• Jeff Harvey

Angel goes home to Jesus

Updated: Nov 16, 2019

Veronica has known her dear friend Juany Salas and her family for two decades. By our standards, most would consider the Salas family to be living well below the poverty line. However that may be true, they are a family rich in eternal blessings and are true disciples of Jesus Christ. They exude the joy of the Lord. We've seen the family go through some very difficult trials and they continue to be models of faith. (The Salas family is pictured on the homepage of our website.)

The oldest Salas daughter, Amanda, and her husband Rogelio are missionaries in the truest sense of the word. They are quick to share with others in need and are always looking for opportunities to present the gospel. Rogelio graduated from Bible college recently and will soon be ordained.

Amanda, Rogelio and the Salas family cared for a 29-year old, bedridden young man named Angel for many months before he passed away on October 24th, 2019.

Amanda and Angel were friends in high school. Angel's parents had both passed away from heart attacks at young ages. Angel was never married nor had children and is survived by one sister who is also single and childless.

The story began last year when Angel had been working for a man who collected copper and other recyclable metals. Angel's boss had accused him of stealing metal from his property, which Angel vehemently denied.

Angel's boss had gone out of town for a few days during Christmas week, and on New Year's Eve, Angel decided to drive out to the property to check on it. He surprisingly encountered his boss's nephew in the act of stealing metal and loading it into his truck. When Angel confronted him, the man produced a gun and shot him in the side and buttocks, leaving him for dead. The property is somewhat remote and Angel was not discovered for over 48 hours, amazingly still alive.

Charges were pressed against the nephew of the property owner. The nephew received a sentence of one year in prison for aggravated assault, and his uncle abruptly left town. However, Angel was left paralyzed from the waist down with numerous other complications due to being stranded without help for so long.

Amanda and Rogelio learned of the incident and visited Angel at home. They found him with little or no care as his sister was not equipped to take care of him. She had a very modest job of selling newspapers on street corners and barely had enough income to support herself. Amanda and Rogelio felt called to step in and help with Angel's care.

During the extremely hot spring and summer months in Piedras Negras, Angel lived without air conditioning or even a fan to ventilate his very small room. The entire Salas family became involved and helped to bathe Angel, dress his wounds and bedsores which had grown significantly, changed and washed his linens, and brought food and necessities. Amanda got her church involved, and her pastor, Manuel, frequently visited Angel. As Angel's condition began to decline rapidly, Pastor Manuel brought Angel into his own home so that he would be more comfortable and receive even more attention.

Bridges of Compassion supported Amanda and her church's work with Angel as much as possible.

Receiving much loving care from the Salas family, Angel witnessed the gospel in action and received Jesus into his heart. Angel asked to be baptized and the church honored his request.

Numerous attempts to get Angel admitted to a hospital were denied. Hospitals simply said there was nothing they could do for him. Finally, a hospital did admit Angel during the last couple weeks of his life. Once there, the hospital decided not to charge for his treatment as his case had become hospice only.

The Salas family, members of their church and Pastor Manuel's family held vigils at Angel's bedside nearly every night. Veronica and I were also praying for him and receiving daily updates from Amanda.

As truly sad as it was, it was both relief and celebration for everyone when the Lord took Angel home after many months of physical anguish. Angel had received Jesus, was baptized, and passed away with spiritual family around him.

Together with the church congregation, Bridges of Compassion helped to cover Angel's funeral expenses so that he would be buried with dignity.

We praise God for the servant hearts of the Salas family, their church, Pastor Manuel, and others that got involved.

(As a side note, the man who shot Angel had been preparing to be released from prison in December 2019, however since Angel died as a result of his wounds, the case has been reopened and he has been recharged with second-degree murder.)

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