No matter if it was a cab driver, church pastor, young mother or even a U.S. President, she called everyone “honey.” When she prayed aloud, you sensed she was always eagerly anticipating how the Lord would show up with His joy and presence.
Shannon and I owe a lot to Vonette Bright. Without her consistent, encouraging voice and strong leadership alongside her husband Dr. Bill Bright (1921 – 2003), who co-founded Cru alongside her in 1951, we may have never met. Cru has grown into one of the world’s largest missionary organizations and their commitment to family is much a result of Mrs. Bright’s influence.
It is with sadness, yet with the same eager anticipation which filled her prayers, that we share with you that Mrs. Bright went to be with the Lord a week ago today on December 23. She was 89. Up until recent months, she was still extremely active in the ministry of Cru – speaking, writing books, serving on committees and extending rich hospitality to many staff and guests in her home.
As recently as this November, David saw Mrs. Bright attending a Thanksgiving service at Cru Headquarters. She was in a wheelchair but appeared to be in good spirits.
She passed away peacefully at home in Orlando with her family beside her. Diagnosed with Leukemia only a few weeks prior, her health quickly declined but in her last days she said several times, “I am not sad. It has been such a privilege for me to serve the staff of Cru and to see so many lives changed. I’m not worried about His timing (for death) or His plans. …Oh honey, I am rejoicing!”
One thing about Vonette’s story that always intrigued us concerns her engagement to Bill and a transformation in Vonette’s life. At the time, Bill Bright was a young believer committed to evangelism, but there was significant doubt regarding Vonette’s relationship with Christ. Although a churchgoer, she did not see Jesus as real or personal. As Bill grew stronger in his faith, Vonette saw the train wreck approaching: “I decided that Bill had become a religious fanatic and that somehow he must be rescued from this fanaticism!” said Vonette shortly after their engagement.
If you want to find how the story finally resulted in a very happy marriage and Vonette coming to know Jesus, view the simple website here in her memory. Read Vonette’s story. You’ll be blessed. You can even write a tribute message of your own.
Thank you for partnering with us in 2015. You have made this a fabulous year of personal growth, blessing and great joy in serving the Lord. Happy New Year!