“Oh death, where is your sting?”
By Tracy Warner
She wished for neither material wealth nor physical health.
She wished that they would follow Jesus.
I met Dominga over a year ago while I was serving alongside a medical team in La Concha. She was helping Elizabeth, her eldest daughter, and me serve food to the patients and medical team members. She really should have been a patient herself. The paisley scarf enveloped her head where her hair should have been, and she frequently sat down to rest her weary body. Despite the harsh chemo treatments, she smiled and chopped up tomatoes and onions. She seemed happy enough despite the ravaging effects of the cancer and would live for another year, but inwardly she was dead already.
“It’s easy, Momma. Why won’t you be saved? You don’t have to do anything – just believe in your heart that Jesus died for you and ask him to forgive your sins.”
I clearly remember the Sunday her son Jader stepped up to Pastor Luis and asked if he could share a prayer request for his mom to know Jesus. There were no dry eyes that day as we prayed. Each day as Jader returned home from school, he would kiss his mom all over her face and read Scripture to her, continuing to share the Gospel with her.
In moments like these, I am thankful for the medical knowledge I have and that God can use that to help me connect and care well for others. I began making house calls.
Dominga had already decided she didn’t wish to continue with the toxic chemotherapy she had been receiving. She was just too tired to continue that fight, but her pain and physical health were debilitating. I had numerous opportunities to offer medical care and help buy medications. However, I often felt helpless. As I had mentioned in a previous post, 100% of my patients will die. Medicine has its limitations. So what MORE was I offering? And so my teammate Carmen and I would visit Dominga and read Scripture, pray for her, share the Good News that Jesus offers eternal life despite what this physical life takes. Over the course of the next few weeks, we had many opportunities to share God’s love in both word and deed with Dominga and her family.
God opened Dominga’s heart on April 24th. The photo above shows Dominga praying to receive Christ as her personal Savior. There was much rejoicing. A week later Elizabeth shared with us something that still causes my heart to just burst. Dominga was preparing to leave this world, but what she willed to her family was not material wealth. She did not hope for them to have a piece of land or a good job or worldly riches. As she gathered her family around her, her words were: “I want Jader to continue going to the church when I die. And I want you all to promise to seek after God. Don’t do what I did and wait till you’re old and dying. Follow Jesus now.”
Dominga took her last breath on May 18th. But soon after, tears were replaced with smiles of hope, knowing that Elizabeth and Jader and I will one day see Dominga again.
–Traci Warner, MSN, FNP, is a MedSend grant recipient serving in Nicaragua. This is a follow up to an earlier post by her, which we shared.