Bible-Carrying City Folk
They scoured Cusco for Bibles. But no success.
To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, April 6.
Alejandro entered the first grade at the age of 18.
Some people might think that he started school late, but all 18-year-olds in his village, Ccacaccollo, began first grade at that time in the 1980s. Villagers thought it was more important for their children to work on the farm than to get an education.
A classmate brought a radio to school, and Alejandro listened attentively to a religious program about the world’s last days. He was scared. He wanted to know more.
His wish was fulfilled a short time later when the evangelical producers of the radio program organized nightly meetings in the school’s gymnasium. As he listened to the preacher speak about Jesus’ soon coming, his heart filled with joy.
Other villagers also enjoyed the meetings, and the program organizers opened a church for them. Alejandro and his friends attended the Sunday worship services whenever they could get away from farm work.
The four church leaders saw the great spiritual interest of the villagers and resolved to present each with a Bible. So, they made the 60-minute bus trip to the nearest city, Cusco, and scoured the city for Bibles. But no success.
Despairing, the four leaders were walking down one of Cusco’s cobblestoned streets one morning when they noticed a stream of people, each carrying a Bible, entering a building. Thinking that the building might be a bookstore with a large supply of Bibles, the leaders followed them in. It was a Seventh-day Adventist church, and the people were going to Sabbath School.
The leaders stayed for Sabbath School and the divine worship service. They were invited to lunch and then studied the Bible with church members in the afternoon. The men were thrilled with what they learned. They turned to one another and said, “We only knew half of the end-time message. These people know the whole story.”
The men decided on the spot to become Adventists. They asked the pastor for help explaining the full Bible truth to the people back in the village. Two church members accompanied the men to the village and preached in their church the next day, on Sunday.
Alejandro missed the worship service because he was working on the farm. But his friends told him not to bother going to church the next Sunday. The church had become Seventh-day Adventist and its next worship services would be on Saturday.
Alejandro went on Saturday to find out what had happened. He was convicted with the new truths that he heard, including God’s instructions in the Garden of Eden and through the Fourth Commandment to keep the seventh-day Sabbath. He became an Adventist.
Alejandro, who was now 19, soon dropped out of school to work full-time on the farm. He also began to tell anyone who would listen that Jesus is coming soon.
His love for Jesus has brought extraordinary results. Alejandro, a simple man of short stature and limited education, has planted six churches over the past 30 years. He planted the first church in 1985, shortly after his baptism, and has planted a new church every three to five years since. Sometimes he walks five hours to reach one of his church plants. More than 800 people have been baptized through his influence.
Alejandro, now 52, praises God for the results but says real credit belongs to the faithful Adventists who carried their Bibles to church in Cusco one Sabbath morning.
“I think that it’s important that we always have a Bible in our hands when we go to church because other people can see then that we are Christians,” he said. “If the Seventh-day Adventists in Cusco hadn’t been carrying Bibles that day, my village may have never found the true church.”
His village, which has 500 inhabitants, is largely Adventist today. Its church has 300 baptized members.
Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help open a Cusco community center that will offering English classes, music lessons, and other activities to children and young people. The goal of the community center is to plant a new church in the area. Thank you for your mission offering.