As many of you know, on December 26, the believers handed out gifts from Faith Bible Church and asked the recipients why they celebrated Christmas. After receiving a variety of responses, the believers gave a short but clear Gospel message at each and every home. However, none of us knew it on that day that Celsa would only have 22 more days upon this earth. Sadly, on January 17, Celsa died due to complications of high blood pressure.
Did Celsa know Jesus as her Savior? We do not know. She had so many opportunities to hear the truth. Our former partner taught the Creation to Christ series in her home many years ago. Celsa, irregularly attended a similar teaching in our own yard in 2018, and every lesson she attended pointed her to Christ. She attended the dedication of Faith Bible Church and the Christmas program, both in December 2019. And lastly, she also heard a short Gospel message on December 26, 2020 when she received her gift.
Upon Celsa’s death, her family made a banner which contained the verses John 11:25-26, “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” What a powerful verse they had printed on this banner! However, this is not a life verse of Celsa or evidence of her personal trust in Jesus. Filipinos usually include a verse on these banners to comfort themselves during a sad time.
Please pray for her family, as they continue to walk in darkness. The day before the funeral, Stephen went by their house to give his condolences and some rice, coffee, and brown sugar (three items most needed at a wake). On that day, Celsa’s son, Ariel, was painting his mom’s name on the cross for the cemetery. Stephen talked to many at the house, but he did not approach this son. However, as Stephen was leaving, the son quickly hastened to Stephen’s side and said, “Thank you.” He expressed thanks for not only the help we gave them that day, but for all the help to his family throughout the years.
Please pray that Ariel’s heart would be open to the Gospel, along with the rest of his family, that they would come to know Jesus as their Savior.