Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless HIS HOLY NAME.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Another Arturo?

Working in Bible School the week before last, we were able to work with over 100 children every day. What a blessing it was to see so many children in one place at the same time!

I spent most of my time at the piano, acompanying my sweet mother, who played the accordion.

From the platform, looking out at so many children of all ages (from one-year-olds to 15-year-olds), all week long I asked God to give me a vision for what these children could one day be. With God, nothing is impossible. Each of these children came from such different types of homes: some came from the poorest section of town with dirty, torn clothes; four of the children come from a home where Daddy is in prison for murder and Mommy has AIDS; some of the children come from a home where Daddy and Mommy are saved and active in church.
Such a diversity of situations.
But as I looked out at each one, I thought that God could use each one in a great way.

On Tuesday afternoon, the second day of our VBS, as we were giving the children their snacks before they went home, I looked across the yard and saw a tall man standing next to the door. I recognized him immediately. It was Arturo Garza Almaguer.

Arturo was saved through the ministries of Mount Hebron Baptist Ministries in Monterrey, Mexico. My Aunt told me that in 1974, Arturo was only 6 years old and came from a home of 11 children, whose father was an alcoholic and had lost everything he owned. They lived in extreme poverty in a little shack next to the river in El Barrial. At night, Arturo would sneak into the men's dorm where the Institute students slept and spend the night. The students reported this to my grandfather, who told Arturo that he didn't need to sneak into the dorms to sleep; he was welcome to sleep there whenever he wanted.

Since Arturo spent most of his time at Mount Hebron, my uncle asked Arturo's father if Arturo could come live with them; and his father, with no hesitation, said, "Yes."

My Aunt said that Arturo was painfully shy. She said when she'd pray for the boys in their ministry, she'd pray that they would become great preachers for God; but she said when she'd pray for Arturo, she'd pray he would become a great helper in the ministry someday, because she never dreamed he could ever be a preacher because he was just so shy.

Arturo told us that he got saved when he was six years old. When he would go out on the village trips and listen to the stories told to the village children, he'd hear the Gospel and got saved on one of those trips. He said that one day he and my grandfather, "Popsy," as everyone called him, were sitting on the back pew in the church during a service. Popsy put his arm around Arturo and said, "Arturo, that's gonna be you up there someday." He said he thought, "No, I could never do that." But he said he has never forgotten the confidence that Popsy had in him...that Popsy believed that Arturo was going to become somebody great someday.

When he was only 12 years old, he asked my uncle if he could enroll in the Bible Institute. After giving it much thought, my uncle gave him permission to be in the Bible Institute, and Arturo graduated when he was only 17 years old. He was ordained into the ministry at the age of 20.

God gave him a precious wife, Socorro, who also graduated from Mount Hebron Bible Institute.
(I remember when we would go visit Mimi and Popsy at Mount Hebron when I was about 8 years old, Sarah and I would run down the hill to the ladies' dorms and spend most of our time with the Institute we loved spending time with them!
Socorro was one of our favorites....she'd let us try on her jewlery and she'd fix our hair this way and that way and give us "treasures" from her dresser.)

Arturo has been a pastor in Durango, Mexico for 18 years. The Lord has raised up a strong work there through him. What a BLESSING it was to see Arturo and Socorro after 20 years....still faithfully serving the Lord.

The next morning, when I went to Bible School, as I played the piano and looked out over the crowd of children that morning, I prayed, "God, give us some Arturos and Socorros out of this group of children! Raise up pastors and missionaries from this Bible School!"
Are you involved in a children's ministry of some kind? Ask God for a vision of what those children could be...ask God to raise up another Arturo. He can do it! He wants to do it! Some little child out there just needs you to put your arm arond him and say, "You're gonna be up there someday, leading the choir...teaching that class...playing the piano...preaching from a pulpit!"