After 33 years of prayer, God opened our mother’s and father’s hearts to respond to the gospel and be baptized into Christ. We want to give God the glory (Psalm 115:1) and give all of you hope for your family and loved ones by telling you the story…
Our parents have always had a deep and sincere faith in God and a sacrificial love for others, though they only knew the teachings of their denominational church (somewhat like the “devout and God-fearing” man, Cornelius, in Acts 10:1-5).
The youngest of their four sons, Jeff, was led to Christ as a college student in 1981 (like the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8:26-40). One month later, Ralph was led to Christ; one and a half years later, Paul was led to Christ; and 29 years later, Chris was led to Christ, making all four of their children disciples of Jesus.
Our parents were very proud of their children’s faithful and loving lives, but preferred to continue in the traditions of their denominational church.
About three weeks ago, our 81-year-old mother’s health had declined to the point that her doctor recommended going into hospice. But she was not ready to die. God showed her in a sleepless night that she was not ready to meet Him. So she called Jeff, and he and his brother, Ralph, were able to fly out to California and study the Bible with her every day in the hospital (Acts 17:10-11).
It was a dramatic spiritual battle, with Satan fighting hard to hinder her (2 Timothy 2:23-26). We cried many tears together as mother and sons. We shared our hearts with each other like never before. It was painful and hard, beautiful and healing all at once. In the end, she chose to be willing to sacrifice the most precious thing to her in order to put God first (Matthew 10:32-39). The story of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac particularly moved her, as she saw that no one gets right with God easily – all must be willing to sacrifice that which is most dear to them in order to show God their faith and love (Genesis 22:1-12; Mark 10:17-31; Luke 14:25-33).
We think of Lydia in Acts 16:14-15, who was “a worshipper of God” and “the Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.” Our mother too has been “a worshipper of God” her whole life, but “the Lord opened her heart to respond” to the message that she needed to hear to have her sins forgiven, receive the Holy Spirit, and be guaranteed eternity with God in heaven according to the scriptures (Acts 2:22-41; Romans 6:3-11; Mark 7:1-13; John 12:48-50; Galatians 3:26-27).
After our mother was baptized into Christ the evening of March 5th, she laid down in her hospital bed with a huge smile on her face, full of joy and completely at peace - ready to meet her God.
But the story doesn’t end there…
Our 88-year-old father was so moved by mom’s decision that he wanted to study the Bible with us as well. So we studied with him every day. It was not easy. Satan hinders all who seek the Lord (Revelation 12:17). Dad wrestled with the decision. And he has dementia, so he wrestled to understand the implications of his decision. But God gave our Dad clear enough thinking to make a decision, and on March 10th he was able to clear-mindedly and wholeheartedly choose to be born again by being baptized as an adult for the forgiveness of his sins and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (John 3:1-6; 1 Peter 3:20-22; Acts 2:22-41).
We can’t thank you enough for all who prayed sincere and persistent prayers on our behalf and for your encouragement, love and support during the dramatic events of the past three weeks. You gave us strength when we were weak and were a constant source of comfort for us. We are so grateful for our spiritual family in Florida, Georgia, California, and all over the world!
And finally, we want to testify to all who will hear: God answers faithful and persistent prayer (Luke 18:1); his gospel is the power to save all who believe (Romans 1:16); and God can save anyone who is willing to hear and obey the Word of God (Luke 11:28).
With hearts full of praise to God,
Jeff, Ralph, Paul, and Chris Chacon
Update: On March 20th our mother passed away. Dad was sitting by her bed side, holding her hand when she breathed her last. Our hearts grieve her loss, but our spirits rejoice that she is now with the Lord, never to suffer again.