Sunday Services at 10:00am
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“Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” (Psalm 116:15)
This past weekend, Pastor Justo of the church in Barranca where NewLife sent a mission team last March passed away from COVID-19. He leaves behind a wife, Janeth, three boys, and a thriving church. Iglesia Evangelica Pentecostal Misionera Barranca.
Pastor Justo is the man in the tie on my right
Peru is one of the countries that has been hit the hardest by this global pandemic. Many of the advantages that we take for granted are not a part of life for many down there: social distancing is challenging due to many people living in overcrowded homes and the inability of most of the population to work from home. Many people have to take buses or head to the marketplace every day to find work or buy food for the family due to a lack of refrigeration at home. Even basic hygiene can be challenging in homes that do not have running water. As a result, Peru experienced 93% more deaths between March-May than would have normally been expected in a typical year.
I was blessed to be able to minister at Pastor Justo’s church along with four others from our church and eight others from our sister church, First Church of Wethersfield, last March. Not only were Pastor Justo and his wife Janeth leading a thriving church, but they also were home to a Compassion International project that ministered to children and families in the community throughout the week.
Earlier this spring, I preached through a sermon series on suffering, lament, loss, and trust. I repeated often the four movements of lament: turn to God, voice your complaint, ask boldly, and choose to trust. Please join me in lamenting the loss of Pastor Justo.
Lord, we turn to you because apart from you, there is no solution to the enemy that is death. We are devastated at the loss of this man of God who was dedicated to doing your work in a challenging environment. We mourn for his wife Janeth, for his three boys, and for his church community that was thriving under his leadership. We ask boldly that this loss would only serve to expand your kingdom exponentially, that like a seed falling to the ground, it would cause many others to step up to serve you and to dedicate their lives to you. Lord, please do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine through this tragedy. And please put an end to this virus which has caused so much loss for so many people. In the end, Lord, we put our trust in you. We know that you work all things for good. We know that you have conquered sin and death, and we trust that Pastor Justo is with you. We know that you love his family and church and will continue to do your work in Barranca. Help us, Lord, to give ourselves fully to your work during the days we have, for we do not know when you will call us home. Amen.
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