It has been just over two weeks since the eastern edge of Source Matelas (a neighborhood known as Gran Chemin) was brutally attacked by gangs seeking both revenge and new territory to control.
The attack lasted for one agonizing hour until police came and gang members fled.
A night of gunfire, burning houses, and fear slowly gave way to a day of wailing.
Shell-shocked men and women who had spent the night lying prostrate on the floor of their houses gathered up what they could carry and made the exodus north on foot to Cabaret, flooding the national highway.
Others stayed behind to search the rubble and gather the dead.
Together, neighbors and family members buried 16 men and women in a mass grave.
Gran Chemin, a place of peace for years, had become a war zone.
It is in this quiet neighborhood, where nearly everyone is a cousin, that Lony Estimable, 24, was born, grew up, met his wife, and planned to raise a family.
On November 29, Lony lost his life on this earth because of the evil acts of men, but entered into paradise with his heavenly Father.
Lony loved God. In 2018, an illness brought him to the foot of the cross. He sought out his older brother, Smith-Cadet.
“He had seen that I was following God,” Smith-Cadet said. “He told me he wanted to leave everything else to take the same path as me, and he decided to follow Jesus.”
Lony, who had been a rapper following the ways of the world, fell in love with Jesus, and that relationship changed his life.
He began attending Victory Bible Church and was baptized in 2019.
He loved reading his Bible. His favorite verse became 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
“He became a counselor to me,” said Smith-Cadet, who leads worship at Victory Bible Church. “We always spent time together, praying together, singing together. He encouraged me to stay close to Jesus.”
Lony met his future wife, Rosemina, in 2018. They attended Victory Bible Church together and were married by Pastor Derson on February 15, 2022.
When Derson asked Lony why he picked Rosemina, he said, “She filled a void in me that many others could not fill. She takes things seriously, and she’s made me mature. Together, we are happy.”
An entrepreneur and talented artist, Lony had plans to own a business, as well as develop a music career, so he could take care of his family and travel the world.
“He is a person that my family will never forget,” said Smith-Cadet. “We shared our clothes. We shared our shoes. We shared our lives.”
Lony will be remembered as a loving husband, son, brother, and friend.
And above all, Lony will be remembered because of his love for Jesus, and that is why we can rejoice even in death.
Read these lyrics from one of Lony’s recent songs.
…On Your way, despite the blows,
You did not answer your accusers,
Even though they spit in Your face
and nailed You to the cross.
Since I’ve fixed my eyes on You,
I’ve forgotten all my problems.
You who don’t yet have Jesus
I want you to imagine in your heart
A different kingdom that exists.
You forget gold, money, diamonds,
you forget it all if you have God.
I have a question I need to ask you
Where will you spend your eternity?
He is my best friend.
When I see Him I am well.
My counselor who comforts me,
He knows my heart, He knows my soul, He knows my thoughts.
Yahweh, Yahweh. All glory to God! All glory to God!
I can’t recount all He’s done for me, I can’t stop telling Him thanks.
I can’t pass a day without prayer, He’s made me grow.
I can’t spend a day without reading the Bible, He’s my best friend.
If God hadn’t taken care of me, evil ones would have finished me.
I have Jesus in my life, the Holy Spirit is always with me.
Knowledge and money won’t go with you when you die.
Friend, I’m talking to you.
He will be with you even in death.
When I was proud, Jesus humbled me,
He picked me up.
The same way He did for David, He’ll do it for you.
The same way He did for Joseph, He’ll do it for you, too.
There’s no one like Him, there will never be.
While we deeply grieve the loss of Lony on this earth, we do not grieve as those without hope, for we know he goes ahead of us to glory.
We trust, just as he trusted, that Jesus never abandoned him, even in his darkest hour. He is Emmanuel, God with us.
With Lony, we sing, “All glory to God! All glory to God!”
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”John 11:25-26