I traveled with my mother, my younger brother Lee, and my sister Maria to Wooster Ohio for our grandmother, Elizabeth Tomassetti's funeral. We took our black lab, Caesar, along with us because we didn't want to leave him home alone. Our cousin's children loved playing with him. I had asked for prayer here on the blog not long before we left, and I am very grateful for all those who did pray for us. I was comforted being in Wooster Ohio knowing that family in Christ were praying for me and my natural family during this visit.
My grandmother was born in Ireland. During WWII, she met my grandfather who was a U.S. Navy man. After they were married, they lived in Scotland for three years where my dad was born, then they moved to Wooster Ohio where my grandpa Tomassetti was born. My entire family on my dad's side were raised Roman Catholic.
My parents raised my brothers and sister and I in a protestant church. Nevertheless, I was not saved by grace until I was in college. Now that I know Christ and am His, it is my desire that my family members, both immediate and extended, also come to God through Christ by faith alone. Faith is not easy to come by, we need the Word of God in the Holy Scriptures to teach us (Rom. 10:17), so I make it my aim to share the Word at whatever opportunities the Lord provides.
Wednesday night, I spent a lot of time talking with a family friend's teenage son. I had shared the gospel with him in April at my grandfather's funeral, but he had not been reading the pocket NT I gave him. We must have spent almost an hour talking. He did not know anything about Jesus or what the Bible teaches, so I explained a lot to him about why Jesus came into the world, who He was, why we need a Savior (using Children of the Corn as an illustration of our spiritual deadness, because it came up in our conversation) and what He will do when He returns. This young man started to see that this was more interesting than he had previously imagined. His mother told me at the graveyard that he went home talking about what I said to him. I also gave him one of my new ESV pocket NTs, which I told him would be easier to read the the KJV or NKJV one I had given him last time we talked. My prayer was that he will read it, and get his family to read the Bible as well. May God do so and more.
I had a bad cold this week. I could barely talk during our visit. However, I did get to ask one of my older relatives if he would go to heaven when it was his turn to lay in the casket. He said that he would probably not go there. I asked him if he knew the song, "Amazing Grace"? He said yes, (it was playing on the slideshow in the funeral home). I said, well it goes... "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a WRETCH like me." And I pointed to myself. I said "It is good news for bad people, but bad news for good people." I think I also said something about how that is why I needed Jesus to die in my place so that I can be saved... something along those lines. He said he would talk to me again about this, but we didn't get to talk again yet.
During the trip, I talked with my mom about salvation by grace, how that we deserve hell, and that God should hate us, but His love for us is extraordinary since it cost the life of His dear Son (Rom. 5:8-9,10). I also talked some about salvation by faith alone (Rom. 3:27-28). The funeral mass was held at the Roman Catholic church, and it always grieves me to hear that blind guide stand there and tell people that sins are cleansed by baptism and holy communion and that those who practice those things are the "faithful" who will be in heaven with Christ. There is no mention of the utter ruin of our sinful hearts and our need to be regenerated by an act of the Holy Spirit and to be justified by faith apart from any works that we perform, and of the powerful effect of Christ's substitutionary death (even though he did mention the resurrection quite often, which is important, but we need to know why Christ died and then how He lives to save). Without Christ's salvation by grace apart from human works or ordinances, where is the gospel (good news) by which we must be saved? See Ephesians 2:1,5,8-9 and 1 Corinthians 15:1-2,3-4.
Again, thanks so much to God for all who prayed!