Greetings WBFJ Family. I’d like to take this space today to tell you about a young man who, even though I only knew him for a short time, has had a tremendous impact on my life and the lives of so many others. His name is Ian and he is the son of Jonathan and Hannah, whose family is doing missionary work in Spain for my church.
I first met Ian and his sisters when they visited us almost 2 years ago. I was immediately touched by their loving spirits as they came up to me and enthusiastically handed me their missionary cards, which looked like baseball cards with their pictures on them. They were cute as the dickens! I also met their father Jonathan, who so impressed me by calling me by name and encouraging me to continue my music ministry. We had never met until that moment. We saw them later that day for a short time and they went back to Spain a week or so later.
I didn’t hear that much more about them until last year, when our pastor told us one Sunday morning that Ian had been very sick and was diagnosed with a very rare form of brain cancer which was at stage 4 and inoperable. Shortly thereafter, it was confirmed here in the states and treatment began. Our church began to pray earnestly for healing for this 7-year-old boy who had seemed so vibrant and healthy.
Then, several months ago, Ian was saved and baptized. A video was shared with our church of Ian proclaiming his faith and telling everyone that Jesus was his Lord and Savior. I was moved to tears that morning and later shared with Jonathan that Ian’s testimony had led me to rededicate my life to the Lord that very morning. He shared with me that many others had told him and Hannah about how Ian’s witness had affected their lives as well.
In January the entire family flew back to Spain because Ian wanted to have a chance to tell other children he’d met there about Jesus. I was again amazed at the “childlike faith” of this young boy who, facing the biggest battle of his short life, didn’t want to complain or “live in” his devastating illness but, instead, wanted to tell as many people as he could about his Jesus.
Early this past Saturday morning, Ian went home to his Jesus. On Sunday our entire congregation was visibly hurting from this loss. After so many months of praying for God to heal him, this little boy who had been so innocent and so faithful was now gone.
His family shared a brief letter with us that has touched my heart deeply. This loving family, who have just lost their son and brother, said this:
“Our son’s life leaves a testimony that echoes the words of Paul in 2 Timothy 4:7: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
“Rest assured our sweet brothers and sisters that we are not looking to God for explanations, because He has met us in this turbulent and time of deep need with the mystery of Himself. His nearness to us is tangible, and it is our greatest good.”
Grace and Peace,