Chapter 31 - Venezuelan Workers

Chapter 31 - Venezuelan Workers

Chapters 23 to 26 of “THE DAWN OF A NEW DAY”, refer to Venezuelan workers up to that time, of whom brethren Jose Naranjo and Jose R. Linares are still with us. Since then, our ranks have been reinforced by five valuable assets to the work, whom we will refer to in the order of their commendation.

1) Abigail Sequera. See story of his conversion and commendation to the Lord’s work, chapter 17. He and Mr. J. A. Milne have worked together for the most part, he has also labored with other brethren who give much of their time to the Lord’s work. During his twenty years of humble, unostentatious service, he has seen many souls brought to Christ.

2) Hildebrando Gil. Commended to the Lord’s work by the Caracas assemblies in January 1962. He was born of Christian parents in the far south and was nurtured in the Gospel, but it was not until he was eighteen years of age that he became concerned about his soul and in vain did he seek earthly pleasures to fill the aching void within. One Sunday morning in 1948, as he left the large cinema theatre with his fiance, his attention was drawn to the Gospel Hall almost opposite, and they decided to enter. It was about 12 noon and the worship meeting had finished, but the person who met them invited them to return at 3 P. M. There they contacted Senor Jose Naranjo, who had the privilege of leading those two anxious souls to the feet of the Saviour. They were married in May of the same year, and in due course baptized and received into assembly fellowship in that same Hall. Hildebrando developed a remarkable gift as preacher and teacher and the elder brethren were very happy, when the time arrived, to give him the right hand of fellowship in the Lord’s work. He is a laboring brother in every sense of the word, taking charge of building Halls, and when the paid printer of the Caracas Gospel Press retired Hildebrando was the emergency man. A professional printer in fellowship offered to give his spare time and our brother quickly learned from him to lay out the work, run the press, staple on the covers of the Believer’s magazine and with volunteer help, dispatch it. He also attends to the work of their Gospel bi-monthly paper. He and Sr. Naranjo are constantly engaged in Gospel efforts in different parts of the metropolis and have seen the work grow from one mother assembly to six at the present time.

 

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Hildebrando and Rosa Gil at CARACAS


3) Delfin Rodriguez. This married man was commended to the Lord’s work in February 1962. His mother was a strict Roman Catholic, and his first reaction to the religion of his fathers was at the age of fourteen, when he was present at an ungodly feast on the plantation where his father worked. To his surprise the local priest was there and joined in with all the revelry of that night. He later told his mother that if that man was to be his spiritual adviser, he wanted nothing more to do with religion. She was so vexed that she tied his ankles with a rope, throwing the other end over a cross beam and hoisting him up till only his shoulders touched the floor. She then put a course sack under him and left him there all night, expecting that the “penance" would cure him, but it just hardened him more. Upon the death of his father and mother, he went to Guacara and worked on a plantation. A Christian living there gave him a Bible, which he put in his suitcase without opening it. He developed a hatred for the believers and carried stones to throw at them, especially at an elder in the assembly called Peter. Somehow the stones never hit their target, for “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them.” (Psalm 34:7). After Delfin was saved, he went to the conference in Valencia and met old Don Peter face to face. The old man broke down with tears of joy to see the miracle God had wrought in his former enemy.

 

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Delfin and Carmen Elena Rodriguez

From Guacara Delfin moved to Puerto Cabello and found employment in a grocer’s store. The owner was unsaved, but his wife, Senora Maria, was a bright Christian, and when Delfin went to the house for his meals, she spoke to him about his soul, encouraging him to go to the Gospel Hall. He noticed that the Christians went to meeting carrying their Bibles in their hand and he thought he could not do that as his old friends would laugh at him. Finally he was persuaded to go to a cottage meeting on the outskirts of the city where his friends would not see him enter. He sat down just inside the door thinking that if the preacher called him a sinner and that he was going to hell, he would leave immediately. A humble brother opened with the hymn, “Come away to Jesus, He is willing to forgive,” and the chorus especially impressed him: “He’ll do better for you than this world can do, He’s a mighty Saviour, He is good and true; He will hear you when you call, He will help you when you fall,” etc. It made him soliloquize thus: “This world has never done me any good: with drinking, smoking, dancing and other sinful pleasures I am on the road to ruin, and am paying dearly for it all. If Jesus can do better for me than the world has done, I should come to Him.”

The preacher opened his Bible at John 14 and read from verses 1-18, commenting briefly on each verse as he read. He began: “Ye believe in God”, to which Del-fin silently concurred. Then, “Believe also in ME.” These words reached his conscience and he admitted to himself that he had not believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. Then the preacher pressed home his point saying, “It is the Lord Who says it.” Delfin saw that this settled the matter. He listened earnestly to the rest of the preaching, and was hoping that somone would come and speak to him but as no one did so, he left for the store where he slept. In his soul trouble he could not sleep so arose and cried to God to save him, but he began to fear what his friends would say. He lay down and then began to think how solemn it would be to die in his sins. Finally he got on his knees and confessed to God what a sinner he had been. Then he remembered the Bible in his suitcase. He took it out for the first time and had never seen inside a Bible before. He was able to find John 14 and upon reaching verse 6: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me,” there and then he put his trust in the Lord Jesus as his Saviour, and felt the urge to tell someone. So he opened the door of the store to tell the first passer-by, but it was midnight and the street forsaken, so he had to wait until his first customer arrived in the morning. Shortly after that he came to see me, wanting to buy a Bible. I asked him if he wanted a pocket Bible and he replied, “no”, he wanted the largest Bible I had. I showed him a Family Bible and asked him why he wanted such a big one. He said he wanted to go to meeting with the Bible under his arm so that everyone would know that he was now a child of God.

Delfin showed great exercise in the meetings and in getting people interested in their soul’s salvation. He married a sister in fellowship, and they both were a great help in Gospel campaigns held in San Pablo, which resulted in the beginning of an assembly. He finally confided in me that he was exercised about giving all his time to the Lord’s work. He had attended a conference sometime previously when a message preached from I Corinthians 6:19-20: “Ye are not your own for ye are bought with a price” had reached his heart and caused tears to flow. His desire was made known to the elders of the assemblies here and they were happy to commend him. Several years before this he had become a qualified motor mechanic, which has been a great help to him in pioneer work. Also he has acquired much experience in building and welding and this has made him a valuable asset, not only in the spiritual side, but also the practical side of the work.

The Lord has guided him to pioneer work in the large western state of Barinas, where there is no assembly testimony, and his efforts in the Gospel have given good results, so that there is the prospect of the first assembly being formed there before long.

4) Marina Castillo. Commended to the Lord’s work by the Caracas assemblies in December 1966. He lived in a suburb of Caracas where there were several evangelical Christians, some of these with not a very good testimony, but others whose conduct commended the Gospel. To these latter he listened with great interest until he became very concerned about his soul. On May 7,1944 he awoke with a desire to be saved. That same night he went to the Gospel Hall to hear the Word preached. The first speaker announced the hymn: “Not far from the kingdom, yet in the shadow of sin; how many are coming and going! how few there are entering in.” The words deeply impressed him. The second preacher read in Job 22:21, “Acquaint now thyself with Him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee.”

 

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Marino and Carmen Castillo, CIUDAD BOLIVAR

Marino then said to himself: “I will not leave this place without being saved and having this peace with God.” That night he found deliverance through believing in the Lord Jesus as his Saviour. He was married in 1948, and in 1955 when at a conference in Aroa, he heard a preacher refer to the great need of workers. He felt in his heart that the Lord was calling him, and began to pray with this end in view. In 1956 Mr. Williams said to him, “Marino, it will mean a great sacrifice for you to go out in the Lord’s work.” These words made him weep because he felt so unworthy and insufficient in himself, but the Lord encouraged him and he was commended, as already mentioned. He has proven the Lord’s faithfulness in sustaining him and his family. Previously he was a truck driver and when he presented his resignation, his boss offered him a substantial increase in pay if he would stay on.

In 1968 he was exercised about locating in Ciudad, Bolivar in the far south, where national and foreign enterprises in these recent years are developing the iron ore and steel industry in that vast area. He began work with twenty-six believers in the assembly there and it has now grown to nearly eighty. He and his family are isolated from the most of the assemblies but they are happy in believing that they are where the Lord has placed them.

5) Cristian E. Chirinos. With his wife, commended to the Lord’s work on January 18, 1967, by the elders of the Zulia assemblies. He was converted on April 3, 1955 as the result of a conversation with an evangelical friend. Prior to this he was reading the Bible and listening to morning talks over the radio and the words of John 3:3 made a deep impression on him. Up to that time he thought he was a good man and that all religious beliefs were good. It seemed to him that the best thing to do was to walk in a neutral pathway, but those words, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God,” gave him real concern. Whatever they meant it was certain that he lacked such an experience. Then he visited his evangelical friend, who pointed out to him that he was a lost sinner, but that Christ had died for his sins, and that the blood of God’s Son shed on the cross could cleanse him from all his guilt and make him a new man, pardoned and accepted by the grace of God. Then and there, as a repentant sinner, he accepted Christ as his Saviour and was born again. The great change which has lasted for nearly eighteen years, has been such that only God could do
it.

 

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Cristian and Magdalena Chirinos, MARACAIBO


Soon after his conversion, the desire was begotten in his soul to serve the Lord Jesus. After much prayer and reading of the Word he realized that the Lord was calling him to His service. Nevertheless he wanted assurance that others were of the same mind. Several of the Lord’s servants encouraged him and the Maracaibo assembly, with others, gave him and his wife the right hand of fellowship. The Word that has constantly strengthened his hands is, “Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid. . . for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” (Joshua 1:9).