Monday, November 20, 2006

My Father Breathed His Last

I already wrote to some of you that my father was in the hospital with a very serious disease. He had been having both cardiovascular and nephritic insufficiency, plus slow progressing cancer of the joints. The last 5 or 6 years he had to go many times to the hospital for tests or just to be there. So when last Monday he went to hospital we hoped that his health would be stabilised. But since Wednesday his condiction got worse, he could hardly breathe and the functioning of the other organs was getting more difficult. Me, Vania and my sister took turns to stay with him there. Last Saturday (18 November) he breathed his last. Yesterday the funeral took place.

We grieve over my father’s death very much. At the same time I thank God that several years ago my father accepted Jesus as his Savior and though he cound’t come to church very often, he often read the Bible and prayed with my mother. I am also grateful because my father died a painless death even though he had so many diseases.

Also, yesterday we were able to invite many people (and many others from the apartment block came) in order for them to say farewell to him. I took the chance to tell them that we sorrow but at the same time rejoice in the hope that my father is in God’s presence now. One of the neighbors (who is a Christian) also witnessed to them. We told them that the food on the table is not ‘podavane’ (or ‘giving’, the word we use for ‘sacrifice for the dead’) but just a treat for them. Then, at the grave, I gave a speech for my father and spoke about his life, what he’s given me and my family and how much I owe to him. I also spoke about the hope of the resurrection, appealing to all the present to evaluate their lives, turn to God and invest in their relationships with Him and with their familes and friends. It was a very unusual funeral for them as I am not an Orthodox priest (I thank God my mother and sister agreed with my suggestion that I gave the speech rather than a priest). But I think they liked it, thank God. The obituary and the wreath had Bible verses written on them (Jn 3:36 and Jn 14:6), something unusual, either. The seed is sown.

Please, pray for my mother and my sister to be able to overcome their grieve soon and to let His peace reign in their hearts. Pray also for these 40 or so people who heard the good news last few days.