Our Wednesday evening Bible study wasn’t the same without Emmanuel to join with us and his wife Mari Cruz. He was over in Nogales (the small community where his parents and Jason and Kristin live) visiting with his mother who had eye surgery yesterday in Mexico City and had come home today. She suffers from diabetes and had lost the sight in one of her eyes some time ago but then suddenly went blind in the other eye (which wasn’t working too well). They have hope that the costly laser procedure will restore some level of vision in the eye that just went blind.
Anyway, we didn’t know it would be just Mari Cruz there for our study time. She started off by telling us that she had an interesting experience to tell us about. Turns out that Mari Cruz has befriended a neighbor, Imelda. Imelda is 21 and single. She left her home in a nearby town in order to be “independent.” She works somewhere in town and comes back to her one room apartment which is filled by one small bed. That’s it. She has no other furniture. I doubt very much more would fit in it.
Yesterday was Imelda’s day off. She had nothing else to do so she came over and while Mari Cruz was ironing, they began a 3 hour conversation that centered around God. By the end, Mari Cruz had pulled out the little blue “el ABC de la Vida” (“the ABCs of life”) tract which I shared and left with Emmanuel and Mari Cruz on our very first study with them back in late June. Mar Cruz led her through the tract and the prayer to receive Christ! How cool is that?!? Praise God!
After our study, Mari Cruz share some of her life’s story with us. She’s also only 21 years old but we were glued to her story as she told us just a few little pieces of her childhood. She was abused as a child. First, at a very young age her father tried to kill her while in a drunken rage. She was too young to even remember this on her own. Some years later her grandfather tried to abuse her sexually. As a teenager she tried to commit suicide.
In their effort to try to help her, Mari Cruz’s parents sent her to live with two doctors who were psychologists. In God’s sovereign and perfect way, these doctors were believers. They took her in and not long after, Mari Cruz prayed to receive Jesus Christ as her Savior!
She eventually returned home. However, she wanted to join in the small Sunday morning church service with the doctors. This was a problem. Mari Cruz’s parents are very Catholic. She told us her mother is so Catholic that it “runs in her blood.” They would never consent to her being a believer in anything but Catholicism. Furthermore, they would not allow her to fail to go to the Sunday morning mass. So, she had to tell them that she was going to do “homework” with friends. Of course, what she meant was, studying the Bible…which was “homework” of sorts! So, she would go to mass at 9 a.m., run to “homework with friends” at 10 a.m. and be there for both the two hours of services.
Her family knew, of course, but they apparently decided not to press the issue and she continued until she met and married Emmanuel. Her life took a dramatic turn at that point, three years ago. She didn’t have any spiritual input, Emmanuel didn’t have any spiritual interest and she strayed in her walk with the Lord. It wasn’t until this summer that God changed her life and his too.
There’s more to the story but I really can’t share all of it. However, I hope you’ll pray for Emmanuel and Mari Cruz. Pray for Jason and Emmanuel’s parents…their salvation. Pray for their mother’s sight to be restored as a result of this surgery. Pray for Imelda and that her profession of faith is real. She has a Sunday obligation for some time to come, but eventually we hope that she’ll come with Emmanuel and Mari Cruz to our small house church. We’re anxious to meet this new creation in Christ! (we probably won’t get to meet her until after our home assignment…maybe in December we’ll meet Imelda)