Rosa – Joy in the midst of Sorrow

Rosa and her family run a restaurant just a few steps from the base in Cofradia. It is a favorite of ours for it’s half-size bottles of real Coca Cola and frozen juice popsicles. We did not see much of Rosa. Her brother, Vincente, is dying of cancer and lives across the street and she was spending time with him.  We passed her on the street or waved as she worked at her restaurant and always, her face and demeanor showed her sorrow.

Our team became acutely aware of a cultural difference when we heard about both Secu and Rosa spending time with their family members. Instead of living out the last days in a hospital, the family member is taken home and a vigil of sorts takes place.

On Tuesday at noon, a few of us stopped in at Vincente and his wife Eladia’s house and we were privileged to witness his baptism. Steve Silberman, the base director, played guitar and we sang some worship songs. Pastor Gollo read from Psalm 139. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. … Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! (139:16, 23-24)

My reflection on this baptism was that this so represented real life. First that life on earth has many sorrows and cares. Our loved ones become ill, or life’s cares are heavy, and sorrow flows out of our hearts. And yet, on Rosa’s face and that of others, the joy at his baptism was a heavenly crown on their sorrow. I don’t know how to describe it any better than that – obvious, bitter sorrow but joy and hope in Christ laid over it.

In John 16, Jesus spoke to his disciples about exactly this sorrow and joy. When he died, they would weep and lament, but the world would rejoice – believing of course that death had ended Jesus’ influence. But he does not stop there and assures them that “your sorrow will turn into joy.” Like a mother giving birth, the pains and anguish are necessary before the new life comes forth. “So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.”

Vincente will die and Rosa and Eladia will have great sorrow, but they know the hope of the certainty of “seeing again” as promised by Christ Jesus. The water baptism we witnessed was such an illustration of the sorrowful earthly life buried with Christ and raised to newness of eternal life!

Joy and sorrow – real life and death – Lead me in the way everlasting!

This photo of Rosa was taken Thursday evening at the variety show and I was happy that for a few moments, she was able to enjoy her life in the body of Christ.

Rosa - A momentary sweetness for her broken heart



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