If you have ever stayed at the Grace Mission house then you have seen a small, elderly, quiet man tending to the blackberry bushes and burning the trash. Many of you would have a breakfast plate waiting for him when he arrived to work.
It is with a sad heart to tell you that Juan passed away today. Juan was 87 years old and passed away peacefully in him home. He was surrounded by his wife, children, and grandchildren.
Juan’s job was to tend to the blackberry bushes in front of the mission house. A couple of our other men workers tried to help Juan with the hoeing, watering, fertilizing, etc. Juan quickly reminded them of their job descriptions and it had noting to do with his blackberry patch. They all listened to him. Soy and I listened to him. LOL!
In the Spring Juan’s wife came to help him at the mission house. I said “Juan I see your wife is here to help you work!” He didn’t have an enthusiastic look when he said, “Mas o Menos”. I laughed because he gave the same look that every other man would give if their wife followed them to work.
Last May, I needed Juan at the school for a signature. I was shocked when Chino drove up in his Jeep and Juan was sitting in the passenger side. Imagine an 87 year old, 5ft (maybe) man riding in a two door Jeep. They had to push him up into the car but he was smiling from ear to ear.
In March we told Juan to stay home due to the virus. We assured him that he would still receive full salary but he was not to come to work. One week later he was standing at our door. He refused to stay at home.
In October, Juan could no longer walk to work due to extreme pain in his knees. He later informed us that he cried as he walked away on his last day of work. He did walk to the mission house one last time to solely thank my dad for the opportunity to work for soooo many years.
Soy had the opportunity to visit with him on Tuesday night. Juan laughed and told stories about his life. He told Soy about his previous job of tending to bulls before working for Grace. After he began working for Grace ministries, his former job asked him to return. However, Juan was too happy with his work on Grace mountain.
Soy and some of the teachers prayed with Juan’s family at noon today. Only 3 hours later Juan’s son, Santi, was knocking on our door to tell us about his passing. Right now (8:30pm), Soy and Chino are at Juan’s house as the family is having a service. The burial will take place tomorrow.
There is a great need to help with the funeral for Juan. SLAM and GRACE Ministries are able to help with this need because of YOU! So many of you give to our ministries on a consistent basis. You are the reason we can provide hope during some of the dark days. You are the reason we can show the love of Christ to the family.
To everyone who has ever prepared a breakfast plate or simply smiled and said “Buenas Dias”. THANK YOU for loving Juan!