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Copyright: Sept. 1991 By Family Services, Zurich, Switzerland

Excerpts of Reports from Marianne to Dad & Mama
(Amen! GBY!--Tx! Beautiful! PTL!--Made me cry!--With joy! ILY!--D.)

       This two-part series is the continued story of Gabriel, Marianne & Jerry's little boy who, being born with Down's Syndrome, can be called one of Heaven's Special Children. In earlier FSM & HOPE articles, Marianne shared many of the precious lessons she had learned as a result of having Gabriel. (See FSM 128; HOPE 18, pg.7.)
       On June 7th, 1991, little Gabriel went to be with the Lord. "The Lord giveth & the Lord taketh away, blessed be the Name of the Lord."--Job 1:21. Gabriel lived to be two years & four months old. The Lord used his little life to touch the hearts of many. In the following pages we've tried to include the main highlights of the lessons that Marianne, Jerry & those in their Home learned through the time they had with Gabriel--lessons of love, faith, conviction, endurance, compassion, humility, courage, prayerfulness & the reality of Romans 8:28.
       Before we begin the story, however, we'd like to give you a little background about Gabriel's physical condition & progress. Down's Syndrome, also called Mongolism, is a disorder that is present at birth, caused by an abnormality in the number of chromosomes in each cell of the body. People with Down's Syndrome have 47 chromosomes instead of the normal 46. It is characterised by such physical features as upward-slanting eyes, a flat nose, a small head, & short, stubby hands. Down's Syndrome may be accompanied by heart disorders, poor vision & respiratory problems. There is also a degree of mental retardation ranging from mild to severe. (Please see also ML#830, "Handicapped?--It Can Be a Blessing!", Vol.7.)
       Apart from having Down's Syndrome, Gabriel also suffered from many other physical ailments. Right after he was born he had pneumonia & he also had an operation on his stomach, which made it necessary for him to spend the first month of his life in the hospital. At this time the doctors offered little hope that Gabriel would live for very long.
       Before too long it was discovered that he also had Hirsprung Disease, which is a stricture at the end of the lower intestine that prevents a person from being able to have regular BMs. Due to this disease, he had to have enemas daily for many months. He also had a very weak heart. Later on he contracted bronchial pneumonia & the measles. Shortly before his death he came down with the chicken pox twice, which greatly weakened his heart.
       Physically, Gabriel progressed very slowly. He could not walk, nor could he eat with a spoon. He was bottle fed. He could only say three words.
       But in spite of these many afflictions & limitations, little Gabriel was a precious little treasure from the Lord who brought love & joy to many. Marianne describes Gabriel as follows: "Although he was not very active, he was very mentally alert. He loved to look around, communicate, smile & he loved attention! He was a very mild-natured, sweet little soul who radiated a lot of love. It seems a lot of times Gabe was much smarter in the spirit than a lot of us are, maybe because he so wholeheartedly loved Jesus." PTL!

From Marianne:

Dearest Loved Ones,
       GBY! ILYSVM & want to thank you for all your love & prayers, which we have really felt during this special time. Like the song says, "Hands reaching out over oceans & mountains, helping us to press forward when we were afraid. Somebody somewhere had earnestly prayed." Thank you so much for your earnest prayers, which are certainly helping to sustain & strengthen us. PTL!
       Last night we got your message requesting that we write Gabriel's story & share all the lessons we learned through this very special chapter in our lives. Jerry & I both feel that there is a lot that we want to say to testify of all that the Lord did, all the miracles we witnessed in Gabriel's life & graduation, & also the many lessons we learned through it all, which hopefully can be a help & encouragement to others. PTL!

Getting to Know Little Gabriel

       I'll start at the beginning & try to recall the main points & lessons. As you know, Gabriel had several serious physical afflictions from the time he was born. Having to face these different afflictions was a real test for us, but what actually was the biggest trial for me was to find out that he was a Mongoloid. When I heard that he had Down's Syndrome, horrible pictures of deformed & handicapped children flooded my mind. This was one of the hardest things for me to accept, until I informed myself a little more about Mongoloids & read what Dad said about them & how special they are. (See ML#830, "Handicapped?--It Can Be a Blessing!") Of course, the more we got to know Gabriel & enjoy his sweet angelic spirit, the less we thought of him as a "retarded child" & the more we could see in him the "angel unawares!" (Heb.13:2) So after we got over the initial shock of it, the fact that he had Down's Syndrome actually made him more precious to us.
       When Gabriel came home from the hospital, because of all the fears & worries the doctors had implanted in our minds, one of the first things we did was ask the Family to lay hands on us & pray for us to be delivered from those fears, & ask the Lord to give us the faith & the wisdom to handle each situation as it came up. Then we started to study about Down's Syndrome children & what can be done to help them grow & develop to their full potential. Our dear Family in Hong Kong was able to research some books, & we were able also to make some phone calls & find therapists & counsellors who could advise us in his training.
       Some of the most inspiring books were from the Glenn Doman Institute, particularly the book, "Children of Dream, Children of Hope," by Dr. Raymundo Veras. This Brazilian doctor worked closely with the Glenn Doman Institute because his son had become paraplegic in an accident. Later he returned to Brazil to implement the new methods & techniques developed at the institute. He ended up specialising in Down's Syndrome children. He found that with the proper assistance & a lot of coaching from parents these children can develop a large degree of understanding & independence.
       We wanted to research anything that we could do at home, such as exercises, stimulation, nutrition etc., as we didn't feel the Lord wanted us to subscribe to any of these exercise clubs & regular visitation programs that the System offers, which are conducted in pretty depressing surroundings, as well as being quite time-consuming & costly. We didn't particularly want to put Gabe in contact with other System Down's Syndrome children, as these children are very spiritually sensitive. Most of them are very sweet, friendly & docile, but because they often are left on their own in the System or because their parents don't know how to raise them so they spoil them, they can also be real brats & quite stubborn.

The Lord Raised Up Dr. I.

       We also knew we needed to find a doctor who could counsel us about Gabriel's development, suggest exercises or new steps we could take with him at home, & at the same time keep track of his physical development & give us advice concerning his physical ailments. We desperately wanted to keep him home & we believed that the best surroundings for him to grow in would be with our loving Family where there is lots of Word & faith & inspiration. However, at the same time, we needed to find experts to counsel us when his condition went beyond our own ability to handle. And that is when the Lord did a real miracle & allowed us to find Dr. I., a specialist of Down's Syndrome children. He is about our age & he speaks fluent English. Right away he seemed to understand our faith & our love for Gabriel. He has a very sweet & broken spirit & he immediately took a special liking to us & little Gabriel.
       He miraculously understood our stand to try to keep Gabriel out of the hospital as much as possible. Contrary to a lot of the other doctors we had seen & consulted with, his approach is very natural & he's very positive, encouraging & speaks "faith" instead of operations & medicine. TYJ! He gave us very simple remedies, usually natural means as much as possible, such as adding Chinese herbs to Gabe's food to keep his stools soft, showing us how to massage his tummy & how to do various exercises to strengthen his back & develop his muscles.
       The first day I walked into Dr. I.'s office, he gave me a copy of the poem, "Heaven's Special Child" (GT pg.420, #231). We later found out that he had the prayer of Saint Francis on the wall of his office, & he said that whenever he was down & discouraged he would just read that prayer & it would give him the boost he needed. The relationship we established with him was very unique because every time we visited him he not only gave us the counsel we needed & encouraged our faith about Gabriel's progress, but it seemed that we would come just when he needed our encouragement too! As much as Dr. I. was sent to us, we feel that we were also sent to him, as he seems so special & spiritually hungry.
       One day I asked Dr. I. how he had become a specialist for Down's Syndrome children, & he explained that his own daughter has a chromosome problem, & though her handicap is not mental, she is physically unable to develop as a normal child. He was such a Godsend, as he always made time to receive us. He even received us after hours in his research lab to accommodate our schedule better, & he gave us many hours of free counselling. GBH!
       He visited our Home, which is very rare for doctors here as they normally are supposed to keep a professional distance from their patients. His heart just melted within the fellowship of our Family. At the hospital, we'd only been able to witness to him about our beliefs regarding natural remedies, & our faith in God & wanting to avoid operations. However, we hadn't explained what we were doing in this country, nor much about our way of life. We prayed that he'd really feel the Lord's presence & be touched by this visit to our Home. He was very moved by the love & warmth of our fellowship. We introduced him to our five other children, & our little children's singing group sang for him. We then had a very nice dinner after which Peter, Rachel, Kenny & Jerry sang some of our songs. The songs so moved him that his face became flushed & he had to wipe away tears from his eyes with his napkin.
       When Kenny sang, "Anata No Tame Ni" ("For You," an original Family song in Japanese), he said the song was so beautiful that he would like to use it as a theme song for the meetings he often attends with parents of handicapped children. We then told him about the Tapes & showed him portions of our Kiddie Viddies, & he was totally thrilled! He commented on how beautiful the children are & asked how we got such insight & understanding of children.
       When we asked him if he believed in God, he said he believes in Love & has been very influenced by Christianity. He often reads the Bible, but has also read a lot of Buddhist literature & wants to stay open. At this stage we were not able to lead him to the Lord, but he was very touched by his visit with us. He wrote us a beautiful thank you letter afterwards saying that was the first "party" he'd ever gone to where he felt so "at home", PTL! He's a very special precious soul!

Our Little "Miracle Motor"!

       Soon after Gabriel's birth, we found that the greatest battle for us was in trying to pray about & know what to do about his very delicate health & many physical afflictions. Obviously, he was not born to last very long & his little body was a real "miracle motor", functioning only by the grace of God & with a large daily dose of desperate prayer & praise. We had a list of verses for his heart & verses about strength that we referred to often, but the one I quoted & stood on the most the last two & a half years was, "He giveth power to the faint & to them that have no might He increaseth strength."--Isa.40:29.--And the Lord surely fulfilled this promise in little Gabriel's life!

Learning to Endure!

       When Gabriel was six months old he contracted a severe cough. We had many desperate prayers over him, anointing him with oil, asking various elders to come & lay hands on him, yet he wasn't getting healed. Finally, Jerry & I decided to fast & pray. As we desperately sought the Lord, He gave us one key word--"enduring". I believe the Lord used this experience to show me how little patience I have & how easily I complain to Him when He doesn't answer my prayers right away. I was asking the Lord, "We have been trying to do what You ask us to do, we have tried to be obedient, we are doing the best we can, we've prayed, laid hands on Gabriel, anointed him with oil. Why is it that You don't do Your part?" That's when the Lord showed us that He was trying to teach us endurance, which I realised I was sorely lacking in & needed to learn.
       When the Lord gave us that one word, we dug into our Bibles for all the verses on enduring & endurance, & were encouraged to see that this virtue is one that Jesus Himself had to learn, & is an attitude & quality which has made other men of God great!
       I realised at that time that when something goes wrong, I naturally start praying, but in this situation, the Lord was not only expecting me to pray & count it done, but to labour in prayer & keep seeking Him with my whole heart.--In other words, really fight, stir myself up & stay on the attack constantly in prayer. That has been a key lesson for me, because in the past, things have usually come pretty easy for me. I've never had to fight so much for healing for myself or others. The Lord has always been very patient & gentle with me, & as I look back it doesn't seem I had to endure that much. But I began to realise what "enduring in the face of adversity" really meant, & I related so much more to the "impatience of Job" & the lessons the Lord taught him. When we finally realised what the Lord was trying to teach us, then His mighty Hand was ready to move!
       When Gabriel's bronchial condition got very serious, we had various prayers for him, but it wasn't until we got very desperate & cried out to the Lord with our whole hearts that we saw what He was trying to teach us. When we finally got the point spiritually, He also gave us the answer about what to do physically. I was able to meet with some other mothers who shared advice with me on nutrition & various teas to try. We went on the attack & gave Gabriel juices & vitamins, changed his diet & tried various forms of exercises. He also slept slightly inclined for awhile. Then miraculously, after we learned the lessons the Lord wanted to teach us, Gabriel was completely healed from his cough. PTL!

"He Sent His Word and Healed Them!" (Psa.107:20)

       The next hurdle came when he was about seven months old, when it seemed he needed another operation to correct the problem with his lower intestines. By that time the enemas that we had to give him daily had become more & more difficult on both him & us. We knew that something had to happen, so Jerry & I took one of our free days to fast & pray & ask the Lord's guidance about this operation. We began reading in the MOP on healing & were convinced that such an operation would have to be the last & ultimate resort.
       We desperately prayed & claimed Gabriel's healing, & the Lord did a total miracle! Before, neither our faith nor Gabriel's strength seemed sufficient for him to have a regular BM. And then suddenly, from one day to the next, he had the strength to push out his BMs on his own! It was a total miracle of God! That week was such a victory, as we only had to give him two enemas. We were so proud of him & thankful to the Lord! We had really seen the Hand of God at work. I then felt the Lord wanted me to take a final stand of faith & ask everyone to again pray for Gabe's strength & complete healing of the Hirsprung Disease, so that we would no longer have to give him any enemas at all. And the Lord answered our prayers & Gabe had the strength to push out his own BMs for months afterwards, PTL!

The Fight of Faith!

       I'm so thankful for all the wonderful mailings we received over the last years, especially the Letter, "The Fight of Faith for Health!" (ML#2546, GN 396) This was a major milestone & very timely help & encouragement when we needed it most! Fighting for healing, desperate prayer & total dependence on the Lord were the major lessons the Lord was teaching us. That Letter was a real boost for us as Dad clearly exposed the problem with a battle between fear & faith. It helped us to realise that our attitude around Gabriel had probably ministered fear instead of faith to him. We'd gotten into the habit of expecting something to be wrong with him & worrying how he was doing, & I'm sure he picked up on that spirit. This Letter helped us to get more militant, quote Scriptures & speak faith to him & each other.
       This Letter also helped me realise I had to identify my fears. I wasn't so afraid that Gabriel would go to be with the Lord, as I'd been prepared for that since his birth, & when I saw him suffer, I felt that his going to be with the Lord would be a wonderful release for him. But my main fear was that our faith would fail & he'd have to go to the hospital again. In this Letter Dad said the Devil tries to scare us & that we've just got to claim the Scriptures & fight with them! To help us, we started a list of healing & promise verses to appropriate & fight with when the battle got heavy, PTL!
       Around that same time the Lord led us to study the subject of healing in the CAT Book, & we read "Prayer for a Sick Loved One" (ML#1139), which brought out another good lesson for us. In that Letter, Dad felt very sick, couldn't swallow any food & was in real pain, yet he prayed desperately for this woman & her sickness--poured out his heart before the Lord, cried for her, loved her in the Spirit & begged the Lord to deliver her from her affliction. By the end of the Letter, Dad's own pain had completely disappeared, PTL!
       We had constantly prayed for Gabriel & asked for prayer for him, but this Letter showed us that maybe our attitude had been a bit selfish, that perhaps the Lord was allowing us to go through this not only to pray for ourselves, but also to break our hearts & make us more desperate for others. It helped me realise that, instead of just praying for Gabriel, we should have been just as militant in prayer for others who have afflictions & trials. Perhaps the Lord not only allowed him to go through this to teach me to have faith for healing, but to also work on my selfishness, & break my heart & stir me up for others.

The Comfort of the Word!

       Never before have the Letters on faith & healing been so alive as they were in the last two & a half years. With every crisis & every sickness & every desperate prayer, the Lord seemed to give us some new Word or teach us a new lesson from the Word on healing & desperate prayer. For me it was a brand new school in my life, like a special grade that I had to take, a crash course that I had to catch up on, because I never really had taken it before. I have always been very healthy & so was my family. I had never been exposed much to sickness in my life. So all these lessons that have to do with pain & suffering & trusting the Lord for health were somewhat foreign to me personally.
       I have to say that many times I wished I could have been the one suffering instead of my child, but again I had to see that the Lord knew best, because it caused me to fight more for him than I would have fought for myself. And besides, with Gabe being sick instead of me, I was able to continue to do my work for the Lord at the same time I was learning these lessons.
       Several times I got quite discouraged in my faith & I thought it was too hard of the Lord to let little Gabriel suffer so much, especially when he was taken to the hospital once & had to stay there for three days because of his tummy troubles. I felt I couldn't stand to see him suffer physically any longer! My heart would almost crack to think of the pain it would mean to both him & us if he had to be hospitalised for a long time. It's just about that time that we received a beautiful Letter, "If Ye Suffer, Ye Shall Also Reign." (ML#2608, GN 450) This Letter was such a timely encouragement & comfort to us.
       Many times I had to overcome thoughts that the battle was too hard. I had to fight these thoughts with the Word, to remind myself that the Lord gives us just what we need, "He loves, He knows, He cares," & that all things do work together for good to them that love Him. But still I had a hard time seeing why Gabriel had to continue to suffer the way he did. I could clearly see why I would have to suffer, but why such an innocent little boy? But just as I couldn't murmur, "Why me, Lord?" I also couldn't complain, "Why him, Lord?" & I had to really fight the temptation to question the Lord in a self-righteous & offended spirit. I had to trust the Lord & just believe by faith in His great omnipotent care.

The Lord Delivered Gabe from Extensive Hospitalisation!

       When making decisions about how to han-dle Gabe's health problems, we also had to take into consideration the whole security aspect concerning our care for him. It was very important for us to have the backing of some of the doctors & not to appear too "cultish" or "fanatical" in their eyes. We had to listen to them & be cooperative, but at the same time desperately pray that the Lord would put it in their hearts to accept our viewpoint about keeping Gabriel at home & treating him as naturally as we could.
       The Lord so miraculously answered our prayers to keep him because, outside of the month he spent in intensive care right after he was born, during which time by a miracle Jerry, Kenny & Mercy were able to be with him 24 hours a day, only once did he have to be hospitalised about six months ago when his intestinal condition had become very serious & it was beyond our ability to help him. And at that time we were faced with the possibility of him having to go through a long & difficult operation, but as an answer to prayer, the Lord miraculously gave us a way out & he was released in only three days. PTL!
       During those three days that little Gabe was hospitalised, we could see how he was adversely affected by the cold, busy spirit of the hospital with its fearful sights & sounds, I.V. drips, constant checking & poking by nurses he didn't know etc. He had to stay alone there many hours because we couldn't bend the hospital rules on visitation hours any further than we did. He was so sad & even upset with us for leaving him in that noisy world of busy nurses & sick crying babies all around him, with no one to hold him & love him like we did at Home. Though the nurses cared for his flesh, his spirit took a real nosedive at that time. Seeing the bad effect that this time in the hospital had on Gabriel strengthened our convictions that an operation would have to be a last resort for him.
       When we brought him home, we pleaded with the Lord that if it was at all possible, He'd spare us & Gabe the suffering of him having to be hospitalised again. As much as it hurt us to even think about it, we told the Lord that we would much rather He take Gabe Home than to have him "suffer many things of many physicians," (Mk.5:26) as we very much dreaded him having to be away from us & possibly hospitalised for months at a time.
       We also asked the Lord that if He was going to take Gabe, to please let it happen quickly & in a way which wouldn't endanger the Work. In other words, the ideal would be that he'd die at the hospital--to avoid the otherwise necessary police investigation of our Home--yet without having to be hospitalised. And this is exactly what the Lord did! PTL!

A Beautiful & Timely Answer to Prayer!

       The way the Lord brought about Gabriel's death has really increased our faith because in many ways it was such a beautiful & timely answer to our prayers. The Lord was faithful to prepare our hearts from the beginning that Gabe's life might not be very long, due to his many handicaps. Nevertheless, we had grown very attached to him, maybe because he was a special child & because we were aware all along that he was even more "on loan" than any of our other children. So we now definitely feel a pain in our hearts & an emptiness & the feeling that we would have liked to have loved him more. But we have real peace that the Lord took him Home at a perfect time & in a perfect way. So I don't want to dwell on the sorrow that we are feeling, but I really want to tell you the beautiful story of how the Lord took him Home & what a tremendous testimony it was to us & our whole Home & to all those who knew him & had prayed for him, that the Lord certainly never gives us more than we can bear & that "all things truly work together for good to them that love Him."
       Around the same time that Gabriel was hospitalised for his intestinal problems, he also had to have his heart checked as the doctor observed that he was looking more blue, which was a sign that his heart condition was not improving & not matching his growth. Unless the Lord did a miracle, he would need to have an operation on his heart. During that time we had to return to administering daily enemas for his elimination, which were not easy on him.
       So we were faced with two crises situations at the same time--his weak heart & his intestinal problems--neither of which seemed to be improving, in spite of our repeated prayers. Because the Lord was obviously not allowing either of these conditions to improve, we were faced with the possibility of going through with two operations. The doctors suggested they operate on his heart first & then a few months down the road operate on his lower intestine. In both situations he would have to undergo several tests before he would be admitted into the hospital & then he would be hospitalised for a month at a time. Neither of us could see the reason why he should have to suffer all that, but of course, we had to be willing & open, otherwise we could be accused of child neglect by the System.
       Gabe's heart operation was scheduled for the month of July. We felt this timetable was an answer to prayer as we had wanted to wait on any operations until after I returned from the Delegates' Meeting, which was to be held at the end of May. At that time we received a message from Dad in answer to a report we had done concerning these operations, which was again a big encouragement, because it confirmed what the Lord was showing us. Dad counselled us that we should be open to having these operations, but at the same time desperately pray for the Lord to have His perfect Will.
       Well, He sure did, as Gabriel contracted the chicken pox with the rest of our children, but for some mysterious reason he came down with it twice. It seems that his weakened body was not able to handle the strain of this repeated sickness. It was becoming too much for his heart.
       When I left for the Delegates' Meeting, I had to really commit him to the Lord in prayer & the Lord was merciful enough to keep him until I returned. It meant a lot to me to be there when he went on to be with the Lord, as this relieved some guilt feelings that I had to fight about having to entrust so much of his care to others & not being able to be the one to love him & care for him when he needed so much attention. He was greatly loved & very well cared for by his daddy Jerry & sweet Windy & dear Mercy, but it was so sweet of the Lord to allow me to be the one to take him to the hospital that morning & to fight with him personally his last battle on Earth & be there to tell him goodbye until we meet again!

Our Last Hours Together in This Life!

       The day that he went to be with the Lord he woke up at 6:00 & seemed to be suffering quite a bit of pain for awhile, & he passed out for a few minutes. Jerry & I had desperate prayer over him, after which he seemed to be peaceful & happy again & he went back to sleep for most of the morning. We tried to contact the two doctors who had been taking care of him, but they were not at the hospital that morning. Finally we got ahold of the heart specialist, who gave us an appointment for 12:30 as he felt that it would be good for Gabriel to take a good rest before we brought him in.
       For the last few months, whenever Gabriel went to the hospital he wanted to hold one of his favourite books, either "Life with Grandpa" or "My Bible Friends" or the favourite of all which was on the top of his list, the Poster Book. He would look through the Poster Book over & over again without ever seeming to get tired of it. In every picture he could point out the Heavenly City, Jesus & Grandpa. These are the three things he always recognised & could always point to. As we took him to the hospital that day he held his Poster Book nearly to the very end. A short while before he was to go on to the Other World, he put the book down & didn't want it again, as though he knew he'd be There very soon.
       He really didn't like to see the doctors & to be checked, so while he was being examined he started to whine & fuss, & then he fainted in Windy's arms. The doctor realised that his condition was more serious than what he had first thought, so he said that we had to hospitalise him. Gabriel didn't recover consciousness, & as we were taking him to the children's ward his heart stopped beating. I desperately asked the Lord to either do a complete miracle or take him Home with Him right away! At this time I was able to call home for prayer & also contact Josiah.
       Windy stayed with him until the very end as about 20 doctors & nurses were gathered around him trying to revive him. I didn't have the grace to be there, so I stayed outside the room & desperately prayed. At that moment I cracked my little hymnal to "Some Golden Daybreak," & I had a comforting vision of Phoebe coming down to greet him. This gave me the peace to know that he was on his way Home. TYJ! It was actually a relief. PTL!

       (From Josiah: Marianne called me from the hospital & I immediately noticed in her voice that something was happening. She explained the situation, that they had to bring Gabe to the hospital & that while the doctor checked him, he fainted & his heart stopped. She said that his heart had stopped long enough to cause damage to his brain if he were to return to consciousness. The doctors were talking about a life-support machine that could keep him going for who knows how long. The System so prides themselves in "protecting life," but the problem is that their machines can mechanically hold onto the body when the Lord has already called the spirit Home to be with Him.
       (So I said, "Marianne, let's just really pray that the Lord will either heal Gabriel entirely without any complications whatsoever--that is, return him to us in his previous state of health & continue to teach us the lessons that He wants to teach us through Gabe--or, if He's not going to do that, then why doesn't He just take him Home & heal him completely." And we prayed right there & then that He'd do just that. That was the deal, those were the conditions we set before the Lord in prayer.
       (Then I gathered all the adults & Teens at the School & we desperately prayed according to the conditions that Marianne & I had agreed upon together. While we were still praying, Marianne called & said that Gabe had gone to be with the Lord. I returned to the prayer meeting just as they were beginning to hear from the Lord, & the very first Scripture that came was, "I am Gabriel, standing in the presence of God." Isn't that precious? People had started to get different Scriptures about the Lord taking him, & they hadn't even heard yet that he had indeed gone to be with the Lord. And the rest of the prophecies were along that line too. It was just so very beautiful, & there was such a peace in everyone's heart that the Lord had specifically answered our prayer by completely healing him! Praise God!)

A Final Farewell--'Til We Meet Again!

       Later the doctor called me to go & see Gabriel's little body. When I saw him lying there in his little blanket looking so sweet & peaceful as though sleeping, I got the verse, "It is well with the boy." (2Ki.4:26) Indeed, what more could we have prayed for than to see him happy at last, surrounded by our many loved ones in Heaven, & knowing that his sufferings had ended & he was healed & Home at last. PTL!
       Amazingly, after this experience I felt the same feeling as when you have a baby, when you're sort of between worlds, somewhere between Heaven & Earth. You are not quite altogether There nor here, & everything all of a sudden takes on a new meaning & a new dimension. Though this feeling was a bit more painful than the one of giving birth, the Lord through Dad has given us so much about Heaven that we can only rejoice when one of our own finally gets There.
       We are so thankful how the Lord so mercifully answered our prayers as Gabriel was with us until the very end & never had to suffer the operations. He gave him a peaceful & quick departure in the arms of his loving nanny, Windy. Plus the Lord allowed him to die at the hospital so that it involved no security problem & investigation, in answer to our prayers. Also, I was able to be there & say a last prayer over him, which, again, was very special for me, especially to remember that last picture of him so peacefully sleeping in that little hospital bed.

Rejoice & Be Exceeding Glad!

       That evening we gathered our whole Home, including our OCs & MCs, & we explained to them that Gabriel had graduated. The meeting was very positive & we sang beautiful songs of rejoicing & afterwards the Lord spoke through many people with very beautiful & comforting Scriptures. In His messages many times the Lord told us to "rejoice & be exceeding glad!" One prophecy said, "Rejoice & be exceeding glad for great is his reward in Heaven. For he gave unselfishly, poured out his life as a testimony, a testimony of love, a testimony of giving, a testimony of simplicity, a testimony of believing, a testimony of faith, a testimony of endurance, a testimony of attitude. So rejoice & be exceeding glad for great is his reward in Heaven. Weep not! Weep not for this little one for he is greatly empowered, greatly greatly encouraged! And the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, She shall come unto you to heal the broken hearts & to bind the wounded spirits." PTL! How true!

The Help & Support of Mr. & Mrs.

       The Mr. & the Mrs. (the king & queen with whom we live) had decided to stay home for the weekend & when they heard about Gabriel's death they immediately offered all the help they could. Gabriel was the third child born to me while I have been living with the Mr. & Mrs., & they had been quite involved with his life & had prayed many prayers for him, so they felt very involved & wanted to help.
       Right away we were faced with the important decision of what to do with Gabe's body. The hospital asked us to pick him up the next morning, which was a Saturday, & we had to desperately pray about what to do next. It's against the law to bury anyone in our city. We found out that by law all citizens have to be cremated first & then buried. Most foreigners normally take the bodies of their loved ones back to their home countries as there is only one place (in another city) where you can have a traditional Christian burial for foreigners, but the whole burial usually costs around $7,500, so it's actually cheaper for foreigners to fly the bodies of their loved ones back to their home country for burial.
       We desperately asked the Lord for guidance in this situation as we knew that Dad said in ML#2089 that cremation is not usually the preferred burial for Christians. (See ML#2089:27.) But, on the other hand, we didn't feel necessarily led of the Lord to have his body way off in a distant city, which also meant we would have to preserve his body for the weekend & then spend such a large amount of the Lord's money on a burial, though of course we knew that the Lord would supply if it was His Will.
       Then the Mrs. came to see us & said that she & the Mr. were willing to assist us with whatever way we decided to bury him. Then she went on to explain that if we were willing to have him cremated, his remains could be buried possibly at the Park or on the Pyramid Hill both at the HCS, or in the Mrs.' garden, which is near the School. I'm sorry to go through all these gory details, but I wanted to explain to you the situation we were faced with & how we were led to make the decisions we did, because I want to make sure that we made the right decision, as similar cases could happen in the future & it might be helpful counsel for the Family in Japan & possibly other Eastern fields as well.
       That night I talked to Josiah on the phone to ask his counsel about Gabriel's burial. He also had read what Dad says about cremation, so when we discussed the situation together we both had reservations about going through with it. But what gave us the faith for the cremation was that we would then be able to have Gabriel's body buried on our property at the School, a place that is meaningful to us, instead of in some obscure cemetery way off in another city. Plus, we could even have a little ceremony for him at the School.
       Regarding the cremation, I also felt that in this situation maybe the Lord even wanted us to become one & follow the customs of the land & go through what every national Christian has to go through when burying their dead. As I said, cremation is required by law for all citizens of this country & the cost is covered by their national insurance. I couldn't see how the Lord would forbid the Christians of this country to come into Heaven just because they are required by Man's law to be cremated before being buried.
       For all these reasons we felt led to go ahead with the cremation. At that time, the Mr. & the Mrs. really came to the fore to help as they knew all the ropes. They got all the necessary elements for us, the flowers & cloth, etc. The next day they went with Ezra & three other Home Members to the place where the cremation is performed. (In the case of the death of a child, the parents are not expected to attend the cremation. Jerry & I were very thankful for that custom.)
       It seemed the Lord really confirmed His Will as every step they took, down to the smallest detail, went very smoothly. The whole way was paved with little miracles to encourage us. The place where the cremation was performed was beautiful, with lots of majestic trees. The brethren were able to have a Christian ceremony & prayer & read a lot of beautiful Scriptures while at the place. And the Mr. & the Mrs. were miraculously able to bypass all the middle men who usually make a lot of money off these occasions so the whole ceremony cost very little. PTL!
       Josiah arrived that afternoon & we were able to have a good prayer & cry & fellowship together. I guess this is another sign of the Lord's mercy & kindness, as we were able to live these special moments together.--And he was, as usual, a real strength & comfort.

Arrangements for the Burial

       The Mr. & Mrs. seemed to be very happy that we were going to have a little ceremony at the School. We discussed planting a peach tree where he was to be buried, the reason being that we didn't really care for the name "Mongoloid" or "Down's Syndrome" & we preferred to call him our "Peach." So we thought that a fruit-bearing peach tree would be a nice reminder with its pretty pink blossoms in springtime!
       That night Josiah got a beautiful Scripture to give us a final peace about the cremation. He got, "Fear not them that destroy the body, but are not able to destroy the (spirit), but rather fear Him Who is able to destroy both body & (spirit) in Hell."--Mat.10:28. Also, "It is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing."--Jn.6:63. In other words, his spirit is gone & what happens to the flesh is of very little importance. The Lord can sort things out & reassemble the pieces even if His people get into a plane crash or are caught in a fire, etc.
       The next morning Josiah, Mary Mom, Ezra & I were able to discuss how we were going to conduct the ceremony. This situation may arise in the future for the Family, so we wanted to really pray about the sample & the precedent that we were setting.
       As we talked & prayed about it, both Mary & Josiah felt that it would be best to have the ceremony at the School--because the Mr. & Mrs. had been so closely involved with our family & Gabriel was born & had died under their roof. So in some ways it was very understandable that the Mr. & Mrs. would want us to have some kind of Homegoing Celebration at the School. And if we were going to have such a ceremony, then of course it would be a blessing to also have the Teens & JETTs & adults at the School be able to attend, so they could benefit from this experience, which many had never been exposed to before.
       After prayer & discussion, we decided that we would go ahead & have a special ceremony at the Pyramid, but we would not actually bury Gabe during the ceremony. We planned to have the celebration after dinner with music & testimonies, & facing the sunset & God's beautiful Creation up there. This way we could have our celebration at the Pyramid where the local people have seen us hold parties or barbecues or celebrations of all kinds, so it would not look that unusual or draw undue attention. We would also be able to explain to everybody that we were not actually burying Gabriel's body there, because we needed to figure out all the legalities involved. This made the ceremony more spiritual & symbolic & sort of took away the morbidity of it.

The Homegoing Celebration!

       We put the little peach tree that the brethren at the School had gotten into a nice box. This way it could be at the Pyramid when we had the celebration & then be carried & planted wherever we finally decided to bury Gabe. Teen Miguel made a beautiful plaque, which they put at the bottom of the tree & surrounded it with lots of beautiful flowers. He engraved on the plaque: "I am the Resurrection & the Life. Suffer the little children to come unto Me, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.--Home at last!" (Jn.11:25; Mat.19:14)
       Josiah asked Ezra & me to lead the ceremony & share the testimony of his graduation. He asked us to explain why we had Gabe cremated, why we were having the ceremony there at the Heavenly City School & not in the city (because of our link with the Mr. & Mrs.), why we had a peach tree & why this was not actually a burial ceremony, etc. I have to say that I was a bit reluctant to be the one leading such a meeting. I didn't really feel like talking to people. Lord help me, maybe I wanted to "enjoy my sorrow" a bit. In any case, I didn't feel very able or that I was going to be very coherent when I spoke. But on the other hand, I could see that what had happened to Gabriel was not for us alone & this was an opportunity for me to really testify & encourage the faith of all those precious Teens & JETTs & other Family Members there at the School. And I got the verse, "I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."--Rom.12:1.
       TTL, Josiah also helped at the ceremony by introducing what had happened. Then Jerry & Martin sang some beautiful songs. Next Josiah, Ezra & I took turns sharing what the Lord had done in our lives through Gabriel & the lessons we learned, as well as the beautiful victory that this graduation was. We read some Scriptures on death & life after death, & then we had a beautiful time of listening to the Lord.
       There were two prophecies that stood out the most to me amongst all the very encouraging things the Lord said. These particular prophecies said that Gabriel had come to lay down his life for us, & he hadn't come just for us alone, but that God may be glorified through his life, that the Lord was coming in him & through him to work in our lives. It was like the Lord was saying, "I was with you in him." The Lord was teaching us what we needed to learn & testing us to see how loving we were going to be to "our most uncomely parts".
       Another prophecy said, "Wherefore comfort one another with these Words: Seek not the living among the dead, for he is not dead as you suppose, he is living a greater life than he has ever lived. He has gone to his reward. He has gone through his metamorphosis and come out as a butterfly. He is no longer a caterpillar."
       Mary Mom had a beautiful vision where a woman, who seemed to be my mother, was trying to make her way to the front of a crowd of Heavenly people. She had Gabriel in her arms & she was explaining that she wanted to help take care of him & she had planned lots of walks with him to show him around Heaven. TYJ!
       It was truly a very touching & inspiring ceremony!--A beautiful setting & very meaningful! What encouraged me the most is that I heard that quite a few Teens & JETTs commented that it was one of the most inspiring & touching meetings they had ever attended & it really encouraged their faith. So I'm so thankful that the Lord used not only Gabriel's life, but even his graduation to inspire the faith of others in God's great goodness & mercy.
       I felt so privileged to be surrounded with so much love & to see all that the dear ones at the School had put into preparing for the ceremony. LHM, as I already mentioned, before the ceremony I felt like I wanted to crawl into my hole. I felt quite nervous to be around all those people, but I'm glad now that the Lord helped me to be willing, in spite of myself, so that He could be glorified. PTL! Like the prophecy said, Gabriel was not sent just to me & was not mine to mourn, but he was sent to all of us, to strengthen our faith, & so that the Name of the Lord would be praised! So I can see how it would have been a real sin to have failed little Gabe & the Lord by not testifying of the victory. PTL!

The Lord Constantly Upheld Us!

       In looking back, I can see how the decisions we faced concerning Gabe's care were scary decisions, life-&-death decisions, emotional decisions as they affected somebody as dear as our own child, but they were also decisions that could have had serious repercussions on the Work if we were not hearing clearly from the Lord & not showing ourselves cooperative enough with the medical world. So we are very thankful for how the Lord led us & helped us.
       Sometimes the battle of these weighty decisions would let up for a little while, but then we'd reach another crisis point & we'd again have to desperately ask the Lord to lead us, guide us, give us wisdom & faith, & help us hear clearly from Him. In all of this we couldn't be led only by our feelings & emotions, or by our carnal reasoning. Gabriel was totally beyond normal, logical reasoning. None of us had any point of reference or past experience with similar situations to fall back on, but we had the wonderful support & prayers of our dear Family, & of course, all of God's promises that "Man's extremity is God's opportunity!"
       Though we could counsel with our Teamwork & leadership about Gabriel's care, ultimately the responsibility & decisions were in our hands. I feel it was a bit like walking for two & a half years on a tightrope, during which time we had momentary breaks to enjoy the view on the platform at the end of the rope, but soon we would have to go again for another round of tightrope walking. Now that we have finished the course & can look back, we can honestly say without a shadow of doubt that, though it was often rather scary & we felt there was nothing but thin air underneath us, the Lord was always right there leading, guiding & holding on to us. We often trembled on the Rock, but the Rock never trembled under us!
       I certainly pray that this story doesn't make people feel like, "Wow! Marianne & Jerry have such great faith!"--because honestly, most of the time we felt so weak & at the end of our rope & were really searching our hearts to find out why God had so afflicted our child. It was really only a miracle of His grace & His merciful guidance that kept us & led us step by step. Also the many prayers of our Family at Home & around the World upheld us & helped us make it. As Dad said, "When you are weak & incapable & insufficient, then God has a chance to be strong & capable & sufficient in you. There is a Power to lift you up which is stronger than all the things that hold you down. God gives you power for the hour & grace for the trial--when the hour comes & when the trial occurs, not before." (ML#159:9) So all the glory really goes to Him! PTL!
       (Continued in Part Two!)

Verses on Endurance

       To "endure" means "to be patient in adversity, to hold fast."
       Eze.22:14--"Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with thee?"
       2Tim.2:3--"Therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ."
       2Tim.2:10--"I endure all things for the elect's sake." (See also 2Cor.1:4.)
       2Tim.4:5--"Watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry."
       Heb.12:7--"If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons."
       Heb.12:1-13--"Jesus, for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross & endured such a contradiction of sinners."
       1Cor.13:7--"(Love) endureth all things."
       Mat.10:22--"He that endureth to the end shall be saved."
       James 1:12--"Blessed is the man that endureth temptation, for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him."
       Jam.5:10, 11--"(Look at the Prophets) for an example of suffering affliction & of patience. Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, & have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, & of tender mercy."
       2Tim.3:11--"What persecutions I endured, but
out of them all the Lord delivered me."
       Heb.6:15--"After he (Abraham) had patiently endured, he obtained the promise." (See also Heb.10:35,36.)
       Heb.11:27--"(Moses) endured as seeing One Who is invisible."

Dad's Comments on Gabriel's Cremation (8/91)

       1. (Dad: You made the right decision, Sweetheart! If you're a guest in a country & their custom is cremation, & they haven't got room for regular burials & they're too expensive, then, of course, you have to do the logical, reasonable thing, which in this case was cremation. "According to your faith be it unto you."--Mat.9:29. If you have to cremate because of national customs, circumstances, finances or other reasons in places like Japan, for example, then of course, go ahead & cremate. Your body is just going to rot & turn into dust anyway, so what difference does it make which way it goes back to dust? It either goes to dust or ashes. "Ashes to ashes & dust to dust."

       2. (It's the common national custom in a lot of countries of the East. In some places it's just plain necessity because they haven't got the room to bury people any more, so it's just a matter of condensing space. In China they have thousands of acres of valuable agricultural land that could be used to feed people that are hungry, but the land can't be used because it's taken up with thousands of burial sites, so that the living would be better off if the dead had been cremated.

       3. (Our preferred method is burial, which is the Biblical style. But just like with the Old Testament food laws, for the most part we try to keep them, & it's good to, but in certain situations you just can't. If you're a guest in someone's home & they serve some unclean food, you may have to just pray over it, trust the Lord & eat it in order to not offend your host. The same holds true with cremation. If it's almost impossible to use conventional burial, then you should "Become all things to all men" [EDITED: "1Cor.9:22"], & cremate. It's not going to make any difference to the Lord. After all, many of the martyrs were cremated!--As they were burned at the stake!--Right while their spirits were being received into Heaven by Jesus! PTL!)

Dad & Mama's Words of Comfort

Dear Marianne & Jerry,
       We love you & are praying for you, Windy & Mercy, as well as the rest of your Home at this time of Gabriel's Homegoing! We're very thankful for Gabriel's sake that the Lord took him & he's now happily with Him, whole & in full health! PTL! Although at the same time, we know it must be very difficult for you, since you've grown to love & cherish dear Gabriel all the more as the special child that he was, but we're sure that you're thankful that he's now with Jesus.
       Dad said that the Lord knew that Gabriel had now accomplished his mission here on Earth & accomplished the purpose for which He had sent him to you, so He knew it was the time for Gabriel to come Home! We should all be thankful & rejoice, PTL! WLY!
       Love, Mama

Copyright 1996 The Family