An encounter with death

Dear all,

Tuesday, our maid’s grandfather, Santos, died. He had prostate cancer, and finally stopped eating and withered away. The family had the awkward situation of having bought a casket and cemetery niche, but he just kept hanging on for weeks. But at least it gave them time to notify his 11 daughters and one son to come from all over Peru.

Last night was the wake, and the whole family had to stay awake all night. The punishment for falling asleep is that other family members burn your hair! Today was the funeral. We didn’t know when, as they didn’t really pick a time. They had a big family dinner, and then 4 pallbearers grabbed the casket and started walking toward the cemetery, with all the dinner guests in tow with instruments and hymnals. When they walked by our house, we joined in the procession. When we arrived at the cemetery, they handed me a Bible and asked me to preach! (Missionary motto– always be ready to preach, pray or die, on a moment’s notice.)

I read from 1Corinthians about how we get a new body in heaven. I told how 2 weeks ago, when I was treating him for pneumonia, I asked him if he had accepted Jesus as his Savior, to which he had quickly replied “Yes!” so I was confident that he would go to heaven. They then lifted the coffin up, stuck it in the niche, and a cemetery employee sealed it shut with bricks and mortar. That service is included in the fee they pay to rent for two years. After that, you have to pay an annual fee (about $30) or they take the remains of your dearly beloved out and rent your niche to someone else! Sorry, it was getting pretty dark by the time I took the picture.


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