When tragedy hits, whether it’s your family, your church, or a Christian ministry, what happens next often provides lessons that couldn’t be learned any other way.
Jair Rios, the National Director of Cru’s ministry in Venezuela, died unexpectedly on February 1 from complications arising from surgery he underwent to treat cancer of the colon.
“He was a shepherd,” says Sheri Onishi, a Cru staff member who served with Jair for the last 14 years. “He cared for the people around him. He was truly loved.”
Jair leaves behind a wife, Maritza, 3 adult children and 2 grandchildren.
His death came as the Venezuelan staff were already working in crisis conditions due to their country’s dire economic situation. Jair oversaw the finances of the organization, at a time when Venezuela is considered on the brink of
bankruptcy. Food and medical supplies had become scarce.
Jair brought his wisdom and experience to the task of helping 25 staff members navigate a volatile environment. The staff had to adapt quickly to life without a father figure and trusted leader, while still coming to terms with his tragic loss.
Sheri Onishi and her husband Keith serve as the Student-led Movement (SLM) regional directors for Cru in Latin America, overseeing 48 countries. They have learned how to lead through the unexpected.
Are you responsible for leading others? Here are some suggestions about responding to traumatic situations.
Please pray for the family of Jair Rios at this time, for the movement he poured his life into, and for the people of Venezuela who he loved, and longed to see coming to know Jesus as their Savior. Give a gift towards Cru’s ministry in Venezuela. Comment below to offer a prayer or message of support.
Have you ever had to lead after tragedy? Share your lessons below.
is a content strategist working alongside Cru. He believes words change things. Ross is passionate about finding ways to communicate, in everyday language, what it means to follow Jesus.
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