Today we celebrate the coming of our Lord to dwell among us.
This year we say goodbye to a good friend who went to be with Jesus last night after six months of suffering a very aggressive form of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
Juan was an amazing artist. We own two of his paintings: the one in the photo "El Gran Violinista: Jehudi Menuhim" which he gave me when I visited two years ago; and one that I purchased and gave myself for my birthday some years back, titled "Arroyo Toledo". It reminded me of summer camp in the sierras of Córdoba. You can view it and others on Juan Colle's website.
I was so privileged to visit with them relatively recently, considering how far away Argentina is and also the fact that I had not seen them in decades. I still have an image in my mind of looking out the window and seeing him waiting for me at the huge bus terminal in Córdoba. I wasn't sure I would recognize him after so many years.
Here Mirta, his wife, is showing me what's left of their china, so treasured because it was a wedding gift from missionary friends, the Marshalls, so long ago.
Juan was a pastor, evangelist, and a disciplined pray-er. Each time we met or talked he mentioned that every Saturday he prayed for all of us his friends in the USA. We will miss him.
On this Christmas day, I think especially of Juan's family--his loving widow, the three grown children, their spouses, and the grandchild on the way. I also remember a promise I made and have not kept. Juan gave me an essay he wrote, "Una visión cristiana del arte" (A Christian Perspective on Art), and asked for my feedback. Instead, I will try to post my comments here in the near future. (Keep me accountable, please!)