My friend Nia Juana passed away last week—she was 93-years-old.
AnnaBelen asked if I was sad, and I said, “No, not really. I am more thankful I had the chance to know her.”
I always enjoyed spending time with Nia Juana. As she grew older, more often than not, she would say whatever she thought. Like my grandmother, she would tell me when our visit was over. She once told me she thought Angelica was jealous of our relationship.
We talked politics, food, children, health, sports, and the old times. We always finished our conversation with prayer. She would complain quite often about something someone had done and always wanted to know what the Bible said about the situation. She loved to eat and would ask me to bring her things we were growing at the farm. Her birthday was on Valentine’s Day and she always expected a big party.
Nia Juana had a hard time getting around, so for years I would pick her up and bring her to church. It was always a big production and often, we would delay church until she was settled. For the past seven years, Nia Juana could not come to church, so I would visit her each week. Some of you might remember visiting her with me.
Nia Juana was never scared of death. She talked about it as it is—a natural process of life. She told me a life with Jesus is what’s worth worrying about. Over the past few years, she did not talk as much as she once had, but when we prayed, she would come alive.
The first thing Angelica always asked after I returned from visiting Nia Juana was, “What did she say this time?” Her husband died years ago and one time, when she was in her late 80’s, she asked if I would take her to visit her old boyfriend. I asked how long it had been since she had seen or talked to him, and she said, “Around 46 years.” She still remembered his name and that he only lived about three hours away. “Maybe we could just take a trip to the town.”
As Nia Juana reached her 90’s, she began having problems hearing and, she claimed with her sight, as well. I am sure many times the neighbors thought we were fighting because our conversations were so loud.
Over the past few years, I was sometimes not as faithful about my visits and she would let me know about that. The last time I visited, she reminded me how old I look with my white beard (even though she claimed she could not see.)
Nia Juana is gone now, but I am not sad. I know she knew Jesus—not just who He was but how He is. She is just fine now and this is what Angelica and I want others to know they can have.
Extra Note: The address for sending funds to TMS Global has changed. TMS reports hundreds of support checks were not showing up and they are working with the USPS to resolve this problem. The new address is a Lock Box meant to address this problem.
c/o TMS Global, Inc.
P.O. Box 936559
Atlanta, GA 31193-6559
We have almost 415,000 miles on this truck, many of them off-road.