“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock.”
“I’m so happy that daddy died with a smile on his face.”
– Shane Bierle, after seeing his daddy in the casket (Age 8)
Our deepest thanks to each and every person who played a role this past week in supporting all of us in Steve’s family. From first responders and volunteers at Shelter Cove, the community of Gardiner for the outpouring of love, food, housing, rides, hugs, and conversation, friends who traveled long distances to stand with us in the pain, and to the friends and family across the WORLD praying for our family, we are humbled by the outpouring of support. Your presence, whether physical or not, was felt, heard, and appreciated beyond what we can ever convey in words.
Yesterday, as expected, was packed full of God-moments and glimpses of God’s hand comforting and caring for us. From worshiping in the morning shoulder to shoulder with family and fellow believers at Steve and Sandy’s church to the afternoon celebration of Steve’s life, the day was touched with tears, but filled with the message of hope and salvation through Christ.
Pastor Lance (Steve and Sandy’s pastor from Sioux Falls) blessed us with sharing how Steve loved and embraced the moments in life and the people that he encountered. We truly have the hope of being reunited with him again in Paradise if we surrender our lives to Christ, just as Steve had.
Don (Steve’s dad) spoke how Steve, at age four, wept upon hearing of the sacrifice of Aslan from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and became broken when he learned of how Jesus had done the same for him. That transforming moment drew Steve to Christ, and he later recommitted himself to Jesus around age 12. When questioning why God did not send his angels to intervene or God himself stop the waves from coming and thus save his son, God has been faithfully whispering to Don, “I have saved your son.”
Brad (Steve’s brother) shared about a memory last summer where Steve’s family, Brad, Joshua, Don and Vernee were together in Montana celebrating the anniversary of their parents. Brad laughed at how he was a bit of a money pincher so he shared a look with his son, Josh, as they were ordering because they weren’t quite sure who was picking up the bill. Both proceeded, in sync with their personality, to order a medium range entree to keep the cost down. But, Steve, living in the moment, ordered a steak without batting an eyelash. Brad continued to help us see that sometimes you just need to grasp hold of life and “order the steak”, not to be frivolous, but to capture the moments that God has given us as glimpses of Him and celebrate those minutes. He reiterated that Steve’s personality was possible because of the overflowing of Christ in him, putting into practice Jesus’s words from John 10:10b “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
Wendy (Steve and Sandy’s friend from Gardiner) showed us Steve’s fun personality side and how he was game for anything. Ultimately, though, she shared about his intense love for his family, and joy of spending time with his kids.
Pastor Kirk (Our pastor from our home church in Sioux Falls) closed with special words of comfort, and how the deep depth of tears is directly proportionate to the love that was lost, and ultimately, a life well lived.
John Pollman (One of Steve’s special hunting buddies) sang How Great Thou Art and led us in Amazing Grace, accompanied by a very talented pianist, whose name unfortunately I do not know.
Reverend R. William Young officiated the lovely memorial service held in the Gardiner High School Gymnasium that was followed by a fellowship time with many special treats prepared by the wonderful Gardiner community.
A special thank you to the Franzen-Davis Funeral Home for handling the arrangements of Steve’s memorial service, all the beautiful flowers and plants sent from those far and near, the Gardiner High School, and all the people in the background who don’t ask for anything but that we feel the love they are sharing.
We will be in Gardiner for the next few days to spend some time together as a family. As we all seek to begin what will become our “new normal”, we are trusting wholeheartedly in the promises from the One who knows our every sorrow, our every pain, but has the victory of sin and death! Again, we extend our deepest thanks to all of you for continuing to uphold and care for us.
Previously posted information:
Donations: The family has received many requests as to how individuals can assist Sandy and her family financially. Two options are now available:
Sandy’s sister-in-law, Karen Otte, and the Gardiner, MT, community have joined together to set up this site for online donations.
Additionally, donations can be mailed or dropped off directly to:
Steve Bierle Family Fund
c/o First Interstate Bank
Gardiner, MT 59030
If your heart is leading you to give in this way, our deepest thanks on behalf of Sandy and her family.
Sandy Bierle (Drew, Ben, and Shane)
Gardiner, MT 59030
Don and Vernee Bierle
27022 Rolling Thunder Lane
Sioux Falls, SD 57108
Brad and Sarah Bierle (Joshua, Jacob, Tessa)
2000 South Sycamore Ave.
Sioux Falls, SD 57110
**Please note, we will receive this mail when we return home in early summer
Brad and Sarah Bierle
c/o Alliance Academy International
Juan Jose Villalengua 789
Quito Canton 17-11-06186
**please note, mail to Ecuador arrives in approximately 3 to 5 weeks
Comprehensive story of Steve’s life – Argus Leader
Remembering Steve Bierle – ABC Fox Montana
NBC news story – read it here.
CBS News feature about Steve, please click here.
ABC Fox Montana story is featured here.
Please feel free to share your thoughts, comments, encouragements, and memories of Steve in the comments.
Steve will be greatly missed but we are thankful to know that he is safe at home in the arms of his Savior.
Held tightly in the arms of our Savior,
The Bierle family