My Sins Have Been Tormeting Me
While we attended language school in Arequipa, Peru, we would have beggars come by and ring our door bell. At first we couldn’t understand what they were saying because our Spanish was very limited. Then over time we began to understand and could communicate with them. They were looking for anything, food, clothing, money, and it was apparent that many of these people lived in great poverty.
I grew up in the country, and to be honest it was rare to see anyone walking around with their hand out. Maybe every once in a while a person might bee seen with a sign at Walmart, but I saw nothing in my childhood to compare with what I saw in Peru. Heavily trafficked areas of the city were lined with people with disabilities, and parks or red lights had small children selling candy.
So these beggars in Peru would come by and ring our doorbell on a weekly basis, sometimes we might get one in a week, other times we might get five. One night while I was away as a church activity a lady named Doris came by our house. She had a little girl and boy about the ages of six and eight years old. She asked Emily if she had anything to give and Emily told her no, not at that time, so Doris asked her if she could come back the following week and Emily told her sure. She came back, I answered the door this time and introduced myself, and gave her the trash bag full of clothes that our daughters had outgrown.
Doris came by the house once or twice a month, and each time I noticed her daughter was wearing something that we had given them. We gave them all of our extra clothes, food, and sometimes a little money. Doris began to give my children some of the candy that they would sell in the park. She was always so thankful for what we gave them, and she knew each of my family members by name. I told my friend Jose about Doris, and he said, “I hate to tell you this, but she is probably selling most of those clothes for money.” I told him that was fine, we were giving them to her for her to do with them what she wanted to. He thought she was using us, and she was, but that was fine. God has given us so much, we should be willing to share and be generous to those that have a true need.
Emily and I invited Doris to church. We gave her tracts, and I shared the Gospel with her. I had purchased some Bibles in Lima, and gave her one. The next month she told Emily that she had been reading the Bible and she had some questions. By now we had only one month remaining in Peru so Emily invited her again to come to church.
Doris and her children came that Sunday night. After the service Emily and I went to the fellowship hall with Doris and ate some cake and talked. When I asked her what were the questions she had for me, she said “I want to know how I can get in the way of salvation.”
I asked her, “What do you think? If I want to go to heaven what do I need to do?” Her response was the same that I have heard from many more here in South America. She told me that we need to do good works. So for the next twenty minutes I showed her from John, Romans, and Ephesians how we are saved not by our good works but by the work Christ did for us in his life, death, and resurrection. We talked about faith, repentance, and grace. She began to cry and told me that her sins had been tormenting her, and I told her that there was forgiveness of all our sins in Christ.
She asked me, “When can I be saved?” I told her, “Doris you can be saved now.” She bowed her head and prayed in her own words one of the sweetest prayers I have ever heard. She left that night and went to her home a pardoned daughter of the King.