Monday, May 31, 2010

and another thing...

Even in his death, God is using Andrew to teach me something.

I am convinced that God will never replace Andrew - there will simply be nobody to replace him.
God isn't making people as disposable helpers - each is unique, and special.
Andrew was exceptional, but I'll tell you what - Andrew is exceptional, for eternity, and he is so because he embraced his path, his purpose in God.

I am convinced that we will fair well because God will provide -- but He will not replace Andrew.
Instead, in the last day, Andrew will be restored to us and us to him. Thank you Jesus!!

And so, our grief can turn in patient hope...

Christophe Leroy

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Thanks Andrew

You have made an impact on me, thank you for it. I am a different person than I would otherwise be because I knew you. Here are some things that come to mind...

I say things like "You Rock" and refer to being sad as "bummed." I like Jack Johnson, I even pray "The Divine Hours" (although not as consistently as I would like.)

I'm more reliant on Jesus.
Thanks for all the times that you made in your busy schedule to hang out with me. To listen to my problems patiently, never judge, and give wise advice. Thanks for helping me see the underlying fears and false beliefs that were affecting the choices I made. Thanks for helping me invite Jesus to heal some of those. Thanks for your joy, passion for Jesus, and humor.

I'm married.
But it was not a 1 day ordeal with flowers and white dresses. It was listening to Kate and I talked about our fights, while you and Val chased kids around your home. It was praying for our relationship before and after we were married. It was teaching us not to kill each other for our different attitudes toward money. Thanks for showing me what a father and a husband can look like. As Kate and I figure out how we will raise our children, I often ask what would Andrew and Val do?

I'm a leader.
Thanks for teaching me how to lead, and how to do that as a servant. Both for people trying to follow Jesus, and for people trying put away chairs at church. You taught me to encourage, listen, make strategies, trust in Jesus, pray for people I lead.

Thanks for changing me. I am so glad to have known you here.

Enjoy heaven,

Friday, May 28, 2010

Warm Welcome

Andrew extended a warm welcome to me and members of our congregation at Life Church, graciously allowing us to participate in small group leader training at The Vineyard.

Andrew’s generosity, commitment to Christ and the body of believers, and wonderful smile will be fondly remembered and greatly missed.

We extend our deepest sympathies to Andrew’s family and friends. You are in our prayers.


Pastor Eva Clarke


Thankyou Andrew and Val and family for being a living testimony of Jesus , his love, pain , joy , sorrow and hope.

I had only been attending the Vineyard for a short time and Andrew was at the Boston site. I did not have the great blessing of getting to know him personally other than to see him and hear him and Val speak at the church in Cambridge. My life merged with Marianne and Chuck and the story of this man and his life began to unfold more and more before me. It has been my greatest privilege to pray for Andrew and be a part of this journey. It is profound how much someone can affect you in life and not know him well. I have been touched and changed seeing and hearing all he has been and done for others. Andrew's journey and sharing it with all of you has changed me and my life forever. I will only press on with more love, more hope and joy in Jesus name upon this earth , Thy Kingdom Come, Lord, Thy Kingdome Come...

Thankyou Andrew and thankyou Jesus for allowing all of us this precious time with him.

Judy Jordan

Thank You Andrew

We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. ( Romans 12:6-8)

Andrew had a lot to offer. He gived his money and time to charity and organization like Rebuild Africa. He was a friend to many especially my family. Unselfishly, he gave of his time to Val, his kids and others. I still remember when he asked to take Bildine along with his family for apple picking. Bildine still carry that memory today. He did lots of voluntary work. He served as parent helper when I did kids church at the vineyard. He was a peacemaker- Settling disputes among his boys at home and small group members under his supervision. He was a teacher. He taught me Vineyard 201 and I enjoy his teaching. Today I am applying what I learned. That encourages me to understand that he lives on - In me and in every small group leader. He was a minister. I called him my small group pastor. He was a cheerful person, always smiling and giving words of affirmation. I left Boston in 2003. At the time I left, Andrew still look great. I heard about the cancer while in Liberia and pray with all that is in me, asking God to heal and restore Andrew's health. But, today Andrew is asleep. God did not heal his body but instead took him away from the painful body. He is absent from the body and united with Christ 2 Cor. 5:8. As I think about this, I can imagine how happy Christ and the angels must be. Psalms 116:15 say "precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." So, Christ is happy!!! As I mourn, I mourn with this one thing in mind, Eventually, God will put an end to death. Rev. 21:4. While we wait for that great getting up morning, let us work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Thank you God for sharing Andrew's life with us. Thank you Andrew's family for sharing Andrew with us and Thank you Andrew for loving us all. We will miss you.

Bartoe Walker


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Full of life

The night we heard about Andrew's death, Teri and I toasted a glass of wine "To Andrew and Val".  Talking over dinner about interactions we'd had with Andrew, the thing that kept coming up is how we remember Andrew as being full of life.  That phrase really resonated with us, and we shared several memories which fit well with that theme.

Brian Odom

Oh Andrew

It's hard to write about all the ways Andrew's been part of my life. There were all the different classes he taught at the Vineyard, the countless wedding ceremonies he officiated that I attended, the sermons preached, and the leading by example as he shared life's stories with Val during the leading of the Marriage Course. Here are a few specific memories that come to mind:

The first time I met Andrew was in 2001 during my small group that Prashant Murti was leading. I introduced myself to Andrew thinking he was another new person coming to the group only to find out Andrew was observing that night as the Small Groups pastor! (I was still new at the Vineyard at the time).

My first time directly working with Andrew was in 2005 when I was head of the Logistics team at the church and Andrew was one of the main people (in addition to Chi-Ray) overseeing the transition to our new church building. (see accompanying picture as we were touring the construction of the building) I had many conversations with Andrew on the best way to handle all the details of smoothly running our own church as well as how to not exhaust myself in the process. His leadership was invaluable in the important task of taking care of the practical as well as the spiritual needs of people serving. Here is a snapshot from my meeting minutes during that time of tasks to do:

Andrew will take care of how people are doing things, making it more welcoming so people want to serve

I think that sums it up – Andrew wholeheartedly was part of serving the church and meeting people's needs.

Two funny times I remember with Andrew was the time I first started dating my husband and we were walking into church together and were coming in from the parking lot – we were holding hands but when we got closer to the church and I started seeing people (like Andrew) I got embarrassed and let go of my then boyfriend's hand and tried to pretend we hadn't been holding hands. Andrew called me on that and joked with me about my shyness in admitting I was dating (Andrew loved to laugh and have fun!). The other time was when I first visited the Boston site of the church and asked Andrew how things were going as we were walking into service. While holding his cup of coffee, Andrew said, "Great! I love it that I can bring my coffee into the service!" Somehow I think this may have led to the site at Cambridge adopting that privilege when we merged the sites back together… : )

There are moments like these when I just have to laugh at Andrew's candor and good nature. Though I wasn't as closely connected to him and his family, I was definitely touched by his life. While I was looking back on my pictures of events and celebrations at the Vineyard, Andrew is in almost all of them because he was such a huge presence in the church. He will be missed.

Karen Stevenson

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


I remember the Boston Vineyard as a 20 person small group over Pu Pu Hot Pot on Main st. I remember the day that Andrew and Val came to Boston and joined the church. I remember Andrew as a man after Gods own heart, a man that imitated Christ in ways that many of us will never reach this side of heaven.
Thank you to Shanti who so eloquently summarized all of my feelings about Andrew's death and the impact that it brought to me. My heart is poured out for Val and the kids. What glorious promises the word has for those who mourn, for those who have given so much. I cannot understand this, but Val, I love you and am holding you up in prayer.
Let us press on toward the goal that Jesus has promised!
Shannon McDonnell
Rota, Spain

Thank you, Andrew.

Andrew, thank you for your kindness. I remember God used you to bring healing and comfort when you prayed for me after service. You encouraged me that God had good plans for my life.

I wanted you to live longer on this earth, but I imagine that it's better up there with Jesus. What do you think of human life now from heaven's perspective? How does it feel to see and experience God/Love so clearly and be freed from brokenness and sin?

I can imagine you cheering us on to run the race well for our King. Thank you for being an example to us of fighting the good fight. Thank you for being a trailblazer to heaven and giving us the gift of wisdom to number our days. Your life lives on in our hearts and spurs us on.

See you again someday.

- Rusan Symons

A True Gentleman

Our family have crossed paths with the Snekviks Senior and junior over the years.
All of them live out Christ in their lives to the full every day. You can never be around
the family without conversation coming around to Jesus and how he is impacting our lives every day.
Andrew possessed this in abundance - although we did not know him as intimately, he is remembered by our children
as a funny, friendly man ready to listen and include you in a crowd.
I remember entering a room on one occasion, unfamiliar with many there, yet Andrew took time to engage me in conversation and make me feel welcome. That was him all over - in essence, enigmatic, a true gentleman, keen observer of people, and our lives are less enriched because of his passing.
Love abundantly,
The Bareham Family.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

on losing a comrade

i wrote this in an email recently to a friend with a strong faith of her own, who had expressed condolences and shared the fear that came up for her when confronted with young death:

andrew is the third peer we've lost in the last few years. every time i've gone through a range of reactions, including:

1) this place/time sucks. pardon my language, but that's pretty much the sentiment. death, sickness, evil, injustice are all fruits of the kingdom of darkness, which for now we can only see partially vanquished.

2) so my resolve to fight is strengthened. to make sure that i am wholly dedicated to the kingdom of light and love and rescue. this is a day-by-day struggle, to take care of responsibilities that seem mundane while remembering what exactly is eternal: family, friends, neighbors, enemies, and the work of building the kingdom. much of the time i miss it.

3) with the disciples to say to Jesus, "where else can i go? you alone have the words of eternal life." even when i am angry that He didn't save the life of someone i love, and i just don't get his "Human Resources" decisions, i can still only find life in Him. and that is the only way to deal with the misery of loss. He is a good Lord, and He allows me to come angry, discouraged, frustrated, whatever.
someone once shared the analogy of a field commander and a battlefield. He is in charge, and we will will one day win, but there are losses every day. i don't understand His purposes in allowing those losses, but there are mysterious words in Scripture about the power and productiveness of suffering in His kingdom. it is perhaps our most powerful weapon.

4) to seize the day with the ones i love and live every day with beauty.

5) wondering, like you, what suffering lies ahead. my lifeline is to draw closer to Jesus. perfect love casts out fear. He has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and sound thinking. this has been my mantra for many years now and praise God that fear is no longer a dominating presence in my thought life. but i still get harassed with "invitations" to fear and have to keep holding up the truth. my "life verse" chosen by my parents is linked to my name, from Phil. 4: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." this is my prophetic calling, to embrace peace and live in prayer and thanksgiving, come what may.

thanks for engaging on this level of life. it's one of the things i like about you!

peace for today,

Andrew Amigo and Loving Soul

Andrew...... I am glad that I could tell you how God spoke to me many times about your spirit and health. The Holy Spirit woke me up many early mornings and your person came to my prayers.
I have no doubt that you are rejoicing and singing in the presence of the Lord. We will join you in that feast in a short time.
With Love

Andrew was an inspiration

My husband and I met at the Vineyard in Boston. After our wedding, we moved to the Boston site with Andrew and Val and absolutely loved them both as our pastors and leaders. Andrew was an amazing man of God, an incredible father, a personable and attentive leader, an incredible teacher, and a wonderful friend. We have since moved to Portland, Oregon, but think and pray for the Snekvik's very often. Our hearts are broken and cannot understand the loss of such a Godly man. We are sending our love and thoughts to Boston and wish very badly that we could be there with all of you to celebrate his incredible life.

-Judah and Tricia Askew

Never forgotten

I don't really have any specific memories to share, but this is more a personal observance of Andrew's right character. He had a cheerful and calm demeanor, and a friendly smile. I know he truly loved his family and friends, and both cheered and prayed for their successes. He was not afraid to be real and honest about himself. He had patience with me during my time in his and Val's small group several years ago when I was an emotional mess, muddling my way through life. For that, I am truly humbled and thankful.
Well, I guess I do have a specific memory of Andrew. When I was on prayer team at the Boston site, the team would sit in the atrium to pray before the service started. Sometimes Andrew, Val and the kids would come into the building through the door in the atrium. He'd walk by us and say, "Go, prayer team!" He was our cheerleader and he knew we loved him.
As hard as it is to believe that Andrew is no longer with us, I'm at peace because I KNOW he is now resting in God's presence. Amen to that.
Rachel Boyd
Jamaica Plain, MA

Andrew's Legacy

Way back in 2004, a group of us from the college ministry were gearing
up to leave Boston and plant a church together in New York. I was
talking with Andrew about my fears and difficulties about leaving our
wonderful community. He said to me, "Get as close to your friends as
you can before you leave. It's okay to be sad, because you're leaving
as close friends. Don't end your friendships early. Everyone should be
crying at the going away party because everyone is so close."

Andrew invested deeply in his friends. He urged others to be like him.
His grinning face and humorous attitude were contagious. His hopeful
spirit was powerful.

Andrew multiplied himself in the lives he touched. He leaves a legacy
of hope-bringers and friend-makers.

The world needs what Andrew gave. And he keeps giving through the
lives he impacted. He was a special man in a special place at a
special time.

One day I'll understand why God took Andrew. For now I take comfort
that he has joined the could of witnesses -- I imagine him loving
powerfully, boldly encouraging others, worshiping freely and living
fully for Jesus.

Andrew, thank you for everything you gave us.
God, thank you for giving us Andrew.

Gabrien Symons

Memories of Andrew

We never knew Andrew personally, but have had the honor to pray for him during the past two years. We held him up to our Heavenly Father along with Valerie, the boys and his parents. We prayed for remission of his cancer, we prayed for his strength and that of Valerie and the family, we cried when times were difficult and we were joyful with the family when times were good. Mainly we prayed that Andrew and Valerie and the family keep their eyes on God.

Even though we never met any of you in person, we felt close to you as a family. We thank God for giving us this opportunity to be part of your family in a most difficult time.

God is good and gracious and while we sometimes don't understand why things happen the way they do, we know that they are all for His glory. In every way, Andrew honored and glorified God. We pray in the ensuing days that Valerie and the family will come to realize that Andrew was an example to all of us. When life became difficult he put his God and his family to the forefront.

Andrew touched the lives of many and through the internet, we were allowed to be a part of his family, even for a short time. Thank you Lord for sharing him with us.

Lee and Deanna Howard
Hemet, CA

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Legacy of Love

What always stood out about Andrew from the moment we met was how friendly, upbeat and caring he was towards everybody -- friend and stranger alike. He was a kind and loving soul, a daily reminder of God's love and grace. He was a true gentleman in the best sense of the word. Though as much as he loved everybody, nowhere was that more obvious than towards his family. They have suffered a deep loss indeed. You could see it on his face every time Val and the boys walked into the room. It's often said that the will of God will not take you where the grace of God will not protect you -- I firmly believe that and pray that now. Let's bring forth many people to protect, encourage and support Val, Chuck and Marianne as they care for and watch over Sam, Stephen and Mark for all their days. It's said that the keys to happiness are to live well, laugh often and love much; Andrew did that in abundance which is why he'll be sorely missed. Memories of life and love shared become a legacy of love, comforting those left behind.

Jen Morris

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Remembering my friend

My fondest memory of Andrew is that of playing basketball with him, and all of our sons after church at BFIT. We usually went out back to look for our kids who had wandered out to the court after service. inevitably, we would be sucked into a game that would consist of me and Andrew against 5 screaming, wild-eyed, energetic boys who would have us both huffing and puffing in a matter of minutes!

When I shared the news of Andrews passing with my sons, my youngest's face quickly went from sad to relieved, as he stated "Well he's in heaven right? So we get to see him again!" Out of the mouth of babes....

Andrew, you were my pastor, my counselor, and most importantly my friend, and I miss you terribly. My heart is broken for Val and your beautiful boys, who must miss you more than words are capable of expressing. I'm so glad that we know right where you are, and as Grace put it, you are cancer free!!! I can't wait to see you again!

Your friend and brother,

Steven Baronian

Remembering Andrew ......

Andrew, I didn't know you for far long enough, but you made an instant and lasting impression on me. Today my heart hurts -- for the loss of you, for the grief your wonderful family must now endure and for the void your passing will leave. Although your presence will always be sorely missed, our caring community will draw close to surround and support your family while the rest of us draw consolation from knowing that you are now exactly where you are meant to be. It's been a long and well-fought battle for you, but now is the time to claim the rest you so richly deserve. Though I'd long been an interested observer of the Vineyard experience, I might have remained just that had you not provided the impetus that moved me to become a member -- and for that, I can never thank you enough. The saying goes that the measure of a man is taken by the way he reacts to adversity -- when this standard is applied, your worth is thus immeasurable. I'm reminded of something a favorite uncle always quoted to us in times of deep loss -- "Those who remain alive in our hearts shall never truly die." You are in my heart, Andrew -- now and forever.

Jeanne Morris

Brave warrior

My husband and I have prayed for Andrew for almost two years and we know first hand that God is a God of miracles and we stood in faith believing for a miracle as many did but God is sovereign and choose to bring Andrew home with Him. Some day we will know why. Andrew was a great warrior and he tried everything the doctors brought his way, but God's healed him his way and now Andrew has a glorified body and is praising his savior and walking on streets of gold. He is at peace. we will continue to pray for Val and his three sons and his mom and dad.

God Bless, Harry and Gloria Kerr, Gray, Maine

Poem for Those Left Behind

Andrew was my Pastor for but a short time, but I will always remember his warm smile. My family has a poem they share during times of loss, I think everyone will find it touching and appropriate:

Marcus L. Smith

When I must leave you for a little while
Please do not grieve and shed wild tears
And hug your sorrow to you, through the years
But start out bravely, with a gallant smile
And for my sake and in my name
Live on and do all things the same.
Feed not your loneliness on empty days.
But till each waking hour in useful ways
Reach out your hand in comfort and in cheer
And I in turn will comfort you and hold you near.
And never, never be afraid to die
For I am waiting for you in the sky!


The year 2005 is a year that I really got to be inspired by Andrew. I met him at Toah Nipi on a retreat that March. I was just coming to Christ and he was definitely one of those who made the transition a lot easier.
Later that year, he and his father Chuck baptised me.
When I had nowhere to go that Thanksgiving, him and his family allowed me to sit and enjoy the day with them. It was one of the best holidays of my life.
You left big shoes to fill, Andrew, and if more followed your warm example, this world would be a better place to live in.
Stay Blessed,
Damien Moye

Saturday, May 22, 2010

In Loving Memory

Yesterday our dear friend Andrew passed away. Two years ago he discovered he had colon cancer - a rather freakish occurrence in a 36-year old - and yesterday he moved on from a long, hard, fight.

Keith and I have each known Andrew for almost a decade, in many capacities: friend; pastor (who, along with his wife Val -also a pastor- married us); colleague, employer, mentor. I will always remember how real Andrew was with who he was, where he was at... Good day? You'd know it. Bad day? You'd know that, too.

Andrew has three incredible boys (in the picture above he's holding the ultrasound pics of his third), the oldest two of which I spent a good deal of time babysitting during college. He was married to his other half for almost 13 years.

I am grieved for his family that must learn new ways of existing without this amazing figure that has been an ever-present element in life as they know it. I am grieved that Andrew had to suffer as he did before dying. I am grieved for those that so fervently prayed and prayed and prayed, waiting for a miracle healing to occur and feel like they've been failed; or worse yet, that they failed.

For me, though, it's like this: Andrew's death IS the miracle. It's a miracle because no matter what he went through here on Earth, I know it is over now and he is in heaven, with Jesus. There is no reason that we should be entitled to something like Heaven and yet, there it is, awaiting us. Why? Because God is good. And that, too, is a miracle.

This is how I picture Andrew right now: He's wearing a soccer shirt with a ball in front of him, holding a Belgian beer in one hand, standing by the grill. It's a big grill, because, well, this is Heaven... which probably also means it's a big beer. He is smiling hugely, like in the picture above. I can hear him laughing, maybe even snorting, and having fun meeting everyone. He's a total connector, so in about a week's time he will have quadrupled everyone's social network, and he'll have all the newbies acclimated in no time. Because that's Andrew.
Kate Jaggard Tyo

My Friend, Brother, Pastor and Mentor.

Andrew, you mean the world to me.  You have been a brother, a mentor, a friend, a pastor.  Without you, we might not have moved to Boston.  Without your encouragement, I might not have lead a small group.  Without your calling me out, I might not have pastored people. Without you, I would be a much different person.  You believed in me, you encouraged me, you called me out.  For that, I am very thankful.  I love you, my brother.  Our Park Men brotherhood would be very different without your gifts.  Others have learned to play your role, but none does it as well as you do.  You always ask the deeper question about how we're doing.  We have counselors, we have butt-kickers, we have pundits, but you are the pastor of the group.  And I love you for it.  

You are celebrated.  You have touched many thousands, you have changed the lives of many hundreds, you are cherished. You are loved.

I think fondly of the partnership we've had over these years and wish that we would have had more.  I miss you, Andrew.  I love you, Andrew.  I can't wait until I see you again, Andrew.  

Chi-Ray Chien