Our Story – Part 1


All of the years growing up I had head knowledge about God but I never grasped how to know Him personally. I considered myself a Christian because I went to church. But as long as I could remember I felt that there had to be something more.

While in College, I remember several people reading the Bible to me and always left me with the feeling that there was something missing in my life but I was not sure what it was, until Leo and I came here in the States in 1996. We were newly married when we arrived in America. At a garage sale, someone invited me over to Grace Baptist Church in Harlan, IA where Leo and I were invited over to a home for a Bible Study. Mary Lee answered a lot of my questions about the Bible. Then she asked me a question that was never asked to me in the past: “Gladys, where would you go when you die today?”, my response was “Hell”, realizing that I’ve done a lot of “mortal” sins that far outweigh my good deeds. But Mary explained to me in Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Without hesitation, I received Jesus in my heart that night and left her house with full joy knowing that I am heaven bound when I die.

Three months later, as we were studying the Book of Revelations, Mary noticed that Leo was listening intently to our study so she asked him whether he wanted to get saved. He responded “Yes!” Leo became a Christian that night. Since then, God had been working in our lives.

We were transferred to NJ in 1997 and became involved in a Bible believing Church, First Baptist Church in Caldwell were we were discipled. We became more involved in church ministry, grew our relationship with the Lord through personal and family devotions, godly counsels and fellowship with other believers, and of course life learning experiences of blessings, triumphs, adversities, dead ends, difficulties, and plenty of mistakes.


Sept. 5, 2010, 7:45 PM. Shortly after the evening service, we all decided to stay outside the parking lot. I was talking with Elmo Compton and Leo was enjoying his motorcycle ride around the rear parking lot of St. Aloysius Church. Elmo and I heard a crash. I thought nothing more of it expecting Leo to walk back with a few scratches. As I waited, I heard police and ambulance sirens, still with full hope that Leo would be well. I recalled crying out to God with Venus like we’ve never cried before. Thereafter, I remembered being interviewed by the police and letting me know that he would be airlifted to University Hospital in Newark. In the waiting room, Christian friends came, held my hand, hugged me, most of them speechless. An hour later, I saw the doctor coming towards me in the hallway; not wanting to hear the word “death” from someone else I immediately asked the doctor “Please don’t say anything but Is it the worst possible news you would tell me?” He nodded.

John Crombie, a friend from church, brought us to the Bulka house where my kids were. The house was packed with supporting Christian friends. I went upstairs to see the kids (Dylan-11, Lauren-10, Darryn-5, Leilani-3, Duke-3 months) not knowing what to say. All present in a room happily eating burgers and fries. I gathered them close to me and said “I don’t want you to get mad at God at what I’m about to say, but Daddy is in heaven.” No conversation after that, just pain, a lot of pain.

OUR BLESSINGS: I would like to include a portion of our Thank you letter sent in January 2010 to the many people that supported us to remember God’s goodness:

It’s only been 3 months but as I look back and start to count my blessings, I see God’s provision. Projects that Leo left off were completed: Garage, shed, and part of my house have been painted, driveway has been paved, patio has been de-cluttered and cleaned, outdoor steps can now be stepped on safely, windows and doors fixed, leaking radiator fixed. To mention a few, many unexpected blessings came our way: Cards and sacrificial monetary gifts were received, groceries were delivered, laundry washed and folded (still is by one busy Mom!), house has been de-cluttered and cleaned, apple trees pruned, grass mowed, batteries replaced, baby sitting provided. Friendships and prayers felt. God has used this tragedy to bring 4 souls to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. And what about God’s promise that He will be the father to the fatherless: Yes, Dylan was taken out for lunch with free tickets to the Mets game, Lauren was taken out to shop, Leilani and Darryn had numerous play dates, transportation provided to different activities. They had the opportunity to visit UPS Parsippany where Leo used to work and met Leo’s Supervisors, Managers, co-workers and experienced a little bit of what their father would do in the morning at his workplace prior to heading out to his route. All of them were taken out for a meal. We celebrated all of our birthdays at the Bulka residence; dinner and gifts provided for. And many, many more. My children know that they are loved, cared and prayed for.

Life goes on and we are slowly, very slowly getting back to our routine. We still live in the same house full of Leo’s memories. By God’s grace and provision, He has allowed me to stay home and continue to homeschool my children and build a closer relationship as a family. It is by your love, friendship and prayers that my children are able to cope and continue with life. We laugh and cry together as we visit places and restaurants that Leo so often loved to bring us. It is so natural for us to talk about Leo’s favorite food, favorite places to eat and shop, his favorite music. Leilani would often say with a smile “I have 2 daddies, God and Leo. He passed away Sept 5 and is now in heaven with Jesus”. She also mentioned that she dreamed that she saw Daddy in Patch the Pirate Club. Darryn said that when he goes to heaven he’d shout “Daddy! I love you oh I miss you Daddy!” like he would when Leo comes home from work. No longer do I hear Darryn and Leilani ask the question: “What time is he coming home?” as we await Leo’s return from work. Duke, who is turning 6 months soon, has been a joy to the whole family as we see him grow, smile, and interact. God has opened up doors where my children can participate in activities I know Leo would have wanted my children to be involved in. With fees waived, Dylan and Lauren are back in the swim team, Darryn and Leilani are taking swim lessons, Lauren is taking piano lessons and Dylan and Lauren are taking guitar lessons, and both are involved in coop where they have met new friends and Godly teachers.


Our strength and our firm foundation for our hope is the Bible. We rest in many of God’s promises. We believe that God’s grace is sufficient. My children and I know that our earthly separation is temporary and look forward to seeing Leo someday in heaven because of Jesus Christ, our Savior.

Psalm 68:5 A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he [it is] that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.


Please read and believe the following statements from the Bible, and accept Jesus Christ today.
A. Recognize you are a Sinner: Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
B. Realize HE died for you: Romans 5:8 “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
C. Repent: Isaiah 55:6-7 “Seek ye the Lord while He maybe found, call ye upon Him while He is near: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”
D. Receive JESUS as your Lord and Savior: “But as many as received Him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” John 1:12

If you want to receive Christ as your Savior, would you in simple faith call unto Him?
Lord Jesus, I ask You to forgive my sins and save me from eternal separation from God. By faith, I accept Your work and death on the cross as sufficient payment for my sins. Through faith in You, I have eternal life. Please give me the strength, wisdom, and determination to walk in the center of Your will. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

If you have prayed this prayer, you have made the best decision you will ever make – one that will change your life forever! Please let us know by emailing us at gladshort@hotmail.com so we can rejoice with you.



Psalm 127:3-5 Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.