Thursday, April 10, 2008

Anil's Funeral

O.'s younger brother, Ramesh, is the pastor of a small church plant in a city about 2 hours north of us. He called us on Tuesday afternoon to inform us that one of his believers, Anil, had been killed instantly at work that day.

Anil previously was a member of our church for several years but when he and his family moved to Ramesh's city last year, they started to attend Ramesh's church. We all know him and his family and we were shocked to hear of his accident. A crane was moving some kind of material and the chains broke, dropping the entire load on Anil's head. He was killed instantaneously. He left behind a wife and young son and daughter. He was just a year older than me.

His oldest child, Yesudas*, was born the day before my C., same year. Every time I looked at him waiting for his papa to come home from work I thought of my little C.

We drove to the city on Tuesday afternoon and stayed overnight at Ramesh's house. Anil's parents live in South India and it took them a day and half to reach here. In India they bury right away, the very day they died or the next day at the latest. The widow just has to sit in her house and do nothing until her husband is buried**. We all sit with her. The men pray and speak words of comfort from THE Word and then leave to take care of the burial details. The women stay behind and sit. Sometimes sing. Sometime speak. Try to make her eat something, drink something. Sit some more. Sing some more.

We hoped to bury Anil by late afternoon on Wednesday but his parents weren't reaching the city by train until 9:30 at night. We waited and waited all day. At last we started the service. Eventually, we went to the cemetery and waited two more hours. Which is why I was wandering around reading tombstones last night (see next post). At 11PM his parents finally arrived at the grave site and it was very dramatic. They were devastated. We all are.

I'm just starting to accept it myself. We pray for Ruth, Anil's widow, and his children and family. We pray for Ramesh and his church. Anil was a main pillar in their small gathering and Ramesh is left without his "right-hand man."

*"Yesudas" means "Servant of Jesus"
**This must feel like torture.

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