Inside Story for Friday 1st of December 2023
By Andrew McChesney
Pastor Luis Paiva miraculously received US$1,000 to pay off a debt, leading him to believe that God’s will was for him, his wife, and their three children to leave Venezuela. But they didn’t have any savings.
“Lord, how do I leave with no savings?” he prayed.
At home, his wife said a pastor in the United States had called, wanting to speak with him. The pastor was looking for a volunteer missionary to work for a year in an area of Mexico without a Seventh-day Adventist presence. Luis went to Mexico, and his wife and children joined him two months later.
Over the next eight months, 35 people were baptized through Luis’s efforts. One new member donated a building, and a new church was opened.
But the authorities denied Luis a visa to stay in Mexico. He seemed to only have two options: move to the United States illegally or stay in Mexico illegally. He didn’t want to live anywhere illegally. Luis had become acquainted with a regional immigration official. When the official heard about Luis’ situation, he promised not to deport him. Luis believed him. But he believed God even more when God said, “Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save” (Psalms 146:3, NIV).
Worried, Luis prayed. He also made phone calls to the United States and Canada, seeking legal advice on leaving Mexico. Only two churches replied—an Adventist church and another church, both in Canada—but Luis remained in Mexico. Then a church member visited his home.
“What’s your biggest fear?” the man asked.
“I don’t want to live illegally in Mexico, and I don’t want to travel illegally to the United States,” Luis replied. “I also don’t want to return to my country.”
“If you had the money, what would you do right now?” the man asked.
“I would buy a plane ticket to fly to Spain,” Luis said.
Luis had a same-age aunt who had immigrated to Spain 20 years earlier. If he moved, he would have a family member nearby. Also, he had visited Spain three years earlier and felt comfortable there.
After listening to Luis, the church member said, “So, let’s buy the tickets and have you fly to Spain.”
After buying plane tickets for Luis and his family, he told Luis not to worry. “God is with you and is leading you,” he said.
Today, Luis and his wife are missionaries in Spain.
Thank you for your Sabbath School mission offering that helps support missionaries around the world. Read next week about how Luis left a fruit stand to become a missionary.