Bill Landes: The Servant’s Life
William G. Landes departed this earth to be with his Lord Jesus on February 26, 2021 at the age of 86. He was a Naval Civil Engineer, a commander in the U.S. Navy’s Sea-bees, and served in Vietnam where he was awarded the Bronze Star for combat heroism. He returned to Charlottesville in 1978 and completed a graduate degree from the University of Virginia in 1988.
Bill brought his skills to Love in the Name of Christ at the very beginning—in 1991, just as Love INC was being launched. He was in charge of all editorial functions: the news-letters, the LINC, and all the correspondence from Love INC. Bill was the structure and backbone of the information coming from Love INC, and he took a strict mathematical approach to these tasks, giving all the staff certain standards to follow.
Bill brought to the office his Navy organizational skills; he soon had things ship-shape. The bare-bones Love INC staff would offer up episodes
from their client experiences, and Bill would work miracles in bringing those stories to life for the newsletter. He could elicit tears from the very staff who produced the storylines in the first place! Bill believed, as do all of us here at Love INC, that providing real stories about real people—and real volunteers—was the best way to inform and motivate our readers to maintain vigorous support for what we do.
In 2009 Bill moved from Charlottesville to be closer to family. Although he tried to continue his Love INC mission long-distance, the drive became more difficult and he re-tired in 2018, after nearly 30 years with us. We kept Bill’s office in the back room intact for several years, hoping he might be able to return. He would visit Love INC whenever he was in Charlottesville. Everyone received warm greetings and he would always ask for updates. We lost touch a bit in 2020 when he was no longer able to drop by because of the pandemic.
Raymond Klein is the Executive Director of Love INC. He worked closely with Bill for many years.
“My memories of Bill start with his command of the language,” Ray says. “He found the right words to make each love story (that’s what we call the newsletter stories here, because of the love they reflect) seem like a picture in your mind as you read it.
“He knew scripture well and used it to solidify stories biblically. And he was great at providing support for me as the new Executive Director as I learned my role and the mission of Love INC. He helped keep the ship on course!” Jamie Miller took over the editing role after Bill left, and he greatly appreciates Bill’s help in learning the ropes.
“I remember his kindness so well, too—just his face, his expression was always so kind and friendly. He and his wife Rosalind were such a joy to talk to. And he thought the world of her! He was so proud of Rosalind, so delighted in her.
“The Lord blessed Bill with great skill in shepherding this newsletter for so many years. What a wonderful gift he was to us all at Love INC.”
Bill leaves behind, for a season, his beloved wife of 61 years, Rosalind. Inscribed inside the band of Bill’s wedding ring is 1 John 4:10-11, which states, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
Confident of that atoning sacrifice, Bill is now rejoicing in the presence of the Christ who loved and gave His life for him. We will see you again, Bill, in His presence!
Taking the Right Steps
Gertie called from out of state. The phone number gave us the first clue, but we asked for her address anyway. She had recently been stricken with two heart attacks. She and her husband were both seniors. They were struggling with a utility bill. Oh, and they needed help with some home repairs. Yes indeed, they needed help! Here at Love INC in Charlottesville, Virginia, we could easily say, “We’re sorry, but you are calling from out of our area. We can’t help you.” But we felt differently about this call. Perhaps the Lord was leading us? We told her we’d try to find some assistance for her.
The Internet can spread great calamity, but it can also be a marvelous problem-solving tool. We found a number of agencies in her state, but one Christian organization seemed to stand out. They had a food pantry, and from the looks of their website, we thought they might help with other issues as well. We called them. After responding to a couple of questions about their services, the lady on the phone asked us the name of the person who had called us here at Love INC. We gave her Gertie’s name.
“Oh! She is a client of ours,” the woman said. “We know her well. We can help her! Can you have her call us?” Boy, could we!
So instead of getting a number of round-about answers send-ing us here and there—which we expect in this line of work—the Lord had so kindly shortened our journey and directed our steps to the perfect door. Sometimes when you’re a little lost, the best thing to do is ask for directions, both from above and from here on earth.
A Little Good News
In the midst of grief over lives lost to the pandemic, we would like to share some hope. Two sisters, one providing daycare for the other, have battled with the virus. One sister had COVID in August with her three children. Tests showed the whole family was infected. A loving volunteer brought groceries to the front porch, enough to keep the family eating until they could recover. The family moved soon afterward into a trailer in their old neighborhood. The older sister moved in with them, and the younger sister watched all the children while the older one worked.
With enough money saved up, the younger sister moved to a house in Charlottesville where there was more room, but where she could still watch the other children.
Unimaginably, she started having symptoms again. She and her children were all positive for COVID again, but this time her older sister’s family was exposed, as well! Two families under quarantine. Love INC turned to our amazing volunteers. There was help again, for both families—groceries at the doorsteps and fresh fruits and vegetables for the coming week. The loving gifts of Christian folks have touched lives once again. And both sisters have recovered without lasting effects.
An Alert Pair of Eyes
Nell and her family enjoy helping other families over the holidays. It’s become a tradition. Laden with food and gifts or gift cards, they knock on doors to spread the love of the Christ Child to those in need. This Christmas it was a single unemployed mom with four children, one of whom wasn’t even biologically hers.
Nell wrote us later, “We gave her a $50 gift card for each of her children. She told me that they would have fun shopping! Meeting her and seeing her house, we could definitely see she has needs this year. We didn’t go inside her home, but I noticed two of the windows (maybe bedroom windows) were open and had stuffed animals shoved into the opening. It looked to me like they were being used as insulation perhaps. Not sure if she is renting the house, but the landlord should at least be able to provide working windows for her.”
As it turns out, this single mom had been laid off due to the pandem-ic. She had worked steadily at her job for 12 years, but business had dropped off to almost nothing. Just the owners remained. She started to look for other jobs, but her children’s schools didn’t reopen, so she found herself overseeing remote learning for four children!
This resourceful mother managed to get emer-gency Internet through the school, and cobbled together some odd jobs at a local farm to make ends meet. The family receives SNAP benefits (state-provided nutrition) for sustenance. One of our partner churches has stepped in twice to help the family avoid eviction. As well, Love INC sent a volunteer out to repair those windows.
When her children are back in school and she can find a new job, she will be able to support her family on her own. She’s just one of many who have seen severe financial setbacks because of COVID-19. We are so grateful for all of the people who have helped her.
Prayers for Shelly
“Shelly,” now in her 40s, was living in the Charlottesville area and had been struggling to get her life together. She had a whole host of issues: three children, each with a different father and none living with her; health problems not totally addressed by her healthcare providers; financial shortfalls with rent and food (the proper, nutritious food); sometimes no shelter except a friend’s sofa; no transportation to get back and forth to work; and lastly, an abusive “boyfriend” whom she had hoped would replace her deceased husband. That’s a lot for one person to manage.
Of course there were many underlying spiritual issues as well. Love INC faces tangled messes like this every day. Without faith in a redeeming God, our work would seem insurmountable.
But the love of Christ can reach anyone. God had Shelly in His sights, and a number of Christian folks had Shelly in their prayers. A friend from a Baptist church kept in touch weekly. Although she did not condone Shelly’s current path, she remained open to helping and bringing Shelly to church at any time. A pastor from a Methodist church near where Shelly lived with her boyfriend (and his aging mother) often reached out with food, a trip to the dump, and other tangible help. He had grave concerns about her living situation. A neighbor woman picked Shelly up daily for work until a Cal-vary Chapel couple—who picked up Shelly while she was hitchhiking to work—spoke to their Bible study group and managed to procure a car for her. And everyone prayed.
Finally, Shelly saved enough money to escape her dangerous living situation. Her friends each contributed a little more for Shelly’s trip across the country to stay with a daughter. And she was off! Shelly found a job right away and went back to working hard, just as she had done previously. She was so happy to be reunited with her children. She found a wonderful, caring man who wanted to be her husband for the rest of her life. Her faith in God grew. There were obstacles, of course. There was the death of her father, then her grandmother died. One of her daughters contracted COVID. The virus was all around her, but Shelly continued to work every day with her mask and her hand sanitizer and her God as protection. She felt she had made it to a place of safety at last!
But Shelly’s own health problems worsened. Her new job afforded limited medical care. Shelly soon landed in the hospital with a truly frightening diagnosis: stage-four cancer—and it had spread to her liver.
We at Love INC can’t offer any theological discourse on why such woes have fallen on our dear friend Shelly, but James 4:14 speaks to the frail human state we all share: We “are but a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” One can only wonder at God’s providence in situations like Shelly’s. All her friends are praying again as she faces six months of chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and possible surgery. We invite all of you to pray for her as well. We know that God our Redeemer will bring good from this.
In Shutdowns, There Are Still Needs
Boy, has the world changed! Even though much of the world has been shut down and isolated for the last year and our office door has been locked…Love INC has not shut down! Susan, our Clearinghouse Coordinator has been able to work from home because 95% of her job is done by computer and phone. And in spite of the locked door, our Furniture Coordinator and Intake Specialist, Tina, has been here faithfully coordinating with Susan and making sure we meet the needs of the many.
Yes, even though that door has been closed, Love INC is open for business. We are simply not open to the public to freely walk into the office. We have not stopped taking material donations, but we are having to limit what we can accept. For instance, for the time being, we cannot take clothing because it requires rummaging through for style and size, and that process can spread COVID. What we do need and accept, are articles used in kitchens, dining rooms, bathrooms, and bedrooms—so please keep them coming!
To donate things, we ask that you call 434-977-7777 and coordinate with Tina. Furniture is always a great need, so when you contact us about that, we get busy coordinating the furniture transfer to our neighbors in need. It’s all part of the improvised operating procedures we’ve adopted in the pandemic—and more than that, it’s all part of God’s plan to bless the needy. For those of you who have given so generously to Love INC, both materially and financially, you know all about blessings.
My main message for you this month is that while the door may be closed, Love INC has never closed. We have con-tinued to serve our churches, verifying needs of those re-questing help. We have also continued to coordinate with great volunteers who serve the needy. For example, take a look at the photo below. Our volunteer Barrett and Nick, from Trinity Presbyterian Church, has constructed this amazing railing for an elderly resident. Those steps were just too hard to negotiate for an older person. They were a fall-ing hazard. But not anymore! Thanks, Barrett and Nick, for your skill and for your love.
It is our donors’ gifts of support—your gifts!—that have allowed our staff at Love INC to continue assessing and assisting our neighbors in need. Yes, the pandemic has made our difficult job even more difficult, but the rewards are many. We thank the Lord for you.