2 Snapshots of Transformed Lives

Jesus is softening hearts and drawing once-closed off people to himself.

Jorge’s Story

Jorge’s wife had been a believer for 30 years. She had prayed for his salvation every day.

They lived next door to the Baptist church in Peru that she attended, but he had refused to ever set foot in it. God had blessed her family, and their two children had made faith responses to the gospel, her son even becoming a pastor. Through all those years, Jorge constantly ridiculed their faith and gave them much grief for following Jesus Christ.

One day, a missionary named Jon casually stopped by the house to greet them. Jorge began bombarding him with questions. Then, out of the blue, he asked Jon if he would study the Bible with him to help him find some answers to his questions. Jon began studying The Story of Hope with Jorge, meeting with him weekly over several months, patiently tackling his questions and explaining God’s redemptive plan for mankind. Jorge was a chain-smoker and after every visit Jon would have to immediately remove his clothes and take a shower after returning home for the sake of his asthma-suffering wife.

Jorge had dozens and dozens of questions, challenges, and doubts, but as they worked through The Story of Hope he began to understand, and his resistance faded away. When they came to the end of the study in December, Jon asked Jorge if he was ready to embrace Jesus Christ as his Savior. Jorge replied, “Yes, but I want my children to be here.” The whole family was gathered, and in their presence, Jorge repented of his sins and believed in Jesus, receiving the salvation that he offers. As Jon shared some Peruvian Christmas bread with the family, he marveled at the wonderful answer to 30 years of faithful prayer and the renewed significance Christmas would have on that family forevermore.

Luiz’s Story

Luiz Pasqualotto, known to everyone by his surname, was one of the first people to begin attending, at the behest of his wife and two kids, the Wednesday night Bible study in his brother-in-law’s shed in this new missionary endeavor in south Brazil.

He sat quietly, never saying much or showing a lot of interest. That year his wife and children made faith responses to the gospel and were later baptized. It was hard to tell if he approved or disapproved. When Sunday services began at the local elementary school, Pasqualotto was again present with his family every week, and after the new church building was completed, he continued to attend with them every Sunday and Wednesday. He seemed to be listening more attentively and loved to help with the church galetos (hundreds of pieces of chicken cooked over an open fire). But when asked about anything spiritual, he would simply respond, “I’m Catholic.”

For seven years he came to church with his family almost every time the doors were open. He admitted at times that his views had changed on some things he had learned growing up—he no longer believed that one should worship Mary or the saints, that one needed to go through a priest to get to God, or that purgatory existed—but he continued to identify as Catholic.

When The Story of Hope was translated into Portuguese, I asked Pasqualotto if he would like to meet a couple of times each week during his lunch break at another brother-in-law’s factory to get to know the Bible better. Pasqualotto agreed and for a couple of months we digested the Bible’s big story and its essential truths. When we finished, Pasqualotto said, “I have known for a long time that God has been calling me to himself but was always a bit unsure what that meant and what was lacking in my belief in him and Jesus. This has made it so clear to me, and I can firmly and boldly say that I am a true believer and follower of Jesus Christ.”

Shortly after, Pasqualotto was baptized.

Pasqualotto can still be found faithfully attending the church’s services but now with a new heart and a real relationship with his Savior.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on Good Soil Evangelism and Discipleship. Used with permission.

Randy Southwell

Randy Southwell is the Overseas Director of Good Soil Ministries. He received his M.Div. from Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary and previously served as a youth leader at his local church with his wife Sarah. They joined ABWE in 1997 and served as missionaries to Brazil from 1999 to 2018, when they returned to the US to serve with the Good Soil team.