Moody Bible Institute Student Parker Thayer with the Lord

17 August, 2020

Dear Moody Family,

I am writing you today with some sad news and a very heavy heart. Parker Thayer, a recent Moody Bible Institute student, went to be with the Lord suddenly on Friday, August 7. Parker and his family were vacationing in Arizona and he was the victim of a drowning accident.

Many of you knew Parker. He was not intending to return to Moody this fall, but was planning to return to MBI after a year off to complete a degree in Intercultural Studies. His desire was to be a missionary in Thailand or Burma.

Please be in prayer for those who knew and loved Parker, including his father, Don, mother Susan, brothers Nick (wife Dayna) and Isaac, and sister, Sammi. The Thayer family lives in Poncha Springs, Colorado, where his father is the senior pastor at Grace Church in Salida.

Below is a message written by Parker’s father, Don, expressing some of his thoughts that describe his deep faith, as he deals with his loss. I believe this will encourage you.

This morning I sat next to the pool where my son, Parker, died. I watched the stars in the sky fade as the sun came up. The silhouette of the mountains was so sharp against the blue of the sky. The morning was cool and calm ahead of the heat that I know will soon come in the Arizona desert. There’s a fountain by the pool and the sound of the water is so refreshing. In the peace, pain and beauty of this setting I had a few thoughts.

My Parker is gone but I know he is with the One who made everything I’m seeing. Not because of some fairy tale faith but because of rock solid faith. The God who made the sky, stars, mountains and my Parker is real. He loves us. Parker loved to tell people God loved them. This same God also lost His son. He sent His son Jesus to live, teach, love and die for the sins of every son and daughter. Jesus died on that cross not to build a religion but to save people from sin. Here is where is gets really good. They buried Jesus in a tomb. Jesus’ followers were so confused and scared. How could their God die? Death is scary and confusing. It hurts so much. However, this time death did not win. The grave could not hold Jesus. The stone was rolled away not so Jesus could get out but for us to see in. “He’s not here, He is risen just as He said”. That day, death died. Sin and Satan ran for the hills because Jesus is alive!

So as I sit here in this place where my son died, I’m so sad but also at peace because Parker knew Jesus. Ohh he was not perfect and sinned like we all do. He lived like a fire. He could burn you and warm you. He was beautiful and tragic. He burned high and too fast. But, my Parker loved Jesus so much. He knew Jesus loved him and saved him from his sins. And, he would want you to stop right now and do one of two things.

If you’re a Christian and not walking with Jesus fall on your knees now and surrender fully to Jesus.
If you’ve never given your life to Jesus... give it now by simply saying Jesus save me.
Let me also add that my Parker was never really mine. He was and is God’s. God made him. God blessed us all with nearly 20 years of fear and fun filled Parker life. I believe 20 years with Parker equals 100 dad years. God brought His Parker home last week. I’m at peace even though I hurt so much. Why? How? Because I know and love Jesus too. He saved me from my sins and loves me. And, one day I’ll worship Jesus with Parker. 

If you’ve read this please know that God is good even if this does not seem good. God wastes nothing even though this may seem like a waste. Parker would tell you all to stop crying about me, get off your butts and start telling people about Jesus. So don’t waste this! 

I love you and miss you, Parker...see you when Jesus calls me home. Till then I’m going to tell everyone I can about Jesus!

Love and Grace,
Parker’s Dad

Parker's memorial service will be held on Saturday, August 29, at 10 a.m. Mountain Standard Time, and will be live streamed on the Grace Church Salida YouTube page.

The Thayer Family is honored to share that a Parker Thayer Memorial Fund has been set up at Grace Church to purchase a rice field for Seed of Hope Ministries in Thailand for $40,000. Parker was tremendously impacted by his three trips to Seed of Hope. For more information, please contact Grace Church at (719) 539-2693 or

Our hearts grieve with the Thayer family and those who knew and loved Parker, but as God’s Word says, we do so “with hope.” The family has requested we pray that through Parker’s life and death people would come to know the Lord Jesus Christ and serve Him with a whole heart.

If Student Development and/or Moody’s counseling services can be of support to you during this time, please feel free reach out to us at (312) 329-4476.


Tim Arens

Vice President and Dean of Student Life