Susi and Josh Kramer have made their home at Menno Place. When they moved to the Menno Place campus, they didn’t know what obstacles or circumstances they would have to face. They raised five children together when Susi’s health began to decline. That was 24 years ago. With every step, they asked God for strength, for health and riches. Instead, they were given weakness, infirmity, “just enough”. In spite of their struggles, they confidently and sincerely say that among all people, they are most richly blessed… They have found the calm in the middle of the storm – and that calm is together in the comforting care of Jesus.
After moving to Menno Place’s apartments, the journey was difficult and Susi’s health failed rapidly. God provided a home for her in residential care in Menno Hospital. She appreciates the additional care and affectionately jokes with the staff as they meet her physical needs.
Susi and Josh are a couple who have grown to love and depend on each other deeply. “I know that I can trust that he is coming to visit” says Susi. Josh comes to visit her five times each day, walking over from his apartment on another corner of the campus. “I love visiting her”, he says affectionately, “The Lord allows me to care for her. I don’t know how to call it different… this is total dependence and a privilege”.
Susi and Josh benefit from the community of care through spiritual and physical support. They also give their lives wholeheartedly to the people who come into their circle of life, endearing many to themselves. It is in these friendships that others find a joyful encouragement.
Josh smiles and calls Susi, “honey” and “sweetie” as she tells the story of promising her father she would come back to The Netherlands after a short trip to Canada. “Oh well”, she says, “I met Josh and I had to stay.” They laugh, knowingly. When they married 53 years ago, she got the giggles and he was so nervous he couldn’t eat. They are so comfortable together now, it’s hard to believe that they would ever be jittery together. Watching this couple connect, it is easy to recognize the unconditional, genuine, proven love between them.
As it is a privilege for Josh to care for Susi, it is a privilege for the staff and volunteers of Menno Place to love both of them.