understand what was going on). I had no idea this was the only time I would get to spend with just Luke. I had no idea it was the last time I would get to see him at all.
I've been thinking since yesterday, how do we let go? How can we let go? So many of us feel like Luke belonged to us. He was in our church family, our community, our friendships, our hearts. But he didn't belong to us. He belonged to our Savior and our God has him now, as we know. We are just left here wondering how the rest of life looks without his sweet and generous gestures and that famous Luke grin.
Just before I actually started working that day in July, Luke, along with Sam, Laura and Mark Burley, watched a video that had just been released by Macklemore: Glorious. The video (even though a part of it made Luke blush a little) was an amazing tribute to the singer's grandmother and the song will always remind me of you, Luke Granger, standing now in the presence of GLORY!
Love you Luke!
Hello friends. For the next week we will be posting a series of tributes written in honor Luke. If you'd like to write or suggest a tribute, please let me know. This one was written by Jay Granger, Luke's older brother.
I can't believe my brother is in heaven! I didn't expect it 2 end so quickly! Luke I loved u since the day u were born! u r a great little brother! We had so many great times such as Young Life camp, work crew, summer staff, watching netflix, throwing frisbee, throwing the baseball, Kicking the soccer ball, playing Toy Story 2, jamming, going 2 hilton head, running 5k, going 2 connecticut, going down the Zip Line, watching Star Wars etc. Thanks 4 teaching me how 2 play ukulele! I appreciate it! These last 2 years hasn't been easy but it made me stronger! I can't believe it went by so fast! I should've held on longer! Rest in Peace! Love ya!
Hello friends. For the next week we will be posting a series of tributes written in honor Luke. If you'd like to write or suggest a tribute, please let me know. This first one was written by Sam Granger, Luke's oldest brother.
I don't know if anyone truly lives their lives to the fullest, but that's what comes to mind when I think about Luke's life. When he wanted to master a skill or acquire knowledge of a particular subject, he was capable of putting his mind to it and did not cease until he had mastered what he wanted to master. Over the years, I watched him master magic, Rubik's cubes, tricks with a yo-yo that I didn't even know were possible, and innumerable other working knowledge/skills in various areas of expertise. He was a straight-A student, with a particular affinity for math, and loved to challenge himself, academically and in general. He had a unique strategic skill which allowed him to beat just about anyone in any game. I watched him became a musical prodigy, dabbing in a wide array of instruments, including piano, guitar, flute, saxophone, ukulele, and others that I probably didn't know about. His ambitious drive was especially evident in his skill at piano...he always tried the most challenging, elaborate, and intricate pieces, a staple being "The Entertainer" by Scott Joplin. He gave 100% in all that he did, and constantly blew people away with his abilities.
His brilliance in a number of areas was accompanied by a sociable, charismatic, endearing personality. He was the ultimate extrovert and social butterfly, able to walk up to a complete stranger and become their best friend within minutes. He was also the biggest smart-ass in the world, able to outsmart me with disheartening ease. He reveled in toilet humor, and he is the reason I cannot hear the word "duty" without snickering. We had completely opposing personalities, so sometimes we clashed, but I always had a deep admiration for his skill at navigating social environments, and with his endearing personality, he was able to form several fruitful relationships with various people over the years.
I guess the point I'm trying to get across is: if you have observed all that Luke did in his life, all that he mastered, all of the lives he touched, and all of the people who have a special place for him in their hearts and memories, you know that his life was not a life wasted.
To Luke: I cannot believe it has come to this, bro. Life will never be the same without you. I am relieved that you are out of pain, however, and I am grateful that I was able to know you and be a significant part of your life, and honored that I was able to call you my brother. Godspeed, bro!