Seven-year-old Ingrid knelt with her mother and sister on the cement floor in their small living room. They asked God to bless their home and those they were studying the Bible with. Ingrid prayed especially for her father, Teodoro [Theodore]. She asked God to help him learn to love God and to stop drinking, smoking, and using drugs. Ingrid loved her father, but she hated what the drugs and alcohol did to him.
Just then the door opened and Teodoro stumbled in. He had been drinking again. He stopped when he saw his wife and daughters praying.
“Father, come and pray with us,” Ingrid said.
Teodoro had a soft spot for his daughters, and sometimes he would join the family for worship. Other times he fell asleep on the couch.
After worship Ingrid went to her father and brushed his hair from his forehead. “Father, God loves you. He wants you to have a better life. Please stop drinking and using drugs. They hurt you.”
Teodoro’s bloodshot eyes filled with tears. He knew that his bad habits were destroying his family’s happiness, but he felt powerless to break free from his addictions.
He often stole to buy alcohol and drugs; he had been arrested twice and knew he was lucky not to be in prison. He felt terrible that his wife had to work to support the family and raise the children while he was out drinking. But no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t seem to change.
From the time she was 5 years old Ingrid had accompanied her mother to Bible studies. She listened as her mother presented Bible truths to others. At age 7 she was sharing her faith with her friends and studying the Bible with them using children’s Bible study guides. At one time she led a small group for children and other personal Bible studies that eventually resulted in 14 friends asking for baptism. But her greatest burden was to share God’s love with her father.
Some nights Teodoro came home to find his wife and daughter giving Bible studies to someone. He didn’t mind, but he didn’t stay to listen. And if he found no one at home, he sometimes went to the church and shouted for them to come out. It embarrassed the family, but Ingrid never gave up hope that God would bring her father to Jesus’ feet.
“Please, Father, come to church with us,” Ingrid begged. “Please come with us and listen to God’s message.”
Teodoro couldn’t say no to Ingrid, so sometimes he attended special church services. He could feel God’s presence in the church. He could see how happy his family’s faith made them. He yearned to have their faith, their joy, their relationship with Jesus. But temptation was stronger than his will, and when his friends called him to go drinking, he went.
The family and church members supported Teodoro as he fought his battle with addictions. He joined his wife’s and daughter’s Bible study group, and he felt God’s power strengthen him. He gave his life to Christ and claimed the victory over the substances that had imprisoned him for years.
Before he surrendered his life to Christ, Teodoro couldn’t read or write. Ingrid helped him learn to read by reading the Bible. When he was tempted to feel discouraged, the two prayed together for wisdom. Ingrid taught her father how to give Bible studies, and he has proven a worthy student.
Teodoro is a new person. He has started a new business and shares his passion for Christ with customers and friends every chance he gets. Often customers enter his shop and find him with an open Bible on the counter. Last year Teodoro led 32 people to Christ. He loves to tell others that his little girl led him to Jesus.
Ingrid’s mother also continues to give Bible studies. The family is united in their goal to share God’s love with others. Ingrid, now 13, continues to lead her small-group meeting that includes 15 children and teenagers. She studies with them and encourages them to faithfully attend Sabbath School and church.
Ingrid thanks God for using her to bring her father to Christ. Many of her father’s former friends are in prison or have died. The old Teodoro died as well, and in his place God has created a new Teodoro who has helped establish two new congregations of believers and is head elder of his home church. He is living proof that with God, anything is possible.