My last post I mentioned that a woman named Pelagia invited me to go with her to share the gospel in her hometown. I wanted to relate what happened- unfortunately, I didn’t take my camera that day- I’ve been kicking myself over that because it was a memorable and beautiful experience! I’ll do my best to create an image for you.
We met in front of Cerritos School at 6am and after printing a few witnessing tracts, we hopped on the bus. (The night before I made a rough but workable prototype using content I found online. I’m going to refine that this week for another upcoming event.)
The bus trip was 1 1/2 hours to reach the countryside. We went past San Lorenzo, and past Iti. I believe this area is called, “The Interior.” We transfered buses once and the second bus fare was double because of the distance. If I were looking for this place on my own I guarantee I would have got off in the wrong place. We were on a single highway with endless fields to the right and a few houses on the left when she requested the driver to stop. We arrived at the house of her aunt and uncle exactly at 9AM.
It happened to be her aunt’s birthday that day so there were additional family members there and it was an especially warm reunion. We sat down with her aunt and uncle and she began to share. Unfortunately, they spoke more Guarani (the mother language) than Spanish, so I couldn’t understand a thing. But as we left she said her aunt had accepted Christ but the others had turned down her invitation to hear.
Next we walked through a field or two and arrived at the home of her childhood friend when she used to live there. They grew up together and were best friends. It had been around 3 years since Pelagia had visited this place. The woman’s name is Vigilia and her daughter’s name is Hilda. This time Pelagia prompted me to share. I shared the Gospel in Spanish and they both decided to invite Jesus to be their Lord! Vigilia said that her sister’s husband is a Christian, and that a Pastor had been visiting them lately and speaking of these same things and reading the Bible to them. I think the Holy Spirit had been preparing them to hear and believe because of the coincidental circumstances. They will have a church to attend and start growing! We may go back in a few weeks and visit Vigilia and Hilda again. That would be very nice.
Btw, they had the most beautiful farm/garden. They had broods of chicks and ducklings running around There were pigs in another part. Suprisingly, there were also dogs, cats, and chicks but all the animals were getting along. But most beautiful of all, they had a gazebo made of wooden sticks about the size of a small living room and it was completely covered with grape vines that were dripping with green, semi-ripe clusters! It was breathtaking! (Mom and dad, that’s what your backyard needs!)
Also, both the homes we visited had these interesting outdoor kitchens. It’s like a cross-section of a house with 3 walls! There are shelves, and brick stoves and other kitchen necesities but it’s not enclosed. This one had a thatched roof which made it ultra authentic. The bathroom and shower were outdoor and just a stall without doors or curtains. There was a toilet bowl disconnected from any pipes that just lead down like a port-a-potty. It didn’t phase me to use a restroom without doors because when I went to China it was also rather public in many places. I thanked God in my heart for that prior experience.
Anyways, to continue. Then we walked over to another friend’s home and she led us to a cool space under a tree and in a whispering voice began gesturing at the ground. I felt like we were looking in on a litter of newborn puppies. The floor bed was covered with tiny, bright, saplings of this good tree. We all marveled at this precious sight of new life. She began to collect a few of them in a leaf and gave them to her friend as a gift.
Then we walked to the home of a family. The mother, whose name I forgot, had just had brain surgery to remove liquid buildup. So she was walking with the assistance of her husband, Ramone. They invited us to sit down and her daughter, and another older woman came. So there were 4 members of the family. I began sharing the Gospel using the Evangelism Explosion method.
The father seemed very resistant and his face was cold at first. But when we led the prayer of acceptance, the mother was praying by herself at first, but then, the daughter and father joined in! It was really amazing to see a family make a decision together. It gives deeper significance to the Bible’s reference of a household being saved. Afterwards we prayed especially for the mother’s surgery recovery. I desire earnestly that she would be healed miraculously because all the families in the close vicinity had heard the same Gospel message. That God would show His power and mercy through her healing!
Lastly, we visited two young women. One of them was a visiter. We sat down outdoors and asked if we could share a word from God. They said yes but the one who lived there said right off the bat, “I believe in the Virgin and in Jesus.” I asked if they knew if they were sure if they would go to heaven if they died and they said they were pretty sure. I asked them how they were certain (these are the two questions of Evangelism Explosion) and the same girl said, “Well, I don’t deserve it, but I’m not a bad person, and I think the good things I’ve done will absolve the bad things.” We got to a point of common ground that we can’t earn our way into heaven. She understood the logic of God’s love and justice, and Jesus’s purpose, but when we asked the question of accepting Jesus and she said firmly, “I believe in Jesus but I’m Catholic. I believe in the saints. I believe in my religion and you in yours.” Well, we thanked them for listening and saluted them warmly. It was a peaceful parting.
As we navigated our way back to the main route, past the cows and fields of corn and mandioca, Pelagia said that a burden was lifted off her heart. She felt a need to share with her relatives and her village. It was accomplished. I shared with her how I had asked God to give me a companion to go out and share the Gospel and that she had invited me shortly after. So we marveled at God’s glory for fulfilling His purpose, and through us. We felt much joy at seeing God’s mercy come to the homes of several people that day. Please pray for them and for that seed of the Word to be firmly planted.