From idols to Jesus Christ
I was born and raised in a low-class family in Chile, daughter of a Roman Catholic mother and an atheist father, and learned nothing that would bring me to know God. My mother paid no attention to our upbringing, living in fear of the calamity that would befall us if we dropped salt or broke a mirror. My father vehemently opposed anything that he considered to be related to religion. He boasted two gods: work and money. So, I was easy prey for a neighbour who trained me to trust every idol as an antidote to the misfortunes of life. Beyond doubt, that woman was the worst human influence in my early life.
In 1978 an offer to teach physiotherapy under the auspices of a university made me decide to emigrate to Venezuela. The employment did not work out. I plunged into idolatry as never before, surprised and attracted by depths of mysticism that were unknown to me in Chile. That, of course, took me to the mountains of Sorte where Satan reigns supreme. People told me that they made those excursions into the forest looking for spiritual help, but it became evident that the majority were given over to pagan dances, sex, liquor, and witchcraft. I came to realize that I was being deceived; idolatry turned repulsive. I took up Taoism, read Confucius, studied astrology. Then I got mixed up in mind control, reading several booklets on metaphysics. I was thrashing; nothing satisfied. Every adverse event was a major tragedy in my mind; I had no anchor.
I entered the phase of the Pharisee of Luke chapter 18, who said prayers to recite his own virtues. I told myself that I was a good person, victim of unfair circumstances. In nightmares I pictured myself as being pursued by others who wanted to harm me. News from Chile that my brother was identified with people called “evangelicals” made no impression whatever. However, I did accept a neighbour’s invitation to attend a few meetings (perhaps three) in a large tent where some men spoke of “sin, righteousness and judgment to come.”
Months later, one day when bored, I sat down to read. I have no idea of how or when I acquired the Bible that was in a box; I did not know that I owned one. My eyes fell on Deuteronomy 18: “There shall not be found among you anyone that … useth divination … or a consulter with familiar spirits … for all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord.” Literally, I trembled. Figuratively, an earthquake shook me; the entire scaffolding of my life crashed. I realized that my supposed virtue was nothing but pride. What I said about others being sinners was simply a description of myself; what I had read was for me.
Soon I discovered Exodus 20: “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above …” That hit me even harder! My sins loomed up in their true character. I fell to my knees. Postrate and alone, I saw that Jesus was nailed to a cross on my account, and that He suffered for my sins.
The fountain of my shame opened up as never before; bathed in tears, I felt filthy all over. But for the first time in my life a ray of light shone into my heart. In anguish I confessed my sin to God. Humbled, I told him that I received the work of the Lord Jesus, and I pleaded for pardon. The silent words that I remember were: “Lord, I want to be saved. Help me, help me.” But now I know that at that moment I was saved.
Ignorant of Bible doctrine, I knew that I had found peace. The burden was gone. The Lord had cleansed my soul, and I cleaned out my apartment. Images, charms, aromatic substances, candles, filthy literature – they all went to the garbage. I had lost years, not knowing that what I needed was right there among my possessions, but now all was new. My Bible was in my hands constantly; God was in it, and there I found peace and joy.
The god of this world has blinded the minds of those who do not believe, but the light of the knowledge of the glory of God has shined in my heart in the face of Jesus Christ. Charms, “the evil eye,” sorcery, and so-called wisdom had kept me far from the kingdom of God, and I deeply feel that many are still in that darkness. My prayer is that soon it will be said of them, as it can be said of me, what Paul wrote to the Thessalonians: “Ye turned to God from idols, to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven.”
Years have passed. There has been no going back. I continue to enjoy the companionship of fellow-believers in the assembly meeting at Barbula, Venezuela, and my life in Christ is better as the days go by.