Anival [AH-nee-vahl], 18, and his cousin, Floresmilo [flo-res-MEE-lo], stalked a deer through the jungle of eastern Peru. Anival took aim at the animal. Suddenly a blinding blast threw him backward into the brush. “Awgggg!” he cried out in pain. His cousin ran to Anival, who was covered in blood. His left arm was mangled and bleeding.
Floresmilo ripped his shirt to make a bandage and stop the bleeding. “We’ll get help,” he said, trying to help his cousin to his feet.
“The pain . . . I can’t stand the pain. Just kill me!” Anival begged. But Floresmilo urged his cousin to his feet and half-dragged him to the nearest medical clinic five hours away on foot.
The clinic had no doctor, but the nurse cleaned the wound and gave Anival something for pain. Then she sent the two young men to the nearest hospital an hour away. There doctors amputated Anivnal’s mangled arm and treated his other injuries.
For days Anival lay in bed staring at the wall. He struggled with pain and depression, sure that his life was over.
Neither Anival nor his cousin knew much about God. But Floresmilo had occasionally attended the little Adventist church near his family’s home. He realized that Anival needed spiritual help. He found an Adventist church near the hospital and asked the pastor to visit Anival.
The pastor came and read Anival some encouraging Bible texts. “You’ve lost your arm,” he told the lad, “but God has spared your life. God wants you to know that He loves you. He has work for you to do while you are on this earth. And when Jesus comes, He will make you whole again.”
Anival was skeptical of the pastor’s words. But the more he thought about what he’d said, the more hopeful he felt. Perhaps God could make something good come from his terrible situation. He sensed God’s presence taking away the depression and filling his mind with hope. When the pastor returned to visit, Anival was eager to hear more about God.
The pastor left him a small Bible, and Anival began reading a portion every day, turning pages with his thumb—the only part of his right hand that was not covered in bandages. The pastor recommended Bible passages Anival could understand. Other members of the church visited him too, and he felt encouraged by their friendship.
Several weeks later Anival left the hospital. He and his cousin visited the Adventist church and soaked up the messages of hope and love. The cousins found new meaning to life. Anival realized that God did have plans for him, and he asked to be baptized. A few months later Floresmilo was baptized too.
Anival returned to his parents’ house a different person. He had left an unhappy and undisciplined teenager, but he returned a man with purpose and a new direction to his life. Instead of being filled with anger over the loss of his arm, he was filled with joy and focused on others. His brothers noticed the difference and asked what had happened to him. Anival gladly shared God’s love with them.
Anival’s oldest brother, Absalom, responded to God’s love first, followed by several other siblings. Anival’s human brothers became his brothers in Christ. His parents also saw the changes, first in Anival and then in their other sons. They asked to learn more about God’s love as well.
Today Anival, Floresmilo, and Absalom are inseparable. They travel to villages to share God’s love whenever they can. Anival’s father is preparing to build a chapel in the village near the family’s hometown several hours away. They plan to travel there and hold evangelistic meetings.
The three young men work as farmers to earn money to share their faith with others. So far they have held eight evangelistic series in neighboring towns. More than 50 people have been baptized.
“I have lost my arm,” Anival says, “but I feel that I have gained four more arms—those of my brother and cousin, who are always there for me. We will continue to share our faith with as many people as we can. In turn we want them to share their faith with others so that God’s good news will spread fast and Jesus will return soon.”
Dozens of villages in eastern Peru lack even the simplest church in which to worship. Part of our Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help build a chapel in one of the towns where the work is growing rapidly. Thank you for giving so that others can share God’s love with those who haven’t yet met Jesus.