To honour our dear and much-missed father, Pastor Casimiro Neves, is not only to thank him for the life he bequeathed to us, but also for all the lessons we learned from him and fill us with pride for being his children. To honour him is also to praise the exemplary family man he was, remembering his best qualities as a husband, a father, and a grandfather.
His wife, children, and granddaughter will always remember him as an angel who has spread love around him, and join their voices, so sad and full of longing as much as filled with pride, to that of Pastor Luís Reis, a Professor of MEIBAD – Monte Esperança Bible Institute of the Assemblies of God – who, in the memorial service, on 18 November 2019, said the following:
“On behalf of myself and my wife, I wish to express my deepest condolences to the wife, sister Maximina Neves, to the children, Eunice and Paulo, to the remaining relatives and friends, as well as to the Assembly of God, for the temporary separation from our much-missed Pastor Casimiro das Neves.
To me, it’s an honour, as a colleague and friend of Pastor Casimiro das Neves, to have been invited by his family to send to those here present a message of salvation and eternal hope, in this solemn tribute, and to honour his memory.
To this end, I would like to base my message on the text that is enshrined in the Holy Scriptures, in Rev. 14:13, ERV:
“And I heard a voice from heaven saying, Write, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; for their works follow with them””
Blessed means someone who possesses a superior happiness that isn’t achieved naturally, in the sphere of this world.
It’s a happiness that stems from the grace of God and its full consummation in heaven.
It’s the model of happiness which only those who have been redeemed and purified by the blood of Jesus, or, to put it another way, those who experience a true salvation in Jesus Christ, enjoy: “Blessed are they that wash their robes, that they may have the right to come to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the city.” (Rev. 22:14, ERV).
Without fear of making a mistake, we can say that Pastor Casimiro das Neves was, and still is one of those blessed people, as he had an encounter with Jesus, while still very young, by accepting him as the only and true saviour. Although his body is before us, his spiritual soul is in the presence of his Lord, waiting for the day of resurrection.
God’s word underlines that “blessed are the dead which die in the Lord”. To die in the Lord implies that, while they were alive, they lived in the Lord, that is, Christ lived in them, and they, in turn, lived in the faith of the Son of God, in the certainty that Christ loved them and gave himself for them, as Paul wrote to the Galatians about his own experience: “I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live; and yet no longer I, but Christ liveth in me: and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me.” (Gal 2:20, ERV).
Casimiro Neves. / Mundiario
We can say the same about Pastor Casimiro das Neves: that he lived his precious life in the faith of the Son of God, in the full certainty that Christ loved him and, as a corollary gave himself on the Cross of Calvary to save, to free him, and transform his life.
And how many powerful messages on this subject, which was so dear to him, did he preach, to so many who listened to him, during his blessed and fruitful ministry? It’s no surprise that he has been a man with excellent qualities: cordial, affable, friendly, patient, conciliatory; a person of refined manners who radiated friendliness towards anyone who knew him and was close to him. Without a doubt, a true gentleman!
In an updated version, the verse which serves as an introduction to this message says the following: “Then I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Happy are those who from now on die in the service of the Lord!”
“Yes indeed!”, answers the Spirit. “They will enjoy rest from their hard work, because the results of their service go with them.” (Rev. 14:13, GNB)
The service of the ministry, contrary to what some think, is always a hard work, where the concerns, the struggles, and the trials inherent to those who wish, above all, to serve with selflessness, love, and happiness, as it was characteristic of Pastor Casimiro, are plentiful.
Our much-missed pastor and friend, who left us to be with Christ, experienced that hard work, while labouring in the Work of God, as a consecrated servant of the Lord and His church, since his young days, as he decided, very young, to dedicate himself entirely to the work of the Gospel.
How many experiences about him could be told, here, by those who knew him: his colleagues, his collaborators, and the believers he pastored in several churches, in this Country!
I am pleased to note, with gratitude and truthfully, and not with words for the occasion, that our much-missed friend and companion, Casimiro das Neves, was a pillar in the Assemblies of God Movement, belonging to a generation of illustrious preachers of the Gospel that God raised in Portugal, such as, among others, Manuel Moutinho and Domingos Barradas, both also already with the Lord, and António Barata, still among us, to whom the younger generations, including my own, owe much.
By the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, he performed a meritorious work, to the eyes of God and men, as an eloquent pastor, preacher, and teacher, recognised not only by the Assemblies of God, but also by the other evangelical families of Portugal. Being a true master of the word, he taught with depth the sound doctrine from which he never deviated, keeping it, always, as fundamental in his ministry.
Pastor Casimiro das Neves, as the verse indicates, “enjoyed rest from his hard work” and takes with him, to heavenly glory, as the verses says, “the results of his service”.
We are absolutely sure, then, that his reward will be great, as he who wrote the Letter to the Hebrews says: “for God is not unrighteous to forget your work and the love which ye shewed toward his name, in that ye ministered unto the saints…” (Heb. 6:10, ERV), because according to 1 Peter 5:4, KJV, when Christ, “the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”
I end with an appeal to all those who are attending this eulogy and have not yet had an encounter with Christ: accept Him as your only and sufficient Saviour, so that you may have the same hope of eternal life. And to those who are already of Christ, may you remain faithful until the end of your line.
To our esteemed sister Maximina, I ask God to comfort her heart, and keep her strong, in the certainty that, if we are faithful, as her husband was, we will meet again in heavenly glory.
To her children, Eunice and Paulo, I say the greatest tribute that you can pay to your dad is to follow his footsteps of faith, giving your lives to the Lord, and so it will be possible to meet again with him in the Heavenly Home, as surely it was his wish. To Pastor Casimiro, this won’t be a goodbye, but a see you soon, because, at any moment, the reunion can happen. God bless you all!”. @mundiario