Abundant life- Sara

Dear friends and family,

Our dear sister in Christ, Sara passed away last evening. The news was delivered to me by Liliana ( almost 11 yrs old) as she raced upstairs with a look of terror on her face, running towards me to grab me tight. “Mummy Sara has died!”  In the confusion of it all, my first words were   “Sara WHO?” I know several called Sara and I have a niece Sarah. “It’s Sara, Brandon and Daniela’s mummy, why did she HAVE to die mummy?”

To set the scene: These last few weeks have been filled with many emotions. My last blog post was in response to Sara’s death and resuscitation in the ambulance and a plea for prayer for her and her family.  During this time, which I did not mention in my last post  we had 2 houseguests staying with us, I had my final coursework presentation, our fridge broke down(no fridge for a week in 34 degree weather), Anayah was ill, missing school on and off for 2.5 weeks, and then I came down with the diarrhea vomiting sickness until there was nothing left in my body, and even now, I have very little energy. Now, today it’s Andrew’s turn. The health department here in Santa Cruz has issued a red alert on influenza. Hospitals are full. We also said goodbye to good friends who have left the Bolivian mission field to return to Canada. Like I said, an emotion-filled few weeks. It seemed like things were a bit out of control, but, thankfully our hope is in Christ.

Then there’s Liliana’s question. “Why did Sara HAVE to die Mummy?” My response was not particularly profound. I said she did not HAVE to die, but she did. It was bedtime and I thought the best thing was to pray and get some rest. Liliana seemed ok with that.

I was up most of the night thinking and praying about my response.  This morning the words on my heart are ‘abundant life.’ In particular, the scripture which says I have come to give you life, abundant life. ( John 10:10 below)

What is abundant life? Sara died at age 31. How is that abundant?

Abundant life, is it about material possessions? or about what we get, or claim?  OR is abundant life about what we receive as a gift from the Lord and to live knowing we are stewards of the blessings of God?  In the midst of her suffering, Sara was blessing others with her grateful and open heart. She inspired others with her steadfast faith in Jesus and commitment to her faith which she shared in the community of Satelite Norte. She knew that every day of her life was a gift. Now, she is with her Abba father, living the most abundant life: eternal life. Her hope was in Christ.

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Eph 2: 8:9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

John 10:10b. I have come so that they may have life, and have it more abundantly.

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We are joyful today, confident in the truth that Sara is with our Abba, Father. She ran the race, she stayed the course, although her life was shorter than what we think it should be, it was a richly blessed abundant life here on earth and it’s not the end! Her hope was in Christ.

“Often we say that Christ will meet us on the other side. That is true, of course, but misleading. Let us never forget that He walks with us on this side of the curtain and then guides us through the opening. We will meet Him there because we have met Him here.” – Erwin Lutzer

The funeral is today. Please pray for Pastor Bely and Claire as they go to help Daniel to prepare for the funeral this morning. Please pray that Andrew can attend, that somehow he can muster the energy and feel better to get to Satélite Norte today to support this family.  Please pray for husband Daniel, son Brandon(14) and daughter Daniela(12). Death is hardest on those left behind. Please pray that the supernatural love of our  Father in heaven will comfort and strengthen the family and loved ones in the community of Satélite Norte.  Daniel said that throughout these times with Sara’s illness and recent hospitalisation that he felt the presence of God, always. Pray that continues.

I sing this song today for Sara- In Christ Alone,

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
‘Til on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live, I live

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ
No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand

 

Amen.

 

 

Much love to you all,

Los Pearts

 

 

 

Hey…

We hope you willdownload (3) between posts! It’s been awhile and we thank those of you that have checked in with us to make sure we are ok.

A quick catch up, as we don’t want another week to go by without telling you all that we will be travelling to the UK this summer! We can’t wait to spend time with UK family & friends (sorry US family & friends you are next), our church St Johns in Hartley Wintney,  Andrew’s family church, St Patricks Church in Carshalton,  and our mission- CMS. We hope to plan time for a bit of  R & R to recharge the batteries- we really need it! We depart Bolivia the end of May and return mid-August. Thank you to those who have prayed for a house sitter- a responsible young man from our church has agreed to do this and a dog sitter- our vet, who rescued Jack from the streets, jumped at the chance to have him for a few months.

Some of you have mentioned you like to hear real-life stories of people. I have written of Don J in the past- struck by a motorcycle while on foot,  resulting in 2 ineffective surgeries on his badly broken leg and now will never walk again.  I have written about his son, unjustly accused, put in jail, never had a trial, out of jail now but still, on house arrest for a crime he did not commit. This family’s story continues, but first let me tell you that despite their sufferings that don’t seem to wane, their faith not only sustains them but spurs them on to keep running that race, eyes fixed on Jesus. I see God at work in them, through their story and He wants me to tell it.  Andrew and I consider it a complete privilege to know and walk alongside this family.

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mission is sometimes simply spending time with people, sitting in their garden, hanging out, sharing life and connecting.”   – Andrew Peart

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It can be as simple and as intentional as that.  Without even knowing it, this family has made us look at our own lives, our own faith, our own sufferings- or our perception of suffering- and how we respond. They most likely don’t realise the impact and inspiration their lives have on our lives.

Sara is the daughter in law of Don J, she is married to Don J’s son Daniel, They have 2 lovely children 1 pre-teen and 1 tween. They all live together in a very small home next to our mission building in Satelite Norte,  we know them well. Sara is 31. About 5 months ago she became very ill, her kidneys were failing. To live she would need a transplant or dialysis 3 x per week.  Immediately, Pastor Beli and Claire got involved driving Sara and Daniel to various clinics, insurance offices, making inquiries,  following every lead (many dead ends) to get her the treatment she needed. She was put on wait lists for transplants, waitlists for dialysis, waitlists for national insurance to help pay for a portion of the treatments. Honestly, I think the waitlists had waitlists! Eventually, a  clinic with space was found for her dialysis, however, at 600 Bs a treatment, this would cost 7200 Bs a month,  roughly £700 per month! To us in the developed world, this or most of it would be covered, but here in developing Bolivia, the systems that exist are faulty, sporadic and often corrupt. To help, our mission loaned the building for fundraising efforts and the community of Satelite Norte joined together just as they had for Don J, his son and now for Sara, to sell and serve lunch. Our main church in Santa Cruz helped from the ‘love your neighbour’ fund, but this was not even close to what she needed to pay for the 3 treatments per week she needed.  So this week as a result of this lack of dialysis, Sara took a turn for the worse. En route to the hospital in the ambulance, Sara suffered a cardiorespiratory arrest,  Thank God they were able to bring her back. They went to 2 hospitals, NO space, then the oxygen in the ambulance ran out…so they took her to the nearest medical centre, a private clinic in desperation to save her life.

The long and the short of it is this. This family lives day to day, like many Bolivians. Husband Daniel works, in fact, his business of soldering and car maintenance was the first to receive an interest-free microloan from the plan that Andrew has been working on for the last year. Daniel has built a workshop with the money, he has already made 2 payments, on time. Andrew is mentoring him on how to run a successful business- it’ s a holistic approach to microfinance.  Daniel is so grateful, he is so faithful, he is doing his best to take care of his elderly father, his wife, and children. He works really hard.  Sara remained nearly 1 week in that private clinic, she was forbidden to leave until the 12,000Bs was paid. She needed to move to a less expensive public hospital. What do people do who live day to day with little or no government assistance? ?  Daniel and his cousins went door to door in their community asking for money- it’s a repeat of Don J’s experience. Other family members were calling Beli, Claire, Andrew and I in tears, it has been so emotional.  Not all, but a good portion of the money was raised, the rest is still owed- it’s a miracle they managed to get the money and that she was released. The hospital she moved to has dialysis, so no waits, the cost of that does not change, however, the stay will be cheaper. Her health is declining rapidly, she is intubated and not very responsive. There may be some brain damage from the cardiorespiratory arrest.  Daniel is faithfully at her side, meanwhile, not working. It seems like a neverending cycle. We must keep persevering in prayer. We have explored setting up a fundraising page to pay for her hospital care, however, we have hit some dead ends there and are now rethinking this. We pray in complete faith,  we can’t do this alone, we don’t have the answers, we need our Abba Father-Ephesians 3 : 20 -21- The Message Version says this

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

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Please join us as we respond prayerfully to this grave situation for Sara, Daniel and their family, knowing that God can do far more than we can think or imagine. or guess or ask for! Pray that God will guide us and move us in our heartache to think creatively, plan strategically,  and act compassionately, using our God-given gifts and our talents to help this family in a way that will love and empower them and others in the future.

 

Thanks for your continued love and support,

Andrew, Lisa, Liliana, Anayah and Jack Black xx

I will end with a few snaps of the last few months.

 

 

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