Teen kicked out for being baptised
Could you imagine being thrown out of your home because you’ve chosen a faith different from your father’s? This is what happened to 16 year old Elias from Nauta, Peru.
BMS World Mission worker Laura-Lee Lovering works with Elias at the Nauta Training Centre and has encouraged him throughout his faith journey.
Nearly one year ago, after some time of discipleship in the local church, Elias decided to give his life to Christ and was baptised in secret. Unfortunately, when his father, a member of a local religious sect, found out he was not too happy about Elias leaving the family’s faith. “We’ve had a number of young people come to faith from secular families,” says Laura-Lee, “but I’ve never heard of this generating significant problems within the families in any other cases.”
Watching Elias go from believing that the cross has the power to save to worshipping Jesus became an issue for his father. This change of faith was the breaking point of their already strained relationship. So in April, Elias was forced to leave home.
As a young child, Elias heard about God from his Christian grandmother. One day she gave him a strange warning, “The Lord will return but nobody knows the hour of his coming.” Though he didn’t know what she meant, her words stayed with him. A few years later, the local pastor’s older children, Salomon and Marjhorie, invited him to church. Though he wanted to go, something would always stop him.
One day, Elias’ non-Christian friend told him, “If you go into the church, you’ll make it fall down because you’re not a Christian!” Wanting to prove his friend wrong, Elias crossed the threshold and sat through an entire service. At the end, the building was still standing and Elias was touched by Pastor Rober’s sermon.
So Elias kept coming to church and began building relationships with the other young people. Here he found the supportive family he’d been missing and today they are still a source of strength and encouragement.
Now Elias enjoys a relatively quiet life. He either sleeps in the dormitory of the Mission Training Centre or in his sister’s home and his mother lets him come home for meals. During the day, he works in the centre helping with cleaning and maintenance and is very involved in the youth group.
Seeing your childhood house every day but only being allowed to enter it to eat would be difficult for anyone, especially a teenager. But he has found comfort in God, his church family and his Bible. One day, Laura-Lee asked Elias about his favourite Bible verse. “1 Chronicles 28: 20,” Elias said, “David also said to Solomon his son, ‘Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.’”
His strength, resilience and faith are admirable and a testament to the way God helps us to survive and thrive despite our trials. “I asked God to change me, to give me more patience, especially with my family,” says Elias. “I feel the presence of God at my side so I don’t feel alone.”
Pray for Elias as he continues to work at the centre and grow in faith despite the challenges he is currently facing. Pray that God will soften his father’s heart so they can mend their relationship.
This article first appeared on the website of BMS World Mission and is used with permission