The place where I grew up in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico had only one Church of Christ in the whole region. This congregation was the first Church of Christ that was established in the 1970’s and there were only about seventy members. Just imagine! Seventy people who believe in Jesus Christ and had been baptized for the remission of their sins against the hundreds of thousands of people who oppose us. This was the case if you were a Christian in this area. The people around us could not understand how these seventy people (members of the Church of Christ) have changed! How come they do not drink alcohol and party as they used to? How come they do not have any more pictures of the so called “saints” at home? How come they have changed in the way the speak? They do not use insults or other kind of offending words toward other people.
MY MOTHER’S FAITH
Growing up in this hostile environment meant that you must endure all kinds of mockery at school, at work, with relatives. The only place safe was when you went to worship on Sundays, and you knew that those wo were with you on Sundays were enduring the same kind of persecution as you did. I still do not understand how my mother endured such opposition from her family. Her parents told her that if she was going to become a Christian and was going to be baptized, to forget about them! My mother chose to recognize Jesus as her Lord of her life and was baptized. They immediately disowned her. They made a point to say that she was not their daughter anymore. I still remember many times asking my mom why my grandparents did not come to visit us. I could not understand why my friends went to visit their grandparents and they came to visit them, but not us.
SHE WAS TEACHING ME A LESSON
Now that I am old, I take courage of the faith of my mother. She never gave up. She never quit. She remained faithful until the end. That is why when I encounter opposition or Satan wants me to quit and give up, my mothers example gives me courage to continue. I thank God for those stories of faith that she taught me. I am thankful that all seven of her children continue active in the church and now the grandchildren are preaching all over the southern part of Mexico. There was only one Church of Christ in the 1970’s, now there are fifty five congregations in the Yucatan.
WE HAVE MANY STORIES OF FAITH
The Christians in the first century who have obeyed Christ were facing persecution. The book of Hebrews tells us about it in Hebrews 10:32-35 “ 32 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. 33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34 You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. 35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.”
The inspired writer of Hebrews writes Hebrews 11 to encourage the members of the church, to maintain their faith and not return to their former way of life. Those Christians in the first century needed to hear those stories of faith. We too, need to hear those stories of faith that we read in the scriptures. And one day, if we remain faithful to God until the end; our children and grandchildren will be inspired by our stories of faith also!