Anderson, Indiana

Jim Bailey: Missionary family learns how fragile life is

Wed, 2012-05-02 14:13 -- univcomm
May 2, 2012

Norberto and Julie Kurrle seemed to have everything going for them.

The Anderson University graduates had an active missionary program going in Paraguay, he with a radio ministry and she with Children of Promise. They had an active 6-year-old, Timmy, and had finalized the adoption of 1-year-old Anahi. And, it was told later, Julie was six weeks pregnant. They were preparing to return to the United States for a three-month furlough. Life was good.

kurrleJulie had just blogged that a hurdle in obtaining Anahi’s birth certificate and passport had been overcome. They planned an early-morning trip to the capital city of Asunción to pick up the documents.

“In one month, Lord willing, we’ll be on U.S. soil eating Wendy’s frosties, Mexican wet burritos and cherry cheesecake,” she wrote on the blog. “Keep the prayers coming, friends. We need them.”

It was 5:10 a.m. as Norberto drove down the road. Suddenly, according to online accounts, he perceived a slow-moving truck in front of him with no working taillights. He swerved to avoid it but rear-ended it on Julie’s side of the car.

Norberto and Anahi emerged virtually unscathed. Julie was killed instantly, and Timmy died at the hospital.

Traffic laws in Paraguay, such as they are, don’t restrict vehicles without working lights; if it’s drivable, it can be on the road.

Just like that, the Kurrle family was cut in half. Norberto, with a 1½-year-old daughter, is left to ponder the future without his mate. He and Anahi are still coming to the United States this month.

Norberto honed his broadcasting skills at Anderson’s WQME during college and seminary years. He has a background in South America, where his parents, Martin and Tabita (Meier) Kurrle, live and his grandparents served as missionaries. His mother; his aunt, Nilah Meier-Youngman; and his uncle and aunt, Paul and Charlene Meier, all are AU graduates. Nilah, Paul and Charlene live in Anderson.

The family’s fundamental belief, expressed in an email by Tabita, that Julie and Timmy are now rejoicing in heaven scarcely blunts the stark reality of how fragile life can be in a physical world. The what-ifs, such as no taillights on the truck or the timing of the trip before daylight, only reinforce the nagging reality that life isn’t always fair.

There are other realities as well. Life goes on, and Norberto and Anahi have a long road ahead of them. And life offers no guarantees. Don’t put off until tomorrow what can be done today.

Most of us have experienced some type of loss or trauma. How we handle these roadblocks can make us stronger in the long run. It isn’t always easy. But it’s part of the process that helps steel us against the things life will throw at us in the future.

Life is fragile. We can’t always avoid the pitfalls that sometimes lead to tragedy. But we can learn from them and become better for it.

— Jim Bailey (BA ’62) for The Herald Bulletin. Reposted with permission.

Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.