Doctors had talked to me about my mother’s critical condition and I knew the next call from the hospital would be a nightmare. My cell phone rang at 11 pm on May 25. The doctor said, “Stephen, your mom has breathed her last breath peacefully at 10:39 pm and we’re sorry for your loss.” A gigantic emptiness swept into my heart and all my future seemed to vanish.

My poor widow mother had raised me and paid for my seminary education. She had prayed for me for 31 years to become a pastor. She was beaming with joy on my ordination day on June 9, 2018, during camp meeting at Sunnydale Adventist Academy. I would not be where I am today if not for her prayers and sacrifices.

But the devil tried to get me at the lowest point of my life. He tried to plant seeds of doubt and discouragement. The devil said, “Come back to me. Both of your parents are gone now. Just toss your faith and enjoy life.”

However, I’ve tasted and seen that the Lord is good; I can’t look back. Having received the greatest gift of God, His begotten son, Jesus Christ, I can’t trade Jesus for anything. I’ve been washed in the tsunami of the blood of Jesus and baptized in the tsunami of His grace.

True believers never die

Coronavirus hit us hard, yet I saw many blessings in disguise. While my pregnant wife and I were sick with the virus, our 3-year-old daughter, Sofia, was all over us. But miraculously, she was not infected. Our unborn son, Andrew, is doing fine as well. By God’s grace, both my wife and I recovered after two weeks.

Sadly, my mother didn’t make it. She was very sick on her 69th birthday and she fell asleep in Jesus 14 days after her birthday. We were concerned for my mother’s funeral expenses initially, but it was all paid by our relatives, church members and friends.

True believers never die. My dear mother is sleeping in Jesus. She will soon wake up to go home and live eternally with Jesus when He comes. What a blessed hope we have as God’s children!

This year is really difficult for my family and our church family. In spite of the coronavirus and many other challenges, we have purchased a church building, and the Lord is providing for the mortgage monthly.

We’ve sowed with tears but God gave us the harvest of five new souls coming to the Lord through baptism and profession of faith on July 25. Though my mother was not able to see the five new souls and the arrival of her grandson (due Sept. 6), she knew these blessings were on the way. I still remember the smile and words from my mom when I told her that her second grandchild would be a boy.  She said, “We’re going to have another pastor in our family.”

Legacy of love

Although my mother is no longer with us, the seed of faith she planted is growing among our family, relatives, friends and church members. Her love for the Lord Jesus touched my life personally and the lives of many others. She was a humble and compassionate spiritual giant.

We’ve decided to carry on the legacy of her great faith and sacrifices for the gospel work. I will have many things to tell her on the resurrection day. I want to tell her how the Lord was good to our family and our church while she was sleeping in Christ.

Believers, take heart. We will see our loved ones soon when Jesus comes. For the time being, let’s all prepare ourselves, our friends and families to meet our Lord Jesus. Even so, come Lord Jesus. Maranatha!

Stephen Moethapo pastors the Karen Adventist Church in Des Moines, Iowa, with his loving wife Pawmoo Po and their daughter Sofia.