Chapter 16 - Capita

 Chapter 16 - Capita

Mr. Williams in his book: “The Dawn of a New Day”, dedicated a short chapter to this place, so it is the present purpose to bring the story up to date. Mr. Gordon Johnston and the writer first visited that agricultural settlement when the work in Santa Rosa was in its infancy. We left after breakfast on foot and reached there before noon; then spent a couple of hours visiting some of the scattered homes but without meeting anyone with much interest for the Gospel. We got back to Santa Rosa for supper and for the night meeting. Some folks from Capita began attending meetings in Santa Rosa and then we were invited to have cottage meetings in Capita. The grace of God reached quite a few members of one large family and these became active in getting others interested.

Don Gregorio and his wife were the most loyal Roman Catholic’s in the district and they wanted nothing to do with the Gospel. Some time elapsed and then an elderly Christian named Patrick moved into the district. He saw that there was no school for the children, so spoke to some of the parents and began a school in his own home. The New Testament and the Bible were his only toxt books, and soon the scholars were buying Bibles to help them in their reading lessons. Don Gregorio had two sons who persuaded their father to let them attend the school. Soon they wanted him to buy them a Bible, but he would not consent to this as he had been to1d that the “Protestant” Bible was false.

However, the boys got to hear of an old man living quite a distance away, who had a “Roman” Bible. They got their parent’s permission to go and buy it. The old man needed the money and gladly sold it to them. They returned very pleased in having obtained a “genuine” Bible. Their father then allowed them to buy a so-called Protestant Bible so that they could compare the two and discover the errors in the “Protestant” edition, and they chose the evenings after work to get together for that purpose. All their efforts to find errors in the “Protestant” Bible proved in vain, so at last Don Gregorio declared that the priests must have deceived them, and thus his prejudice against the Gospel disappeared. It was a great joy to the Christians to see Don Gregorio, his wife Sra. Luisa, and the whole family turn up at the meetings. This happened to be at the time when Mr. Williams and I were having Gospel meetings there and God was working. Don Gregorio was an honest man and he took to heart the clear and solemn messages he heard. It was very touching to see that big, strong man weeping like a child, and then what joy to hear him confess his faith in Christ as his personal Saviour! Not long after, his wife also was converted to the Lord, with the oldest son and three daughters. In due time they were baptized and received into assembly fellowship. On a later occasion when I was in the district they invited me to their home for dinner. After it was over I asked Don Gregorio to let me see the “Roman” Bible that had opened their blind eyes. It was produced and I began to examine it. There on the fly leaf was the publisher’s name: The British & Foreign Bible Society, London” with the year of publication, showing that it was quite an old Bible . . . I then asked them why they thought it was a “Roman” Bible. They were surprised at the question and promptly answered me that the chapters were numbered in Roman numerals! I then showed them their mistake, that it was the very same version in general use among us, but I added that it was now too late to change, and they had to smile at their own simpleness. In due time the family moved away. The father went to be with the Lord but all the rest go on well in different assemblies where they are in fellowship.

After the assembly in Capita had been formed for several years, Christian families began to move to other parts, leaving very few to carry on. One old man who had seen all his family saved, stayed on and undertook to have the hall opened each Lord’s Day morning. The testimony reached a very low ebb, but it was written concerning the Lord Jesus: “The smoking flax shall He not quench”, and so it was with Capita. There were times when the elderly brother waited with the Lord’s Table all ready and then no one would appear, so he would pray, put things in their place and return home. Our Venezuelan worker, Abigail Sequera, had that place laid upon his heart, so sent word that he was exercised about having meetings there. The answer came back that he would be wasting his time as none of the neighbours would go near the Hall. Finally, however, he arranged with a brother who has been a great help in country places, to undertake the trip.
It is nearly four hours on horseback from the nearest highway. The jolting of a horse was hard on Abigail’s kidneys, and on the other hand he has heart trouble and much climbing is also bad for him. But they started off and it so happened that about that same time a professional murderer, who had been paid to kill a man, was fleeing from justice in the direction of Capita, where he no doubt intended to hide in some coffee plantation. As he descended the long slope towards the settlement, he suddenly took a heart attack and fell off the mule upon which he was riding, dead. All the people of the district turned out to see the sight of that man lying dead beside the mule.
Our two brethren arrived in the settlement to find all the people stirred up about eternal matters. On the Lord’s Day they preached the Gospel in the Hall, both in the afternoon and in the evening, to a full audience. A great awakening took place. The interest kept up so that the two preachers made several return visits, and a total of about fifty persons professed faith in Christ. Most of them went on well so that two baptisms were arranged; one in the river and another in the village of Canoabo. Also some backsliders were restored and the assembly increased to over fifty in fellowship. So our God is still the God of wonders. It is sad how feeble is our faith. Mr. and Mrs. Milne were able to visit them on horseback, and later my wife and I spent a few days with them, and it was encouraging to see the interest of the young men after the meetings, to come with their open Bible to ask questions, and seek help.

In those parts there is a tasty fruit which grows wild and is known as maya. The plant has tall spiniferous leaves which form a circle and in the midst is a small place like a nest where the fruit grows up from the ground, like a lot of miniature bananas, but having the fragrant smell and taste of pineapple. According to those who are acquainted with the case, field mice and other small creatures are attracted to this ripe fruit, and the wise old serpent knowing this, is coiled up ready to seize its prey. For this reason, those who go to gather this fruit must take a good stick with them and keep their eyes wide open, or they might get bitten. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”

Once whilst hiking along the forest trail in the early morning with a young Christian, en route from Capita to Santa Rosa, he began to point out the tracks of different animals. He could not read or write but I marveled at the way he could distinguish different spoors. He showed me the track of a lapa, so I enquired how he could tell that. The meat of this small animal is very choice and much sought after, so to elude its pursuers it never leaves its mark on the trail; it jumps from one side to the other. Hunters therefore watch for its tracks on either side of the trail. Another small animal, the pecury, takes no such precaution and leaves its tracks on the trail. The armadillo also makes good eating, and runs on its toes so that the sole of its foot does not touch the ground. What a lesson this is to believers, to take notice of details when they read the Word of God, and to be able to discern what is for the Jew, the Gentile and the church of God.