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Born to Be a Missionary

Nobody objected to my wife’s pregnancy, even the government authorities.

To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, May 18.

By Marcelo Fernandez, as told to Andrew McChesney

My wife and I prayed for a child for 14 years.

“If it is Your will, let us have our own children or help us to adopt,” we prayed.

After a series of tests, our physician declared that our chances of having children were slim. It also became clear that it would be difficult to adopt children in our home country, Argentina.

Then an opportunity arose to work for God in a closed country far away, and we thought, “Maybe God wants us to adopt a child in another country.”

All the pieces fell into place. The Seventh-day Adventist Church’s South American Division, whose territory includes Argentina, said “yes” to our desire to move abroad for five years. The church leaders in the closed country said “yes,” and the relevant government authorities also said “yes.”

Then my wife, Elisa, learned that she was pregnant.

Elisa, who has a sense of humor, set up a hidden camera to record my reaction as she broke the news over breakfast.

She gave me a small box, which at first I thought was empty. But then I saw a pregnancy test inside. I took it out and saw that it was positive.

A confusing mixture of shock and happiness overwhelmed me. The video recording shows that I froze. I didn’t even hug my wife. I only stared at the pregnancy test in my hand.

My mind was racing. “Why now, God?” I thought. “This is the weirdest timing ever. Now the government authorities will say ‘no.’ The church leaders in the closed country will say ‘no.’ The South American Division will say ‘no.’ A child will be too expensive and disrupt our work.”

God’s Perfect Timing

But God’s timing is perfect.

Nobody objected to my wife’s pregnancy. Even the government authorities, in reply to a worried query, said, “No problem. We love children.”

Our son, Ezekiel, was born three months after we arrived in the closed country. He has opened at least 80 percent of the doors to help us be good witnesses for God.

We quickly learned that the local people love children. And if you are a foreigner, it’s even better. People will stop you everywhere to take a photo. Grandparents, carrying around their grandchildren, will reach out to you to know more and to share parenting tips.

We have more opportunities to sow seeds than we ever could have imagined. Wherever we go, people gather around Ezekiel.

Through our son, we have befriended people in our apartment building, at supermarkets, and in parks. We invite our new friends to birthday parties and other celebrations in our home. Many parents want their children to interact more with our son, so they ask whether they can come to our son’s Sabbath School class. One married couple in our building has a same-aged daughter, and they visit us often. We have presented their girl with an English-language children’s Bible.

The way that we treat our child is having a bigger impact than we ever dreamed. God gave us a well-behaved son. People see that we hug him and how happy he is. They see God’s love even better.

Surprise No. 2

An amazing thing happened just as we were rejoicing over Ezekiel’s powerful ability to witness. My wife got pregnant again, and then she gave birth to a girl.

For the local people, having a son and a daughter is wonderful. Random people stop us on the street to explain again and again that the combination of having a boy and a girl is perfection. We smile, thank them, and point to God as the perfect picture of perfection.

What a witness!

Jesus said in Matthew 24:14, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”

Our witness speaks louder than our words. I think God wants us to be living witnesses, and He is giving us a chance to experience this in a deeper way.

God is using my son to fulfill Matthew 24:14 and pave the way for the Second Coming. I think Ezekiel already has more stars in his crown than my wife or me.

I feel so blessed that God shows us sinners that His plans are always better. The Lord says in Isaiah 55:8, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways.”

God’s plans are perfect.

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