Peru imposed one of the earliest and strictest lockdowns in Latin America, but COVID-19 has still hit the country hard. Back in June, one of our coaches in Lima contracted the virus. From his hospital bed, Coach Waldemar wrote this moving letter to his team, his family, and his friends:
(Originally in Spanish, translated and published with permission.)
Hello, how are you?
I have COVID-19. It’s difficult. Last night I was short of breath and now I am connected to oxygen. The pain is severe, but I know that others are suffering even greater things. I have come across two paths: life or death.
Some will say, “Don’t exaggerate. That won’t happen to me, I am young.” Well, you must admit that sooner or later, whether due to COVID-19, accident, or perhaps old age, you will reach that point. And the most intriguing thing is that you don’t know when it will be! It has taken many by surprise and it has been too late for them to decide which way to go.
The Apostle Paul said, “For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21) Being in this situation, between life and death, I say this:
If God continues to give me life, I want to do what He put on my heart when I met Him on August 5th, 2004. He put on my heart to speak of Him from that same day forward to whoever wants to listen. And, if this day or a later time is the last day of my life, I would like to die talking about Him. (Do not tell my doctor who told me to keep absolute rest… please do not tell him that I am writing. After this I promise I will go directly to bed.)
I pray that God continues to give me life to talk about Him. If He heals me, may it be for the best: to speak and live as Jesus did, preaching in my house, in church, in school, on the street, in the hills. Whenever and wherever. I speak like Paul: for me, to live is Christ.
If God decides to take me with Him now or later, that is inevitable. I would happily go, because I would be next to my Lord at last!! But what a selfish thought, you might say. And your family? And your four children? What will become of them? ...