Last night we experienced something that I didn't expect to experience quite this soon in our ministry- the loss of a life.
Last August, shortly after arriving here in Guatemala we had the privilege of doing a home visit to see and pray for a sweet 73 year old lady, Teresa.
Here is a picture from that day... isn't she precious?
Last night Teresa went to be with the Lord. A funeral here is a whole lot different than any funeral I have ever experienced in the states. Here, neighbors and friends come within a couple of hours of the death, regardless of the time of day- or night and 4 grandparents from the community are assigned to clean the body. Others join in the small home, setting up chairs and preparing food for the company that starts to arrive.
They even let us have a try at preparing the tamales.... :)
The casket is carried in and after the body is clean it is placed in the casket. The bedroom in the home is cleared out, the plastic chairs are set up and flowers are brought in to set around the casket. A pretty curtain is hung to cover the wall and a tarp is hung over the court yard for additional shelter. The guest will stay all night long.
Besides knowing that Teresas life had come to an end what broke my heart was the plate of food and glass of water that was placed in the room where Teresa died for any spirits that might be still be there... Mayan traditions and beliefs that still exist today, even for those who have accepted the Lord as their Savior. It was evident there is still much confusion and mixed beliefs of the people here today. Please pray for Teresas family and friends as they say good-bye to this precious person who touched their lives in so many ways.