“Hey, Mom, it’s raining! This means our rain fridge will fill up and we can get a bath tomorrow! I hate how my hair feels right now.” Alberto jumped around on the hard-packed dirt floor of his house. Then he wrinkled up his nose. In his joy at having rain, he forgot that the tin roof of his house leaked. A little muddy rivulet of water was coming down the middle of the house because of the hole in the roof.
Outside on the ground, under the eaves of their little house, were two old refrigerators. They didn’t work anymore, didn’t have any doors, and were lying on their backs. Mom and Dad used these to catch rainwater from the roof for bathing and general cleaning. Every two weeks, a water truck would refill their refrigerators, but sometimes that water didn’t last for 14 days. After all, Alberto had two older brothers and a baby sister along with his parents.
Alberto went to bed early that night listening to the rain on the tin roof. It was a wonderful sound! He smiled to himself in the dark and was soon fast asleep.
The next morning, as his mom was cooking breakfast, she boiled yucca root and fried plantain with eggs. On the small table, her cell phone played Adventist World Radio, which was new to them. Alberto paused for a moment and listened, then skipped outside to get his much-anticipated bath. Putting a dipper into the rain fridge, he poured cool liquid over himself. Ah, that felt good!
Alberto’s mom finished making breakfast. As they ate, she told her family, “A friend of mine is sending me these Bible presentations and I am learning so much!”
One day, she heard that Christians should keep the Sabbath. In her town, everyone went to church on Sunday. “How could everyone be so wrong?” she asked her husband.
Eventually, Mom texted her friend and said, “Please keep sending us these audio messages! By the way, is there a pastor we could talk to who believes these things?”
A couple weeks later, a Seventh-day Adventist pastor stopped by to see them. Mom had a lot of questions for him, and he was happy to answer. They sat in the shade of a mango tree. A few weeks later, he came back and answered more questions. This time, Mom asked him, “Could you baptize me?”
Dad and Alberto’s older siblings said they weren’t ready yet, but they supported Mom’s baptism. The pastor spent quite a while discussing the truths of the Bible, and he said, “I’m so impressed with how much you already know after listening to AWR!” He then looked around and said, “But where could I baptize you? There really isn’t a river close by, is there?”
Mom shook her head but motioned over to the two rain refrigerators and said, “I think I could possibly squeeze my body into one of those.” The pastor smiled and said, “Um, you can try . . .”
Mom stepped into the rain refrigerator and finally managed to fit inside. The pastor knelt in the dirt beside her and said a prayer. Next, Mom hung on to the pastor’s arm and leaned back until her head and upper body went under the water. The pastor then pulled her back out of the water.
Alberto’s mother said, “Pastor, I am so happy! But what can we do about church? We don’t have an Adventist church near us. I want to invite my neighbors to come and hear the truth of the Bible. We don’t have much, but we have this small piece of land. Would you come and preach to them about Jesus here?”
The pastor nodded, and within a couple of days, Alberto and his siblings started inviting the neighbors to come to meetings that would begin in two weeks.
On the first night of the series, everyone brought plastic chairs from their homes. The pastor brought some people from his church and they sang beautiful songs. Then the pastor preached about Jesus. The neighbors loved it and came back every night.
At the end of the meetings, Alberto’s dad and his older brothers were baptized along with 10 of their neighbors!
Then Alberto heard his mom ask something he couldn’t believe. She said, “Pastor, it’s really too far for any of us to come to your church because none of us have cars and the bus system is quite unreliable. What if we donated a piece of our land so we could build a simple church here? Then we could invite even more people to hear about Jesus!”
The pastor’s eyes brimmed with tears as he said, “Oh, that would be wonderful! But are you sure?”
“Oh yes, we’re sure, Pastor!” Mom said. “We don’t own much, but we do have this land. We will be happy to give part of it to the Lord so we can have a church right here! Besides, we really do need a proper baptistry to baptize more people. Nothing is too much to give to Jesus!”
The neighbors clapped their hands. This was wonderful news! Soon there would be a Seventh-day Adventist Church right next to their house, where they could all worship together every Sabbath!
Alberto felt thankful that Jesus had made it possible for Mom, Dad and his entire neighborhood to learn about God’s truth. Soon they would have a church to attend, and he could enjoy the children’s Sabbath School class.
Alberto couldn’t wait to get baptized, too, because Jesus had become his close Friend!
By Karen Glassford