The maritime tragedy that happened in Iloilo Strait claimed 28 lives when three passenger boats capsized last August 3, 2019. One of those who died was Rose Telis. She was a faithful church member of Bacolod Bethany Church where I pastor during weekends. Her husband, who survived the incident, together with their two children, family members and the community of faith, buried her today.
It was a funeral that no pastor would want to preach on. But I had to. There is one story that I had to share. This is a story that gave an assurance to her family. This is a story of Rose’s faith in our Lord Jesus Christ up to the end of her life.
When their boat, M/B Jenny Vince, capsized, Rose and the other passengers were trapped inside. They were shouting and knocking on the hull so that rescuers outside could hear them. Richie Bustamante and his son Brent Kian were one of those who were panicking inside the boat. Both of them were rescued later and they told a story of a woman who held the hands of Brent after she prayed for them. They testified that it was the prayer of this woman that gave them peace and confidence that they will be rescued. But due to the heavy smoke inside the capsized boat, they were not able to see the woman again. When a group of people showed this father and son the picture of Rose Telis, they definitely identified her as the woman who prayed, gave them assurances and held their hands.
Rose is not with us anymore but I believe that she has already heard these words from Jesus – “well done my good and faithful servant.”
Life is indeed short. We do not know when we will die. A life that matters is a life that is surrendered to Jesus Christ. A life that has meaning is a life that fulfills the calling of God. A life that is worthy of emulation is a life that is committed to Jesus Christ up to the end.
Thank you Rose for your life.
Rev. Francis Neil G. Jalando-on