Elvio had a rough life. The Pai Tavy Tera man had not just been a victim of violence. He had dished it out. And he had a question for missionary Don Flower: “Is there hope for me?”
“Is there any hope for peace from my past?” he asked. “Is there forgiveness for a murderer? See my scars? I fought with my stepfather and he stabbed me, then I shoved the knife back into his shoulder. See this scar on my nose? It is from a fight .... I have spent time in prison. My life has been one of fighting and turmoil. Is there peace or hope for someone like me?”
Don knew there was only one hope: Knowing Christ. And he knew the only way Elvio would know Christ was if Scripture was unfolded for him, one story at a time, precept upon precept, so Elvio could understand it. He encouraged Elvio to come to foundational Bible teaching.
He was determined to listen to the series of lessons that began with Creation -- no matter what.“Twice Elvio came to the Bible class with his eyes swelled almost shut from bee stings,” wrote Don. Another time only one eye was swollen shut, after his wife accidentally hit him in the face with a catfish while they were fishing. It didn’t seem to matter how painful or difficult or downright absurd his situation was. He told Don, “No matter what happens I don’t want to miss a lesson.”
He and his wife were not just listening. “We … took the lesson home so we could read it over and over. We wanted to understand about God.”
When the lessons reached their climax in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, Elvio and Miria understood. He found not only the answer to his sordid past, but the hope he sought, and so much more.
The clear foundational Bible teaching prepared them to learn and grow in Christ, and now they are teaching Bible lessons to their own people. You can use same lessons to change the lives of your friends, neighbors and family members. It’s better than getting hit in the face with a catfish.