IT’S NEVER TOO LATE: Vicente’s Story
Last year when COVID began causing churches and businesses to shut down, the Arden Spanish Company, like many churches, questioned how they were going to continue to function. They decided to concentrate their efforts into evangelism by helping the local community.
A member of the Arden Church called the Spanish company’s pastor, Rubi Pimentel, and
told him that someone he knew was in the hospital. The man’s kidneys were shutting down and they gave him only two weeks to live. The patient, Vicente Gonzales, wanted nothing to do with God or the church. So Pimentel and his team offered Vicente assistance with food and rent. They went to his house every week with food and offered to help with anything else Vicente or his family needed.
The two weeks passed by, and although Vicente was still feeling very sick, he was also hopeful. He began to ask questions about Jesus, particularly about His miracles. He was very interested in the story of Nicodemus and how Jesus treated him.
Then, Vicente started to ask about baptism and felt in his heart that this was a step God was calling him to make. Most of Vicente’s family belonged to a different denomination, however they were supportive, seeing how he was finally interested in Jesus.
“His body couldn’t stand for long,” says Pimentel, “but he was adamant that he wanted to do a baptism. We offered a profession of faith based on his situation, but he was adamant that he wanted a baptism just like the Bible says.”
Vicente also requested to be baptized in a river. “That day, the river was super cold and the current was super strong, to the point where the people that take care of the park recommended not to go in. But he insisted, ‘I need to be baptized.’”
Vicente could not stand for more than five seconds, so two elders helped hold him up. It took at least 30 minutes to take him into the water, but finally, on that Sabbath afternoon of July 18, he gave his life to God. His family from Texas came to support Vicente, and were thrilled to see him finally accept God.
Three days later, Vicente passed away. His family was very grateful to the church because they saw, in three short months, how Vicente’s life had changed. He went from being very rude and closed off to accepting Christ. They saw how his life was extended—from two weeks to three months—long enough to give his life to Jesus. “We are very grateful for the way God uses people to reach out to others,” continued Pimentel. “It was a story that I’ll never forget because it impacted my life.”
—by Rachel Beaver