By Extreme Nazarene Ministries on Mar 10, 2011
Iquitos, Peru -- During a recent Extreme Nazarene Ministries outreach event in Iquitos, a volunteer missionary, Esther, met Marjoly. Marjoly was very eager to learn more about God. She wanted the Extreme Nazarene Ministries volunteer team to visit her and her "husband" (they aren't married, but have been together for a few years and have a baby boy together) as soon as possible. Esther and I (Brittany Hart) gave her a discipleship book and encouraged her to start reading it, filling in as many blanks as she could.
Our first lesson with Marjoly lasted more than two hours, as she began to share about her past. She wants to try and write it herself, but for now, here is her story as she told it to me.
When she was a baby, her mother ran off to Panama, leaving Marjoly in her father's care. Marjoly's father blamed the little girl for her mother's decision to leave. He, in turn, abandoned her to her grandfather's care.
The little girl lived with her grandfather until she was 12 years old, when she decided to take her life into her own hands. She moved out and began to live off the streets for two years.
When she was 14, her mother found her and asked her to come live with her in Iquitos. Marjoly had no idea what she had agreed to when she said yes. Her mother took her "home" to a house which also served as a brothel. It is here that Marjoly began to "earn" her living at the young age of 14.
Marjoly did not say how long she worked for her mother, or at what age she became pregnant with her first child. But she knew she had fallen in love with the father of her baby.
She decided it was time to visit her grandfather. Marjoly's lover asked who her grandfather was. When she replied, he was astonished to learn that Marjoly was actually his niece. The young woman was horrified to discover she had not only been sleeping with her uncle, but had fallen in love with him.
As soon as her lover realized the truth, he abandoned her to raise their child alone. Her grandfather was kind enough to take them in. Marjoly continued to work for her mother and also began to drink and do drugs.
Marjoly has never said how long all this continued. We know that she is now 28 years old and has six children. With tears streaming down her face, Marjoly told us that four of her children live with their father and his wife; because of her drug abuse, the court will not allow her to see the children. Our God is an awesome God and will forgive us of all our sins (1 John 1:9), but that doesn't mean we won't live with the consequences of our sins.
Marjoly is on fire for God and knows that He is the only way for her! At every opportunity, she shares about God. Two missionaries are teaching her about the Father who loves her more then she even knows. She is a HUGE blessing to Esther and me, and has introduced us to many of her friends who are interested in learning about what we are teaching her.
It may come as a surprise, but we have yet to finish the first lesson with her. Every time we meet, we think we will finally finish it, but God always has another plan for us to teach something else in the Bible. Sometimes we answer a question she has from her reading; other times we just share encouraging words and pray with her. It's like Esther and I say: "Sometimes the lesson isn't found in a book; it's found in the life."
When the time is right, we know that the lessons will be done, but for now we are letting God do the leading and teaching. After all, He is a WAY better teacher then we could ever be.
Please join us in praying for Marjoly as she grows in her faith and receives Christ's healing from her past.
Talk about it
Marjoly's past includes much tragedy and poor choices. Yet, none of this is too much for God to forgive, or for Him to lovingly fold Marjoly into His healing embrace. Have you ever done something you felt God could not forgive?
What does her story tell you about the nature and character of God?
Why do you think Marjoly is so motivated to share about God with other people in her life?
Why is it so important for believers, especially new believers, to participate in discipleship with other Christians?
-- Esther Bautista (right), from Chota, Cajamarca, Peru, and Brittany Hart (left), from Garnett, Kansas, USA, are volunteer missionaries in Extreme Nazarene Ministries' 40/40 program. They are spending two years in Iquitos with the objective of planting new churches. Learn more at www.extremenazarene.org.