Vicente Manuel Gonzalez had been sick for many years, and doctors advised him to stop drinking and smoking. For awhile he had stopped, and his health became slightly better, but like any other addiction, after awhile he started to abuse his body with bad habits again. For years, his Christian family had asked him to accept Christ, but he simply refused. One of his sisters noted that he would get upset and leave family meetings if religion was brought up. He was hard as a rock.
Eventually, he started to get sick again. The family was concerned. After some tests, the news came that he was in such bad health that there was nothing that could be done. He received a death sentence — two weeks to live.
Earlier, a family member had asked him to make peace with God, but he had refused; he really didn’t want to make changes in his life. While in the hospital, Gonzalez reunited with one of his former doctors. Dr. Kim, who attends the Fairview, N.C., Church, remembered him and contacted the head elder of the local Spanish church group. The dilemma was how to start the visit, though, as Gonzalez really was not interested in religion.
One year ago, the Spanish congregations in that area had started a food bank. Therefore, it was decided that the church would bring a box of food to help Gonzalez’s family due to the pandemic. Every week he got a visit with a box of food, and he was able to hear stories about Jesus. On one of those visits, Cesar, the head elder, talked about Nicodemus and how he had to be born again. All of a sudden, Gonzalez said, “I want to give my life to Jesus.” It was a wonderful shock.
His fragile state of health was a concern, despite his having stayed alive beyond what the doctors had predicted. He was not able to stand for long. But, his desire was to be baptized, so he chose a river that flowed near his house. The pastor, with the help of the elders, baptized Gonzalez for the glory of God on Sabbath, July 18, 2020.
That day, his family witnessed the joy of a soul surrendering to Jesus. His wife and son accepted the call to join soon. Sadly, three days later, and two months beyond what he’d been told he would live, Gonzalez began his final rest until the Resurrection. Even in the midst of a tragedy, God reached out and used a food bank to open a door to eternal salvation.
Carolina | December 2020