Too many things can happen in less than a week.
April 7 – I received a message that the father of my high school classmate died. This day is my brother’s birthday. I’m busy preparing for our church’s strategic planning and retreat on April 9-11.
April 8 – Still busy preparing for our planning and retreat. I heard from my mom that her and my dad’s friend died. This day is my cousin’s birthday. We went for a swim late in the afternoon to celebrate her birthday.
April 9 – The start of our planning and retreat. We went to a resort in a nearby town. I led a team of about 25 leaders from our church in formulating our church’s core values, mission, and vision. Before that, we also did a few hours of silent retreat and team-building activities. One of our leaders told me that her sister-in-law just died. This day is Maundy Thursday.
April 10 – The second day of our planning and retreat. All of us are excited in developing our common vision for the church. As the pastor, I communicated my vision for the church.
At night, we had a time of prayer. During an intense time of prayer, one of our leaders fell from where she was standing and hit the back of her head on the floor. Blood came out from her nose and one of us claimed that that’s dangerous. Until now, she’s having some pain on her neck and part of her head. Praise God it did not get worse. This day is Good Friday.
April 11 – The last day of our planning and retreat. I’m tired after leading the church throughout the planning activities. God has given me extra strength throughout. I was overwhelmed by what God did through those two days of developing our vision. He is to be praised, indeed.
We went home early in the afternoon. I was hoping to get a few hours of sleep before working on my Easter sermon. But not yet. On our way home, I was in the car with my wife, my, mother, and my father-in-law. My brother-in-law, with my youngest brother, went ahead of us in a motorcycle. After a few minutes we saw a commotion at the side of the street. Shocked, we saw my brother and my brother-in-law. There was an accident! Their motorcycle hit a 40-year old man, drunk and not looking to his left, crossing the street.
Praise God they suffered minor bruises only. But the man can’t move his leg, his head is in pain because it hit the concrete road. We rushed him to a nearby hospital. I stayed with him and prayed for him. He is overwhelmed with fear of death. The day before was the 40th day of his brother’s death. Praise God his condition is improving faster than we thought.
I started working on my sermon 9pm and finished just before midnight. This day is Black Saturday.
April 12 – I woke up 4am for our 5am Easter Worship Service. I preached on Baptism and Our Union with the Risen Christ. After the worship service, we had a baptismal service. This is my first time to officiate a baptismal ceremony. I was thrilled. I baptized 8 believers that morning.
After the service, I can get a longer sleep and take a much-needed rest. And so I thought. A member approached me after the service and told me that an old woman attending one of our outreach Bible studies died. The family of the deceased is requesting a Bible study to comfort them. I scheduled the Bible study 5pm. Then I received another news of death. The older sister of the one I baptized earlier died of diabetes early that morning.
10am. We went to the hospital where we brought the man the day before. We prayed for him again. He told us that a teenage lady staying on that ward just died two hours ago. She was rushed to the hospital the night before because of another motorcyle accident.
5pm. I led a Bible study in the wake of the old woman. I led the family of the deceased in meditating on 1 Corinthians 15 about the resurrection of Christ and our future resurrection. After that, I heard a news from my dad that his godfather died.
This day is Easter Sunday. The day of the risen Christ.
Six days. Seven deaths. Two near-deaths. One vision to save those who are perishing. One Risen Savior.
“Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?…But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55, 57-58).