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Lowell Brueckner

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What Does It Mean to be Used of God?


After camp in Barcelona in 2005, someone wrote down a few of the outstanding testimonies shared by various young people in the last camp meeting, including the following: “Hector was very broken and sincere. He recognized his hypocrisy and that, in spite of having faked a true Christianity, it had never been a reality in his life. He was always hemmed in by sin, even though many around him never knew it. They even encouraged him to share in the word and repeatedly remarked about what a nice guy he was. He admitted that he had never been born again and his disconsolate and deep desire was that Christ would be a reality in his life.”

Hector fell on November 4, 2011 and went into a coma that lasted until July 4th, 2012, exactly eight months after the fall… 

Hector and Nerea on the right with Hector's family at the wedding of his sister, Sara and Juanma

Hector Fernández Rodríguez fell asleep 

and woke in heaven, July 4, 2012

Written for the most part by Javi and Nora, Hector’s friends, on July 9, 2012

We were in the funeral home an evening and the following morning with the family and all the people, who came to accompany them in those days. We cried with them, but above all, as they wished, we praised God, singing and receiving edification from them. The first day that we saw them, at 11 p.m., when we arrived at the hospital in Barcelona, where Hector died one hour before (he was now covered and taken away thereafter), they were sad. It was a difficult moment, but they had peace and it was noticeable. His dad consoled us, saying that Hector was not there, but with the Father. The next day, this peace, his mother said, turned to joy. And we could see that! It was the joy of the Lord, in the midst of the pain of loss. We really saw the joy of the Lord in them and we felt it as well. We could see clearly that Hector was no longer there, but with Christ in heaven.

We knew in our hearts, by what we were experiencing, that the burial day would be even more glorious, and it was! First, we had a meeting in the funeral parlor. There were over 300 people and the funeral personnel would normally only allow 20 minutes for the meeting. Thank God, they gave us an hour and 15 minutes and, in the end, we were there almost two hours without interruption (which they would normally do, when the designated time had passed). It turns out that the man in charge of the funeral parlor was a Christian, and he waited until we were finished. God was in charge of this also.

In the meeting, the family spoke and some of his closest friends. There was opportunity for anyone who wanted to say something. First, came Carmen, Hector’s mother. She only wanted to thank the people for coming. Truthfully, it was enough just to look at her and we could see the glory of God in her, as a testimony to Christ. Afterwards we sang and following that, others spoke.

Nerea, his fiancée, began. She told that 20 days before the accident, Hector had given her the engagement ring and explained to her that the two kinds of gold in the ring represented the two of them and the stone in the middle represented Christ. He said that it would be like that with them and that Christ would be in the center and would be present in the difficult times. “The difficult times have come,” she said, “and the three of us have gone through them together.” She added, “I wouldn’t change anything that I have experienced.” She had been taking care of Hector for eight months, committed, no matter what would take place, to stay at his side, even if he would awaken as a paralytic.

His oldest sister, Sara, who was married exactly one year ago, read the last letter that Hector had written her, in which he finished by stating that God would be with us every day. Her husband, Juanma, said that it was a privilege to form part of this family. He also stated his gratitude for Hector, who had certainly arrived at the goal and we did not have to weep for him, but he warned the people, who had not received Christ, as well as the Christians, to consider seriously, if they were walking with Christ or not.

Other close friends came forward to speak. My husband, Javi, spoke of the group of friends that had lived together since childhood, before coming to know Christ, and quoted the verse, “now we know no one after the flesh, and if we had know them before, we know them no more in that way”. He said that God had given them the privilege to continue friendship, after each one in different places had committed his life to Christ, but that now it was not in the flesh, but in Christ. He spoke of how Hector told him one day that God had revealed His Son to him. It was while Hector was in Croatia. He wanted to truly seek God and he began to rise early in the morning to pray and in one of these times, he had a vision. “I saw Christ dying on the cross for me. I saw Him!” Hector exclaimed to Javi.

Also Galin, another friend, stood to speak of how Hector was a peaceful, simple young man, who lived a real Christianity and was an example for him. Then came Sofi, Javi’s sister, who also had known Hector, when they were children. In the last days, when Hector got worse, she was in the hospital, accompanying Nerea all the time. Miguel, Nerea’s father, stood to speak. He explained that Hector had been a letter, as it says in 2 Corinthians 3:3, written by the Spirit of the living God.

At last, Vicente, Hector’s dad stood to speak, saying that his son was no longer here and he had the assurance that he was with Christ. He spoke of eternal life, in which we have to keep our eyes. He spoke of his son, who had honored him. Also he spoke of his wife, Carmen, and gave thanks to God for her. He never saw her doubt, but always had faith and without a question had been his helpmate. He also spoke of Nerea, grateful to God for placing her in the life of his son. For his part, he said, even though there had not been a ceremony or a legal paper, she had been his wife throughout this time.

Besides these testimonies, we were singing and praising God and felt His presence strongly among us. Several times we sang that day a song that Hector liked a lot and in the last days before he fell into the coma, he sang it often. It reflected his testimony. Surely you know it; I think it is a hymn that is in English as well. It says:

Let the weak say, "I am strong"
Let the poor say, "I am rich"
Let the blind say, "I can see"
It's what the Lord has done in me

Hosanna, hosanna
To the Lamb that was slain
Hosanna, hosanna
Jesus died and rose again

To the river I will wade
There my sins are washed away
From the heavens mercy streams
Of the Savior's love for me

I will rise from waters deep
Into the saving arms of God
I will sing salvation songs

Jesus Christ has set me free”

After the meeting closed, we went to the place where he would be buried. As his parents wished, he finally was able to be buried underground (in Spain that isn’t usually the custom). Truthfully, it was a beautiful place with grass, surrounded by trees and in the distance, mountains. It also was a clear day.

As they (his dad, Javi, Galin, among others) took the casket from the car and brought it to the place, where he would be buried, a man played “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes. It was really a special moment, reflecting on Hector’s life and knowing he was in heaven. They buried him, as we sang, and then Vicente prayed. Then, all the people, one by one, came to each member of the family to hug them and say goodbye, thanking them.

Experiencing this has been edifying to our spirits, made us look more to the eternal and leave behind that which is passing. We have seen the glory of God in these days! Many things have happened in the lives of people, since Hector had the accident. The family was able to preach the gospel to the Spanish ambassador to Croatia, who heard of what had happened and invited the family to eat at his house. A youth, who lived with Hector and liked him very much, made his commitment to Christ at that time. His family, his friends, and many Christians have been touched and changed, as a result of Hector’s life. Another said that his family has not been the same, since they experienced this situation and that so many things that had value before, had lost it. It made them place their eyes much more on the eternal - on the things of heaven. He saw how the parents testified of Christ with power, how praises were sung in his room that were heard all over the ward, and how the hospital employees were surprised at all this. It was marvelous to see how God had worked. 

We also saw how Hector, after serving God in a coma, now served Him in his death. The fruit that has come as a result is so valuable. People, including ourselves, have been transformed more into the image of Christ during this time. Glory be to God! Even though we were in a cemetery, because of all that God had allowed us to take in, we were really happy, so much so that after everything had ended and all the people went back to their various cities, some of us sat on the grass, remembering what we had received from God that day… so unexplainably glorious! Finally, the guard had to tell us to leave, because he had to shut the cemetery gate.

Javi was able to see what it really means to serve God. It is not about all kinds of activity and projects, in which we are often involved, giving ourselves some kind of satisfaction that this is what it is all about. But to serve God means to place ourselves in His hands and let Him move through us to do His will with His life and purpose evidently manifested in our beings, glorifying Himself through our lives or through our deaths. Javi adds: The next day after the funeral, my wife, parents, brother, sister and myself, went at night to visit the family and Vicente told me the following: “This morning I got up and the word that I received from God is that we are to be humble in this. What we have experienced these days has been so marvelous. We have seen so clearly the glory of God, but He wants us to live it in humility”.

The verse that the parents and siblings placed and dedicated on the flower arrangement of roses was: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” Psalms 116:15

Great and marvelous are Your works, O Lord God, the Almighty;
Righteous and true are Your ways, King of the nations!
Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy;
For all the nations will come and worship before You,
For Your righteous acts have been revealed.
Revelations 15:3-4


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