Saturday, March 5, 2011

Ministry Amidst Tragedy

Last week, Ryan and I were awakened by an early morning phone call from our pastor informing us that one of our church members, Michael Barranco, had died suddenly in a tragic car accident over night. It's the news no one ever wants to hear and our hearts were broken, not just because our church lost a truly Godly 48 year old man, but also because his family-his wife and three teenage children-lost their loving husband and father. Mr. Barranco's children are all active in our youth group, comprising most of our youth group's Wednesday night band, and Mia, the oldest, is Evan's favorite babysitter. In the short time that we have been in Mississippi, we have come to know and love the whole family.

This tragedy tremendously affected our entire congregation. You see, Michael was involved in many areas of our church. He was the scout leader for our boy scouts troup that ministers to teenage boys both in our church and our neighborhood. Several of the boys from our neighborhood saw Michael as a father figure in their lives and were devastated by the news. He was also very involved in Redeemer's music ministry. That man had soul and could sing so well! He was one of my favorite song leaders on Sundays not only because he was majorly talented (he's been in several blues bands and has even sung jingles for local commercials), but mostly because his love for the Lord was evident in the way he led worship.

Ryan and I had the amazing opportunity to sing at Michael's funeral. The family asked for Ryan to sing the last song Michael had sung at Redeemer Church just two weeks prior. Ryan and Michael had sung it as a duet, so this time, Ryan sang the lead and I harmonized with the choir backing us up as well.

Michael Barranco's funeral had to have been the most amazing one I've ever attended. At the visitation, there was a line wrapping around the block for people waiting to pay their respects to the family. A total of over 1,800 people came that night! His funeral was standing room only in an auditorium that seats 800, and they had to turn people away because there was no more room. His career as an architect in Jackson had earned the respect of many in the city, and he was deeply loved by many people. After hearing all the loved ones and friends share stories of Michael, it was apparent that he never wasted a second of his life and lived it fully for the glory of God.

Please keep the Barranco family in your prayers as they mourn their incredible loss. I know that the Lord will comfort them and hold them close during this difficult time.

If you have a moment, check out the links below:

The first one is of Ryan & Michael singing "All My Praise" together. If you can hear the words, it might give you chills as it did me--"Even in the shadow of death, I will praise you...".

The second post is of the same song performed at his funeral just two weeks later.

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