Saying Goodbye To A Dear Friend (Part 1): Manage It (Victorious in Christ) Monday

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.”


She suffered so much at the end.  Her family (especially Alfredo and their daughter Zelina), gave everything to care for her in their home.  For awhile, an electric wheelchair made it possible for her to get around the house.  Then she needed to be lifted from bed. The last week of her life, she required care pretty much twenty four hours a day. She had slipped into a coma and was delirious at times. Now, there are no more tears, there’s no more pain, and she has the joy indescribable of being in the continual presence of Jesus.

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.


Cristina was so alive.  I cannot think of her as “gone” or “dead” because she is so vividly alive still.  Praise the Lord, she is alive in heaven because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ–His death and resurrection; because He lives, we too can live!  She is more alive than ever before, and those of us who have trusted in Christ will see her again!  I look forward to seeing your smile and hearing your laugh, Cristina! And never having to say Goodbye again! Hallelujah!
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2 Replies to “Saying Goodbye To A Dear Friend (Part 1): Manage It (Victorious in Christ) Monday”

  1. Brianna,
    Mrs. De Hoyos made such an impact for Christ in this world. When I came back from Mexico in 2009, it was their influence that caused me to start this blog, as one way that I could perhaps be doing more for the Lord. However, we are responsible for deepening our walk with the Lord, and it is up to Him to widen it. Be obedient where He has placed you, as you said, to love, teach and train your son, and any other children the Lord should give you. And God will expand the opportunities as He chooses (which He has obviously already done, with your ministry to the deaf community and neighbors)! And I hear that you will be taking care of the children while your inlaws are gone. You are a big blessing to so many. And having an impact.
    Love you,
    Mrs. Gunn

  2. Mrs. Gunn,
    Thanks for sharing about Cristina DeHoyos and the pictures, too. I never met her, but have heard so much about her. I was encouraged by her testimony (hearing about her from others) to pass on all I have been given (from my parents and others who have exhorted me) to my son, and to others I meet.
    In Christ,
    Brianna

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