Sunday, June 3, 2012

Dona Francisca!

Several years ago when Roberto and Marisa Signoretti arrived as missionaries in Natal, Marisa immediately looked for special ways in which she might serve the church. Over the years she has led a variety of different ministries. When I first visited Natal in 2006, I remember vividly her Monday afternoon literacy class. A certified Portuguese teacher, each week Marisa gathered about five or six little old ladies from the neighborhood (in their fifties, sixties, and seventies,) around the table in our reception area and taught them how to read and write. They would arrive promptly at 2pm and leave promptly at 3pm, spending an hour sounding out words and tracing their letters on worksheets not unlike what you and I used in elementary school.

After I moved to Natal, I enjoyed seeing these women each Monday afternoon, eager to learn and come to "school"(as they called it!) I will never forget the day one of them excitedly came in wanting to tell Marisa some big news. She had gone to a doctor's appointment that day and, for the first time in her life, had signed her own name on the forms. Her joy was overwhelming and contagious.

For a variety of reasons, after several years Marisa's literacy class came to an end. Attendance had dropped significantly and Marisa began to focus more on evangelistic Bible studies and our English program. But she remained friends with the ladies from her class and visited them regularly in their homes, just across the street from our church building.

A year or two after the literacy class ended, one of the ladies from the class, Dona Francisca, began to show up at our worship service on Sundays. She'd show up every once in a while, but sometime last year we began to see her every Sunday. Then she began to come to Bible class beforehand and stay for worship. She always brought her Bible and let us help her find the passages being read. Then we found out she was coming back early from her family's ranch every weekend in order to be able to come to church!

Dona Francisca taking communion for the first
time after her baptism

Last week Dona Francisca decided she wanted to be baptized. She told Marisa that she would like to be in heaven with us. On Wednesday, our missionaries sat down with Dona Francisca and her daughter to talk about her decision and help her understand the meaning of her baptism. She was excited and ready for Sunday!

What a joy it was to watch Dona Francisca put on Christ in baptism this morning! She is only the second person over the age of 60 to join our church family, and we are excited to welcome her as one of our own!

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