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The Legacy of a Believer

This past week was a very difficult week for our staff and families in Guatemala. One of our own lost his battle with Liver disease. For many that travel to Guatemala you know and have come to love Sandra and Jackie, and know they are an important part of Clubhouse. Those that have not been with us long may not know that Sandra has been with us almost since the beginning of Clubhouse.

Saturday, Fernando called me to share that Jose had passed away. Carla and I immediately changed our schedules and flew to be with Sandra and her girls on Sunday. When we arrived we went straight to the funeral service. This would be my first Guatemala funeral and I want to respectfully share some of the differences so you can better understand the culture. In Guatemala they do not prepare the body the same as in the US, so the funeral is typically within 24 hours of death of the person. Within a few hours a Receiving of Friends will start, the next morning or afternoon the funeral and burial take place. Immediately following the funeral service, the body is placed in a hearse or is carried to the grave and the family follows behind, walking to the graveside. While at the graveside, the family shares, and the body is laid to rest.

The reason for this blog is not to share culture but to share the legacy of a believer. For years I have known Sandra, Jackie and their family. Obviously, I did not work every day with Jose like I did with Sandra. However, I knew that Jose was a believer and was very strong in his faith until the end. As we arrived, I saw hundreds of people gathered in a small area, and as I looked over shoulders there stood Sandra and her girls. As they brought Jose out to place him into the hearse, Sandra ask Carla and I to walk with her, and referred to us as their family. An honor I will always cherish! As we walked I learned that many that were there were part of their church, former students of Jose’s, and extended family that loved him deeply. As we stood at the grave, Sandra stood and shared and thanked everyone for coming and shared her heart about the love she has for Jose. Then Jackie shared about Jose’s last moments before entering Glory. She said that as they were taking him back home from the hospital (per Jose’s request) that he reached up as though he was taking someone’s hand and he drew his last breath. What an amazing testimony to leave.

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As the funeral ended we were taken to a small room. While in the room with Sandra and the girls I was able to pray with them and share a few thoughts. I wanted to share a couple of things that I had learned about their husband and father during the service. The first thing, they can always know is that Jose is with our Heavenly Father, his life has served as that testimony. Second, the impact that Jose has made on this Earth was shown through so many former students, friends, church family, and others that came to pay their last respects. Third, that the God that created us all is still in control and He will continue to be with them every day. As the weeks go by the pain will get easier, but there will always be part of them that is missing, but that is ok. Because of the legacy and stories that they have they can totally trust and know that they will be reunited in the future.

Death is the harsh reality that this life is so short. In the past few weeks we as a ministry have experienced a lot of death and sadness. However, these things bring me hope. As I look at our ministry and where God has taken us, we as Clubhouse are making an eternal impact. We are seeing lives added to the Kingdom, and this allows for a celebration when those lives are over hear on this Earth. As I look at my own life it is my prayer that like Jose, I would leave a legacy of a believer. When it is my time, I do not want a funeral, I want a worship service because just like I know Jose was doing last Sunday I will be dancing and singing with the King of Kings.

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