This has been a difficult week for the Students International family. Tuesday our dear friend, brother, and long-time staff member Fernando Saravia passed away.
Fernando served with SI Guatemala for over 25 years. He served with excellence as a site leader, part of the leadership team, as the Student Life Coordinator, and as Field Director. We are grateful for his many years of faithful service. His Christ like character and dedication to love Jesus and people has forever marked Students International and our lives.
While Fernando impacted countless lives through decades of ministry and service his legacy is most seen through his family. Fernando loved his wife Marianela in a way that is best described in that he loved as Christ loves the church. Fernando was a proud father of three girls (Nivia, Nelita, and Marlene) who are now women filled with the Christ-like character they have seen modeled for them in their mom and dad.
Fernando was a man of great compassion and empathy. He loved and sought to care for the one the world overlooks. When you talked with Fernando you had his full attention and he made you feel like the most important person at that moment. His hospitality was second to none. Whether it was welcoming a community member into a ministry site, hosting an outreach team, or baking pizza for you in his home he did it gracefully and elegantly. Fernando was a man of deep faith who modeled what it looks like to walk intimately with Jesus day by day. In the easy and hard seasons of life Fernando demonstrated a steady confidence in Jesus trusting in His guidance and direction and inviting others to do the same. He was a prayer warrior and his ear was attuned to hearing God’s voice and he courageously spoke truth in the lives of those around him. In all that he did Fernando demonstrated how to live a life characterized by Micah 6:8, “…to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
We are deeply saddened and grieve the loss of our dear friend. Yet we rejoice knowing that he has now been healed and is no longer in pain. We rejoice that he is now face to face with his Lord and Savior. Fernando, we love you and will miss you greatly. We will be forever challenged to live a life that loves Jesus and others as you have.
“Well done, good and faithful servant!”