Piano Playing – Matt Swaffer

posted in: Memory | 0

Piano Playing and Music – Matt Swaffer
Becky loved to play the piano as we were growing up. I recall so many times she would play and quite often she would play very loud. I suppose growing up with three brothers she may have felt the need to be heard in the house! There is a picture on the web site of Becky sitting at the piano. One time I remember making her mad because I told her to stop playing the piano because it was too loud and I was trying to read a book… she got up and stormed off to her room. Then of course I got the usual lecture about “being nice to my sister” which is a lecture that, as a father of three boys and one girl, I have had the privilege of delivering on more than one occassion.

Dad played the harmonica and the trumpet, so music was a big deal in our house. Of course Becky also loved to sing and she had such a sweet voice, too soft to be a “professional” singer I suppose, but even as a teenager I remember admiring her lovely solos in church. There is a picture on the web site of Dad standing by the piano and singing a duet with Becky. When Becky and I both left home there was no one to play the piano at the church and so the solution was for Becky to record many of the hymns on tape to be re-played for the services. I suppose somewhere down in Missouri there is still a box of tapes with Becky’s piano playing.

On Becky’s grave marker is the quote “No one ever cared for me like Jesus” which many of you may recognize as the famous song written by Charles Weigle, the evangelist. Becky used to sing that song as a special in church and her voice would carry not just the words but a certain depth of feeling that can only come from someone with a heart as pure as hers. Even now when I hear that song the tears well up as I remember how much Becky loved to sing that song and how important music was in her life.

Buckets-N-Bows – Valerie Gill

posted in: Memory | 0

Buckets-N-Bows – Valerie Gill
I went to college in 1988 at Hyles Anderson. Becky was one of the first people that I met. She was my supervisor on Buckets-N-Bows. Becky was so sweet and kind! I really enjoyed working with her! She was always lifting us up spiritually and she was also a lot of fun to be around. She made a job that could have been drudgery into something fun. (We cleaned the dining hall every night after lights out). Somewhere I have a picture of her and several others on our team, I’ll try to find it and send it to you : )

I’m very sorry for your loss and will keep you all in my prayers,


Becky as a church member – John Vaprezsan

posted in: Memory | 0

Becky as a church member – Dr. Vaprezsan
Becky Prater was a “Pastor’s Dream.” She was a faithful, loyal, servant–always the same. She was a well balanced Christian, secure in her walk with God and her relationship with God’s people.

Becky’s testimony was inspiring and her example motivating to all who knew her. Becky didn’t waste the time that God gave her. She was a mature Christ, knowing how to handle every challenge that came her way.

Becky’s depth of Christian character and unfaltering trust in her Heavenly Father was most evident in the final weeks of her life. Every attribute that I have mentioned about Becky did not change during those difficult days. She taught us how to live. She taught us how to die. I miss her. But thank God for His strength, comfort and glorious hope in Christ Jesus.

Becky made a difference in the lives of those that knew her. She made a great impact on her Preacher’s life.

Thoughtfulness – Jan Swaffer

posted in: Memory | 0

Thoughtfulness – Jan Swaffer
The thing I remember most about Becky was how thoughtful she was of others.
She would call every so often just to chat & keep up to date on our lives
because we were so far away. She didn’t mind if Matt was not home, she was
just as comfortable talking with me as with him.

When I was dating Matt & she was dating another guy, she came up with a wonderful
little game to play. We were traveling together to come to her house for a
holiday & the guys were coming later, so she made up a set of questions for
them to answer. She also made a set for her & I to answer & when we had gotten
all together one night of the vacation, we read our answers. It helped us all
get to know each other better & we had such a fun time doing it.

She also was very good at sending encouraging notes. It was always refreshing
to get one from her because, no matter how awful you felt, her note would be
uplifting and telling you how great you were or what a good thing you had done.
She always believed in Matt and I and our family and she always made sure we knew it.

Family was extra important to her even before the cancer struck. When we were still
living in Indiana she used to love to babysit for Matthew (our oldest). One time
she tried baking something for someone she was dating at the time but we were out of
eggs. She tried substituting mayonnaise instead… but it didn’t work. We
laughed so hard!

At Christmas Matt always worked for FedEx, so we couldn’t go to see our families
until summertime, but David and Becky always had Christmas presents for our kids
when we managed to get out to see them in the summer. She loved to see the
expressions on the kid’s faces when they opened their gifts.

The summer that we lived in Michigan she organized Morgan’s birthday party. She
invited couples with small children so that Matt and I could get to know some of
her church friends as well as celebrate her daughter’s special day.

Another thoughtful thing she did for me when we lived there was invite me to join
the choir. I’d thought about it, but she helped me get started by going with me
which made it easier for me to get involved.

Becky was a friend to everyone she came in contact with, but to me she was a close
“sister / friend”. Even though I miss her terribly (as do all who knew her) I’m
grateful to know that we will be together again someday!

The Tractor Wreck – Jim Swaffer (dad)

posted in: Memory | 0

The Tractor Wreck – Jim Swaffer
While we were living in the parsonage at the church in Missouri one of the many tasks that fell to us was mowing the lawn. This was not a normal patch of grass around the house but about seven acres of lawn including a ball field. In order to simplify this job the church purchased a Ford 4000 tractor with a six foot finish mower mounted on the back. For those of you unfamiliar with tractors, this was similar to what you might see mowing the median on the highway.

As our children reached the age of responsibility (so we thought) they would take on the job of mowing to earn a little spending money. Although this was primarily a job for the boys, Becky was not to be denied the opportunity to earn some money. I taught her how to operate the tractor and she would occasionally mow the grass.

One evening, as I was relaxing after a hard day, she came in after mowing and wanted me to put the tractor in the garage. I was very tired so I told her that I was sure she could put the tractor in the garage. She protested a little but then left to finish the job. Soon she came back in half crying but mostly mad. “I told you I couldn’t put the tractor away” she said. It seems I had taught her how to use the clutch but not the brake. On the soft grass just pushing in the clutch brought the tractor to a stop but on the concrete garage floor it continued to roll. To add to the problem there was a slight rise in the garage approach so in order to get up the hill she had to give the tractor some gas. Pushing the clutch in did not stop the tractor until it had destroyed several items stored in the garage and put a bulge in the back wall of the garage. Fortunately no one was hurt and as we look back it has become one of those things we laugh about. It is also fortunate that the boys had some incidents with the tractor themselves so whenever they began to tease about women drivers she could counter with her own account of their “wrecks”.

The Snakes – Matt Swaffer

posted in: Memory | 0

The Snakes – Matt Swaffer
Living in Missouri we all got used to some of the “mid-western” wildlife. There were the very large (and ugly) banana spiders, the nightly howling of the coyotes, and of course… snakes. There were the occasional water moccasins in the creeks and from time to time Paul would kill a copper head. For the most part though, it was just plain old garter snakes. Now I have always been slightly
annoyed with any kind of snake… well OK I am pretty much afraid of snakes… but Becky was absolutely terrified of snakes. It didn’t matter if the snake was a harmless garter snake, she believed that they were the worst living creature possible (well… unless maybe it was the shrew… but that’s another story.)

One day we were out playing a game, I believe it was volleyball. We sometimes set up the net near the side lawn area of the church because it was more convenient.During the course of the game Becky happened to look down and saw that she was
nearly standing on a garter snake. She screamed and jumped… it seemed like 3 feet…and when she landed unbelievably she landed right on another garter snake.

I suppose that her classmates and I should have been more sympathetic to her fears, or perhaps we should have been more “manly” and intervened with the snake… but of course none of that occurred to us at the time. All I remember is Becky lliterally running, jumping and screaming all the way back to the church building looking down at every place her feet touched just KNOWING that there were more snakes coming after her. And all the while the rest of us were laughing at our unbelievably good fortune at seeing her step on not one… but two snakes at nearly the same time.

Becky of course was always a pretty courageous young lady but that day the snakes definitely got the best of her!

Cooking – Steve Swaffer

posted in: Memory | 0

Cooking-Steve Swaffer
Becky always seemed to have a love/hate relationship with food. Though she
eventually developed into an excellent cook, some of her early ‘experiments’
where quite interesting. Before she joined me at college, she was thoughtful
enough to send me some brownies. Since it was the thought that counts, I
tried to ignore the egg shells that came with them! The brownies were easier
to eat than the cake that she baked when she tried substituting salt for sugar.

When someone else was doing the cooking things were quite different. On
one occasion in college, I invited her to join Robyn and I on a date,
since at that time her social life was a little slow. I ordered two
pizza’s ( I think Little Caesar’s Pizza Pizza deal), hoping to have some
leftovers for breakfast. Robyn and I enjoyed one of them, while Becky
finished of the other one all by herself. I guess it was a good thing
she didn’t have to share with a date!