Chapter 16: The Man in the Mud

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 9
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THE village of Born Jesus is a patrimony, which means that the land on which it is built was originally left by one of the “faithful” to the “Holy Catholic Church.” Such land is still regarded as possessing a certain amount of sanctity, but it must be of a very abstract nature, as there is no odor of sanctity but dirt, and deeds of darkness frequently characterize these villages. Born Jesus was actually a most unholy place, and being far from any city, was also very lawless.
Herein lived a young man named Senhor Bemvindo (which being translated, means “Welcome”). He was short of stature, but powerfully built, strong of arm, courageous, and very ready with his weapons. He had spent some time in prison for knifing an enemy, and was generally considered as a “man of respect.” It so happened that two Brazilian preachers visited the patrimony “prospecting” with a view to preaching the Gospel. They could find none willing to let them have a house or room for a meeting. Twelve sons of the Church of Rome had heard of their intention, and vowed that the patrimony should never be desecrated with “Protestant heresy,” and swore to kill any preacher, and break up any meeting. The news of their intention reached the ears of Bemvindo, and out of bravado he opened his house to the preachers. He invited them along and his neighbors to come and hear them. At the appointed hour they all came, and so did the twelve brave men. These found Bemvindo waiting to welcome them. He was on his doorstep, armed with rifle, revolvers, and knife. He invited them up with the sinister threat that if any of them mounted the steps to the house, he would shoot them quite dead. The “twelve” held a council meeting outside, to discuss the delicate question of precedence. Their deliberations took so long that the meeting inside went on and finished before they had come to any decision as to the right course to take under the circumstances. The meetings were repeated, and the faithful sons of the “Mother Church” decided that the patrimony had become hopelessly desecrated by the Gospel, Bemvindo, therefore, had no longer any need to stand guard so attended the meetings, and was converted, and so were many more. He became quite a pillar in the church and married into a nice Christian family, and now they often entertain the preachers who visit the neighborhood. Now, there is not only a large church in the patrimony, with a good hall, but there are other congregations around in the neighborhood.
One evening they were assembled in the hall for their week-night prayer meeting, when an old black man of nearly one hundred years of age was passing. He was a notorious old scoundrel, a spiritist who practiced the “black art.” At the moment he was passing, our friend Bemvindo happened to be praying, and the old fellow stood outside cursing and blaspheming at the door and open windows, and disturbed the meeting. He then went on his way, and being the worse of drink, fell into a mud hole some distance from the village. Here he got firmly fixed, and could not get out, for the more he struggled the deeper he went into the mud. Bemvindo had to pass the same way, and, on going home, found the old fellow a fast prisoner. Our brother is an evangelist who “sows besides all waters,” and what could offer a better opportunity? He sat down by the old black man and preached the Gospel to him. The prisoner in the mud could not get away from it, though it is doubtful if he appreciated the message, or thought it as seasonable as the preacher did. Having concluded the sermon, Bemvindo got hold of the old man, and by sheer force pulled him out of the mire. Then all wet and dirty as he was, our brother put him on his shoulders and carried him all the way home. The old chap was amazed, for he did not expect this kind of revenge for his conduct, and he thought at least he might have been left to die in the ditch. Bemvindo told him that the Lord would do even more for his soul, pulling him out of the mire of sin, and would carry him safely Home. The old man came to the meeting to hear more, and was converted, thereby causing quite a sensation in the neighborhood. This took place last year, just before we visited the village. Quite recently I inquired as to the case, and vas told by a believer from this distant part, that the old man never missed a meeting when he could possibly get to one; and his family, too, were all attending. They have now to enlarge the hall to accommodate the many people who are frequenting the meetings.