Below are some memories from The Isaiah Ministry Team of our time with Genesis, who recently passed away from dengue fever.
Genesis came to us back in 2017 as a 2nd grader and we were quickly won over by her sweet and quiet disposition. She was never one to draw your attention as she often preferred to allow others to do the majority of the talking and clamoring for affection.
When I think back on our time with Genesis, it doesn’t take long for me to remember her sweet smile. Genesis was a happy little girl, and although a bit timid, it wouldn’t take you long to find that shy, yet genuine smile on her face if you spent a moment with her.
Genesis’ parents are simple people; her mom washes clothes and does other domestic duties around their community to make ends meet, while her father works whatever jobs he can find in order to put food on the table and provide for his family. Genesis’ older sister, who still lives with the family, is very shy - much more so than Genesis - to the point where one would wonder if there is a problem more severe underneath the surface than your basic timidness that is considered normal in society.
I had many conversations with Genesis’ mom as she came by the ministry everyday to drop Genesis off for lunch and tutoring at the Project. She is a very responsible mom who is also very active in volunteering her time at the elementary school where Genesis was on track to finish 4th grade this year. Although we had many short conversations, she would scarcely look me in the eye. I could always sense so much shame and hardness in her that would move me with compassion each time we would sit down once a month to discuss how Genesis was getting along in school and with us at the ministry.
Genesis shared this characteristic of her mother when she came to us a few years ago, but at the beginning of this year during some of our “adoration nights” where we invited kids to our home to spend some time in worship and prayer together, Genesis starting getting powerfully touched by the Lord and things began to change.
I’ll never forget one of the more powerful adoration nights with the kids. Throughout the time of worship and prayer one specific night I would hear from time to time this piercing squeal amidst the noise somewhere on our porch and I couldn’t see from whom the sound was coming. After scanning the porch for a while I saw Genesis doubled over on the floor with tears streaming down her face as she wept and prayed, totally enraptured in the awesome presence of the One who gave so much to win her attention. He finally had it.
I was shocked to see Genesis so expressive in prayer and worship during those adoration nights as she was one of our most shy and reserved kids in the ministry. After that adoration night we only held a few more of them as I felt the Lord wasn’t asking me to make it a recurring scheduled event each week; there’s already too much of that in a country as religious as Nicaragua. I always say that nothing with God should be obligatory; He deserves much more than our obedience through obligation. A love-relationship through adoration and trust is a much more powerful thing.
Throughout the rest of this year Genesis seemed a much more confident girl; not as shy and quick to hide her smile as before. Something had broken off of her during those nights of worship and prayer, but as the year moved along, we began to see Genesis make some decisions that weren’t so good such as lying and telling half-truths. The little girl was growing up and influences from other classmates began to creep in, and not always positive ones. What began to concern me even more was that, especially in the 2-3 months leading up to her passing, I wasn’t seeing Genesis so engaged in our times of daily prayer and worship before lunch as she once was.
I would often catch Genesis with a disinterested look on her face during prayer and this saddened my heart and lead me to pull her aside. I asked her what was going on and told her how I had noticed that she was less interested in our times of prayer and was wondering if there was something wrong. Genesis quickly broke down in tears and told me through her sobbing that when she prays she no longer feels God.
With compassion rising in my heart for sweet Genesis I began to ask her some questions about those adoration nights earlier in the year and if she had decided to give her life to Jesus yet, all of it, or if she had still not made that decision that only she can make. Genesis looked at me with a broken but honest gaze and said that she had not taken that step yet. I then began to share the gospel with Genesis once again, explaining to her that God wasn’t asking Genesis for her heart, but rather her whole life. That was why He gave it all - so that we in turn would give all that we are and would truly live for Him in the new life that He has already prepared and made ready for us.
After making sure to explain the Gospel to Genesis as clearly and simply as I could I then asked her if she would like to make that most important decision in her life right then and there. To my surprise she hesitated for a while, but after some minutes of thinking it over she looked at me with sincere and watery eyes and said that she would like to pray with me to give her life to Jesus. So I took Genesis back to the same room where many others have been touched by the love and power of God and she prayed, with much sobbing, to receive Jesus as her Savior. It was so beautiful! Genesis stayed in the room for another thirty minutes or more after we prayed together just sobbing and being with Him and allowing Him to love on her as only He can.
After tutoring was done that day and we loaded up the truck with kids to take them home, I asked Genesis to sit up front with me so I could talk with her about what just took place back in that room a short while ago. As we were dropping the kids off that afternoon Genesis told me that she was crying so hard while we were praying together earlier because she could feel God give her a big hug on the inside and that she wasn’t crying tears of sadness but tears of joy.
My last memory of Genesis is one of the last moments I saw her before her life was cut short by dengue fever. I was asking the students at the Project if any of them had anything to share with the rest of the kids about what God had been doing in their lives, and although Genesis wasn’t one of the kids who spoke up that day, I clearly remember her looking over at me with that sweet smile as if to say to me that she had experienced something life-changing, and we both knew it. I will never forget that moment.
I am saddened that Genesis’ life was ended too early by sickness. This was not the Father’s will and never is as we know that Jesus carried all of our sicknesses and pains so that we do not have to carry them, just as He carried all of our sins to the cross so that we would no longer bare them. (Isaiah 53:4)
In the wake of such tragedies in this life there is nothing else that can bring true peace and healing to a grieving heart other than the knowledge of the truth that we, as believers, will meet our brothers and sisters in the Lord again in the life that comes after this one.
As Genesis made her decision at only 10 years of age, we all decide, even before we die - life or death, light or darkness - to live for ourselves or to live for Him. I am eternally thankful that I will see Genesis again when I meet our Savior face to face, but not now - I still have much to do and many more people to tell about what our beautiful Lord has done for them!
May this short blog encourage you and challenge you today to live burning for Him!
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