Friday Fiction - Preaching to His Village

This is an excerpt of a missionary story I am writing about Fernando Angeles. I am close to finishing the rough draft. Fernando and his wife, Christy, have been working on a Tenek translation of the Bible. They have finished about ten of the NT books. Yesterday, they finished the check of the book of James.


Preaching to His Village

Fernando couldn’t seem to get enough of talking with Pastor Benito and the visitor from the States. He had so many questions to be answered. Every week he went to the Baptist church to hear more about this new life that he had been given.

He told his family and friends what he had been learning. His mother and grandmother listened, but they didn't want to change from what they had known all their life. His father didn’t want to listen at all. Fernando talked to his brothers and sisters and friends, but they were afraid of listening to the protestant talk.

Fernando sat on the ground next to Doroteo. The young man was breathing hard. His body was weak and tired easily just walking up a hill. He could not work in the fields or play with the other boys.

“Ola, Doroteo. How are you doing today?”

“I get so tired. My heart hurts when I walk too much. I listened to your talk about Jesus. Will you tell me more?”

Fernando smiled and silently prayed, “Thank you, Lord.” He told how Jesus had come to seek and to save that which was lost. He told how Jesus could heal the sick and forgive sins. Doroteo became the first to believe the words of the Gospel.

Once when he was in Taquian, the pastor showed a movie about Jesus. To see the colored moving pictures of the life of Christ filled Fernando’s heart with a burning desire to share this Christ with his village. If they could only see this movie, maybe they would listen. Would it be possible?

Pastor Benito said that he would bring the projector and generator if Fernando could find something to use as a screen. With a bounce to his step, he could hardly wait to get home. But what could he use as a screen that would be big enough for everyone to see? All the walls were made of bamboo and sticks. Even the ones made of concrete were low, with doors and windows in them. A piece of white cloth might work, but he didn’t know where to find one.

Night had fallen as he walked into his village. The moon giving him light along the path. As he neared his home, the white-washed walls of the Catholic church gleamed in the darkness. Yes! It was perfect! He would tell everyone about it and ask Pastor Benito to come.

A moving picture in Santa Martha? Word spread quickly. A friend of Nando was bringing a movie picture to show in the village next week on Friday night, after sunset. Nando set up some benches behind the church facing the big blank wall. He couldn’t wait for everyone to see this movie about his Jesus!

“Buenos dias!” A man knocked at their door.

Fernando jumped up and shook Pastor Benito’s hand. “Welcome! This is my mother and grandmother. My father is in the fields, but will be home soon.”

“We brought the generator and projector and everything. Where should we set it up?”

Fernando puckered his eyebrows. “We? Are there others with you?”

Pastor Benito led the way outside. A group of about twenty men, women, and young people waited in the dooryard. “They wanted to come with me to help.”

Fernando’s eyes watered in gratitude for the love shown to him and his village. “Gracias. Gracias.” He shook hands with each one of them. “I will show you where to set up the projector.”

The pastor looked at the big white wall. “Yes, this will do fine!”

As the sun sank lower, the people started to gather. People from other villages came. Hundreds of people came to see the movie. But there was a problem. Fernando had forgotten that it was the Friday before Easter. The priest had come to the village to conduct the Good Friday mass. The people who came to mass wanted to see the movie also. The priest was not happy.

The large group of people watched the large pictures of Jesus blessing the children, stilling the storm, healing the sick. They moaned when they saw Him beaten and nailed to the tree. They shouted when he rose from the grave. Even those that could not understand Spanish, understood the pictures.

The crowds disappeared again into the mountains and forest. Fernando felt the tension of the men of the village. To talk about his protestant beliefs had been tolerated, but to take worshipers away from the Good Friday mass was unforgivable. A counsel meeting was called to discuss what to do with Fernando.

After long debates and discussion they called him to question his intent.

“Fernando, you have disrupted our village with your talk of your protestant beliefs. We have tolerated it until now. We hoped you would settle down and follow the ways of your father and uncles. But this last display has been too much.”

Fernando did not say anything. He looked at the ground and shuffled his feet in the dirt and waited for his verdict.

“Diego Santiago has shown us that those who have listened to you have changed. They have not been drunk or beat their wives or children. They work hard and help others. That is a good thing. We cannot decide what we should do.”

Fernando looked up at Diego in awe and gratitude.

“Can you assure us that you will not preach of your beliefs in a public gathering again?”

Fernando shook his head. “I can’t say that. I want to tell everyone about the Gospel. I would like to start my own church.”

Some of the men guffed at the last statement. “You may go. We will tell you what we have decided.”

Fernando waited days and weeks and months. He told Pastor Benito of the counsel. They prayed and waited. Nothing happened. Because the men could not find enough bad in what Fernando was teaching, they could not stop him from preaching his beliefs.

For more great stories, go to Cathy Bradley's
A Work in Progress.


6 comments:

Sara Harricharan @ Fiction Fusion said...

Ahh, this is a great excerpt! You're doing wonderfully with this Vonnie! I really enjoyed the read--and I love it when they could not find fault with the good he was doing. ^_^

Bear said...

Excellent portrayal of life in a place and setting that we Americans don't naturally tend to comprehend. So the details about searching for a way to create a backdrop for the movie were especially moving. Also, the impact of the film on people who have never seen it before was excellent! Bear hopes you'll post more of this, if you end up adding to it.

Sharlyn Guthrie said...

It is so amazing when God reveals Himself in powerful ways to those who are enemies of the Gospel. I enjoyed this story very much.

Catrina Bradley... said...

Very nice! I'm so impressed with Fernando's unwillingness to stop preaching, his overwhelming desire to share the Gospel.

Cheri said...

Very nice! I pray God blesses you with every success as you share Him through your writing.

Hugs,
Cheri

Mari said...

When you mentioned the white washed walls of the Catholic shurch I wondered right away if he asked permission. I'm glad that people were eager to listen to the gospel presentation. Such power in the Truth.

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