The last time I wrote on this blog, my father-in-law had recently passed on to be with the Lord. I wrote about how our youngest son, Thomas, reminded us about biblical and theological truth that our Grandpa was with Jesus and he also reminded us that there was a silver lining in the whole experience, that is, he got to get out of school for a few days. He said he knew that there were at least these two things that were true about Grandpa’s sudden passing.
Well, you guessed it… there were more than two things.
We were able to see family members we had not seen in weeks, months, and years. It was a blessing to be with family again. There were members of the Alvarado family (Belinda’s paternal family) and the Olivares family (Belinda’s maternal family) together to honor Rev. Baldemar Alvarado. There members of the Reyes family there (my paternal family) and the Garcia family (my maternal family) together to support us and honor us. There were also members of the Texas Baptist family. Dr. John Lilley represented Baylor University; Felipe Garza represented Buckner International; Drs. Javier Elizondo and Marconi Monteiro, Sandee Elizondo, and Maria Monteiro represented Baptist University of the Americas as well as Rev. Teo Cisneros, board chair of BUA. Debbie Ferrier represented the Executive Board of the Baptist General Convention of Texas; Gus Reyes represented the BGCT Executive Board Staff; and Todd Robertson represented the South Texas Children’s Home in Beeville. I am sure there were others from the Texas Baptist family that came to offer their condolences as well.
The family asked me to officiate a Wake Service, the Memorial Service, and the Graveside Service on Wednesday and Thursday. This was an honor of a lifetime for me. It was hard work but I enjoyed every minute of it. The best part of this experience was at the end of my message at the Wake service. I extended an invitation for those in the crowd who wanted to begin a personal relationship with Christ that night. I said that Bro. Alvarado would be pleased to know that this invitation was extended. I ask those who would be saved to slip their hands up and down so I could pray with them and for them. About a dozen or so folks raised their hands. Then, I asked them to repeat a prayer of salvation with me so that at least one other person could hear them and serve as a witness to this experience. When I prayed the first few words, the response sounded more like a congregation choral reading in the small chapel with standing-room only attendance. The next morning during the Funeral service I extended the same invitation and two other people also prayed to receive Christ.
Even death could not stop the gospel and the Kingdom influence of Baldemar J. Alvarado. I cannot think of a better legacy for a pastor than to offer new life in Christ at his home-going celebration. The love of God filled the room and there was rejoicing upon rejoicing in those final moments. The pain is still fresh but so is the joy. This is the hope we have as followers of Jesus. We grieve but not like people who have no hope. We live looking forward to the trumpet sound when we will rise to meet him in the air and to be united with all our loved ones and the nations who have gone before us.
Many of you have written emails, made phone calls, made gifts in honor of my father-in-law, sent flowers, and cards. Your love toward us in this difficult time is overwhelming. Thank you for blessing us and standing with us during this time.