Coach Waldemar has been faithfully using sports ministry to pour into the lives of young people in Lima, Peru. Back in June, Waldemar contracted COVID-19. From his hospital bed in Lima, he wrote this moving letter to his team, his family, and his friends.
Hello, how are you?
I have COVID-19. It’s difficult. Last night I was short of breath and now I am connected to oxygen. The pain is severe, but I know that others are suffering even greater things. I have come across two paths: life or death.
Some will say, “Don’t exaggerate. That won’t happen to me, I am young.” Well, you must admit that sooner or later, whether due to COVID-19, accident, or perhaps old age, you will reach that point. And the most intriguing thing is that you don’t know when it will be! It has taken many by surprise and it has been too late for them to decide which way to go.
The Apostle Paul said, “For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21) Being in this situation, between life and death, I say this:
If God continues to give me life, I want to do what He put on my heart when I met Him on August 5th, 2004. He put on my heart to speak of Him from that same day forward to whoever wants to listen. And, if this day or a later time is the last day of my life, I would like to die talking about Him. (Do not tell my doctor who told me to keep absolute rest… please do not tell him that I am writing. After this I promise I will go directly to bed.)
I pray that God continues to give me life to talk about Him. If He heals me, may it be for the best: to speak and live as Jesus did, preaching in my house, in church, in school, on the street, in the hills. Whenever and wherever. I speak like Paul: for me, to live is Christ.
If God decides to take me with Him now or later, that is inevitable. I would happily go, because I would be next to my Lord at last!! But what a selfish thought, you might say. And your family? And your four children? What will become of them?
In these times of scarcity, my family has been very blessed. Before COVID-19, my family enjoyed some beautiful days outside of Lima. We didn’t have enough money to cover the cost, but God provided. My daughter was born and we had no diapers, but God provided and we had diapers for a few more months, clothes, and even a crib. We have not lacked food and God even gave us things that we could not have imagined. My children have learned that Jehovah provides.
Therefore, I know that God supports his children and will support my family even if I am not here. He cares for his children. Each time we found out my wife was pregnant, I prayed with her and said to God, “These little ones are yours, Lord. I consecrate them to you. They are your children and You will be their Father. You just gave us the option of raising them for You.” They will not be orphaned! It sounds harsh to say that, because I long to see them grow, see how God works in them, watch them play, and go out altogether walking and holding hands like we used to do some afternoons – especially with the youngest who is just over a month old. I only yearn for their salvation and that they live to serve Him, as I try to teach them, with my imperfections. I pray, too, for my life companion, my beloved, that we live and will continue to live, if God allows it, our whole lives worshiping Him.
I also want to say like Paul that “to die is gain” because I will be in the presence of God, in eternity, waiting to see my family arrive… It is possible that everything I have written so far may seem crazy to you, but please keep reading. The most beautiful thing is that, regarding these two alternatives, I asked God, and He already answered me! I have peace in my heart about what will happen. God is all powerful to heal me or to take me to his presence. He is sovereign and He has the best for us. But…
I’m worried about you! Yes, you! If you are the one who is reading this, don’t look around to see who I’m talking to. It’s you! You know you will reach this point where I am at sooner or later. What will you do? Will you have hope? I invite you to know the true God, the One who created the universe and everything you see. The one who made man in His image and His likeness. Have you not realized that you look like God?! You are not the worst, you are not trash; you are made in the likeness of God.
But man turned away from God because of sin. You need to know the truth; to put ourselves in front of it and know that we are all sinners. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Nobody comes to God except through Him. When you reach the end of your life and face death, there will be a heaven and a hell for you and nothing else.
You are isolated in your house watching what is happening from afar and have not seriously thought about all of this. God says that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Just as you may not believe in this now – I, too, lived my adolescence and part of my young adult life mocking that faith. But one day, it was God who touched my heart and gave me a new one! And from then on, I just wanted to talk about Him.
Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Receive him as your Lord and Savior, and your sins will be forgiven. The Lord wants to give you a new life and a new heart. Repent of having denied God; of having turned your back on Him; of having hurt; of having sinned.
You only have to say to Jesus in prayer:
“Lord Jesus, I repent of my sins. I ask for your forgiveness and I believe that you, being God, became a man out of love for us and humbled yourself by dying on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins. I believe you and receive you as my Lord and my Savior.”
If you have prayed with faith, God has surely heard you and now you are a child of God. You have hope for the future.
God bless you.
Originally in Spanish, translated and published with permission. We praise God that Waldemar has made a full recovery and continues to passionately share the good news of the gospel with youth, their families, and communities.
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