Monday, June 22, 2009

Pastoral student dies

Yesterday was a difficult day. We lost one of our second year Seminary students to liver cancer. Longesa was complaining of abdominal pains in March and we sent him for an echo[cardiogram] to see what it was. The Doctor diagnosed it as liver cancer. We then sent him to Lubumbashi to see Dr. Delgado, a good friend and 7th Day Adventist Surgeon. After consultation, he did surgery taking out over a third of the liver and a very large tumor (generous gifts from Hobbs, NM were sent for the surgery.) A graduate, Rev. Chal, from last year’s Masters degree, has a Church near Delgado and his congregation helped the family with donations of blood, food and transport. It has been different for us, as the culture here will not tell an individual that he has a terminal disease as they feel this would shock the person and he would die prematurely!

After recovery from the surgery, Longesa returned to Mulungwishi. For several weeks now, he had been going downhill. A week ago, we and the chaplain called in the family to talk with them about the situation and to prepare them for what was to come. We were able to have prayer with the family and with Longesa several times in this past week.

Longesa passed away around midnight on Saturday. His funeral and burial were on Sunday afternoon. Parts of the family and church people from all over the area have come to celebrate his ‘ homegoing’. The ‘kilio’ or wake will be three days. People stay all night and sing and pray. He is the first student that we have had in pastoral student to have died while at school. He is survived by his wife and 8 children. Please pray for them as they face the future.

At the same time, we have lost a sweet good friend, Vicki Owens, a pastor’s wife from Bear, Delaware. She also suffered from liver cancer. Please be in prayer for the Owens family also. We are so grateful for the hope of the resurrection that we have in Christ.

We thank you so much for your continued prayers and we always enjoy hearing from you.