These past few weeks have been extremely active. We had US visitors, which was great. They stayed for 10 days and we all had a great time. While they were here, I received an email from an old friend. She said that she had attended a funeral at her former Church, where we met, and had seen some of our mutual friends. It was so great to hear from her! She and her husband are involved in their Church and happy. The only thing was, I couldn't help but wonder about who had died, that would have brought my friend back to her old church. I told Mom about it, saying that I believed that it must have been someone we know. Sure enough, we soon found out that Bro. Morse had died. The Morses have been faithful in their Church for years, and have been to Chile at least twice. Bro. Morse loved missions. We were very sad and are praying for his wife and grown children.
Then, last week, we found out that our dear friend, Pastor Joaquin Hurtado, of South Gate, CA, suffered a heart attack as well. He apparently had tremendous blockage in his arteries, and if not for all the exercizing he did, would have been in Eternity now. We are happy that God has allowed him to continue here with us for a while longer. If anyone is interested, Bro. Hurtado helped to make a video about the history of the Spanish Bible, called "A Spanish Treasure".
So, one dear friend gone, one dear friend stays. Life goes on.....until tuesday morning.
Let me give you some background to this story. We have an Awana-like kids club every Sat. afternoon. A few years ago, a little boy, Francisco, started coming to club. What a disaster! He was uncontrollable. Only Pedro could handle him, so he was always on Pedro's team and on Pedro's lap during story time.
Fast forward to this year. Francisco is older, a bit better behaved. I became his Sunday School teacher a few months ago. He likes to sit next to me, and anticipate everything that I am going to say. I have to ask him if he wants to teach the class, or can I. Then he smiles and is quiet....for a while.
At kids club, we made three posters, which we read aloud every Sat. Here's what they say:
1. What must I do to go to heaven? I must recognize that I am a sinner, I must feel bad about this, and I must want to stop sinning.
2. I must believe with all my heart that Jesus is the only Savior, and that he died to pay for my sins.
3. I must ask Jesus for forgiveness, and invite him into my heart to change my life.
This past Sunday, during the morning service, Neil asked which of the children had been saved. Several raised their hands, including Francisco.
This past Tuesday morning, we recieved a phone call around 6:45 a.m. Not usual at all. I got up to answer. It was Jorge telling us that he had heard on the radio that there had been a fire at Francisco's house, and that two children had died. Neil headed over there to find out exactly what had happened, as sometimes there is misinformation. Unfortunately, it was true. Francisco and his cousin and their great-uncle died in the fire. The whole town was shaken by the news. Francisco had often bugged his folks about coming to church, but they had refused. They were encouraged by our assurance that Francisco indeed was in Heaven. The mother admitted that she had tried to go upstairs to rescue the kids, but her husband had stopped her, because she would have died as well. She said that she knew that if she had died, she wouldn't be where Francisco was. The parents allowed us to hold the funeral at our Church yesterday. The Church was packed to overflowing, (around 300) and there were hundreds outside. The club kids sang, recited Philippians 2:5-11 which was the last Scripture that we had memorized, and they recited the Gospel posters. Neil preached the Gospel and we all sang hymns. The mayor was there as were several politicians, and the press was there. Afterwards, Neil was able to lead one man to the Lord. We pray that the seed that was sown will grow in people's hearts.
Please pray for Francisco's family, that they might be saved. And please pray for Pedro. He is a fireman, and was the first on the scene at the fire. He tried to save him, but could not. I know that the sights and sounds that he heard that morning will haunt him for years to come.