Friday, October 18, 2013

Fly to Jesus

We first met Miguel at track meet in June, where our son ran and won in his first real competition. 

Shortly after his race, we were approached by a man with a friendly smile who engaged us in conversation and offered to e-mail us the video he had taken while running alongside the children. It turned out that he, too, was a runner who trained at the track. More importantly than that, however, he shared a common story with us - that of infertility and adoption. When he spoke of his 4-year old daughter, adopted as an infant right here in Iquique, deep fatherly love and pride were written across his face. To add to their joy, after multiple pregnancy losses his wife was now in her final months of a healthy pregnancy! 

All of this he shared with me in that first conversation. Whereas I felt cautious and aloof when initially approached that day, from the very beginning Miguel was open and joyful as we spoke. We began to see him frequently as Pedro and I took turns taking Owen to his training, and each time we would exchange greetings and sometimes briefly chat.

One day in July, Owen was off school and we went to training earlier than usual. Miguel was just finishing up and as he did his final stretches and I watched my son train, we had the opportunity to talk a little longer. I remember that the conversation began with him saying he was a little sad, because he had just been robbed of the state-of-the-art cell phone he had used to videotape Owen's race. He went on to share that only recently had he come out of a dark time in his life and where normally he would not purchase something so expensive for himself, he had done so in celebration of the new hope and purpose he felt and in anticipation of the new daughter he and his wife were expecting.

We talked at length about adoption and I was impressed by his perspective and understanding of the issues which was much deeper than we generally encounter in Chile. Miguel told me of a story he had written for his older daughter to explain how she and her sister-to-be joined their family differently but equally loved. He wrote it, illustrated it, and then recorded it on a video with his own voice so that she could watch it time and again. 

He had given his best years to his service in the Chilean Air Force, he said, and he really wanted to start fresh but didn't know yet what to do. He told me he admired what Pedro and I did with our church, the ministries for married couples and the purpose we seemed to have in life. I told him we would love to have him and his wife join us. I said we should get together as families once the baby was born. And I said that God is the One who gives us purpose and that He has a plan for every life, including his. When we said goodbye, Miguel had tears in his eyes and I was certain that in time, we would have the opportunity to share the gospel with him and see him come to Christ. I gave his name to our Tuesday morning ladies' prayer group, and we began praying weekly for his salvation.

I thought it was enough. I thought we had time.

Earlier this week, I asked about Miguel at the track. A group of athletes had gone to compete in Brazil, and I thought he might have joined them since I had not seen him in awhile. A mutual friend assured me had stayed home with his wife and daughters, including his new baby girl just born in August.

Less than 48 hours later, that same friend was the one to tell me Miguel had died. In a car accident, on his way home from work, on his way to his family that he loved so much.

There was no more time.

I have shed many tears since yesterday afternoon, deeply sorrowful that there was not a second chance to say more. I regret waiting too long. I don't know Miguel's wife because we never had the chance to meet. We thought someday we would. We would have gone to the funeral, but learned it would take place in Santiago instead. I've watched the video he made for his daughters, and know it is a gift that now means more than he could ever have imagined.

On his F*cebook page, many have written the Air Force refrain: "Fly high." Perhaps that is why this song has come to my mind so much in the past 24 hours. I know from our last conversation that Miguel was searching. I can only pray that maybe in the weeks before he died, he found the only truly fulfilling answer: Jesus Christ. I pray that he might have had the opportunity to know Him, and in so doing to "fly to Jesus, and live."

Lyrics and music by Chris Rice

Weak and wounded sinner
Lost and left to die
O, raise your head, for love is passing by
Come to Jesus
Come to Jesus
Come to Jesus and live!

Now your burden's lifted
And carried far away
And precious blood has washed away the stain, so
Sing to Jesus
Sing to Jesus
Sing to Jesus and live!

And like a newborn baby
Don't be afraid to crawl
And remember when you walk
Sometimes we
Fall on Jesus
Fall on Jesus
Fall on Jesus and live!

Sometimes the way is lonely
And steep and filled with pain
So if your sky is dark and pours the rain, then
Cry to Jesus
Cry to Jesus
Cry to Jesus and live!

O, and when the love spills over
And music fills the night
And when you can't contain your joy inside, then
Dance for Jesus
Dance for Jesus
Dance for Jesus and live!

And with your final heartbeat
Kiss the world goodbye
Then go in peace, and laugh on Glory's side, and
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus and live!


Deborah said...

I love you, Steph. I am praying... <3

Nikki said...

So sorry to hear about this, Stephanie. You have to try to find his wife and daughters ~ and share with her your friendship and conversations with Miguel. We will pray for her salvation. Thank you for sharing.