Dear Karisse,

Dear Karisse,

It’s been 25 days since you’ve left us and are with Christ in Heaven. I imagine you sitting in a huge, golden chair next to “the big” guy, sipping tea and laughing about some inside jokes you have with Him, laughing like you always do. I’m writing to you today because for the first time, you didn’t cross my mind today. And that bothered me.

Even when your name would come up in conversations in passing, people’s reactions were not what I expected’ their responses were short and very matter-of-fact. Maybe they were hiding their pain, I don’t know but that also bothered me. I know that you’d understand each person and how they are dealing with the loss of you and you would be able to pinpoint what’s going on.

I know that I shouldn’t idolize you or any person for that matter but it made me stop and think about you today. When you passed, I couldn’t believe it. Just a few days ago you had posted a picture of yourself sitting on a hospital bed, flashing a bright, big smile. You even wrote about how you have so many pillows and you love it.

I never knew your smile was you being strong for me, for your thousands of friends online who were monitoring your progress in the hospital and ultimately, you were being strong for yourself. I thought that just as I had seen and heard of you going to the hospital many times before, that you’d be out in no time. I had no idea that I would never talk to you again.

If I had known…

If I had known the last time I talked to you was through a simple Facebook comment when you commented on my Europe vacation pictures, I would have CALLED and shared in detail the places I had gone that you had been to just that year. I would have told you I really appreciate the person that you are–the joyful, spirited, and strong example you are in my life.

During the three years I knew you, you never once said a discouraging word, even a look that made me think twice about myself. You were always encouraging, always ready to listen, and always kind.

It’s been 25 days since you’ve left us and gone to Heaven and I’m really happy that you’re no longer in pain but man– I miss you. I feel selfish because I need someone like you in my life– to call when I don’t know how to deal with work stuff, to confide in if I did something terribly awkward and embarrassing.

너무너무 보고싶어, Karisse. I’ll be attending your memorial in Los Angeles with your YWAM family on June 28th. I can already imagine that when I go there, there will be lots of tears, lots of laughter, and lots of warmth because that’s the legacy that you have left– a legacy of life instead of death and of hope and not despair. I love you and I can’t wait to see you again in Heaven.

Love Your Friend,


| You & Me July 2013 |

Karisse Joy Schilling

Karisse was an abolitionist, missionary to 27 countries, author, advocate and mentor. It was her dream to see the end of slavery in her lifetime. There are mroe slaves now than in all the years of the slave trade combined. One of her favorite quotes on slavery was by abolitionist William Wilberforce: “You may choose to look the other way but you can never again say you did not know.”

She started an anti-trafficking department at Youth With a Mission in Los Angeles where she got many people involved through training students and traveling to speak. She was a supporter of the International Justice Mission (IJM). Through her efforts with ICC she attained freedom for a Christian pastor who was being tortured by captivity. She lived out of of her favorite verses, Isaiah 61:1: “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim the freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners..”

She wrote several books, a successful blog ( and published “Creative Quite Time: A Coloring Book for Your Soul” on Amazon. She and Kristel had a painting business, Pretty Philosophie, on Etsy. She had over 20 major surgeries for cancer, not to mention more than 50 excisions for skin cancer. She had a positive attitude that amazed her doctors. She gained a lot of wisdom through suffering at a young age. She wrote:

“Control is an illusion. I am not in control, so I can just relax already! Life is full of simple beauty that we miss because we are too busy being busy. Slow down and smell the roses. God is good even if at times He doesn’t seem like it. There is beauty in pain. There are special things that can only be mined in the pressure and discomfort of living in the unknown.

The truth is this: We are loved by God. We are not alone. He is a God who sees and is with us while life unravels around us. We are beautiful and acceptable as we are. We must learn to recognize when our emotions or thoughts are lying to us, Un-learn those fake lessons and fight to hold onto the truth. I have learned a new way of living. A new way of looking at life. I have learned to not let the little things bother me. I have learned that life is short, and we must live it well. I have learned that Jesus is all there is, and HE is good even when circumstances aren’t. I have learned to take things one moment at a time when necessary. Sometimes I just breathe in and out and call that a successful, Warrior day. 

karisse and girls

May 18. 2016 |

To my sister, my friend…. I’m so happy that you’re no longer in pain and I know you’re having a BIG party in heaven right now! I’ll always miss your laugh, your wisdom, and your fighter spirit. Sometimes when I’m having a hard day, I’ll remember the “power” stances you showed me so I’ll go in front of the mirror, puff myself up real big and do a little roar to pump myself up!

I’ve heard person after person say that you are one of the best people they’ve ever met and from the first day I met you, I knew it to be true. I’m so thankful I came to work at ICC three years ago because I was able to meet you and daily witness the joy that you have in the Lord, despite #stupidcancer. You were a FORCE OF LIFE and I’m so thankful to have had a friend and sister like you in my life. I miss you a lot but when I see you in heaven you will have to show me some new ANGELIC-power moves. 😉 Love you, forever and always Karisse. #HopeforKarisse

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