When I first met Ranulfo, he had been ministering to his small congregation for a number of years. I was impressed with his faithfulness and determination, but I needed to know more about the content of his teaching. While we certainly didn’t have time to examine and debate every facet of theology, I wanted to know 2 things, initially, in order to assess whether or not we had any common ground on which we could fellowship. First off, I wanted to know what he thought about Jesus. Ranulfo didn’t disappoint me with his answer. He had a remarkably well thought -out understanding of the Trinity. Secondly, I wanted to know about his view of salvation. Again, I was amazed at his clarity of understanding and ability to explain how he believed that God saves men by grace alone through faith and keeps them by His grace, on the basis of Christ‘s saving work alone.
From that day on, I was privileged to spend much time with Ranulfo, observing his Christ-like spirit and ministry. Since I had other missions where I preached on Sundays, I was never able to attend their Sunday services. However, we made arrangements to have special services once per month, so that I could worship with them. These times of worship and fellowship with these humble believers were a great encouragement to me in my ministry.
The very existence of this little group of faithful believers was testimony to the sovereign grace of God. The way in which they had come to faith, and the way in which God had raised up a pastor to lead them is an example of what God can and will do through His Word alone.
Eventually, I became convinced that God wanted me to help Ranulfo build a meeting house. Although services were only held in Boca del Monte on alternating Sundays, the congregation was having to meet in the very small “house” (hut would be more accurate) of Ranulfo and his family. Therefore, the new building would double as a more substantial dwelling for the family and also as a place of worship. When I spoke to Ranulfo about this, I was sure that he would be excited about my plans. He, however, was cautious. He said “Yes, brother, that sounds good, but we need to spend time in prayer to be sure that it is God’s will.” At first, I was a little hurt by his response. Didn’t he think that I knew God’s will? How could that not be the will of God?
My hurt feelings were quickly mended as I remembered the kind of man Ranulfo was. He was not only content with his place in life, he was convinced that much of the prosperity that his neighbors seemed to be continually seeking , was a danger to the soul. Don’t misunderstand. He would be happy to be able to provide adequately for his family, but he didn’t want them to ever come to the place where they did not sense their utter dependency on God. On the few occasions that Ranulfo visited my house, he was doubtful of me, that I could live in comfort and still depend totally on God and look forward to heaven. This was something new to me. I was used to looking on the poverty of the Mexican people and feeling pity for them, but here was one of the poorest of them having pity on me because of my abundance.
So, when Ranulfo didn’t leap for joy when I told him about my plans, it wasn’t because he did not want a better house for his family and a better building in which to worship; it was because he wanted to be sure that having that would not injure his soul. He eventually did come to the conclusion that it was okay for us to build, however that lead to more learning experiences for me. STAY TUNED!