Chapter 29 - State of Aragua

Chapter 29 - State of Aragua
“There remaineth yet very much land to be possessed” Joshua 13:1

In Mr. Williams’ two books, not much is recorded of the development of the work in this important State. The dictator General J. V. Gomez, made his home in Maracay, the Capital, for twenty-seven years and was buried there. Our interest was first directed to that State when several Christians appeared at our Valencia conference from a “mission" in Palo Negro. They were exercised as to the scriptural order of gathering and of church truth. What they heard at the conference confirmed them in their desire to carry out God’s Word in these matters. We were invited to visit them and they showed real hunger for apostolic doctrine. A number of those baptized believers went to the San Felipe conference, asking to be received into fellowship. They were questioned as individuals, and the elders were satisfied that they were genuine applicants and for conscience sake were separating from their previous connections.

With this nucleus an assembly was formed in Palo Negro. A female worker in the “mission” told some of those who had left that if the new work could last for two years she would join too, but it was clear that she had her doubts. In due time a Hall was built and the work stabilized, but the lady from the mission did not fulfill her promise. One of the practices of the mission was to give out slips of paper at the close of their meetings with a verse of Scripture; then at the next gathering anyone was free to stand up and say something about the verse. One simple soul, who could not read, took her slip of paper home and got her brother-in-law to read the verse to her. It was I Corinthians 14:34, 50 one can imagine her consternation when he read the words: “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak.” This opened her eyes, and led her to seek the place where scriptural order is carried out.

From the agricultural town of Palo Negro the work spread to Maracay where other believers were exercised in a similar way. They were first received into fellowship in Palo Negro, and on Lord’s Day mornings had to leave their homes at about 5 A. M. to go on foot and be in time for the Breaking of Bread meeting. They had taken a step which meant sacrifice. This new work in Maracay developed slowly but in due course an assembly was formed.

We believe the reader will be interested to hear the story of the young man who later became such an asset to the work in Aragua. Victor Suarez as a child became an orphan and two elderly maiden women received him into their home. They were devout R. C’s and when the annual feast in honor of the “Virgin” drew near, the image was brought to their home to be dressed and bejewelled for the occasion, all of which was done behind a locked door. The boy was sent to the drug store to buy some Arabic gum, sold in small pellets. He was curious to know what this was for so looked through the keyhole of the door. He saw a woman warming these pellets and sticking them on the cheeks of the “Virgin” to resemble tears, so as to arouse the sentiments of the worshipers. This form of trickery opened the boy’s eyes to the deceptions of Rome and he lost all respect for that religion.

As a young man he came to Valencia, and one day as he stood on a street corner near the Gospel Hall, a person gave him a Gospel of St. Matthew. He took it to the house where he was staying and read it through. No doubt Matthew 11:28 was one of the verses which touched his heart, so he went to the Hall and there found peace through believing. After being baptized and received into fellowship he found himself sometimes in straightened circumstances. One weekend arrived and he had only a twenty cent piece, so he changed it for two ten cent pieces, intending to put one in the offering on the Lord’s Day and keep the other but after a great struggle with self, he decided to give all to the Lord so deposited both coins in the offering box. The Lord will be no man’s debtor and that young man later became a radio technician with his own prosperous business.

When we began building the San Carlos Hall, Victor was a voluntary laborer and stayed till the job was finished. He next took a correspondence course in radio work, and after marrying a sister in Palo Negro, they moved to Maracay where he began business. He specialized in installing radios in automobiles and also in repair work. He developed gift as a Gospel preacher and shepherd and it was at this time that the Maracay assembly began growing. As some of the believers began moving out to a suburb of the big city, Gospel meetings were begun there. Victor felt led of the Lord to build a home in that part and God has abundantly blessed the Gospel testimony until a Hall was built and the assembly formed has steadily grown so that it was necessary to enlarge the Hall. Likewise the original Hall had to be enlarged.

Victor has now retired from business. Their three sons and one daughter are saved, and he devotes much of his time accompanying one and another of the Lord’s servants in special Gospel efforts in new places.

Now there is a fourth assembly in the State, in a town called St. Matthew. A nice young couple from Caracas settled there before any assembly work had been started. Several others also moved there so meetings were begun and there was blessing. At first the believers made the journey to Maracay for the remembrance feast, but the time came when there was material for an assembly to be formed. We were impressed in a recent visit to learn of the evangelistic activities of the new assembly, visiting hamlets in the hills, distributing tracts and holding cottage meetings.

Mr. and Mrs. S. J. Ussher, soon after beginning work here, felt led to make their home in Palo Negro, where help was needed. This has resulted in reviving of the testimony and exercise on the part of local brethren in launching out in Gospel activities and helping brother Ussher in cottage meetings and efforts in that area. Valued help has also been given to two feeble assemblies in the large State of Guarico. Special attention was given to one of these which was at a low ebb, and after much patient toil, God came in and souls were saved. Seven of these were baptized and it was like a blood transfusion for the little assembly. So “the bruised reed He shall not break, and the smoking flax He shall not quench.” But He is at present using human instruments for this work of restoration and reviving.
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Mr. S. J. Ussher and helper building baptistry in Tiguigue. Seven were baptized.