Working as we do with University students and young people, we rarely participate in funerals. When we do encounter death it is often tragic, since no one expects young people to leave so soon.
This would seem to be the case last week, when we learned of the death of Bernadette Tshibola, a member of the Students for Christ Liege group. She passed away in her sleep on a Saturday night, finally succumbing at age 34 to sickle cell anemia, which she had battled all her life.
However, Bernadette died as a Christian, and we are certain that her smile is ever more radiant today as she worships at the throne of God. My favorite memory of her was one Tuesday night, when we were setting up chairs for our weekly meeting. Our group numbered around 10-12 at that point, so I put out 15 chairs. Bernadette laughed, said, "Charles, where is your faith?", and put out another 15 chairs. Sure enough, a crowd of 30-35 students filled the room that night. She helped teach me not to be so "realistic".
Bernadette was someone who was always serving, always smiling, and loved Jesus. Because of this, the students and alumni of SFC who knew her decided to wear white to her funeral. They wanted to signify that they were there to celebrate her past life of joy and love, and her new life of being with her Savior. What a great representation of the fact that for those who live and believe in Christ, death has no more power, and the grave is a beginning, not an end, of true life!