To all who have prayed for Christian, thank you. Around 8:00 Sunday night, Jesus took Christian by the hand and brought him home.
Our hearts are grieving and battered for and with his family, and so we sit with them and let the tears come.We had the honor and profound joy of sitting beside Christian every day this past week, worshiping and praying with him and his family, as we provided palliative care.
Two days before he died, as we sat in their hut with them, I told Christian that hundreds of people were praying for and loving him, from all over the world...all of these strangers becoming one to storm heaven for him.
He held his face in his hands and wept when he heard of this love.
He leaned back and looked at the sky with tears on his cheek and said, “I belong to Jesus and whatever happens is in His hands.”
I asked him if there was anything he really wanted.
“Ubas at Mangga!” Grapes and mangoes. His mom said he hadn’t wanted to eat in so long and these fruits were too costly for them to afford.
When we brought the fruits to him, he smiled big, and ate them slowly.
As the sun came up the morning after his passing, Francis and I sat again inside that hut. This time, the oxygen tank was shut off. There was a body wrapped in dirty sheets on the bamboo slats and we all sat around it, crying, processing, still.
Sometimes the most powerful ministry you can do is being-with and grieving alongside... Jesus shows us the way.
There is peace here, wrapped around the sadness, and we are held.
Christian is not here. He is whole now, even as we grieve.
We have the beautiful honor of loving and being loved by a lot of incredible ones.. of having deep and lasting relationship with so many who are pushed down and over to the margins of society.
Our days are not measured by how much we did or gave, or by who sees or does not see it, but by the moments we related deeply and shared love. We are who we are and do what we do because we were loved first and want to overflow this great Love.
We sat with our Mangyan friends in Anilao village and Baclayan mountain village this week. We prayed and chatted, squatting together on the ash-covered ground where they had just finished slashing and burning the land and are now planting corn and rice, as their ancestors have done for so long before them.
They were so overjoyed to receive multivitamins, vegetables, and sacks of rice.
None of the women are coming down into town at all for their labors or birth. Pray for them and for us as we may be called for home-births in the remote and mountainous places, with no electricity or running water. My birth bag is packed.
Finally, Thank you to each of you who have given towards continually feeding hungry bellies and hearts, and providing medical care. We are so encouraged, blessed, and blown away by the generosity being shown to our people through you. We are so grateful!
Grace and Peace,