Saturday, January 13, 2018

We Love You BIGGER!!!

There are so many things that I could say about our Grandpa... But I don't think you could ever come up with enough words to accurately describe him. So I thought I would use the words of several family members to give those of you who never met him a glimpse into what made him such a special man.

"A man of incredible kindness - he made all 18 grandchildren feel like his favorite. A man of great patience - he not only taught me math but instilled a love for learning! A man of solid determination - he was willing to attempt difficult things in order to serve others. A man of amazing compassion - he would always have time for little ones or people in need. A man of countless prayers - he prayed for his family by name daily and loved to share the stories of God's goodness. A man of amazing humility - he admitted his fears to a granddaughter and together we learned what it really meant to trust Jesus. One week ago we were standing together, smiling for the camera + sharing laughter + creating memories. Today Grandpa is enjoying the beauties of heaven + our Savior Jesus. I can't even begin to find the words to describe the incredible impact of his life on mine, but may his legacy live on forever in the lives of those he left behind!! I love you BIGGER Grandpa! See you in heaven someday!"
- Ruth (Wissmann) Bourlier

"Some men leave their mark on the world though great earth shattering victory's and others on the hearts of countless individuals by living victoriously in the daily habits of life. This week I've been trying to find the right words to write but none seem just right. Grandpa, you taught me what unconditional love looks like in daily life. You found joy and laughter in the little things and embraced every opportunity to learn and grow. You taught us to always trust Jesus and h...onesty shared your journey. You didn't mind a little girl tagging along with you in your work, but seemed to enjoy experiencing the wonder of life together! Nothing or no one went by you without being notice. You will be missed deeply, and while my heart is hurting I am so thankful for the promise of heaven and not only to know you as Grandpa but as a best friend. I love you bigger!!"
- Elizabeth Wissmann

"It’s hard to think about the fact that just one week ago He gave me one of his big hugs and said “take care of that little one, mama” as we parted ways at the wedding. It’s hard to imagine that he is no longer here with us on earth, but is walking the streets of Heaven with Jesus. I will miss his sweet teasing and charming sense of humor, the sparkle in his eye and his big grin as he handed me one more chocolate chip cookie...and then another, and the hugs he gave as he said “love you bigger.” He was so special, and was always more than just my husbands Grandpa, because he treated me as if I was one of his own grandchildren. I will cherish the memories I have of him in my heart forever and I am extra thankful that my husband has so much of his Grandpa Hager in him."
- Kori (Knuth) Wissmann

 "Grandpa, words can't express how much I'll miss the twinkle in your eyes. Your warm bear hugs. Your charming humor. You invested into my life in a million ways and I count you as one of my very best friends. I will always love you bigger!!"
- Rachel (Wissmann) Busenitz

"I’ve been trying to find the words to tribute the life of my grandfather but I can’t seem to narrow it down. You see, I am lucky to have so many memories with my grandparents and the beautiful family they built but what stands out the most to me are the things I observed when you didn’t know I was watching. The amount of love and respect in your eyes when you looked at Grandma, the kindness you’d show to complete strangers, your work ethic not only in providing for your famil...y but in volunteering as well. His mentality to never give up on anyone or anything spoke volumes to who he was. He could literally find treasures in anyone’s junk and he did that a little too often. No item or relationship was invaluable to him. If it wasn’t working it just needed some elbow grease and a little TLC. Thank you for always seeing the potential in all of us and putting in the work to nurture our relationships. While my heart is hurting from the loss I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to learn and grow from your example. Love you bigger grandpa!"
- Jenna (Hager) Christoffer, our cousin

"I've never been good at finding the words to express myself. Especially when the emotions run deep. But how can anyone ever put into words all that you mean to me. Over the years you have taught me so many things from riding bike to driving a skid steer. But more than that you've taught me the importance of patience, selflessness and unconditional love. You will always be missed and our memories treasured. I love you bigger and look forward to seeing you again someday!"
- Susanna Wissmann

"The kindest man I ever knew, the biggest heart one ever did have, the deepest love for those he knew...that only begins to explain the gift I gained in this Grandpa, by marriage. I've never known someone to make each person he encountered feel SO special!! Heaven gained one incredible guy last night, but it's left a gaping hole in all of our hearts, who loved him here on earth. We will miss you, Grandpa!! I was blessed to have known the man of integrity you were, my kids lives were richer because you were in it, and I look forward to the day you can give me a grand tour of what's beyond those pearly gates! I know you'll have found all the best spots, and have lots of stories to tell. Your legacy will far outlive your lifetime!!"
- Abi (Rehm) Wissmann

"Humility, integrity, and encouraging others. Just a few of many qualities my Grandpa taught me by example. I’ll always love being named after one of my best friends. I’m going to miss you in a million ways, but especially our talks about the projects we were working on, or the ideas we wanted to try. Your example to put others first is something that will challenge me for the rest of my life. Love you Bigger! See you in heaven! II Timothy 4:7-8"
- Stephen Gerald Wissmann

"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,
And He delights in his way."
Psalms 37:23

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

In Loving Memory

We cannot say Thank You enough for all the love and prayers. It has been a hard start to the new year, but we are so grateful for all of your support and God's faithfulness. He is good, all the time!
The funeral will be Saturday morning. There have been many tears shed as we look through pictures and talk about the wonderful memories we've made together. Grandpa and Grandma have had such an impact our lives. We feel so blessed and humbled to have such a legacy. We are so very grateful for the years we had with Grandpa and look forward to seeing him again in heaven.

Grandpas life was one of service.
- Serving on the front lines during the Korean War
- Driving school bus routes for 25 years
- Hauling milk for  41 1/2 years
- Active member of their church
- Volunteered with the Fire Department
- Created and volunteered hours of service for a flag display at the cemeteries
 - Building houses
- Founding member of Castalia Tractor Days
- Collected Allis Chalmers tractors and toy trains (as well as other things)
And kept busy in his free time with woodworking, architecture, drawing, cookie and cake decorating, gardening and making maple syrup.
But first and foremost came people. Meeting new people, staying in touch with old friends, swapping stories, joking and teasing. He was a delight to all who knew him.
The final thought that Jerry wanted to leave with his family is this:
“Love one another and stay in touch with each other.”
“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."
John 15:12

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Grandpa Hager

There are some people on this earth that make such an impact, you wish they could be a part of it forever. Yesterday morning we lost not only a dear dad, grandpa and great grandpa, but a best friend to all of us. He was no ordinary grandpa and we will miss him more than words can express! Someday we will see you again in heaven and I cannot wait to be wrapped up in one of your giant hugs, hear your deep laugh, look at you in the eyes and say one more time “I love you BIGGER!” We would greatly appreciate your prayers during this time for our Grandma Marlys Hager and the family.

"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,
And he delights in his way."
Psalms 37:23

Mr & Mrs Matthias Wissmann

They're married!!!

We are so thrilled for Matthias and Michelle! The weather was cold, but everyhing else on the wedding day was delightful. I am looking forward to sharing more pictures with you all!!

"Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good."
Psalms 135:3

Thursday, December 28, 2017

A Darling Equation

1 + 1 = 3

We are so thrilled to share that the Lord is adding a precious bundle to Andrew and Kori's home.
We can't wait to meet this little one in June 2018!

I will praise You, 
for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; 
Marvelous are Your works, 
And that my soul knows very well." 

Ps 139:14

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Matthias house

Matthias bought a beautiful home in Seward, NE, but before the wedding there were some cosmetic changes that he wanted to make in the house. Take off the popcorn ceilings, take out the carpet, put in new floors, new counter tops in the kitchen, paint the cupboards, a new coat of paint on everything, new trimming. Hmm, that's starting to sound a bit like a fixer upper project. Eventually he will take out a wall, but I think he is going to save that project for after the wedding. 

We've been busy getting ready for Christmas and family coming into town, but we try to pop over and help on the house any chance we can!

Charissa thoroughly enjoyed this job!

We put up plastic so we could work on the ceilings.

Can't wait to see you and Michelle happily moved in!

"He brought out His people with joy,
His chosen ones with gladness."
Psalms 105:43

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Christmas Cookies

Winter evenings are one of my favorite parts of the Christmas season! When we were in Florida we had a free evening to spend with some friends and so we decided to make the most of it. Because Christmas is just around the corner we decided to have a cookie decorating contest! Some of y'all probably do that every year but getting everyone involved was a first for us.

We mixed up a batch of our favorite sugar cookies, (Which just happens to be our Grandma's recipe.) cut out the shapes, let them cool and then the fun began!

We just had basic white frosting so that it would take more creativity to decorate the cookies. Or maybe it was because we forgot to pick up food coloring! Either way, we got out the sprinkles and candy and the contest was on!

The end product!

If you are looking for a fun way to build relationships, make memories and don't mind a bit of a mess. I highly recommend this! We had a lot of laughs and all the parents enjoyed walking around and judging (or was it sampling) the cookies.

"Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God."
Matthew 4:4

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Florida in December

About two weeks ago we left home for a trip south. We usually don't go to Florida until February, but there was a Gospel Express ministry going into prisons in December.  So we took a little pre-Christmas tour.  Since there was work in the fields that still needed to be done at home, we left on our first trip without Matthias.  This meant that we had to practice every chance we had on the way down since he plays a major role in our music! 

Ready for our first service! We had the privilege of singing at 3 different prisons while we were  there. The first few concerts were stretching for those that had to step up into Matthias' part, but God gave grace!  We pray that He was glorified and used the music and message to work in the men's hearts.

Then we went down to Orlando which is one of our favorite places to visit, mostly because our brother Andrew and his wife Kori live there! It is so good to be with family!  We also had the privilege of singing at First Baptist Winter Garden, a delightfully friendly church.  We greatly enjoyed their fellowship before and after the service.  The church's stately 1800's brick building was a fabulous venue in which to worship.   We also were blessed to share at chapel for Foundation Academy the church's high school.  Several teachers told us that this was, for many of the students, their first introduction to bluegrass music!  It is a wonderful venue to share the Gospel and to lift hearts in praise to God.

When we drove home we stopped by Branson for a bit, because it has been a second home to us. It was extra special having Andrew, Kori and Matthias join us for those 2 days.

As we traveled home in the bus we started talking about life. Our goals, our concerns, and what really is important. We are so grateful for where God has put us and for the people He has placed in our lives. But we want to do more than just have fun together, we want to make a difference! And so as we finish up this year and look forward to 2018, we are praying that God will give us an outward focus. That He would do the work in our own lives, so that we could reach people in need. That we would serve with love and sincerity, that we would sing for His glory and share what He has done in our lives. We don't want this blog or the music we sing to be about us. We have our struggles just like the next family. But we serve a great God and that is worth sharing!

"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12 :1&2

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


I know the blog has been quiet for a little while, but I am going to do my best to change that! Starting with our Thanksgiving. We spend a couple days up in Iowa at our grandparents house. Seriously, it is the best place to spend Thanksgiving! Our grandparents are some of the sweetest people you will ever meet and we absolutely love every moment we get to spend with them.

We were all busy in the kitchen and enjoying lunch so much that I didn't get any pictures of Thanksgiving day... But I got some of us helping around the farm the next day!

Grandpa and Grandma's garden produces some of the largest, most delicious veggies! Or maybe Grandma just knows how to cook them perfectly. But harvest is over now so we helped winterize the garden.

Enjoying the beautiful sunshine in November.

Helping Grandpa put a floor in his greenhouse.

This is a pretty common sight on Saturdays in the fall. The Husker football team didn't do very well this year. But we still wore red and cheered them on. Hopefully next year will be better! 

When we arrived home we sat around our dinner table and made our traditional list of what we are grateful for in the year 2017. The list was long and we were once again blown away by God's faithfulness and kindness in the good times and in the struggles. I think top on the list was the power of the gospel and the truth of God's Word. It is truly life-changing!

"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
and into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name."
Psalms 100:4

Thursday, November 23, 2017


This is a busy time of year for our family. Since the crops are out and it is still warm enough to install  the underground irrigation systems the guys have been putting in huge weeks trying to get as much done as they can! 

Everyone comes home tired and sore, but that makes us look forward to the weekend that much more! 

"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might."
Ecclesiastes 9:10