"But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep." 
-1 Thessalonians 4:13-14

We received a phone call on Monday from a friend here in Central America informing us that one of our other good friends (a fellow Christian) had been murdered the day before and that his family had found his body down by the river earlier that morning! 

As you'll recall from our last email, we talked about these friends of ours who we'd had the opportunity to invite into the hospitality house for a meal recently as they have been going through a really tough time after the death of his grandmother and murder of his 20 year old cousin and then the stroke his daughter had when she received the news. Now they have been spending most of the time in their home for fear of being kidnapped or killed as violence has escalated in their area. 

Even though we had spoke with our friend and his family about the realities of the dangers here, and especially in their area right now, we were shocked when we learned of his kidnap and murder. We've had them into our home three times in the past couple weeks!

Last week at this time his wife was teaching us to make traditional food and we all enjoyed lunch together. The Saturday before, we fixed an "all-American" lunch (hamburgers, hot dogs, fries and watermelon) as a special treat since we knew how much our friend loved it. 

After our regular church service last night, Derick was able to attend the funeral service with some people from church while Israel and I (Jill) stayed back at the house. Typically funerals are held in a family member's home and last several hours into the night. Our friend's funeral was held in their area and Derick and some men from church were able to share some words of encouragement with the family and guests. We have cried and continue to grieve the loss of our dear friend. 

Please pray for our friend's wife, son, daughter, granddaughter and other relatives. Please also pray for God to allow the local church and us to reach out to their family and be able to love on and comfort them during this difficult time. 

We will only be here a little while longer, before we return to the States to prepare for the birth of our second little one, so please also continue to pray for God's strength and grace to carry on with responsibilities and make the most of the short time left here before our return. 

"Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end"..."He who testifies to these things says, 'Surely I am coming soon.' Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!" 
-Revelation 22:12-13, 20