Today we attended a funeral service which caused me to think much today.
This sweet woman, originally from Eastern Turkey, had a Bible in her home growing up, which was forbidden. Therefore, the family hid it in the bread dough bowl in the oven, should anyone ever come in demanding answers. All these years, she shone her light brightly in a very dark place. And now her children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren all walk with the Lord, serving in several different ministries in very difficult places.
CC has attended a funeral here for an unbeliever. He continues to say that it was one of the saddest occasions of his life. This was different all together.
As we entered, we were given a small picture of her and a straight pin so that we could wear her picture for the day to honor her. I thought it was a very respectful gesture.
Directly in front of me were two rows of covered women, her neighbors of 45 years. Her grandson, a pastor, officiated. He told these neighbors, in a church for the first time, that "A" Teyze (auntie) had faithfully, weekly brought their needs before the church congregation for prayer. Behind them, I could see each one pull down her head scarf further and wipe her eyes. It was very moving. This godly woman had lived a life of truth and faith in front of them all these years. Now, even in her death, her light shone, as these women heard the message of faith with their own ears. Some believe in only building relationships and showing our walk with Jesus. Some believe words should always be spoken. What touched me today is that from her, even from her grave, they have received both.
We drove far outside of town for her burial. There is a new gravesite being dug with only a small row for Christians. She was the fourth Christian grave in a year (in a city of 6 million). A grave near her was for a baby boy, less than a year old. While she was buried, I held the arm of one of her neighbors, as the path up was uneven and rocky. I prayed for her as we stood together. We looked out to the mountain behind us, covered with the first snow of the season. How fitting. The day was cold, but not rainy. "Whiter than snow" came to my mind.
And as I process this tonight, realizing that I have been in this country long enough now to know people who are passing from death (here) to life (heaven), I am reminded of so many things.
Death has no sting.
Life is but a vapor.
I told CC on the way home to please not talk on and on at my funeral about what I've done here on Earth. Teaching, mothering, all that. Just share the Gospel, I told him, in every language present at my funeral.