Mission San Juan Capistrano –
The Mission San Juan Capistrano was swarming with plein air painters. Most of them were members of the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association. I had come as a member of the Temecula Plein Air Artists Meetup group as well as the Jesus In Plain Air Meetup group.
The Mission San Juan Capistrano is 10 acres of stunning Spanish architecture and beautiful gardens. It is an inviting place for prayer.
After completing my first watercolor, I went to the Central Courtyard where most of the other artists were painting. I pitched my easel facing the lilly pond/fountain with a steeple and bell tower as a backdrop.
As I worked, visitors to the Mission stopped to chat and watch me paint. Eventually one of the other artists came to see my painting. We’ll call him Jim.
Jim said that he would soon be going into the hospital for surgery. He explained the details. I told him about a man I had prayed for at my easel whom God healed. I asked Jim if I could pray for him. He said I could, so I laid my hand gently on his arm and asked God to heal him.
He thanked me, but it seemed that there was more he wanted to talk about. Not knowing where to take the conversation next, I asked him if he went out often with the Laguna Plein Air Artists group. He said that he wasn’t able to because he had been taking care of his wife. She had been very ill, but Jim said she passed away very recently. I expressed my condolences.
Jim went on to tell me about her final moments of life here on earth. He said that his daughter was by her side when she breathed her last. In that final breath, Jim’s wife whispered, “I don’t think I can get back.”
My mind raced as to what that might mean. I sensed an urgency to ask Jim if he knew where he would spend eternity after this lifetime was over. He pointed downward and said, “Probably below. I haven’t lived a good life.”
I answered Jim, “It doesn’t matter how you’ve lived up till now, if you invite Jesus into your life, all your sins will be forgiven and you can rest assured that you will spend eternity with God.” I went on to say, “If you will allow me to lead you in a prayer, you will be saved.”
I’m always thrilled beyond words when someone says, “Yes.” On those occasions when the answer is ‘no’, people often give an excuse; ‘I’m not ready’, ‘I need to fix some things first’, etc. However, Jim quickly turned on his hills and walked away without a word.