Please note: This story relates to COVID-19 and death.
It was 2014 in Spain when we met a dear family, Allan and Maria and kids. Allan is a Spanish History teacher and his wife, a nurse, serving in a hospital. We enjoyed our friendship for several years. Every New Year’s Eve turned special as we joined Allan and Maria’s family to have a toast for the midnight celebration. During these gatherings, we met Hector, Allan’s dad. Hector had a cheerful spirit, singing, telling stories of his childhood, of when he met his beloved wife. He repeatedly shared that he loved a traditional Spanish treat called mazapan. We loved this friend so much!
Allan became my mentor. We met regularly to spend long hours discussing Spanish history and culture. History led them into great spiritual conversations, and the Bible was often opened. During our conversations, Jesus became Allan’s friend and Saviour. Even though we returned to Canada, our friendship continued through phone calls.
Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”
During the years, we had many times of prayer, laughter, hospitality, and community. Two weeks ago, life changed dramatically. COVID-19 hit Spain hard, and Maria, as a nurse, started spending long hours as a health provider helping the community that is extremely sick.
Hector (Allan’s dad) got the virus. When I sent a message to Allan to ask how they were doing, he answered: “My dad has a very high fever.” Even though our suffering is intense, this situation opened doors to connect gracefully and bring encouragement and spiritual support.
For ten days, we sent videos and recorded messages with prayers and Scripture, keeping daily contact with the family. Our role quickly turned into a pastoral care role, bringing hope, encouragement, and support. Allan kept saying that he needed to listen to the messages many times during the day, as he would find peace during this time. All the families in Spain are under forced isolation, producing high levels of anxiety, especially when a loved one is suffering greatly. When I was in Spain, I had many spiritual conversations with Hector. In one of the last audio messages, I invited Hector to cling to the cross and invite Jesus to enter his life before he parted. I trust he surrendered his life to Jesus before eternity.
We were not expecting a massive crisis like this. Still, because of the significant disruption in life, God provided an environment to raise our sight from this fallen temporary world to the everlasting and eternal glory of Jesus Christ. Please continue praying for Allan’s family as they are grieving the loss of a good father and grandfather and wisdom for us to keep supporting our dear friends.