One course, many lives transformed

Emilse Cativiela | Mexico

"I felt the need to forgive as I advanced into the Word of God," recalled Flor, a young Mexican lady. "I knew I was already a daughter of God, and He had forgiven me. Now I needed to forgive my father in that same way.” Flor recently shared her story of forgiveness and reconciliation with her mentor Serah, whom she had invited to her sister’s wedding.

Serah was surprised to receive the invitation. It had been a while since Flor had finished the discipleship training Serah led with OM in Mexico.

Born in Korea, Serah spent several years sharing God’s love in the Middle East, until she met the Mexican man who became her husband. Now she lives in Mexico where she has been leading a discipleship group. In Serah’s church in Korea, there was always a special focus on discipleship, so when the opportunity arose to start and lead such a group, she did not hesitate to accept the proposal.

The discipleship course lasted a full year. It started with twelve people, of whom only half made it to the end. Despite this disappointment, Serah remained in contact with those she discipled. Three of them put what they learnt into practice and began to disciple others.

Flor was one of those who immediately applied what she had learnt. Serah saw her again during her sister’s wedding ceremony and observed that Flor's father had been invited. This was a big surprise, as Flor and her family had had no contact with their father for years.

Flor told Serah how, at the end of the discipleship course, she had felt the need to share the Bible with her family. This meant travelling on weekends to her mother's and sisters' home to disciple them. It was a journey of more than two hours by bus, minibus and on foot for the last part.

“But it was worth the effort,” said Flor, as this led to a process of transformation beyond what they imagined. She and her sisters began to feel the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives that led them to forgive their father, who had done great harm to his family years ago. It was a difficult step for them, as they had long-lasting wounds that still hurt. However, God worked in everyone's hearts.

It was even more difficult for her mother. Yet God's love was increasingly filling her heart. When her ex-husband became seriously ill, she realised she had to make a decision. So mother and daughters all went to visit him and Flor’s mother was finally able to forgive and heal from the pain she’d carried with her for so long. 

"Forgiving my father was like taking a weight off my back because it was something I knew I had to do. The Holy Spirit moved me to do it,” commented Flor. “I am free of all that weight now. The cycle of all that resentment and hatred is closed. Keeping it had made us sick physically, emotionally and spiritually. And through all this God has brought healing, restoration, peace and freedom."

Flor and her family took the opportunity to put what they learnt into practice and shared the gospel with their father and his wife and daughter who all accepted Jesus into their hearts. Flor began to disciple them all.

Impressed

It made a great impact on the rest of their relatives to see how the family, that for years had been separated, had restored the broken relationships. They were impressed to see how they had been able to forgive each other and create healthy bonds of relationship.

A cousin of Flor’s observed the change that had occurred and wanted to know more. This provided an opportunity for Flor and her family to share the gospel and start another discipleship group.

Then, the pastor of a local church contacted her. He had seen how discipling in small groups had generated such a significant movement of God in the lives of so many people. He asked Flor if she could begin making disciples in a nearby village. He would introduce her to different people, families, and friends to share God’s love with them. Flor and her family became makers of disciples and generated, by the hand of God, a great impact on their community.

Live it out

Serah was hugely encouraged by Flor’s story: "To see my disciple, making disciples is so moving, it's wonderful." She stated that anyone who is a believer can make disciples. “A testimony can impact lives. Discipleship is not only about doing a theoretical course; it's about putting things to practice in your life."

Discipleship is about sharing what the Bible tells you and how you live it out as a believer, Serah said. "All you need is a heart that wants to share the gospel, understand the Bible, read it together and pray together. When the gospel touches and transforms a person, it does not stop there. It spreads."

Published: Monday, 21 June 2021
Credit: Emilse Cativiela
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