Today is my 3rd day back in Uganda and much has happened. My plane landed late Thursday night and I hadn’t been off the plane for an hour when I received the call that Derick was dying. I felt so helpless…..I was so close…back in the country, yet, hours away that couldn’t be traveled during the night.

When my phone rang early Friday morning, I assumed it was a call to let me know he had died, but, it was a call saying he had lived through the night. I was overjoyed to reach Busia late Friday and find him still in this world. The cancerous tumor had taken over most of his face and was coming out of his mouth….he looked so pitiful. I couldn’t really tell if he knew it was me, but I talked to him as if he could hear me…told him how much I loved him and how happy I was to see him.

When we went to bed, he was still the same. I woke up about 2:30 from jetlag and listened to the quietness of my surroundings. It is so quiet here when I get back from the states. We didn’t have power so I couldn’t get up and do anything even though I was wide awake. About 4:30 I heard Dericks Momma cry. I jumped up and went where she was and she collapsed in my arms. Derick had just slipped into the arms of Jesus.

Sweet little Derick…now home with Jesus

While I was holding her, she looked at me and said, he waited to see you before he left this world. I had only been home about 8 hours when he slipped away….and I will always be thankful to my Heavenly Father for giving me the blessing of seeing him before He took him home to heaven.

The hours that followed brought all different kinds of emotions. Our hearts broke when the father and brothers arrived. Then again as Pam helped prepare his body for burial. I am not sure I could have helped her, although I would have tried if she asked, but instead she gave me the job of taking care of Dericks Momma until they finished the worst parts of preparing his body.

One emotion that didn’t feel normal at first, was a great sense of peace because I knew he wasn’t hurting anymore. Yet, I wasn’t crying and that boggled my mind…I kept thinking…what is wrong me…my heart is broke but I am not crying. Later as I looked back I could clearly see God had given me strength so I could be strong for Dericks Momma. It wasn’t until I called my son and daughter and heard their voices that the tears began to fall and I ached from the heartache of what had happened.

His little body stayed here with us until the family could get a wood coffin built. Then Sezi came and took the body and the family to the place where they are originally from, about 3 hours away…Dericks grandfathers place. Because the family had seen the love of Christ shown through the care given to Derick, they decided they wanted him to have a Christian funeral.

Today, Sezi drove us back there and we were able to take part in his funeral. It was all very sweet, yet sad. His father collapsed at the gravesite and his Momma had to be helped away.

Derick was buried in a field where beans and potato’s are growing…his grave will not be marked…

Both of these circumstances broke my heart and then I noticed an older woman walking away…she seemed as if the burden was more than she could carry. I had not met her, but in my heart I knew she was Dericks Grandmother. As I went to her all I could think about were my children and grandchildren. She was buckling under the burden of not only losing her grandson, but also watching her daughter bury her son. As I held her, the tears flowed freely….I didn’t know anything else to do but cry with her.

One of the greatest blessings for me as all of this took place, was being able to talk to Dericks family about heaven. What an incredible honor it was to be the first one to tell them about our eternal heavenly home. To assure them that if we have been born again, we will one day join Derick…never more to be apart again. This happened in the first couple of hours after Derick died so I didn’t get to give the full plan of salvation…yet, at the funeral today, one of our Pastors here from Busia, Pastor Joseph, preached the service and the gospel was shared. No one accepted Christ today, but I know the seeds are planted. I invited them to come visit with me when they return to Busia….and I will share with them. I pray they will make a decision to surrender their lives to the Lord.

Before I left the states to head back, my son, daughter-in-law and my daughter prepared to do a long distance bible study. Its a study called, Heaven by Randy Alcorn. We serve a mighty God…He knew this study would mean even more to me because He knew He was taking Derick home just as the study was beginning.

A word of thanks to those of you who support me financially. You helped Dericks family with the cost of the funeral. They are truly the poorest of the poor here. They would not have been able to take him back home for burial if Pam and I hadn’t stepped in to cover the cost. Thank you for loving me and caring about what God is doing through me here in East Africa. Thank you for trusting me to represent you here on the mission field.

I have a wonderful update to share about Arafat. He has gained 12 pounds and his wounds although they are still bad, are better than they were. This morning, he got up, got dressed and planned his day to go with us to Dericks funeral. I am not sure how long it’s been since he has been out of the bed, but its been a long time. He did great today….6 hours of travel plus the funeral and he didn’t go back to bed when we got back!

He and Dericks beds were 3 feet apart…so he felt a close friendship with him. He was going to do whatever it took to attend his friends funeral. I took this picture of him when we got back…doesn’t he look great!

Arafat….our continued miracle….

God continues to work miracles in Arafats life…..he has been close to death more times that we can keep up with! I don’t know what God is doing…but it sure is fun watching Him work! Keep those prayers going…..

Love to all,

Joy Breedlove

Missionary-East Africa