A sad goodbye to darling Helen

Celia y HelenThis week we received the sad news that a sweet little girl we know named Helen lost her battle with cancer. We had visited with Helen and her dad in November and then again in March, so we felt a connection with her. Her passing hit us hard.

Our first visit with her in the provincial hospital of Camaguey was memorable for a couple of reasons. When we handed out some stuffed toys, she was given a purple whale. We asked her if she was going to name her new toy and she said she would give the whale the name of one of the nurses, which provoked a good laugh from all the staff.

Also, when we invited Helen to come out to the common area for ice cream she said she didn’t like ice cream much. Celia asked her, “What do you like?” “Gum,” she replied. It just so happened that Celia had a pack of gum in her purse and Helen’s eyes lit up when it was given to her.

Every indication was that she was going to beat the cancer.

By the time I saw her again in March, however, she was too weak to speak or even maintain eye contact. Now Helen has departed and we can no longer interact with the sweetheart with the bright eyes and beautiful smile. Chewing gum manufacturers have lost one of their cutest customers. Darling Helen is gone and her purple whale will need a new owner.

But in our sadness we find hope, because we know for sure that Helen heard the Gospel on at least two occasions, and was prayed for in her hearing on both those visits. We also gave her Bible activity books that we hope she had the chance to read and use. I trust I have not seen the last of darling Helen.

We also have hope for her dad, who was constantly by her side and who wept openly after we prayed for her in March. We also shared the Gospel with him and we trust he has found some consolation in the Lord.

Celia and I have been so tremendously blessed by our participation in the Hope of Life hospital visits. Please keep praying and giving as you are able. This month our friend Pat Franks took down some more stuffed animals as well as some board games for the children in the hospital. We would be glad to have more items like this to send down with ACTION teams traveling to Cuba over the summer.

Thank you and God bless you,

Brian Stewart