Mario’s dream



MARIO was born and brought up in a little village in the Peruvian sierra. His parents were mestizos; his mother knew only Quechua, but his father spoke a little Spanish. Mario’s older brothers had not the opportunity of going to school, but when he was 7, a teacher came and a school was opened in the village. Mario was one of the first to enter. His father asked him what they were learning at school, and if they taught the Bible. “The Bible?” asked Mario; “No, they don’t teach us that. What is it?” His father told Mario that whenever he could get hold of a Bible he must learn it, for it was the best Book in the world, and the only one that could make a man good and perfect. This seemed to be all he knew about it; but it stuck in Mario’s mind.

Some years later, as a boy of 14, Mario came to the city. Here he wandered from one shop to another looking at all the windows in the hope of seeing a Bible for sale. He did not find one; but he saw a book entitled, “Black Magic,” which he was tempted to buy. He wanted either a Bible or the Black Magic book; but he hadn’t money for both. He was already entering the door to buy the book when suddenly he remembered that only the Bible would make a man perfect; and he turned back again. Soon after, he left the city without having found a Bible, and went down to the montaña (valley regions) with a farmer who engaged him in his newly started plantation. Hard years followed for Mario. In the first place, the hot climate did not suit him, and he struggled against attacks of malaria. He only earned his food, and his clothes went to rags until he decided to start a small plantation of his own so as to earn more money. It was a very hard job, and cost him many hours of digging and much sweat; and he had to do it all in addition to his working hours on the farm. Eventually the job was done, and with the results of the first crops he could buy himself some decent clothes and a pair of shoes: he had long been ashamed of walking about barefoot like an Indian.

But now he was brought under another and more terrible yoke than that of poverty. His friends got him into the habit of drinking, and although he managed to keep a fairly clear head to attend to his work during the week, Sunday was given entirely to drinking, and his poor wife soon began to feel the bitter results. Needless to say, he also soon experienced the misery of such a life.

One day he had a remarkable dream. He was inside a chapel of a strange kind, for there were no statues of saints and virgins, and no pictures. There was a crowd of people sitting there, but he was on the platform. Suddenly, a young man in shining white clothes, as if out of heaven, came towards him and handed him a book and told him to go and teach the people outside from it. He also told him that he would meet him again in a year’s time. Mario couldn’t read what was in the book, but associated it with the Bible which he had still in his mind. He said he felt unspeakable joy in his heart when the young man in the shining clothes spoke to him, and he fell at his feet. Even when he woke, that great joy was in his heart for days. He told his wife and his best friends that if he should get ill and die in a year’s time, they need not worry; it would be quite all right. They could not make out what had happened to him, but noticed a change. Although life went on again as usual, and he forgot about the dream, he had a great longing for something better than spending his life in the way he did.

Some months later he heard of meetings being held in a distant village, and he asked one who seemed to know about them, what kind of meetings they were. “Are they political? I would like to come too; I am interested.” The man told him they had nothing to do with politics; that they were about God and the Bible which was His Word. “What, the Bible!” he exclaimed: “I’ll certainly come with you to the next meeting,” and he could hardly wait until Sunday came along.

On Sunday he forgot all about his usual drink, and went off to the meeting. He eagerly listened to the message given, and at the following meeting bought a Bible for himself. He told me with a beaming face that he held the precious Book tightly in his arms, rejoicing as if he had bought a huge farm! He went home feeling the happiest man in the world. Immediately he started reading it, and the Word had its effect. At the next meeting he professed publicly that from henceforth he wanted to love the Saviour and live according to the Book. Soon after, he remembered his peculiar dream again, and realized that exactly a year had passed and the Lord had met him according to the promise.

Mario has never been a preacher inside a church, but ever since his conversion he has travelled around in the sierra and the valleys telling the Gospel message. He has had the joy of leading many souls to the Lord, especially through reading the Book. He has visited his own village in the mountains again. His father has died in the meantime, and all his brothers are now faithful followers of the Lord, too.


From: Anon. True Stories Re-told. London: Evangelical Union of South America, 1965, pages 8-10