MARYLAND— “Ministry comes with many difficulties; be sure that you are ready to face them as you receive this diploma.”
These were the words that Jaime Lopez, a church planter with Send Network, heard the day he graduated from the Ezer leadership development program at Sublime Gracia in Washington D.C. on Dec. 11, 2022.
“I knew these words to be true, but I didn’t know I would be facing a difficulty so early on,” said Lopez.
Six days later, while Lopez was home making dinner, his wife, Rosa, and two daughters, 9-year-old Nicole and 15-year-old Jocelyn, were out shopping for Christmas presents. On the way back home their Nissan Versa was hit by a drunk driver on a steep hill and pushed against another car.
All three women were left in critical condition, and first responders on the accident scene did not think they would survive their injuries. When Lopez arrived at the accident scene, his daughters and wife had already been airlifted, and police officers did not let him get close to the wrecked car because the scene was so disturbing.
Through major surgeries, broken bones, punctured lungs and fractured skulls, the family’s faith grew stronger, and they saw God move and answer prayers as they had never seen before.
“God has used all of this to glorify himself, to teach us that there is no prayer too small, to strengthen our faith, and to show us that all we need is him,” said Lopez.
“I was concerned about the mental, emotional and spiritual stability of my dear brother, Jaime,” said Alejandro Molero, Send Network Espanol’s Northeast Champion and pastor of Sublime Gracia in Washington, D.C.
“I knew that he would not support the weight of losing his wife and daughters. No human could bear that heavy weight.”
Lopez is planting Temple Hill Baptist Church in Temple Hills, Maryland, alongside Marlon Henriquez. Both men have been sent by Sublime Gracia.
“When I spoke with Jaime, I noticed that he was strangely calm. He had cried a little, but it seemed to me and Marlon that he was not understanding the seriousness of the situation, or that he was in a state of shock,” recalled Molero.
“Even so, Jaime told me that everything he learned in the church planting residency program at Sublime Gracia the year before and in the leadership development classes had prepared him to trust in the sovereignty and love of the God of Heaven…. Just like Job, he could also say ‘Blessed be the Name of Jehovah’ in the most difficult moment…. that God arranges all things for the good of those who love him… it seemed, Jaime was processing the situation well, with great faith in the absolute dominion of God in the lives of his daughters and wife.”
Three days after the accident, Molero was reunited with Henriquez and Lopez, who were always together.
“I was able to verify that Jaime was processing this tragedy well. He confessed to me that he struggled with feelings of sadness and helplessness alone on sleepless nights, but who could blame him? In the morning, however, he prayed for long hours to the Lord to remember the promises and blessings of the Lord for his family.”
In short, the pastor who was supposed to comfort ended up encouraged in faith by the planter whose family was in the hospital.
The Send Network family has supported Lopez not just financially but by praying for him and with him and helping him take his daughters and wife to their medical appointments.
“We have not felt alone a single moment,” shared Lopez.
Even while his daughters and wife were in the hospital, Lopez continued to share the gospel with everyone and anyone he could. While standing in line at the hospital cafeteria, he was able to share the gospel and pray with a woman whose son was also hospitalized. Local media heard his story and invited him to a segment of the local news which he also used as an opportunity to share the gospel with viewers.
During their hospital stay Rosa, Jocelyn and Nicole shared their faith with the nurses and doctors that worked on their cases.
“They all have always said that they know God protected them; that they will continue to serve God,” said Lopez.
Rosa, Nicole and Jocelyn were able to go home in January. There are still surgeries and procedures ahead of them, but they are trusting that God will carry them through and continue to be faithful.
“When I came home from the hospital the first time,” recounted Lopez “I noticed, on a whiteboard, my wife had written Philippians 4:13 and right below the passage my daughters wrote ‘amen’.” That verse, he said, has been constantly on his mind as the family has faced these difficult circumstances.
Fifty-two days after the accident, on Sunday, February 12, the family started going to church again. The girls are already walking. Rosa is still in a wheelchair, and they each have daily physical therapy in different hospitals. During the service, the family had an opportunity to share their testimony. Rosa especially appreciated the care of beloved sisters from their church who have taken turns to help at home and in any need, for every soup that was delivered and for every text of love and encouragement that has been sent. The girls sang the song, “The Goodness of God,” along with the rest of their Sunday school friends.
Molero recalls it as a “truly very special moment.”
Published March 2, 2023