Bridging the Gap – part 3

Celebrating Important Milestones

by Dr. Lloyd and Wilma Mann

I met my wife, Wilma, in Costa Rica as a young, single missionary.  Her university training was in teaching elementary students, but she has prepared herself extensively in teaching English as a second language.  She taught ESL at the local community college for some eight years, until the COVID pandemic shut down that program.  The following is her description of one of the ways she makes the transition from a secular ESL program to sharing the gospel.  She writes:

During one ESL semester, the group of students was very integrated and got along very well.  The size of the group was not too big nor too small: just eight students.  Among them was Consuela[1], who was well along in a pregnancy.  Sometimes her older daughter, who was bilingual, would accompany her to make sure she was fine.  As time drew near to her due date and she was still attending classes, I suggested to the class that we give her a baby shower.

The students decorated the class, brought goodies, cake and presents.  She arrived, as always, to find herself the center of attention as everybody yelled “Surprise!” And it was a real surprise!  She was overcome with tears of joy and excitement.  After delivering five babies, this was her first baby shower.  The party went on for some time, and when it was time to go, I asked the students if I could pray for Consuela and her baby.  Everyone agreed so I prayed a simple prayer for them.  She turned to me and said, “That is what I needed.”

She gave birth to a beautiful baby girl and I went to visit them at their house.  We talked about God and she had many questions, so I offered to study the Bible with her. She happily agreed, and I gave her a Bible.

The next week I arrived at her house we began a Bible study from the Gospel of John.  It was a joy to work with her over the next three weeks and see the Holy Spirit work in her life.   After the third study, when I asked her if she would like to accept Jesus as Lord she responded: “Yes, with all my heart!”  I was so happy that there was a new child of God.  There was joy in heaven!

We continued to meet and soon she started attending church.   Her husband, Ricardo[1], was not at all interested so he stayed home with two of their children who were autistic.

Consuela and I prayed for her husband.  As time passed, he started watching her and noticed her new life in Christ full of joy and peace.  I gave her a little booklet that contained Christian truths.  She left it on a table where he could see it, and one day, he finally read it.  He surprised her soon after when he told her that he was going to visit the church with her the next Sunday.  He was very impressed with the service and became very motivated to continue attending.

Sometime after, they suffered a crisis in their family: Consuela had a miscarriage and both she and Ricardo were very sad.  But in this time of sorrow, several members of our church reached out to help them.  Ricardo and Consuela were very thankful to have experienced the love and support of the church and through this experience they learned to trust God in every situation that He allowed to come into their life.

They continued being part of the church and were very faithful in attendance.  After a few months, Consuela decided to obey the Lord in baptism.  After the service was over, Ricardo came to my husband, Lloyd, and told him: “If the pastor had asked one more time, I would have gone forward to be baptized too.”  Lloyd told him that the next Sunday there would be baptisms again and suggested he could be baptized then.  Ricardo said that first he wanted to meet with Lloyd during the week sometime.  He came to our house and Lloyd explained to him the meaning of baptism and who can be baptized.  He asked Ricardo if he wanted to receive Jesus as his Lord and Savior.  He said he did.  He was excited about declaring his faith in Jesus.  The next Sunday He too was baptized. 

Before the service started, Ricardo gave Lloyd a little box to hold.  After the baptisms were over, he asked Lloyd for the box and went to the front of the sanctuary.  The pastor told the congregation that Ricardo had some words to say.  He told the congregation: “I have just been baptized, as you saw.  I want to do what the Lord asks of me.” He went and knelt in front of Consuela and asked, “Would you marry me?” She was completely surprised, and of course very happy.  The whole congregation started applauding with joy and everybody was crying with excitement.

Ricardo and Consuela had lived together for many years and they had seven children together, but they had never married.  So, at that moment he was, for the first time, asking her to marry him.  The church gave them a beautiful reception when they married a few weeks later.   

That happened about ten years ago and they have been faithful to the Lord, and in these years have reared a beautiful family.  One of their daughters just returned from her second mission trip to Guatemala in two years.  This is a beautiful family that serves Christ in their church, and all this began with a baby shower in an ESL class at a secular university.

[1] Names have been changed to protect these individuals’ privacy.

This article is 3 of 5 in a series.

Leave a Comment