I have debated over the past few days whether I should, or even could get before you all and speak about our beautiful Saint Ezekiel. I have felt at times that I would never have the strength to say anything, and even if I did, what could I possibly say to sum up the life of such a precious boy.
After much prayer however, I felt that not only God would give me the strength to speak, but that I needed to speak. You see, I know that this is part of the plan that God has planned out from the beginning of time . . .
Our dear, joyful, amazing boy was created for a reason and God has given Jonathan and I the greatest blessing in all the world. He has allowed us to understand the reason for the life of our son–that our little boy was created to be one of the most effective missionaries I have ever met.
From the very earliest moments of his life, even before birth, he was bringing people closer to Jesus. In particular, Jonathan and I. I remember learning, just days after Jon had quit his job and we had begun selling our belongings, that I was expecting our 6th little one. Personally, my faith was truly tested at this moment. We had no insurance, no income, no benefactors, and no idea where we would be living when this child would be due. Could it be that we had made the wrong choice? How little faith I had in the power of our God. How could everything come together the way we needed it to? Yet after much prayer, we felt God calling us to continue on the path which we had begun. It literally took me till mid pregnancy to feel comfortable with the idea of a new addition to our family, and do you know what finally gave me peace? The knowledge that even though we were attempting to avoid a pregnancy it happened anyway, practically miraculously. This was not an “oops” baby. This was a baby that God wanted to bring into this world. This was a child that was created for a purpose. My faith began to grow. My little missionary was already doing his work. His presence was already bringing me to Jesus.
Later, after we had discovered we would be moving to General Cepeda, we prayed about what we should do about the child’s birth. Should we return to the states or stay in Mexico? If we stayed in Mexico do we go to Saltillo to have the baby or stay in General Cepeda? Our decision to have the baby in General Cepeda was an easy one. Of course I will have my child where we lived. I felt that there was no real question, only a reality that that was where he needed to be born. Two months after we arrived I gave birth to this beautiful little boy. He was the greatest gift we could have ever received. Why? For all my life I wanted to be a missionary, to bring Jesus and his love to people who needed him, yet here we are in the middle of Coahuila Mexico. My heart yearned to tell the people of the incredible blessing of God’s love that I have experienced and to try to share this love with others, but I studied French for 6 years. I literally arrived knowing almost no words more than “hola” and “no entiendo”. I felt like I was failing as a missionary. I would visit people in their homes and we would sit in awkward silence because I knew no words to speak. I tried to read Scriptures but didn’t know how to pronounce the words so though they sat patiently, I feel like I surely grew more in humility through humiliation than they learned of Jesus from my scripture reading. Yet after Ezekiel was born our mission changed completely. There was no more awkward silence because Ezekiel brought us together. He was one of them you see. Born in their city, in their hospital by the hand of their doctors. And cooing at a baby is an international phenomenon! Even completely grown, gruff Mexican men would lose all inhibitions in the presence of our blond haired blue eyed little Mexican and start speaking baby talk. Soon enough we would all be laughing hugging and living like family. Everyone wanted to hold him and play with him, and praise God, he had no problem with being passed around by everyone! His presence, even as the tiniest infant, made our mission work possible. No one doubted our love of them because we stayed in Mexico to live as one of them. They were able to understand that we meant what we said, we desired to love them, to live with them and bring Jesus to them, and we were willing to sacrifice much to make it happen. His little missionary self was still bringing others to Jesus!
He continued to bring others to Jesus in his own little way for the months to come. He brought others to Jesus as our entire community pulled together to try to teach him to walk, to help him learn to talk, to feed himself and drink from a cup without a lid (we didn’t have a whole lot of sippy cups available). He was loved by everyone!
The last day of his life was a beautiful day in so many ways. We went on home visits in the morning and as usual little man was the life of the party. At our last visit we stopped by a gentleman’s house named Jorge, who because of an accident years ago, was confined to a wheelchair. Jorge’s father, brother and sisters were there as well. As is common, we were offered a bit of food during the visit. I, being in the family way, was offered two slices of cake, while the guys Jon and Odilio were only offered one! At one point I decided to share my cake with Ezekiel, so I cut off a small piece of cake to serve to my little darling. So with one hand holding my plate I offered the little stinker the bite of cake on a fork with the other. Ezekiel, seeing that my hands were already occupied, proceeded to use his free hands to grab all the rest of my cake from my plate leaving me a small child size portion on the fork. But even in that, Ezekiel was doing the Lord’s work because I then laughingly announced to everyone that my little stinker just stole my cake and was promptly given yet a 3rd piece of cake (keep in mind the guys still only had their one slice- sometimes God is soooo good!)
Upon returning to our town after visiting, we were invited to a fish fry at a friend’s house where we spent a lovely afternoon with all our good friends from Juarez. We left a little early just because I needed to leave for a bible study. Staci Alvarez, our mission partner, and I went to a little ejido outside of town where we study the 5th chapter of Mark in which we read the story of Jesus walking with a crowd to a synagogue officials house named Jairus whose daughter was sick. On the way he meets the woman with the hemorrhage and the woman was healed because of her faith. While Jesus was speaking to the woman, Jairus was approached by men who told him that his daughter had died but yet Jairus chose to continue on to his house with Jesus. Upon arriving at the house of Jairus, encounters people weeping and wailing loudly. I am sure you know the story, but Jesus then says why are you crying? She is only sleeping. He entered her room, held her hand and told her to rise. And the little girl did in fact arise. We went on to discuss how in both instances both the woman with the hemorrhage and Jairus had to have faith that Jesus would heal them, even though all reason suggested that was not the case.
Therefore, when less than an hour later, I entered the room of my own son and saw him lying on the table in the hospital room I was convinced that my son was NOT dead, he was just sleeping. I held my beautiful baby boy in my arms and kissed him, prayed over him, hugged him and waited for the miracle. I just knew that God was going to use this moment as a moment to manifest his glory. I pat my son’s back I prayed some more, I had faith! God had reason for creating my son. There was a reason I conceived when it should not have been possible. There was a reason he was born. There was a reason he lived! There was a reason for all things! And so I waited for the revelation of his glory. And I waited. And at some point I realized that my son would not wake up, and I cried. I cried, but I did not lose hope. In fact, I felt a peace well up inside me because while I had faith, and though I now was sure my son would not wake again in this life, all that I had been saying to myself was still true. There was a reason for this boy’s life, and God revealed to me what that reason was.
My son was created to be a missionary. He was created to bring people to Jesus. Ezekiel existed to be a powerful witness to everyone who learned of his existence that there is a love that is greater than we can imagine, there is a God that can make all our burdens light. Ezekiel was created to be a missionary and he was one to the fullest extent until he died. But not only that, he continues to be a missionary at this very moment. Ezekiel was created for a reason and he has fulfilled his purpose and is in fact still filling that roll.
HE was only 18 months old and he made our mission possible. He touched more lives than we can count. He was who he was called to be!
HE is an example for us. He can teach us so much. I am convinced that just as Ezekiel was created for a purpose, so in fact, am I. So in fact are you!
We must all pray that God reveals to us what we were created for. What is our role in this world? Nothing, and I mean, nothing in this world is more important in our life than becoming who God has called us to be. It is not important whether or not you have the best shoes or are the best dressed in your office. It is not important if you make millions. It is not important if you become a CEO or recognized for how great you are. What is important is that at the end of this life, when all is said and done you can say I have no regrets. I have done all for you God. When I die I don’t want to just “get to heaven” I want to belong there, just as much as all the other saints. I want Jesus standing at those pearly gates with my St. Ezekiel by his side smiling and saying, “Well done my good and faithful servant. Welcome home!” and not only do I want to be in Heaven with my son, my brother and all those who have gone before me, but I want each and every one of you to be there with me. Let us do what God has called us to do. Let us be who God has called us to be.
St Catherine of Sienna once said that “If you are who you should be, you will set the world on fire!” If we are who we should be, WE WILL SET THE WORLD ON FIRE! Look at all the lives that our Saint Ezekiel touched, and he was ONLY 18 MONTHS OLD!!! Just imagine what you could do if you were what God created you to be.
How do you begin you may ask . . . I will leave you with the words of one of my favorite Saints, St. Francis of Asissi, “Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
St. Ezekiel Daniel Francisco Kiehl Vrazel—Pray For US!!!!!!!!