Sr. Domingo passed away yesterday. Now, his family has to handle all the arrangements of a ‘funeral’ and burial, which is quite different than in the U.S. Last night his son called me, saying that the hospital told them if they had a casket, they could take the body home then. So, he was calling to ask if we could help them with funds to buy a casket. I went to meet the son and we found a casket for $190, so we purchased that one for Sr. Domingo. I gladly offered to take the body and the family in our truck to their home in Yantana, but he said there was another friend who was going to take them in his truck. So, they were able to go ahead and take his body home last night.
Today, his sons all got up early to start digging the grave for their dad (which is on their land in Yantana. He will be buried right next to his granddaughter, Jennifer, who, some of you might remember from our church, passed away in 2010 at age 10 years old.) His son had to come to town to buy cement for the grave, so he called me. The custom for a ‘funeral’ here is that the family must now prepare a huge meal, and then guests come. It’s very sad to me, as the family should be mourning, but instead have to be busy preparing food for the ones who’ve come. But as their mom said, “If we don’t prepare food, no one will come.” How heartbreaking! I want all of these people to know the love of Jesus that would compel someone to come, just to say, “I care about you and I am sorry for your loss.” So, his son and I went and purchased chickens, rice, vegetables, potatoes, all the food needed to feed many people for this funeral.
Now, after such a huge burden for a family to carry, Sr. Domingo will be buried tomorrow. Yes, I will go to their home for the funeral and accompany the family and hug them, and let them know that I love them and that Jesus is the only One who can truly bring them comfort. But, most of all, I will remember Sr. Domingo and his kindness to us all these years. He is gone, but never forgotten.