Stephanie and I met with Fernando and Esmeralda this morning. It was very, very difficult. Fernando started by asking me to prove from the Bible about sin and needing to obey and so on. I had come prepared, so I read many verses from the Bible. As I read, Fernando became angrier and angrier.
Finally, he said, “There is no solution! The only solution is to be an atheist!” Many more hurtful things were said, but nothing we could not endure. “I am going to sue her and I will sue you for deceiving her.” Turning to his oldest daughter, “See what I told you! Never, ever read the Bible! It always ruins things. Just do what the priests say, and you’ll be fine; or just be an agnostic like you have been—it’s better than serving their God!”
Fernando called his sister over. She lives nearby and is an educated woman. She talked for at least an hour, trying to dissuade Esmeralda, begging her to recant. “I have been a good Catholic all my life,” she said, “And I have never read a word of the Bible, not a single word. It is far better if you just try to be a good person; that’s all that’s necessary.”
They all tried to convice her that she was having a psychotic break and asked her to see a psychiatrist. They even set up the appointment for tomorrow. Esmeralda was very shaken, but she feels that she still wants to go on with Jesus. She asked, “Is there some way I can just stay living here and be a Christian? Maybe they are right; maybe I am just crazy to leave my daughter to Fernando.”
I told her I cannot make her decisions for her, but I can read to her from the Bible. After we studied alone for more than half an hour, she said she is sure that she wants to be an obedient Christian, and she knows she has to leave, but is there no way she could make more time with the younger daughter. After that, she wants to go far away, to Puno or to Huaral to be with other Christians for awhile until she is more grounded in her faith.
We told her that we are going to Puno on Friday, and she can come with us. She immediately decided to do that. So, I am going to buy her a ticket now. She said she would like dresses made for her, so Steph took measurements.
She has decided to stay with her younger daughter until Friday when we leave. This daughter begged and begged to go with Esmeralda and to follow Jesus, but Fernando wouldn’t hear of it.
Esmeralda has her own place apart from the rest of the family, so she won’t have to interract with Fernando. I wish she had felt ready to leave because she is in a very dangerous place with so many people actively against her, trying to get her to leave her faith.
Some of us here have decided to take a complete fast and spend through Friday in prayer for her. She is in enemy territory, but God can keep her. If any of you can join us in fasting and praying for Esmeralda, please do. The enemy is fighting hard for her soul.
Pray that she can remain faithful in prayer and study. Pray that she can show the love of Jesus to her family and Fernando. Pray that she would become more firmly grounded in her faith with each passing hour. Pray that the Spirit would fill her and guide her, and the angels would protect her and hide her from harm.
If any of you would like to send her encouragement, you can message either Stephanie or me via WhatsApp or Telegram or email, and we can pass it on to her. Shawn: +51923410008 Steph: +51923258889
May Jesus be glorified through these circumstances.