Mein Vater Horst Kamps kam aus einfachen Verhältnissen. Er wuchs am Stadtrand von Rostock an der Ostseeküste auf und kam später nach Berlin, wo er lange Jahre als Fliesen- und Mosaikleger arbeitete. Er trat mit 29 Jahren dem bekannten Arbeiterkunstverein „Studio Otto Nagel“ in Berlin bei. Dort beschäftigte er sich in seiner Freizeit mit der Malerei, er probierte sich in verschiedenen Maltechniken aus und schuf im Laufe der Jahre eine Reihe von schönen Bildern, Aquarellen, Ölbildern, Pastellen, mit denen er viele Verwandte und Freunde beschenkte. Am liebsten malte er Blumen und Landschaften.
He felt their deep goodness and he understood that they blessed him far more than he could ever hope to be able to bless them. But he wanted to try.
During the year before he died, Gavin worked to help provide home care for a young mentally and physically handicapped boy. The little boy lived with his mom and grandma, and because there was no dad or grandpa in the picture, they’d sometimes ask Gav to help out with various ‘guy jobs’ around the place. He was always happy to be able to pitch in, and as the boy's mom told me in a note she sent after she learned that Gavin had passed away, he’d never let them pay him for this extra work. This didn’t surprise me. It was just Gavin. Whether it was scooping up the homeless guys on the beach and helping them get a meal or to a church service, or racing home through the pouring rain to grab someone else an umbrella, or simply taking the time to stop and sit with someone who needed an ear, he was always searching for a chance to serve in whatever way he could find. So, when this little boy's mom asked Gav if he’d clean some junk out of a corner of their garage, I’m sure he was happy to be able to do it. Only this time, after he finished up, he wondered if they might be willing to ‘pay’ him. He’d found something he hoped they’d let him keep. It was a dog-eared, smudged little card that held the Prayer of St Francis of Assisi.
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love,
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is darkness, light,
Where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive . . .
And it is in dying . . . that we are born to eternal life.
From that day on, Gavin carried that little card with him everywhere. Other than his Scriptures, I think it was his most loved possession.
One afternoon in the heat and bustle of the chaotic streets of Seam Reap (Angkor Wat), he and I got separated while searching for a place to eat lunch. I tried not to get too frantic and traced my way back through the string of restaurants we’d walked past. I laughed with relief when I finally spotted him. There he sat at a linen covered restaurant table, with a ragged little tuk-tuk driver he’d found and brought in from the street. The two of them were laughing and talking as easily as if they’d been friends for a hundred years. He’d bought the man lunch and was sitting with him while he ate (he’d only had enough to pay for one meal), trying to give the driver ideas for how he might be able to attract more tourists than the other tuk-tuk drivers. I still smile when I think of that beautiful sight. Gav’s face was literally shining with joy.
Gavin loved Cambodia. He loved the Khmer people from every corner of his beautiful heart. He felt their deep goodness and he understood that they blessed him far more than he could ever hope to be able to bless them. But he wanted to try. He worked and saved and the following summer, returned to Phnom Penn to build homes with Margret and the Tabitha team. He dreamed of going back to serve again and again, but by the time the next building team left for Cambodia, he was already gone.
Every time a new ‘Tabitha’ home rises up in one of those Khmer villages, I’m sure Gavin watches and helps—in whatever ways angels can. I can only imagine he weeps to think that we would even consider doing such loving service in his memory.
And I am certain, with each donation, each new home raised, each Khmer life touched for good, he gratefully whispers, “Thank you, my friends.” And so do I.
(by Annie Link, Gavin's Mother)
by Cathy Persson
Rick grew up with the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound as his backyard, spending his childhood “messing about in boats” along the back creeks and shoreline. A third generation shipwright, he learned the craft of wooden boat building from his father, Seth Persson, who was internationally known for his building of legendary boats. Rick spent many years playing and working in his father’s boatyard learning from the best craftsmen in the industry.
Rick life’s work was as a shipwright, restoring wooden yachts and manufacturing small boats. With his brother Jon, he designed and built traditional boats whose designs are as functional as they are beautiful. Rick’s craftsmanship was highly respected in the world of wooden yachts. Workboats, kayaks, rowboats, powerboats and sailboats -- Rick built them all.
Rick’s wife Cathy had the opportunity to visit and work with Tabitha Cambodia, a non-profit organization whose GOFl is to assist residents of small villages throughout Cambodia to reach economic self-sufficiency. Rick understood the economic potential of boats for those who live on a river.
Contributions through forPEACE to Tabitha in Rick’s name will be directed to villages where houses, wells, small boats, and fishing nets are needed to help local families improve their economic situations.