|Our First Picture with Miguelina and Silvia in 2011|
As many of you know, on March 1st we lost a very special member of our family, sweet Silvia. She lived right around the corner and for years has been a “permanent fixture” at the MAK House. As soon as we moved here in 2012, she became like a daughter to us. We loved having her around and she was a constant companion for Margaret- willing to help in any way or tag along for a few quick errands. And she could often be found at our kitchen table doing her homework with Paco.
On March 1st, she suddenly passed away after spending a short time in the hospital. Although God did not answer our prayers the way we had hoped, He sees the big picture and answered our prayers of healing in a way that would bring glory to Him. We miss her every day, but are thankful for the ways God has used her life and death for His eternal purposes. God has shown his kindness towards us in countless ways the midst of our pain. On the night before she passed away as we were leaving the hospital, Silvia said, "I love you like a mother and a father" and we responded, "You know we love you like our own daughter." This wasn't the first time she had said this, but we are grateful for our final words to each other, especially since we had no idea this would be the last visit we would have with her. What a gift from above...
In these past weeks following her death, we have given thanks to God for using Silvia's life and death to remind us why God called us to the Dominican Republic. "God teaches me to view pain as a holy invitation to know Him more so I can share Him more." -Katie Davis Majors
We had the privilege of sharing a few things at her funeral and memorial services, and wanted to share them with you, as well.
Here's what we shared:
There are so many things that we will miss about Silvia...
- -We will miss hearing her greet us, “Hola Margaret, Hola Paco”
- -We will miss hearing our window slide open at the Mak House and hear her shouting, “Margaret...Paco.”
- -We will miss her helpfulness around the house. She was always asking, “Can I help?” She loved helping get ready for a team, washing dishes, sweeping...she always wanted to help Margaret.
- -We will miss her birthday reminders. She had an amazing ability to remember everyone’s birthday. One year, we had a team in town and I (Margaret) COMPLETELY forgot Paco’s birthday- Silvia thought that was hilarious and she never let me forget it. She loved reminding me of the story. Every year following this mistake, she would help me remember when March 16 was approaching.
- -We will miss her coming over to do her homework.
- -We will miss her generous spirit. She loved to share what she had, and loved getting things for others instead of herself.
And we will miss her hugs...she loved to give big hugs.
Out of a thousand things, these are just a few of the things we will miss about her, but we are also grateful for the lessons her short life taught us. Silvia had a difficult life, but she loved her life...it was the life God had given her. In the midst of a difficult life, Silvia embraced 1 Corinthians 13:13..."Faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love."
Silvia had faith. Even in the hospital, during her greatest trial, she would ask her sister and others to read the Bible and sing worship songs with her because her faith didn’t waiver in the midst of suffering. Because of her faith in Christ, we know she is with now with Him. 1 John 5:12 says, “He who has the Son, has life, he who does not have the Son of God does not have life...”
Silvia has eternal life because of her faith in Jesus. As you think about Silvia and her faith, consider Jesus and the gift of eternal life that he offers to those who believe in him.
Silvia had hope. Her life was a struggle, but she rarely complained. She knew what it meant to persevere through trial. James 1:2-3 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”
Silvia knew how to persevere. If you spent one minute with Silvia, you witnessed her hope and joy. She was full of joy and had a smile that would light up a room.
Silvia knew the love of God, and she was loved by SO many people. She valued relationships and impacted so many lives by just being herself. Silvia might have lost her biological parents at a young age, but she had many moms and dads who loved her like their own. God also surrounded her with people who loved her...and she loved people! She was always asking if she could FaceTime someone she knew from the US just to talk. She never met a stranger and was a friend to everyone. Silvia knew how to love, because God first loved her.
Silvia had big dreams for her future. She wanted to be a teacher and a flight attendant- we have no doubt she would have been successful at doing both. However, God had bigger plans for her life. While they were not our plans, we trust in God’s Sovereignty. We know God is good. We know He is merciful, and We know He loves Silvia more than we ever could. And although we miss her terribly, we can rest knowing that that God will take care of those of us who are left behind, and we look forward to spending eternity with her.
May Silvia’s life and death draw many people into a closer relationship with her Savior. As we remember Silvia, we remember these 3 words...Faith, hope and love...but the greatest of these is love. Thank you and may God bless you.
So many of you have reached out to us and have prayed for us. Words cannot convey how much we appreciate you walking with us through this difficult season. We are so very grateful that we are able to grieve with HOPE. Please keep us in your prayers.
In the midst of our pain, we know we are blessed.