THE BEST story all week
It was Friday night. There’s a knock at the front door of the Esposito home. (Scott & Jenn Esposito are the long-term missionaries here in Nicaragua.) In walks a teenager and his father. I recognized the father, Alejandro, from a neighborhood prayer walk the week before. His son’s name is Milton.
Every Friday night the Espositos open their home to pretty much anyone and everyone they had built relationships with in Granada. I didn’t count, but I’d say at least 40 or so people passed through that night, all excited and grateful for some free food and fellowship with others over Ping Pong, Hungry Hungry Hippo, Checkers, and more. It’s just a great time of community.
Although we have difficulty holding a full conversation, we exchange the basics in Spanish, “Como estas?” “Bien. Y tu?” “Bien, gracias.” …And then the awkward “where do we go from here” silence enters the air. Alejandro always has a smile on his face, and seemed grateful just to be there. Milton was quiet at first, but break out some Rumikub and he comes alive!
Fast forward to Sunday morning. We’re at church, worshipping (many of the songs were favorites, but in Spanish), and after the message Alejandro, Milton, and the rest of the family walk up to the front. They had decided to be baptized… right now!
Alejandro claims the microphone (it’s humbling to see an entire worship service done, music and all, with just two corded karaoke-style microphones), and gives a mini-sermon on his testimony.
His family had been BROKEN. Flooded with a history of verbal abuse, apathetic leadership, and a general numbness of life, it was evident that this family had been individually hurting for a while. And I don’t know this for a fact, but when Alejandro and his family were together, having fun, smiling, enjoying each other’s company on Friday night, it was probably one of the first time’s this family had been happy together in a long time. To see that, and then hear about their recent past, just showed me how incredible Jesus is. These missionaries have only been here a year, and God is giving them great fruit.
So Alejandro and Milton finish giving their testimonies, through tears of hurt and tears of redemption. The church of about 100 people moves excitedly to a concrete baptism on the side of the property. And it happened.
Alejandro was baptized! Then Milton was baptized!
Afterward an impromptu party of hugs and tears took place for about 20 minutes. A special prayer was prayed over this family. The church community hugged them, celebrated with them, and Jesus did what only Jesus can do. He restored these men and restored this family.
THIS IS THE BEST story I’ve seen in all of Granada since I’ve been here.
Oh, and in a few weeks Alejandro is marrying Milton’s mother, after they’ve lived unmarried together for over 20 years. This is a changed man.