It was 9:45 and I was laying in my bed reading a book. There is always a lot of noise outside on the street and so I almost always ignore it. I starting hearing my name being called over and over again. At first I figured someone must be calling another Emilie because who would be trying to get my attention so fervently. I finally got out of my bed to investigate and found one of the neighbor boys standing on the wall that surrounds are house.
“Emilie!” he yelled.
“Gabi what in the world is going on?”
“Emilie, Miguelina died.” ( I am translating because of course this conversation happened in Spanish)
“Gabi? Are you sure? You mean she is really really dead? Like dead dead?”
“Yes, Emilie, they are looking for the coffin right now. You should come down everyone’s already there. We have been trying to get ahold of you for the last hour.”
I hurried up and got dressed and walked the hundred feet to their home. I was unsure of exactly what I would see. I have known people who have died, my grandparents mainly, but they were in the hospital when they died. Miguelina had found out that she had cancer 3 months before. But the cancer had been there probably for more than a year. The cancer was terminal and everyone knew she would die eventually but not so soon. I had spent hours with her over the last 3 months talking with her, sharing the gospel with her and just being her friend. I had watched over her kids and made sure they were getting their homework done while she spent days aways in the hospital. I knew this day would come but I didn’t know how soon it would come.
As I arrived at there house I saw that there was already about a 100 people sitting outside in chairs. I heard wailing and crying from inside the house.
I saw a mom on her knees wailing as she grieved the death of her daughter.
I saw a sister sitting on a chair sobbing and saying, “I just can’t believe this is happening.”
I stood next to a brother with his head hanging down saying, “This is a nightmare”
Then I entered the bedroom where I had sat many times before to talk to my friend as she was too sick to get up. I had sat there with her two days before as the chemotherapy had made her too weak to move and had essentially paralyzed her whole body. There she lay completely still, with no life in her body. They had changed her, brushed her hair, put on lipstick, but there was no life in her body. This was the first time I had every seen a dead body, and it shocked me how it was the exact same person however, there was no life.
There was so many people around and I just wanted to break down in tears, but I HATE crying in public so I got back to our house as quick as I possibly could.
I went up stairs and said to Randy, “She’s dead, she is really really dead.”
I laid on the bed and began to cry. I had shared the gospel with her but I didn’t know for sure if she was a believer. It seemed she believed what I said but I wasn’t quite sure. I thought we had more time. I thought I could tell her again and again, until I was sure that she had believed. This made me so so sad. I wanted to know for sure if she would be in heaven with me one day. Then I had the clear thought in my head that I feel was the prompting of the Holy Spirit, “Your job wasn’t to make sure she was saved, your job was to preach the gospel.”
I won’t know until heaven where Miguelina is, but I know that I don’t have to feel the guilt and the burden of knowing that I never opened my mouth to tell her the good news of the one true God. I told her that we are all sinners, and we all deserve God’s wrath. I told her that there is not an amount of good works that she could do for her to be saved. But the good news is that Christ died for us when we were still sinners. Our job is to confess with our mouths and believe in our hearts, and if we know Jesus our lives will change. I told her all this on three separate occasions.
I feel convicted with this thought, Who will be the next person who will die in my life? Will I have boldly proclaimed the gospel to them, or will I have wasted opportunities because of my fears and insecurities? I firmly believe that people can see a difference in our lives when we live like a believer, but unless we open our mouths no one will ever know or hear the true gospel. Not only that, but it is what we have been commanded to do.
The rest of the night went by in a blur. I was amazed by the community response to death in Dominican culture. The entire community visited the family during this time of sadness. I saw her 20 year old nephew bring in the coffin and everyone place her within it. I saw her two kids, who I love so so much, wandering around the people looking as if they were lost. I saw her friends weeping at the loss of lady who was a really good friend to so many.
Through all of this I pray that through being there for the family I will be able to be a light to the family. I will be able to love her friends and family and boldly preach the gospel over and over and over gain.