Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Mike Stephenson




  Mike Stephenson, Camino missionary for 30 years here in Guatemala, suffered a heart attack while at the Doctor's office.  Glenn and Mike would on occasion walk together in the mornings.  Mike had a sweet spirit about him and will be deeply missed here in Guatemala by fellow missionaries and by the Mam people with whom he worked for so many years.

This is the email that Glenn sent out recently.  I thought it was important to include it in a blog format.

Sunday February 17,

10 days ago, February 7, the perfect number, our friend, Mike Stephenson passed away after struggling with some health issues, from a massive heart attack. He was buried on Saturday, February 9th in San Sebastian surrounded by over 500 Mam people bearing witness to his life and ministry. A number of Camino missionaries were also in attendance. 

"And regarding the question, friends, that has come up about what happens to those already dead and buried, we don’t want you in the dark any longer. First off, you must not carry on over them like people who have nothing to look forward to, as if the grave were the last word. Since Jesus died and broke loose from the grave, God will most certainly bring back to life those who died in Jesus....So reassure one another with these words."  I Thess 4:13,14...18

On Friday, February 15, we met with our president, Doug Livingston, along with newly named VP of Global Ministries, David Ruiz, for an afternoon meeting.  After the formal gathering, we had a time of reflecting on Mike's life. It was a bitter-sweet time with many tears. We closed the time remembering those whom we have lost in recent years such as Mike Stephenson, Ed Sywulka, Abel Morales, Esther de Nuñez, David Ekstrom, Wayne Berger, Pauline Sywulka and Pauline Williams. Incidentally, we had our gathering in the Pauline Williams room at SETECA.

On Saturday afternoon, February 16, our good friends, Jeff and Kathy, missionaries with South America Mission, joined Mike's family and a few friends, about 20 people in all, at the Paulo's 3s Company Restaurant, in Dania, FL, for lunch. Mike's older brother, Tom, asked Jeff to say the blessing for the meal. Later, Jeff was given about 15 minutes to share. The restaurant was closed to customers on Saturday, so there were no interruptions and the Gospel was clearly presented. Jeff reports that not only was there instant rapport with the family and much appreciation expressed on behalf of the family that Jeff and Kathy would be there representing Camino, but that God was doing a work in people's hearts. 

Three accepted Christ, including Mike's aunt.  We Praise the Lord. Jeff told Jacqueline, Mike's mother, that God really loves her. She responded, "Now I really know that is true." Thank y'all for praying.

"God didn’t set us up for an angry rejection but for salvation by our Master, Jesus Christ. He died for us, a death that triggered life. Whether we’re awake with the living or asleep with the dead, we’re alive with him! So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it." I Thessalonians 5:9-11

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