Monday, March 31, 2014

This isn't our home..

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.”- Eph. 1:3-5
It has taken me awhile to put this post up... but I share it with all my heart. 
Wednesday March 12th, at 2pm I received a call that I will never forget, “Jesús went home to be with the Lord.” I happened to be in a restaurant with a friend, I looked at him and said I needed to go to the car. When I got to the car I couldn’t stop sobbing- my heart was broken, how could my best friend be gone? How could someone I love so much be gone? For those of you who don’t know who Jesús (Chuy) is: let me share with you a story.

In the summer of 2007, I first came to Tijuana with my church group and fell in love with Mexico. At Sergio’s house, where groups stay, were also living 5 young men. One of them being Jesús. We became friends that first year, he was a young man full of life! In the next year, he became ill with kidney failure. When I found this all out, my heart broke in two and I couldn’t stop praying for him, and in all honesty I didn’t know him very well yet but he was special in my heart. When I moved to Tijuana in 2009, Jesús and I became very close… I started to help him a lot in his illness—taking him to the hospital, buying special food or medicine, visiting him, spending time with him. Through the years our friendship grew and he became someone that was always encouraging me in my work for the Lord. He was struggling and waiting each month for a transplant- for answers. We would take him 3 times a week for dialysis to the hospital for the last 5 years. Throughout all of this, watching his faith increase and his love for Christ beam from him was a true honor. When I would leave Tijuana, to visit home or to serve in Africa, one of the hardest people to leave was Jesús because I didn’t know if he would make it. It was a roller coaster ride of emotions that is for sure! 
This last January the Lord finally opened the door for Jesús to receive a new kidney; his younger sister was going to give it to him. The transplant was in place and we were all praying! Everything went great and he was getting better it was the miracle he had been waiting for, for 6 years! Because he was so delicate, I only got to see him once through a window, and I remember him beaming as he stood there with a medical mask on- I could tell he was smiling through his eyes. He was making fun of me and I couldn’t believe how good he looked! I was so happy for him. We would talk on the phone daily for a while and then every other day—it was wonderful to hear his voice. At the end of February he started to have a lot of pain, he went back into the hospital and we would talk some. Then, he stopped answering his phone and we got the news that his body was rejecting his new kidney and he was back on dialysis. He wasn’t doing well. We were all in constant prayer and I would call his mom to see how he was, he was in the same state—delicate and fading. Then in the morning on the 12th of March he went home to be with his Savior.

The viewing service was a couple of days later and Sergio asked me to sing and play guitar. I walked in and seeing his family was difficult because of the pain they were feeling. I prayed a lot to make it through the songs; they were two songs that Jesús and I used to sing together. Sergio had me say a few words as well, which I wasn’t prepared for but God was at work. Through each testimony and song that night you could feel the presence of the Lord fill that room. Seeing him in the casket was difficult and I kept thinking oh how I wished that we could have been able to speak in his last week of life. His mom spoke; she told us how in his last days he wanted to thank everyone who had been beside him through it all and especially those in prayer and support. And that he was going to be dying—he couldn’t breathe anymore and he knew he was going to be with the Lord. Hugging his mom and sisters they thanked me and told me how much he had loved me. I kept thinking, I am the one who should be thanking him… I told his mom how bad I felt that I couldn’t speak to him in his last week, she shared that he would always ask if I had called her to see how he was and that he was thinking of him and making sure I knew what was going on. The next morning we buried him, things are so different in Mexico. We watched as they put the dirt on top of the casket and put the wooden cross in front of the grave… the whole process was extremely difficult. Watching his mom kneel in the dirt at his grave just sobbing, longing for him to come back, broke me to pieces. I just held his sisters as we sobbed together missing someone we loved so much. 

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” –Galatians 6:9-10

Through all of this, God was at work in the hearts of the ones that loved Jesús; he was a testimony that changed lives for the kingdom of God. It was such an honor to be in his presence as long as we did have him. In thinking back through all of the years, I do know that working along side Jesús in his illness and serving the Lord with him was one of the biggest reasons, I believe, God brought me to Tijuana. Please continue to pray for his family and all of us who loved him so much, to have peace and that Christ would fill us in this time of pain.

I know the Jesús would want me to thank each and everyone of you who have prayed and supported him throughout the years; you made a difference and were a blessing in his life and his family. Thank you so much for all of your support and prayers for me as well. I know the reason I am getting through all of this and even able to get out of bed, is from the prayers that others are saying on my behalf.

Through everything that happened, I know with all of my heart that my friend is with His Savior and they are dancing together. He fought for a long time but now he is finally completely healed and home! And I will miss him everyday but I praise the Lord that when I go home to Heaven, Jesús will be there to greet me along side the King of Kings. 

“Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves Me.” - John 12:26