When some Christians think back to when they first came to Christ, they think of the growth that took place when they were beginning to learn more about God, the Bible and faith. As they grew more and more in their faith, they learned what the Bible had to say about persecution and how we as Christians are do deal with it. But what about the people who come to faith in Christ and begin facing persecution soon after their conversion is discovered? For over 20 years, Fidencio Hernandez was the electrician and carpenter in his native Santa Rosalia, municipality of Comitan Chiapas. In the last 14 years he was one of a proud catechists and Catholic-traditionalist religion trainer for his people. But two years ago, an undetected ulcer left him bedridden and within weeks he was evicted. None of his fellow catechists friends visited him, none of his customers remembered him. Only one pastor who was not welcomed in town, came to Fidencios house, to share the love of God and His power, through a simple prayer. A few days later, Fidencio had a full recovery and an understandable hunger for God. This made him visit Natilt, the nearby town where the pastor’s church is. That visit caused Fidencio and his family to accept Jesus Christ into their hearts two years ago and this decision caused their lives to change radically. Neighbors soon noticed a difference in this man and his family. Fidencio stopped drinking and beating his wife. He would smile and wave at people, to the astonishment of all. While still paying the festivities taxes, he left his important position within the traditionalist Church and secretly joined the Christian church nearby his town, and started sharing the good news with others in his village. After two years, there was an obvious change in the whole family and on June 4th of this year, those who were once his fellow catechist team mates, summoned him and directly confronted him about his conversion. Fidencio did not deny his new faith. Instead, he explained the reasons for his change and shared with them the testimony of Jesus healing his body. Even as some looked fascinated by what they heard, the group asked Fidencio to recant his conversion and deny his new belief; if he would do that, he would be forgiven and accepted back into his old position of catechist. But to the astonishment of all, Fidencio refused the offer by saying “I would be an ungrateful man, if I denied God after all he has done for me.” From that day on, oppression began for the whole Hernandez family. Even as a co-owner of lands with common land rights, on June 29th authorities denied the family the rights of communal services, such water, electricity and firewood. One afternoon, while Fidencio was sitting outside his house praying and meditating on the consequences of his conversion, dozens of men came to his house jumping the fence of stone, to remove the tools and the equipment Fidencio used for electrical repairs. In his heart, Fidencio was afraid and said to God: “Dear Father, they’re coming for me … they want to hurt me… are you with me Lord?” Suddenly the group of men stopped 10 meters away from Fidencio, as if an invisible wall were in front of them, not allowing them to continue. With surprised faces, the instigators demanded that Fidencio deliver the equipment and materials he used to work for the town. Fidencio stood up, went and pick the tools and gave them away to them. Nobody said anything. They seemed confused. After an awkward silence, the group left the property. Since then, the entire Hernandez family has known that the Lord is with them. One evening after returning from Sunday service, local authorities were waiting for Fidencio with news that one of his sons had thrown some rocks at a neighbors house and such actions would bring a meeting to demand the departure of his child from the community. Privately, Fidencios son denied the accusation saying that this was another attempt to try to get the family out of Santa Rosal. A few days later, the town officials arrived at the school where another one of Fidencios sons was studying, and without explanation, he was expelled immediately from school, without the right to pick up his official papers. To solve this new problem, Fidencio traveled to Comitan with the support of his pastor to defend his sons’ cases, trying to clarify the allegations. The State authorities defended Fidencios case before his accusers, and drafted a proposed solution to prevent the expulsion of the Hernandez family. The proposal is being reviewed by the community authorities and soon Fidencio will have to pay a fine for the alleged public disorder of his children. In an interview with Open Doors, Fidencio assured us with joy and encouragement “I understand that there will be suffering and rejection because we accepted Christ. My intention is that my community hears the gospel. They have caught me, but there are 20 more brothers inside the community who are following Jesus. They can kill me, can burn my house, expel my family, but they cannot stop the Lord for being known in Santa Rosalia. I do not ask you to pray for my well-being, nor ask you to take care of my family. Please pray for those who hurt us now and for those in Santa Rosalia who want us out. Pray that one day they will all raise their hands toward heaven to glorify Christ and that their knees one day will bend at the name which is above all names.” Photo: Fidencio and his wife Pray For Christians Like Fidencio
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