Several weeks ago the kids and I delivered gospel calendars for the new year here in the village. It was evening and we walked along slowly gifting them to old acquaintances, smiling and awkwardly signing some off to a deaf family, leaving them at homes so religious, so anti gospel it seemed futile to even try. We talked to a lady who thought I had died, to people who had been wondering when we would bring them theirs. But what I really wanted to find was someone truly interested in the gospel.

We arrived to a small home, its palm board walls painted bright blue, its wooden door cherry red. Two lines of laundry fluttered in the breeze and as I called out in the fashion of the land, “buenaaas…….buenas tardeeees….” a slim figure came from behind some billowing sheets.

I didn’t recognize her and something about her pulled at me. “This is the one,” I thought. “Give her the gospel.”

So I tried and handed her the calendar, then because she seemed intrigued, offered to give her more to read. She accepted so I handed her a tract, we parted amicably and the children and I continued down the street.

A few weeks later I went by again to see if she wanted to talk about what I had left her to read. She readily assented, “yes, I really want to talk. Saturday at 3:00?”

I agreed.

Out of curiosity as to her identity, I asked some trusted sources and to my utter shock, this meek, quiet girl is the wife to the “pastor” of a cult named Luz del Mundo which has been trying for years to establish a church here in town. They have never been successful and randomly send out a new young couple to go at it again. The little I knew of their beliefs left me nervous and insecure but felt like in some ways it was now my duty more than ever to share the true gospel.

So on Saturday I put the toddler down, washed the dinner dishes, grabbed my bag and with some trepidation headed out to my appointment.

She received me kindly and we began chatting, first about our families then into spiritual things. As she questioned and as we dug deeper, I realized to my shock the depth that had to be plumbed. No, it was not just that they have another prophet. Not just that baptism saves. Not just that outside of their belief system there is no hope. Those things felt workable, teachable. It was when she stopped me with a little pause, “That, what you just said there….I’m wondering…did you just say that Jesus Christ is God?”

My heart filled with grief, my soul with prayer, my mind scrambling to reverse directions….to go completely back in time to when there was no time. Back to those days of triune glory when there was no mankind on earth to cause Him sorrow and pain, when Father, Son and Spirit from forever coexist coessentially and coequally. Hierarchy eschewed for a perfect trinity beyond our comprehension.

Perhaps more than anything else, the trinity and Christ: God and Man require child-like faith. No wonder she can’t see that His death on the cross is enough. How could she, if he only obtained divinity because of what He did, leaving the punishment of our sins to a man who was “God’s helpmeet”–her words. No man, even a highly favored one could ever bear the billions of eternities of punishment for Adam’s race! Of course it couldn’t be enough. But oh the wonder, the delight, the peace it is to know that indeed, it was God in flesh who bore my sins; the infinite took the place of the finite, the perfect for the sinner, the Prince of Life for frail creatures of darkness. No baptism, no church, no good living could ever come close to closing the gap between an imperfect sacrifice and my condemnation.

Her blindness overwhelmed and grieved me. No amount of pontificating on the greatness of Christ could shed the needed light, exemplifying so clearly the invaluable work of the Spirit striving with man.

We said good-bye with her offering for me to return another day. I left her home exhausted.

Like a post adrenaline crash, like an empty quiver, a broken bow, like a queen dropping her jewelry box into the bottom of the sea.

It reminded me of a quote from The Storybook of Science which I’m reading to my six year old. Uncle Paul tells the children that “brain-work exhausts our strength much more quickly than manual labor, for we must put the best of ourselves into it, our soul.”

And if brain-work be guilty of such exhaustion, how much more spirit work!

I cleaned a bunch of ivy from around our windows this morning. My hands still sting with blisters, my tendons complain at every movement of my fingers across the keyboard. But I walked inside with the job completed awake and alive, ready to knead some bread and make some soup. The physical discomfort no damper on spirit or soul.

An hour and a half sitting quietly trying to defend the divinity of my Saviour left me completely flattened.

We took some of the believers to the beach that evening; the wholesome talk and the soothing waves worked their restorative magic.

So, as I was asked by some, will I go see her again? And truthfully, the answer is I don’t know. She is a soul that needs the Savior and maybe the Spirit needs a little more time to strive with her. I’m no theologian or evangelist to meet her needs adequately and He certainly does not need me to reach her. But, I’m here. And if He calls, I’ll answer.

Our neighbors to the west

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