Camellia, 5 years old
I had the privilege of going back to Romania for the fourth time. In
1994 & 95. My wife and I went with a group from our church. Then
in 1996, my wife, our 19-year-old son, and I went and conducted children's
rally in Buzau Romania. I went back in September of 1996. This trip
was a very unusual trip. First of all, I am not a preacher, nor have
I ever felt the call to preach. Yet, God permitted me to give 19 messages
(sermons) during these two weeks in Romania. Two of these sermons were
for a five year old little girl. This is the story I would like to share
with you. I pray that it will be a blessing.
The first three days of the trip were filled with fear, as I felt evil
surrounding me. I wanted to run, to escape. I tried unsuccessfully to
catch a flight home. With the pastor praying for me, God showed me a
On the fifth day of the trip, I was asked to speak to the family of
a little girl who had died of a brain tumor. The family consisted of
the thirty two-year-old mother and her nine children. The father had
deserted them and fled to France. Although I had never met any of the
family, the pastor said they had requested that I give a message in
the home. Well.I knew there were no way I could do it. The Lord had
to take over, quickly.
On the way to Camellia's apartment, I began to pray. "Lord, come quickly."
You know the answer. He didn't, so I changed my prayer to "Lord Help
Me." I opened my Bible and as I prayed, God directed me to a great passage,
Psalm 139:1-18. I read how God is personally concerned about each one
of us. WOW, I thought! God knows me really knows me by my name. I attend
a large church with many people, but only a few know my name. Yet, out
of the entire world, God knows me. That is awesome.
We arrived at the apartment where the coffin lid was propped beside
the front door. They led us into a room where people were paying their
respects to the family. In the middle of the room was a small table
holding the coffin, a pine box that reminded me of the ones used during
the old western days in our country.
Camellia clothed in a white dress with a white veil over her face had
been placed in a half-sitting position in the coffin and people put
flowers at her feet. Since they did not embalm the body, incense was
placed in the coffin.
When they took the veil off her face, it was a very sad thing to see.
The little girl's eyes were pushed out of her head and mouth was forced
to stay open due to the growth of a tumor. As I sat listening to the
people singing, I was angry with the doctor's who left her this way.
I asked God, "Why did this five-year-old girl have to suffer like this?"
Why did they leave the top off the coffin? Why didn't the doctor do
surgery to close her mouth and her eyes?" I knew that after the song
was over it would be time for me to speak and I had to get my thoughts
together to say something of comfort for the family and friends.
As the song ended, I stood up hesitantly realizing that I had no knowledge
of how to conduct a funeral in the U. S., much less one in a foreign
country. My prayer under my breath was, "Lord, please hide me behind
the cross and speak through me." And He did.
The Message on September 9,1996
[An illustration] "Lillie loved to look up at the stars twinkling about
her. She loved to watch the white puffy clouds floating in the sky during
the daytime. Lillie especially loved to see a beautiful rainbow of colors
appear after a storm. It was a rainbow that showed her everything was
going to be okay. As Lillie looked at these wonders in the sky, and
thought, 'God made all these things. How Great He is!' But sometimes
she wondered how such a great big powerful God could know and care about
I asked the people, "Have you ever wondered if God is concerned about
you? A long time ago, a man named David wrote a song telling about God's
greatness and His personal concern for us. You can find it in Psalm
"David knew in his heart that God knows everything about our lives.
He knows everything we do, even our thoughts. He knows what we are going
to do before we do it. God knows where we are at all times. We cannot
hide from Him. He knows our plans before we make them. Day and night
God is aware; He is watching. And God can take care of everybody at
the same time. God is personally concerned about you. I mean you, by
yourself. He knows you. He knows me whether I'm in Romania or in America.
Doesn't that scare you a little bit? How awesome God is!"
"David realized that God is everywhere at all times. We can hide from
our earthly father, but not from our heavenly Father. There is no place
you can go to hide from God. God knew Camellia on earth, and He made
a special place just for her. God took her home to live with Him. God
loves Camilla as much as anyone else in the world. He created her for
a purpose and she fulfilled it. Now Camellia is where they make the
stars and the puffy white clouds. She is with the One who makes the
beautiful rainbows. Can't you just see
Jesus telling Camellia, 'Come over here; I want to show you something!'
Then He points across the sky and a big, beautiful rainbow appears.
Can't you see Camellia's face glow with the love of Jesus in her heart
with the new body that she received when she arrived in heaven? Doesn't
that make you want to be sure that you are going to be with her someday?"
"Jesus said, 'Let the children come to me. Don't turn them away.' He
is saying, 'I love them, and they are special to me.' Can't you see
the joy and love He had for Camellia when she arrived home? Just like
Lillie, Mom, Dad, you and me, Jesus died on the cross for us that we
might have life, not death. He loved all of us enough to give His life
on the cross, for each one of us, because he created us and He knows
- - - - -
The following day before going to the gravesite, they brought the small
table outside in front of the apartment and put the coffin on top of
it. Friends and family came around the coffin, sang songs, and prayed.
Neighbors hanging from their windows and stopping in the street watched
them as the crowded circle surrounded the little coffin that carried
the little five-year-old creation of God. After the singing and praying
was over, they put the coffin in the back of a waiting car. Family and
friends walked the eight miles to the gravesite. When we arrived at
the graveyard, I saw a hole had been dug and thought it was for Camellia.
I was wrong. They continued to carry the body to the end of the cemetery
and then across a field that was overgrown with weeds to an open grave.
The graveside services were different than I had ever experienced. We
all gathered, sang songs, and prayed. Then it was my time to speak again,
and this is what I shared.
At the Gravesite, September 10, 1996
"Today we lay this little girl to rest. The body we put into this grave
is transformed into a new body in heaven for Camellia. She doesn't need
this body anymore because it wouldn't be any good in heaven. God has
healed her, and she has graduated to her new home. In her new body there
will be no sickness, pain, or sorrow. Remember that she is where the
rainbow maker is. I believe if Camellia could speak to us right now,
this is what she might say, 'Please do not weep for me. I'm in such
a better place. I got to meet Jesus in person. He is more than I could
ever imagine. I do not hurt any more. I have a brand new body. I saw
Jesus make the rainbow. I'm okay. Please do not weep for me. Look for
the rainbow in the sky. When you see that colorful rainbow, that's the
sign that I'm fine, Mom, family, friends. I'm running all over Heaven.
please make sure you will come here someday. I'm okay. I'm with Jesus.'"
Friends and family, "Look for the rainbow. Make sure that you have a
personal relationship with God so that you too, will go to heaven and
be with Camellia. He loves you just as much as He loves her. Make sure
your loved ones know where you are when you pass through this life."
- - - -
They sang one song, and a man drove two nails in two corners of the
coffin. They sang another song, prayed, and then drove a nail in each
of the other two corners. They lowered the coffin and mounded dirt for
planting flowers on top. After she was put to rest, they started the
long walk back home.
That evening we were having dinner with some members of the church.
The father of the home was standing at the door when he suddenly called
Brother Daniel's son. "Come, David. Look at the big rainbow in the sky!"
I jumped up and went to the door to see. WOW! There was the most beautiful
rainbow.all the way across the sky. I raised my hand and said, "Thank
you, Lord, for the rainbow." I could hardly keep my composure.
That night, Camellia's twelve-year-old sister came to the rally looking
for me. My translator told me she said, "We saw the rainbow yesterday
in the sky. It was beautiful." She was smiling and seemed so happy,
"A man in my church who gave us the coffin told my family that God would
give us a sign that Camellia was all right. The rainbow, that you said
to look for, told us that she is all right." Later in the week she brought
another sister and brother to the rally.
Many people came to know the Lord during this special time. God blessed
us all. I chose not to keep count of the number who met the Lord. after
all, God knows each and every one by name.