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2009 Conversations


Sara Groves
12.21.08

Keith and Kristyn Getty
12.14.08

Jesse Miranda
11.30.08

Heather Bland
11.23.08

Cathleen Lewis
11.16.08

Robert Leathers
11.9.08

Ravi Zacharias
10.26.08

Scotty Gibbons
10.19.08

George O. Wood
9.28.08

George O. Wood
9.21.08

G. Robert Cook Jr.
9.14.08

Michelle LaRowe Conover
8.31.08

Janet Boynes
8.24.08

Kirk Cameron
8.17.08

Laura Wilkinson
8.10.08

Melody Rossi
7.27.08

Randy Travis
7.20.08

Maylo Upton-Aames
7.13.08

Chuck Norris
6.29.08

Francis Xavier 'Chip' Flaherty Jr.
6.22.08

Ben Carson
6.15.08

Robert H. Spence
6.8.08

Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Schloesser
5.25.08

R. Albert Mohler Jr.
5.18.08

James K. Bridges
5.11.08

Manny Mill
4.27.08

Brock Gill
4.20.08

Robert Burt
4.13.08

Gerry Hindy
3.30.08

J.I. Packer
3.23.08

Stanley Horton
3.16.08

Linda Mintle
3.9.08

Joanna Weaver
2.24.08

Buck Taylor
2.17.08

Debra Risner
2.10.08

Bill Glass
1.27.08

Edward Gilbreath
1.20.08

Rob Seagears and Andy Casper
1.13.08


2007 Conversations


2006 Conversations


Conversation: Melody Rossi

At death’s door

Melody Rossi, author of May I Walk You Home? Sharing Christ’s Love With the Dying, spent years as a professional opera singer and college professor (at Vanguard University), and now leads Cloud & Fire Ministries — an inner-city ministry in Los Angeles County that aims to transform the lives of urban youth. Recently, Rossi spoke with Managing Editor Kirk Noonan about sharing one’s faith with those who are dying.

tpe: You led your mom to a relationship with the Lord while she was on her deathbed. In your book you described her death as a watershed moment. What do you mean by that?

ROSSI: You stand at a point in life and in a wonderful way God shows you how many things led to that moment. He shows you how the moment isn’t accidental or coincidental or random. My mom’s death was that kind of moment for me.

My entire life I had seen her anger and bitterness toward God, people and the church. Unfortunately, I assumed that was the way it would always be. But the moment she died everything flashed before my eyes, and I realized that God had been working on my mother all along. That realization showed me the breadth of His love and how He is constantly wooing people.

tpe: Often people suffering loss ask, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” How do you answer that?

ROSSI: I don’t have a good answer for that other than that God is good. There is plenty of evidence of His goodness.

We don’t live in a perfect world, and death reminds us of that imperfection more than anything. The pain we feel when someone dies is evidence that life is not meant to be like this. We are not meant to die or have bad things happen. That was not a part of God’s original plan.

Though we may not be able to find an answer to why bad things happen to good people, we might find comfort in asking a different question such as: God, can You still speak to me, walk with me and help me through the pain?

And the answer to that is, yes He can, because He is God.

tpe: People may be reluctant to share their faith with the dying because they figure they will be crossing lines that shouldn’t be crossed. What do you think about that?

ROSSI: I have never encountered a situation where someone reached out to someone who was dying and the dying person said, “Leave me alone.” Yes, there can be awkwardness in such situations, but it will go away if a person is willing to serve the dying person.

tpe: What myths are associated with telling a dying person about Christ?

ROSSI: We tend to think there is no hope, especially if we have a close friend or family member who is dying and has lived for years without knowing Jesus. But no matter how a dying person has lived his or her life, the end-of-life period changes all the rules.

Healthy people who are angry with God may not want to discuss Him with you. But I have found that people who are dying are thinking about God in a completely different way. We need to remember that any mention they make of God — even in a cynical or joking way — might be a door they are opening for us to engage them in a conversation about God.

tpe: What cautions do you offer to people who have a loved one or acquaintance who is dying?

ROSSI: It’s not about you. It’s about them and what God is already doing in their lives. Another thing is not to focus on what is comfortable for you, but instead give priority to what is comfortable for the dying person.

Find a way you can be a supportive conduit God can work through. You need to watch, listen and be a servant. That is crucial. As you do that, the ice will thaw, you’ll gain credibility and gain access to that person’s heart.

Don’t assume God will only use the chaplain, preacher or counselor. He can and will use you if you allow Him to.

tpe: What is one thing about death you have found surprising?

ROSSI: It’s a sacred moment accompanied by profound feelings of emptiness. In the weeks leading up to my mother’s death I was the stoic one who remained calm. But when she died I spent a lot of time crying. I wasn’t hysterical, but there was a sense that the word death could not describe what I just witnessed. To see a person you love so much enter the spiritual realm brings sorrow, but there is also extreme joy in knowing your loved has walked into heaven.

tpe: What do you say to the person who has lost hope a loved one will commit his or her life to Christ before he or she dies?

ROSSI: My father, mother and stepmother were all very far from God and lived extremely worldly lives. They never showed any signs of spiritual life until they committed their hearts to Christ on their deathbeds. If God can reach them, He can reach anyone. The places we don’t expect God to work, including the deathbed, are places where He can take an entire life of mistakes and transform that life into a miracle — even up to a person’s very last breath.

E-mail your comments to tpe@ag.org.

Resources by Melody Rossi are available at www.gospelpublishing.com.

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