Yesterday morning started with a call that an 18-year-old girl we knew from the hotel died unexpectedly. She would’ve been 19 on October 8th. Sunday, she and Robin and I were in my car, driving to pick up her medicine from a relative’s house. And just Wednesday night, she was laughing with us, defending my driving against a friend’s jokes, and making plans to celebrate her birthday. We met her a few weeks ago and she’d been living in the hotel since she moved in with her boyfriend two weeks ago. He is heartbroken. So are we.
I hurried over to the hotel Friday morning and we wept and prayed with our friends there. As sad as this has been, it is much harder for them, because now their home is a reminder of this sad sad thing. The staff is burdened, too. Please pray for them, pray for the residents, pray for us… for comfort for all of our hearts, for strength and stamina, for words for our friends. Please pray that Jesus would use this and be lifted high in some way. Our prayer is that many of our friends who have been on the fence with the Gospel, would be compelled to accept Jesus after this tragic loss. Pray that God continues to move and that His Gospel would penetrate broken hearts.
Wednesday night she did Bible study with us for the first time. She was late but sat in as soon as she got home. Afterward, she was excited to share with us that she was late because she just came from a church. She couldn’t remember the name of the church but she said she was helping with the four and five-year-olds class. When I asked her what they learned, she said they were learning about how God created the animals and Adam and Eve. I couldn’t believe it because we had been studying Genesis 2 that evening, and when I asked her to share it again with Christian, he smiled and the first thing he said was “I think God really wanted you to know tonight that He made the animals.”
Yesterday, the first thing I found myself thinking to myself while Paul was telling me about her death was, “knowing God made the animals doesn’t mean she’s with Jesus…” What seemed so beautiful Wednesday night all of a sudden didn’t seem like enough yesterday morning and that is what has been so hard and sad about this… The truth is we just don’t know … We know she heard the Gospel and was prayed with and we know God is good, but this is a hard loss and many of our friends are also grieving. Please pray.
Sarah, who has been such a sweet friend in this, adjusting our trip plans, meeting me at the hotel instead of my home and helping me finish packing, shared this verse with me on the way up to New York…
“Evening, morning and noon
I cry out in distress,
and he hears my voice.” Psalm 55:17
** I’ve mentioned briefly in another post that we started doing church at a hotel that has become a short-term home for many people, but really it’s been much more than that… Our prayer has been not to do church but to be the church in that community and for Jesus to show the transformational power of the Gospel. Building relationships there, praying and spending time in this community has become a major part of the Coxes’, MacKinnons’ and my life in the last three months. It has been amazing to see what God has been doing in changing our hearts, building trust in relationships and seeing people who don’t know Jesus openly seek Him.