Manuel is a young man from outside of Argentina who has a religious background. He came to Rosario for school. Nearly within a month of being with us, Manuel began to show serious uneasiness with respect to his salvation. In his own words: “Christ is everything for you all, but He is not everything for me.” But one Sunday, something happened. He was impacted in the first part for our service as he listened to the prayers of other brothers and sisters that were hungry for more of Christ. These prayers deeply convinced him of his own spiritual misery and his merit only of condemnation. He came under such spiritual anguish that he cried out to Christ to rescue him. Later, during the preaching, the Lord came to him through the exposition of the Scriptures and illumined his eyes in such a way that he could see his urgent and absolute dependence on Christ for salvation. During the singing after the sermon, Manuel poured out his life before God and consecrated himself to Him. As he told us later, for the first time he was able to sing and praise the Lord with all of his being. His praise was the cry of one who had just been born, whose chorus was, “Wonderful cross! Wonderful cross!”
Agusto is a man that came to our church in an obviously providential way. For family reasons, he had to move from his native town to Rosario, and being a professing Christian and raised in the reformed world, he knew that he should congregate somewhere. Even though Agusto already knew us, for a long time he did not come visit our church. But this all changed one day when he came to our online sermons and listened to a sermon entitled, “The Glory of Hell.” He began to listen to the sermon only because the title made him curious, but once he began to listen he couldn’t turn it off. A passion for Christ was ignited within him, a passion for the One who endured our hell on the cross of Calvary. He couldn’t refuse being united to Christ’s disciples, and at that moment he abandoned his indecision and decided to come to our church to stay. As he was baptized, he said, “All I know is that I cannot get Christ out of my mind.”
The case of Emilio is a very emotional one for me and for many in the church, since he was disciples by us several years in the past. He came to our church when we were only a group of less than 10 members, but as time when on it became evident that he did not know the Lord and the church had to exercise discipline. The years passed and Emilio continued to grow worse, to the point that his marriage reached the point of separation. It was then that his story changed. In his sinful delusion, he thought about disappearing altogether or taking his own life, but God had a different plan for him. In his desperation, Emilio sought God and, as he told us later, the God of all grace, by His sovereign work— like in the case of Nebuchadnezzar when he was as a beast—gave his reason back to him. Today, Emilio’s wife and daughter give testimony to the fact that he us a new man, humble and not proud, broken and not arrogant, wounded by the love of Christ and not lost. His face as he was baptized will forever remain recorded in my memory, and his story—a monument of God’s power and mercy—are recorded with indelible ink on my heart.