A few hours after Pastor Rey and I (Stephen) prayed with Jesus De La Rosa on Tuesday he took his last breath. And on Wednesday, one day later, we lowered his body into the ground in a small cemetery in San Jose Del Rio. It is a tiny, remote village tucked away between tall mountains beside a flowing stream. Jesus De La Rosa was 85 years old and was a Christian who was ready to be with Christ.
He was a friend and a relative of members of Pastor Rey’s Church. When we were praying with him beside his hospital bed we noticed his breathing was shallow and he was in some pain, but he was very aware we were there.
Pastor Rey asked him if we could pray with him and in a weak voice he said “YES.” He clung tightly to Rey’s hand as the words flowed from the Pastor’s mouth. The room was filled with the presence of the Lord. I knew this prayer was not a polite gesture; it was a man connecting with the one he would soon meet face to face.
Pastor Rey, wife Lulu, three kids, two others and I loaded in the True Path Ministry suburban at 9 A.M. on Wednesday morning to make the hour and a half drive up and down the rugged rock road to San Jose Del Rio.
When we arrived in the village we found Jesus De La Rosa’s body in an open casket in the middle room of a small rock three room house. Several family members who had stayed up all night were also present. We brought an acoustic guitar and immediately began to sing meaningful hymns. People began to show up until the place was overflowing with mourners.
A group of ladies fixed food at the house so we paused for lunch before moving to the Christian Church building. They do not have a full-time pastor but the building is kept in good shape by some locals.
The church service included more good hymns, testimonials about Jesus De La Rosa, Bible readings and a heart-felt sermon by Pastor Rey. It was based on the hope we Christians have in Christ.
We then loaded the casket in the back of a pickup truck and drove a mile to the small cemetery. After a few more songs, Bible readings and speakers the body was lowered into the grave.
We got back to Galeana after 6 P.M. It was a full day of funeral ministry. While it may sound morbid, it really was quite the opposite. It was a day of hope and a pointed reminder that we Christians will also one day come face to face with Christ.
But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14