Just a few weeks ago we got the unexpected, stinging news that one of our friends from the streets had been murdered, shot to death in a parking lot. We know that on the street lives hang in the balance, but it was still a shock to hear that one of the many murders taking place in El Salvador that night was the death of our friend.
Julio Cesar was one of the first people who came to The Lighthouse homeless ministry when it started just over two years ago. He went through the roller coaster ride of being on and off the street. He had long periods of time where he was clean, and during one of these times he made the decision to follow Jesus Christ. His struggle with addiction was long and hard and he carried a lot of pain from his past.
Jon spent a lot of time with Julio Cesar just helping him work through things, get into rehab, and understand more about God and the Bible. Losing Julio Cesar hit Jon especially hard. The thing is, there are no guarantees how long you have to invest in someone’s life. There are no guarantees that tomorrow someone won’t suddenly, unexpectedly, leave your life forever.
In memory of Julio Cesar, we have a renewed passion to move forward, grieving the lives that we can’t reach, but working each day to influence those that we can. We are thankful for the life of Julio Cesar, a life that was infinitely valuable in the eyes of his Creator. We are also grateful for the time we had to touch his life, to share the truth, and to be his friend.
I hope that we never stop being people who love the untouchable, and so many days it is a struggle. My husband is a great example to me and words can’t even express how proud I am to have a husband whose heart is bleeding for the death of a man that so many others found unlovable. That is the heart of God…to love those who seem beyond love, and to reach those who seem beyond reach. I do this incompletely, and I do this imperfectedly, but my prayer today is that God would help me to be faithful to love and serve those in a way that the world would never expect.