by Sidney Capillas
When my wife and I were sent out to plant a church in Milpitas, California, the Lord confirmed our calling in ways that literally made us weep together in gratitude. One confirmation came by way of God’s provision for me to work as a hospice chaplain in 2012. It began with Regular Baptist Chaplaincy granting me an ecclesiastical endorsement for institutional chaplaincy in April 2011.
Currently I am employed with ProHealth Home Care and Hospice as its chaplain and spiritual care coordinator. I travel from place to place in the Silicon Valley, ministering to patients and their families who are going through the fear, anxiety, and stress of facing serious illness and death. Patients and their families come from all walks of life, socially and economically, and espouse diverse faith beliefs (e.g., Christianity, Roman Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, atheism). I see my hospice work as an opportunity to build relationships, listen to people’s life stories, and hear their perspectives on death and the afterlife.
In September, Darrell Goemaat, photography director for Regular Baptist Press, accompanied me on two visits. At the time, he was visiting church plants in California and Oregon with Regular Baptist Ministries staff members Clare Jewell and John and Daria Greening.
We first visited Jimmy and Marilyn Eustaquio, the first members of my church in Milpitas, Northside Harvest Baptist Church. Marilyn not only takes care of Jimmy (a survivor of a major stroke many years ago) and their special-needs child, but she also works part-time. On our visit, I aimed to encourage Jimmy and Marilyn to continue trusting in the Lord and, by His grace, to see the importance of abiding in Him even when life is difficult.
Next we went to the home of Theo Taylor, a hospice patient I visit about twice a month. Theo and his family graciously gave me permission to bring Darrell with me. During the visit, I read John 14 to encourage Theo, a believer in Jesus Christ, that he may rest in Christ’s promise to return to earth to receive His own. Knowing Theo’s love for southern gospel music, I played a video of the song “There Is Healing in His Hands” performed by the Collingsworth Family.
Throughout the Silicon Valley, hospice chaplaincy is an open door to share genuine encouragement—the gospel—whether through casual conversation or prayer. In the end, I’m given the blessing of being a witness for Christ.
Sidney Capillas is a hospice chaplain and church planter in Milpitas, Calif.