It has been a year since I lost my nephew Aser Teshome to cancer. It has been a very hard year for his mom Genet and our family.
Aser was a brilliant boy with a contagious smile. He used to play my computer games and he built a big virtual city on SIMCity app. He also wrote some poetry which was beyond his years. His favorite thing while in bed, was playing with Siri asking her some personal questions which she couldn't answer.
During the year he was in hospital, he asked me very difficult questions. He asked me “Miheret why did God said he loved Jacob but not Esau?” And “why am I sick?”
If you were in my place, how would you answer such questions posed by a 14-year old boy struggling with cancer? He was hoping to get answers, so I tried to explain the story behind these questions.I started from Genesis all the way to Revelations. I showed him the context why and how God chose Jacob over Esau. I found this article very helpful to read.
Today I am not just writing with pain and sorrow about Aser, but instead I have great hope and faith that Aser is with Jesus in heaven. Yes, I missed him dearly but I found strength and comfort from God’s word and I look forward to seeing him one day in heaven. The Apostle Paul said “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”
God doesn’t leave us to suffer alone. I find comfort in these verses from the Bible
1. “Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God stricken by him, and afflicted.” (Isaiah 53:4).
2. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4).
3. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3).
4. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3, 4).
5. “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
6. “Even though I walk through the darkest valley,[a] I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4).
7. “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13, 14).
8. “ in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed….. Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ ” (1 Corinthians 15:52, 54)
9. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[a] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)
May you also experience His comfort, no matter what you face.
Previous blog post about Aser : Saying Goodbye Aser
I am third born out of 7 children [see picture above]. My parents love and follow Jesus. At the age of 9, my teacher punished me severely because I didn’t do my homework. He repeatedly beat me and my legs bled. That day I decided not to go back to school again.
My parents treated my legs for a couple of days and insisted I go back to school but I refused. So my dad took me and left me at the school gate to enter. But I refused and unbeknown to my dad, I ended up going to the market or sometimes to church. Finally, one day my dad found me at church during school time and he realized that I was serious about not returning to that school.
My family decided to send me to one of my aunties in a very rural place to keep up with my education where they thought I might like the simple life and school environment. But after enjoying it for some months, both my auntie and I caught malaria which nearly took my life. The rural clinic was dysfunctional and public transport was impossible due to the rainy season and there was no way to connect with my parents.
We prayed for a miracle that a car would come to our village so we could be taken to a hospital. After a week, a truck came to the village to take some agricultural goods to neighboring towns and we were loaded as well. We were rushed to my parent’s home and then to the hospital. After examining me, the doctors told my mom to go back home as there was no hope for me to recover.
My mom refused to go back home and stayed with me in the hospital corridor as I was not given a bed to sleep on. She continuously said this prayer: ‘my son will not die but will serve the Lord’. I did.
December 15, is my Birthday! A great blessing to reflect on God’s mercy and blessing in my life. I have great passion and I’m very committed to making Jesus known to all cultures and people around the world. I am truly looking forward for our ministry partnership and what God is going to do in 2017.
I am very thankful for you! The year 2016 has been a full year with many ministry opportunities. Through our partnership, we:
After a year of battle against brain cancer, my dear 14 year old little bro Aser (my nephew) died on December 23. This has been incredible hard for us as a family, but we do not grieve as those without hope. We are comforted by the knowledge that Aser is with our Lord where there is no more pain and suffering.
When Aser was 2 years old his dad died and my parents took his mother Genet under their wing and raised Aser and his sister Loza as their own kids. They were like a blood brother and sisters to me. Loza is now in High School.
After Aser was diagnosed with cancer, he lived with me for about nine months during his seven cycles of chemotherapy and four cycles of radiation. He was a brave young man during the treatment. Unfortunately it did not cure him. Before he died he saw a vivid vision of where he was going and saw the glory waiting for him. He loved Jesus so much!
In his vision he saw himself go up in the sky and he saw a bright face which he says was like Jesus. He heard a voice saying “the time is finished”. While he was in the air he looked down and saw a very old house. He saw the old house being replaced with a new house. Then he woke up from his dream and told my brother about his dream. Though he was in extreme physical pain, he had the presence of the Lord with him that was very comforting and he is now a new house!
Around 700 people attended his funeral and it was clear that his short life on earth impacted many. His classmates all came with flowers and notes like this
“Aser your dreams were many but we lost you so quickly! RIP!’
Aser freely shared his future plans to study to be an astronomer. One time as I drove him to Black Lion Hospital, I saw a big truck with a name on it saying “Aser Construction” and I asked Aser if he would like to change his idea of studying astronomy for Engineering. He said No!
Once while visiting him in hospital, he asked me some questions related to my ministry. He turned to me and said “Miheret, what you are doing is great, please keep it up, I know it’s going to be big”
Based on our culture, for four days after his death, the gospel has been preached to all visitors who came to our house to comfort us. We had a tent in our compound and people get a chance to visit and comfort us. We are very thankful for all who came to visit us and prayed for us. Every night we had prayer and praise time with gospel presentation.
One of the preachers who came from the neighborhood was very special to me. I know him since I was a kid and he was a Muslim. And all his family are still not believers. But God saved him and he is now a strong believer and preacher! It was such an inspiration for me to listen to him as a vibrant young man preaching the gospel very well. My family told me because of his faith in Jesus he is persecuted. But believers are helping him to grow in his faith. Pray that the seed from the gospel will take root.
The Lord took two wonderful people home on December 23 – Mrs. Bright co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ at the age of 89 and Aser at the age of 14. I’m sure they met in heaven and could rejoice in being in the presence of our Lord! Mrs. Bright served the Lord faithfully until her last breath. You can read more about her remarkable life on www.vonettebright.com
I highly appreciate your prayer for Genet (his mom) and our whole family.
Miheret T. Eshete