We want to send you Christmas greetings…as we celebrate together the turning point in history…the astounding entry of Emmanuel…”God with us”…the kingdom of heaven was at hand because the Prince of Peace…the promised Messiah had come…the world was changed forever as he brought “peace on earth and good will to men” especially for all who would receive Him!
This past week we celebrated the life and departure of one of our beloved friends. Exactly two years ago we met William Acevedo in one of our weekly Bible studies…it was a Thanksgiving celebration in the back room of a family who operates a variety store in nearby Guadalupe. I remember before the night was over we gathered around and prayed for Memo because he was having health problems. Soon he went into the hospital and was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer at age 29.
New Friends For Memo
That Bible study opened up a whole new circle of friendships and a very different life from what Memo had known. In answer to our prayers God put a believer in the shared hospital room with Memo…he explained the plan of salvation over and over until Memo understood and received Jesus as Lord of his life. When he returned to the Bible study he told us of his decision and of his new personal faith. From this point on Memo began a very close relationship with his new family in Christ. Soon Memo’s wife and daughter also made life decisions to receive and follow Jesus.
Faith Tested And Growing
Immediately because of his cancer Memo was severely tested and had to learn to exercise his new faith. He faced two years of hospitalizations, surgeries and treatments knowing that if he did not get a miracle his life was over. Hundreds of people prayed for his healing but his physical condition continued to deteriorate. During this time he came often to Sunday meetings bringing with him friends from his past. Eventually, the family had to give up their home and move in with old friends who lived near the hospital. Exactly a year ago Memo and his wife introduced this family to his church family. At Christmas time last year the entire family made decisions to receive Christ…a mother and four boys.
A Year of New Life Studies With Memo
It has almost been a year since the study with Memo and family and friends began. Each week we met and watched as this household started growing in their faith…all of them being tested in helping to care for Memo’s illness. Lots of trials were to ensue as a hospital bed was moved into the house and eventually Memo would become bedridden. About a month ago we all squeezed into to Memo’s room to have our study. From his bed he shared the answers from the lesson he had prepared…looking up scriptures on his phone and reading them to us all. What a great afternoon that was!
Memo Shares His Faith With Luis
Many months ago during treatments Memo met Luis, another young man battling cancer. Luis was so impressed with Memo’s life and faith that he asked if someone could come over to explain the Bible to him. Luis and his wife gladly listened and both prayed a prayer of repentance and faith. Memo was being used beyond what he realized to touch the lives of others. Without giving our time neither friendship nor discipleship will occur. Time must be spent in real life as well…not in just the scheduled meeting times.
Memo’s Last Days Here
In the past month Memo’s pain level continued to increase and he was given greater dosages of medication. Due to the meds being administered he went into a semiconscious state…some of the time he would share things and recognize us…but most of the time he slept. On the 22nd of November he went to be with his Lord.
Memorial For Memo
At the memorial there was standing room only as the chairs filled up with a crowd of people from his past. They all heard of Memo’s life of faith over the last two years. Two men that had worked with Memo shared a Mexican song with the group…before they sat down they said we want to hear more about this new life which Memo received. Could someone come and explain it to us. A meeting with these men was scheduled immediately for this week.
Memo…A Christmas Story
This Christmas will be the first without Memo…but because of his sickness and the faith he received his family and many others now know the Prince of Peace…the Messiah…because God is now with them.
As I shared with a friend yesterday, God allows “some people to be taken early, so others might find Christ before it is too late.”