Thursday, October 3, 2013

Graduation Announcement: Maria da Glória Inácio Furtado

My paternal grandmother, Maria da Glória Inácio Furtado, has graduated. She went to be with her beloved God last night. It's nearly impossible to write about how amazing she was but I will certainly try. My grandmother accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior when my father was 11. That day marked the beginning of an amazing life for all of us. 
My late cousin Wesley, me, my cousin Harley,
my late Vó Maria and my Uncle Francisco my last Sunday
before moving to the States in 1998.
Jesus was truly the reason for my grandmother's life. My grandmother sang all day long. One of the many songs she sang used to summarize what she believed:
"A sua paz é como um rio, cheio de peixinhos e pássaros a cantar. Pássaros a cantar, rios a correr, quem tem Jesus Cristo tem motivo pra viver..."
"Your peace is like a river, filled with fishes and the birds are singing. Birds are singing, rivers are running, who has Jesus Christ has a reason to live..."
My grandmother taught us to grab a hold of Jesus and never let go. She had weekly Saturday prayer meetings where she taught us to preach, teach, sing and intercession. As little kids we didn't understand why we needed to do all that but now I am so thankful for her example and mentoring in the faith.
My family and my grandmother in one of our birthday parties.
I remember that my grandmother was so bold because she knew her authority in Christ. Every time she started to pray she went in God's presence as an heir and daughter who knew her Father would certainly hear her and bless her. I never heard her pray a timid prayer. She would start her prayers this way: "Most Holy and Eternal God, we give you many thanks my God..."
My grandmother in recent years
My grandmother taught us to share. She'd buy one piece of candy and share it in so many little pieces to be sure we all had one. She was proud of all of us. She had a way of making all of us feel so special. My grandmother was never ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I hope to be just like her in that sense. To live a life for Christ in such a way that there's no doubt where I will spend eternity while leaving an enormous impact here on earth.
My grandmother knew how to celebrate. I will never forget how she greatly rejoiced when she saw people being baptized or when dad told her how many people got saved at church that Sunday. I too hope to be that way: greatly rejoice over things that have eternal meaning.
My grandmother and my mother in recent years
My grandmother's memory was not the same for the past decade or so. One of the few things that didn't leave her memory was her Jesus. She'd talk about Him to whomever came tot he house. She still prayed, prophecied and worshipped Him on a regular basis. My parents made sure she'd hear the Bible read to her. I'm amazed at how she didn't remember a lot of things but her spirit was very much in touch with her God.
Today, and for the rest of my life, I thank God for making me part of her legacy. I thank God that she made sure Jesus was branded in soul and tatooed in my body.
This woman who didn't have any fancy titles is the mother, grandmother and great grandmother of many pastors, teachers, evangelists, worship leaders, musicians and people who just plain love the Jesus she lived so passionately for. I make mine the words of the Bible:
"So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord." 2 Corinthians 5:6-8
"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His Saints." Psalm 116:15 
Vó, you are present with the Lord. There's no better place for anyone who really knew who she believed and was persuaded like yourself. Thanks for loving me and for remembering me when I needed the most. You have entered your rest. My prayer is to be bold for Jesus as you taught me to do. Tomorrow, and every time I have a chance to speak and to pray, I'm gonna do it for the glory of God and to honor you, who were never, ever ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I don't need a title like you didn't need one. All we need is more of Jesus.
Thank you God for making me the heir of of Maria da Glória Inácio Furtado. What a rich spiritual inheritance I received today. 

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