We’ve had a very full four months with a steep learning curve. David has a huge job and there is a part of his job he never had to do until we returned – the logistics of what to do when a colleague dies. Ten days after we returned a colleague who has worked on Bible translation since 1968, died tragically. A few weeks later, a guard at the center where David works lost his baby and almost lost his wife during birthing. A few weeks later, I was notified that my cousin Marcy died suddenly. In March, a colleague had an infection that started in her body that became septic and after a medical evacuation, she died. There have also been children dying, a little boy who is American and his family works for a different organization became ill and died. With the electricity cuts more people have been using candles and the candles have started home fires and people have been killed. There was a brush fire and a village used another fire as a crossfire to protect their area and children who had been playing in the field were caught in the middle.
I once read in a book about living cross culturally that when someone dies when you are far, it doesn’t hit you and you don’t really grieve until you return to a situation where that person is missing from the event. Although we are assured from birth that we will die, it doesn’t make it any easier to accept the loss of life. We are comforted when we know the person has accepted Jesus as their Savior. We grieve from near and far.
13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words. 1 Thesalonians 4:13-18