April 14, 2005


New Member
The psalmist prayed, "Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me."

-Psalm 23:4 (NRSV)

NELI was a dear friend from college and church. She was young, full of life, and had a warm spirit. Whether in a school, church, or work setting, Neli always voiced her sincere but forceful opinions. However, if she felt she had hurt anyone's feelings, she graciously asked forgiveness.

Then Neli became seriously ill. She underwent an operation and endured many kinds of treatments, suffering terrible pain in the process. When I visited her at the clinic, she showed me the cross she had placed on the wall opposite her bed. She explained that looking at it helped her to talk to Christ and express whatever she was feeling, even her anger. She definitely never lost her energetic and fighting spirit. She never renounced her faith and always sought comfort in the words of the Bible. Even though she had a strong will to live, her illness overwhelmed her.

Before her death, she selected the Bible texts and hymns that would be used in her funeral service. Neli's faith allowed her to confront the challenges of life, and her life continues to be a testament for me of what a living faith can be.

Haydee E. Oliva (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

Lord, renew our faith in times of pain and hopelessness. Be our strength when we falter. Amen.