We had been praying for him every Sunday for a number of weeks. His name was Cresencio. His family called him Don Chencho. Don Chencho was the grandfather of a member of our church. He lived in the tiny town of Acámbaro, Guanajuato in Mexico.
Don Chencho had cancer. Every Sunday, his granddaughter would remind me to please say a prayer for him. And so we did.
But Don Chencho just kept getting sicker. Then one Sunday, the granddaughter pulled me aside before church and told me that, according to the doctors, it wouldn’t be much longer. So we prayed for Don Chencho one last time.
The following Thursday night about 9:30 PM, my phone rang. It was the granddaughter. She was in tears. I was expecting to hear that Don Chencho had passed away. Instead she asked me, “Pastor, would you call my grandfather?” I didn’t know what to say. I had never met him or spoken with any of the family down in Mexico. I wondered how they would react to this gringo pastor they didn’t know calling them from Texas.
But the granddaughter told me that they lived in a small rancho and didn’t have any pastor or priest that would go and visit them. The family was torn up. Don Chencho was restless. So at 10 PM on a Thursday evening, the gringo pastor from Edna, Texas called Don Chencho in Acámbaro, Mexico.
I spoke for a few minutes with his daughter, sharing with her the comfort that God gives in his Word. I said a prayer with her. Then she said, “Would you like to speak to my father? He won’t be able to respond, but I’m sure he would appreciate it.”
She put the phone to his ear. The cancer had so invaded his throat that he couldn’t speak. So I spoke. I spoke about God’s great love. I spoke about how God punished Jesus for our sins so that we could be forgiven. I told him how Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life, whoever believes in me will live, even though he dies.” I told him he could trust Jesus’ promise because God never lies. I told him that all those who believe in Jesus go to heaven. Then I said, “Good-bye.” And that was it.
The next day, the granddaughter called me. “Pastor,” she said, “I don’t know what you told him, but last night my grandfather had the most peaceful night he has had in days. Oh, and pastor” – she added – “before he went to sleep he told my mom, ‘I can now go in peace. I know I am going to heaven because God has forgiven me.’”
The following Sunday evening at 9:30 PM, my phone rang once again. God had called Don Chencho home to heaven.
Don Chencho was already a Christian when I spoke with him over the phone. He believed in God, but he didn’t seem to fully understand how God had forgiven him because of Jesus. One simple phone call, however, changed all that.
Do you have anyone you could call? Do you have a grandpa or grandma, son or daughter, family member or friend who lives in another city or state or country? Do you know anyone who doesn’t believe in Jesus or is struggling in their faith? You don’t have to see them face-to-face to be able to share with them God’s promises or tell them of the forgiveness we have in Jesus. All it takes is one simple phone call.
So pick up the phone. Make that call.