The following poem, written to the meter of  ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, was written by my husband, Andrew R. Backus.

For those who do not know us, it is the story of our lives – the circumstances under which we met, fell in love, and were married. Some may think the timing, circumstances and place where we were married a little odd, but we believe that the hand of God was leading and guiding us and put each of us in the right place at the right time. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8: 28)

Robert Toree Mom - Copy
Robert before his illness

Important Facts:

  • Andy’s first wife Dee passed away on Aug. 25, 2013 of Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) Grade 4 Brain Cancer – a form of Brain Cancer that is always terminal.
  • My first husband Bob Pocza passed away on Feb. 2, 2016 of a blood disease called Myelodysplastic Syndrome after an almost 4 year illness. I was now a widow.
  • On April 18, 2016 My son Robert Pocza was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) Grade 4 brain cancer, the same type of cancer that Dee had. Being a new widow, I moved from my home in Michigan to Wisconsin to live with and help my son, who lived in the Milwaukee area. He passed away on April 6, 2017.
  • Our story is bittersweet, but in all circumstances we know that God is good and does what is best for his children.

Christmas 2017/Epiphany 2018


 Merry Christmas to one, Merry Christmas to all!

And this Christ is named Jesus, as you may recall.

He’s the One God had promised right after the Fall.

He came into our world as a baby so small.

God and man in one person, He paid for all sin,

And He opened up heaven so all may go in.


With this letter we greet you, this man and this wife,

As we share with you things going on in our life:


‘Twas about this time last year that something was brewing,

And in a few months there will be vows renewing!

For you see, there’s a God and He knows what He’s doing.


It was May 22nd of Twenty-Sixteen

That a man and his mother in my church I’d seen –

A new widow from Michigan here for her son

Who had a brain tumor, the same kind of one

That somehow had happened to Dee my late wife –

The kind that ends up with the ending of life.


I offered support to this mom and her son,

For we know that with Jesus all battles are won.

The time went by quickly as we grew together

And they worked through medicines, red tape and weather.


The cancer progressed with its ups and its downs,

While Chris and her son dealt with smiles and with frowns.

In the meantime, my role was to offer support

 As we helped her son Rob who was such a good sport.


But something was happening, to our surprise;

We began seeing love as we looked in our eyes.


Robert noticed it too and began to remind us

That perhaps we should leave being single behind us.


Well, believe it or not, that’s exactly the thing

That transpired, and suddenly Chris had a ring!


Robert tearfully told her it would make him smile

If he with his mother could walk down the aisle.


So we planned and we plotted as fast as we could,

But that doggoned old cancer was up to no good.

Robert moved to a place, Zilber Hospice by name,

Where my wife Dee had been; it was one and the same!

So with God’s guiding hand and beside her son’s bed,

Christine Pocza and Andrew R. Backus – were wed!


Now believe me, the story continues from here;

For the next day we saw Robert’s end drawing near –

The end that without faith in Christ some would fear.

Chris’ son now went home to his Savior so dear.


In church we our vows reaffirmed on May six,

With God’s Word, prayer and song a big part of the mix.

The service by Pastor B. Adams was led;

Robert’s memory made known by a rose that was red.

Sarah Kuerth played the organ, Don Buch us addressed;

With song “You Gift of God” by Chris D. we were blessed.


Since then Chris and I have begun married life

And are making a home as a husband and wife.

We live in the same place as I did before,

And Chris’ sister Barb’s at Clare Meadows next door.

I still do many things such as I used to do,

But a dog, fish and birds are some things that are new!


I would be remiss if I failed to mention –

And bragging and boasting are not my intention –

That my grandchildren now number twenty and eight! *

Steve and Heather bore Theo – last June was the date!

I baptized little Theo at Bash – I was blessed!

And our family still knows “Backus Bash” is the best!

(*Just in case you are wond’ring “What else will he say?”

I can tell you that there is one more on the way!)


We have seen some things change and some things stay the same,

Yet in all of life’s changes, sin’s shame is our claim.

That’s why God sent His Son who is Jesus by Name;

He redeemed us poor sinners, and that’s why He came.

Happy Epiphany from the Backuses!

Andy & Chris, May 6, 2017






Faith, Forgiveness, Trust

For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more (Hebrews 8:12).

In recent months we have heard a lot about the Duggar Family. For those who may not know, the Duggars, Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar have 19 children. They became well known some years ago when their reality TV show began on TLC (The Learning Channel). At that time they had 14 children. They now have 19. In May of 2015 their show was taken off the air when sexual abuse involving their oldest son Josh toward his sisters and several others came to light.
I have always respected Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar for their faith in God and their courage to stand up for what they believe in. It is easy to see that the Lord has truly blessed them and provided them with the means to care for their big family.
I happened to tune in to an interview with Jessa Duggar Seawald and Jill Duggar Dillard after the show went off the air. The two sisters had been innocent victims of their brother’s abuse several years previous. At the end of the interview Jill was asked; do you forgive your brother, and if so were you ever able to trust him again after this incident?
Her answer to this question pleasantly surprised me. It revealed a strong background of knowledge, based on truth, learned from Scripture. I may not have it worded exactly as she said it, but Jill answered; forgiveness and trust are not one and the same. We all need to forgive as Jesus has forgiven us, but trust has to be earned.
Is there someone in your life who has sinned against you? Have you forgiven that person? If not you should. The apostle Paul tells us; Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you (Colossians 3: 13, 14).
It is always easier to forgive than it is to forget the incident ever happened. Sin leaves scars on our hearts and because we are human we can never completely forget. Scars do heal however, and through faith and Prayer God is able to help us forgive and move forward even as the scars remain.
Isn’t it a comfort though, to know that our God does forget!? He promises the repentant sinner that He will remember their sins no more. Our God is an awesome God!
As for the Duggars, no family is perfect. There are problems in the best of families, but when we trust in the Lord and stay connected to Him by faith through His Word and sacraments we are covered by the blood of Jesus. The debt of sin we owe to God has been paid and we are holy in His eyes. So never hesitate to forgive. If it is hard for you to do so, then pray. Ask God to give you the strength to move forward and leave the past behind.
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times? Jesus answered, I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times (Matthew 18: 21, 22).
And remember that trust and forgiveness are two different things. It is okay to forgive, and still remain cautious regarding the behavior of that person who sinned against you. Ask the Lord to guide you into building a new trust with that person. And even if that trust is never regained, the forgiveness should remain true.
Faith, Forgiveness, Trust – Faith in Jesus and a knowledge of what He did for us leads us to forgive others, and forgiveness allows us to build trust.

Gloria Dei!

duggars-01-800The Duggars

Duggar Statement:

We are so thankful for the outpouring of love, care and prayers for our family during this most difficult situation with Josh. As parents we are so deeply grieved by our son’s decisions and actions. His wrong choices have deeply hurt his precious wife and children and have negatively affected so many others. He has also brought great insult to the values and faith we hold dear. Yesterday (August 26, 2015) Josh checked himself into a long-term treatment center. For him it will be a long journey toward wholeness and recovery. We pray that in this he comes to complete repentance and sincere change. In the meantime, we will be offering our love, care and devoted support to Anna and our grandchildren as she also receives counsel and help for her own heart and future. During this time we continue to look to God—He is our rock and comfort. We ask for your continued prayers for our entire family.
(Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar)

Who is the Judge?

"I am the resurrection and the life" (John 11:25)
“I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25)


I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well (John 14: 6,7).

I was recently reprimanded by a friend because she felt I was judging people. Before I go any further I want to say that this is a good friend and I love her no matter what she believes, and she also me. On many religious matters however we have agreed to disagree.

We were discussing the end times which we are living in presently in this 21st century. I commented that I am not fearful of the day Jesus will come back to judge the earth, but I feel bad for the many people who don’t believe in Him because they will go to hell. This fact is very difficult for some people to accept. She looked at me and asked; what about the Jews? Are they going to go to Hell because they don’t believe in Jesus? I answered; yes, if they don’t believe in Jesus they will go to Hell. In response she said to me; do you really feel that you are qualified to be the judge of that?

I am not qualified to judge whether anyone should go to hell. Only God knows hearts. But I know what He says in His word and I take Him at His word. As harsh as it seems, people need to know the truth. In the above verse from John Jesus tells us that we cannot love the Father and yet deny Jesus. In answer to Philips’ request- Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us. Jesus replies; Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and that the Father is in me? (vs. 9,10)

His word is truth
His Word is Truth

Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice for sin when He died on the cross. The animal sacrifices of the Jewish people in the Old Testament were repeated time after time to remind them of the sacrifice to come – that of Jesus, the “Lamb” of God and promised Messiah. He would become the ultimate and final sacrifice. Through His perfect life and innocent death on the cross, He would pay the price for sin one time for all people. For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous [Christ] for the unrighteous [sinful humans], to bring you to God (1 Peter 3:18).

Many of the Jews in Jesus’ day denied that Jesus was the Christ. Their stubborn and proud hearts refused to accept him as the Messiah. This belief or unbelief if you will, has been passed down for many generations. It is very sad because the Jewish people love God deeply and are devoted to Him, but still deny Jesus. Without faith in Jesus, they will go to Hell. We can’t pick and choose what we want to believe from Scripture. We believe all of it or none of it. We can’t love God and yet deny Jesus.

So then who is the judge? Ultimately it is God. I am not judging the Jewish people. I am proclaiming what God says in His word. According to His word the only way to salvation is through His Son, Jesus Christ. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3: 16).

Not only the Jewish people, but all who refuse to believe in Jesus as the promised Savior will go to hell. Our God is a loving God, but He is also a just God. We are sinners and can never meet His demand for holiness without faith in Jesus.

His blood covers our sin.
His blood covers our sin.

His blood shed on the cross covers the dirt of our sin. It makes us holy in God’s eyes and fit for heaven. You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3: 26-28). Are you clothed with Christ by faith? Those who die without the clothing of faith in Jesus are not covered with the protection of His holiness and will therefore be lost.

God has revealed to us in His word what we need to know for our salvation. Many have read it and refuse to believe it, or only believe what suits their lifestyle. There are also many who truly do not know the truth. As Christians it is our responsibility to proclaim the truth of God’s Word. People must first know that they are sinners and in need of a Savior. Repentant hearts will then lead us to share the good news of salvation with them. For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile-the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved…How then can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?…How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news! (Romans 10: 12-15)

Beautiful Feet
Beautiful Feet

This does not mean we should get in peoples faces and tell them to believe or be damned. Rather we should be an example of God’s love through our own faith and actions and never be shy or ashamed to speak up for the truth when opportunities arise. We should be proud to be members of the body of Christ. Jesus told his disciples; whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God…When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say (Luke 12: 8,11,12). These words were spoken for Christians today also.

Will the Jewish people go to hell? According to what God’s word says they will, unless they soften their stubborn hearts and listen to Him. I have no right to judge them or anyone, but I know what God says. I believe God’s word. I am confident in my salvation whether I die today or whether I live until the day Jesus returns. In the meantime I will continue to proclaim the truth which will lead lost souls to Christ. Through faith in His unconditional love and forgiveness, the Promise of eternal life in heaven is theirs.

He is there for you.
He is there for you.

Jesus says; Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne (Revelation 3: 21).

Gloria Dei! Amen.