A week ago today, Monday morning at 6:00 a.m., the Lord took our dear friend, Cristina, by the hand and ushered her into His presence as she took the final step through the door into heaven. I got a call from our friend Mark Tiemann a few hours later. This started a whirlwind of activity which resulted in Kelsey and I flying with Mark, Lynn and Linnea Tiemann to Mexico (click on link to see photos from the trip) for 3 days last week to attend the funeral and be there for the family.
We had been anticipating the call. Her battle with cancer, which began with breast cancer, had in the last year spread to other parts of her body. Her husband, Alfredo, sadly but poetically described her nearness to death in a recent email:
“We have walked in the path of righteousness for so long now, that God’s home is closer than our own. 16 years ago we knew that his home was on the other side of the hill, 5 years ago we could see the lights from a distance, a year ago we found the town, 6 months ago we found the street, 2 months ago we were only some blocks away, and today I can say we are only a couple of doors away. I’m thankful that God has allowed me to walk my own wife to His door.”
A Picture of Faithfulness
Cristina De Hoyos Villareal was the most faithful follower of Christ I think I have ever known. The gift and honor of having known her, and of calling her my friend, is priceless. You didn’t “meet” Cristina and then go on your way. Everyone who met her was impacted by her life. She was a powerhouse in a small package. Her flashing black eyes, ringing laughter and beautiful smile were instruments in the orchestra of her personality, making beautiful music. She sparkled. She was funny, she was a firecracker, she was gentle. Cristina was so warm, so open, so loving. And she challenged you. Wherever you were in your relationship with the Lord, she challenged you by word and example to go further, and deeper. First of all, she challenged you to be saved and give yourself to the Lord Jesus Christ who died for you. If you were saved, she challenged you to be more committed, more surrendered, share with more people the gospel and give more of yourself. She gave all. She held absolutely nothing back. She was so real.