A Modern Missions Experience in Latin America

A Different Family – A Lot of Love

The Coronel/Alarcón family had a very rickety house. The roof was of palm leaves and the walls of wooden poles. Instead of a mattress to sleep on we had rice straw. Despite this, they demonstrated love from their hearts toward others and it was obvious they were different from other people. Brother Jose had two teenage sons with whom I enjoyed laughing and playing. Those two young men prayed fervently to the Lord. There were also two children who were always bugging me to pick them up and carry them – Ela and Elías. Then there was Berna, the sister who was always helping their grandmother.
The family gave me the financial support that I needed to buy clothes, shoes, work tools and medicine – and besides that, they allotted me 30 hectares of land (a hectare equals about two and a half acres) to work so I could have my own land. They helped me study first aid. I did my practicum in the Regional Hospital of Moyobamba, and I came back with medicine to use in my work with the community.
Brother Jose had two single sisters: Clemencia and Clemira. One day they came to Brother Jose’s house and invited me to attend a meeting. I didn’t have anyone to talk to at night except the family I lived with. In the jungle you just listen to birds’ caws and screeches and the other animals of the forest. Out of boredom and some interest in the girls, I decided to visit the church one night to chat and become friends with these two single sisters, since they were the only available girls in the whole place. I went with Brother Jose to the meeting every night for one week. After that week, Clemencia gave me a hymn book to sing from, but I was embarrassed to sing. Later, I bought a Protestant Bible to read together with the rest of the congregation, but whenever asked, my beliefs were still in opposition to Christianity.
Almost everyone there was Christian, and I couldn’t escape! Sister Emelina thought my situation was humorous because I couldn’t get away from good influences – there was nowhere to go!