months a man attended the services in an Evangelical church in Argentina. No one
knew who he was nor where he lived. The pastor tried on a number of occasions
to get into conversation with him, but as he was always the first to leave
the building, all attempts to speak with him failed. One night, however, to
the surprise and delight of all present, the man rose and said: “Since coming
to this place, I have found that Jesus is my Saviour.”
A few days
later he called on the pastor and told him that he had come to say good-bye.
Thinking the man was going out in the country for the harvest season, the
pastor said: “Why can’t you find work here? We are sorry you are going to
leave the city.” In reply the man said that he was not looking for work, but
that he was going to France.
said the pastor; “I thought you were a Spaniard. Why are you going to France?” Miguel
Vallespi (for such was his name) hung his head for a few moments, and then
proceeded to tell the story of his life.
years ago,” he said, “I went from Spain to France to work
in the vineyards. While there I lived with a woman to whom I was not married.
One night I found her in company with another man, and, in a fit of jealousy,
I stabbed them both. Believing they were both dead, I escaped from France and went
to North Africa,
but, soon after, I learned that the woman was still alive. I thereupon left
my work in Africa,
made my way back to where she lived in France, and one
night I stole into the house, entered the room where she was sleeping, and
with my own hands strangled her to death. In order to make sure she was dead,
I remained at the bedside until her body was cold, and then as the day broke
I crept out of the town, and made my way over the Pyrenees,
and eventually arrived at Vigo.
There I embarked in a ship and came to Argentina. My trial
was held in the town where I committed the murder, and I was condemned to
death. Until I heard the Gospel I had had no remorse, nor conscience, but now
that I know that Christ is my Saviour, I feel I must go back and give myself
up to the authorities. I am not afraid to go, neither am I afraid to die. I
know Jesus now, and my sins have been forgiven.” The pastor – as may be
imagined – was shocked and speechless; never before had he listened to such a
A few days
afterwards Vallespi sailed for France, and, on
arrival, went to the town where he had committed the double murder, and
surrendered himself to the authorities. When his trial took place the Judge
allowed him to speak. After telling the story of the murder, he said: “I have
come back because Jesus sent me back. In Argentina I heard
the Gospel, and have accepted Christ as my Saviour. I only wish that all in
this court might know Him as I do.” The Judge was perplexed. The jury did not
know what to do. A reporter there, representing Le Temps of Paris,
wrote an article on the case, and among other things he said: “If there is
any such thing as religion, surely Vallespi has it.” After considering his
case for some time, the Judge decided to pardon the man. On receiving his
pardon, Vallespi thanked the Judge, and afterwards returned to Argentina, where he
lived a consistent life until his death.