Hey there everyone!,
Here I am with another post that will likely be loved by you my dearest visitors. Especially those who live in Protestant countries like the U.S, or even Hungary, I estimate so much of your following.
The theme I want to talk about today is specifically about being an Independent Baptist young man living in a mostly Roman Catholic country. I mean Colombia, maybe Colombia is a country that is known for the Encanto movie from Disney, for its coffee or even for the most beautiful women in the world. It must be said that inside all of this culture, Colombia has a very religious population, that is undoubtedly true.
But giving the Salvation Plan is nothing easy. Myself, trying to evangelize or trying to independently involve in the soul winning ministry, it is hard for me (and even more that I am an autistic) to bring people to the Baptist Church (my denomination). Now, I am an open-minded man who is open to all types of faith, but let me be clear, I do not mean to have a sincere open mind, because I am strengthening that, because having an open mind is something delicate.
So, in this order of ideas, I am writing about my experience in this kind of Protestant churches (I must consider that Baptist Churches are explicitly Protestants, so a long-view of reformers will be given in this website. But, if you prefer not to discuss this topic, just pass it on.)
First, being an Independent Baptist from a country, far, far Catholic is nothing easy, because Colombia was a confessional state until the Constitution of 1991. However, I must say that despite my country’s strong Catholic Church-influenced culture, it is on the underdevelopment, the Colombian Peso cost lower if I am not wrong, but it has a biodiverse ecosystem that divides my country into great lakes, rivers, and magical realism made by the way.
Let me tell you that I was taught unexplainable in a fundamentalist Christian school in Bogotá, Colombia (Bogotá is indeed Colombia’s capital), because after finishing pre-school in a Cundinamarca department’s municipality, I enrolled in a disability foundation (As I told you before, I am an Asperger Syndrome-diagnosed young man), where I remained for along four years. Finding a school in my country’s capital was not easy. My mother had just come to the city after living in such a municipality in the department of Cundinamarca along with a dad (who was a police sub-officer working in Barranquilla (my native city), and was required to move to the Cundinamarca department). Even though they were not easy for my mother to adapt into a different society and culture within Bogotá, my childhood was beautiful; I didn’t know what Autism meant yet because I was an innocent boy, but I could say I behaved something abnormal because it is typical a normal tantrum among children, but mine tantrums were unhanding! My maternal grandmother (who has lived with me all of this time instead of my paternal one) suffered so much and lived inside of embarrassments because of my tantrums, but well, that was my life!
I moved back to Barranquilla (Colombia) on November 24th, 2017 after living at least fourteenth years in Bogotá, Colombia. It was during my first moments here in Barranquilla where I got an obsession for religion in an ague manner. In my secular school here in Barranquilla, I made religious homework, and behave so religiously, and even more, I brought two times my Barranquilla church’s pastor to my school, and even more, I drafted letters to Pope Francis (Yes, I did write a letter to Pope Francis and on May 11th, 2020 received a response via email!). In fact, my last years of schooling were not easy, because I was centered on my restrained interests (during that time, it was biblical education in American public secondary schools), I thank God for having graduated from high school in 2019.
I am currently studying theology at the Reformed University of Colombia and one of my goals is to bring out the Confessing Movement to the Latin American mainstream Protestant churches, to write a project on Autism and Faith Communities, so you know, I want to contribute so much to my university. However, that’s not the topic to talk in this blog, and I will post about my projects with the Reformed University of Colombia in another blog.
As explained in the beginning of this blog, soul winning is not as easy as it should be in Colombia. I don’t know if you live in Colombia or even Latin America, but I have never been outside Colombia, so I can’t say something about another latino cultures, but I can’t just contribute to my own country.
Soul-Winning here is very complicated, and even more when you get secular counseling
In 2015, my older paternal cousin got pregnant, and in the fourth month of that same year, she conceived. There is an American missionary in Colombia who I causally met during a Christian youth camp in Bogotá, Colombia, who had a work in the place my cousin lives. Well, in October 2015 I had a vision (well, a vision could be because I can see it as thus, please comment your thinking), and the vision was that the Independent Baptist missionary would teach the Bible to my paternal family as my paternal uncle and aunt (who have twenty-eight years living together) and my deeply Roman Catholic paternal grandmother would be saved and won for Jesus Christ as well as being active members of the Independent Fundamental Baptist church that missionary shepherds (My maternal uncle and aunt, de facto, did it, but latterly they left my local Baptist church here in Barranquilla). However, that vision became broken, I got frustration tormenting more times to my maternal grandmother. In June 2016, my paternal and maternal uncle took me to that church, but insisted the most myself that they “should” attend that church. In those times, I was 15 years old (my teenage years were not as normal as they would be), and fulfilled 16 years old in November of that year. So, what does this mean to me? It was something exaggerated, I deliberated myself, and exaggerations among me were deep. Neither my disability foundation’s secular counseling couldn’t help me because they misunderstood me by the cause that they were also Catholics (so, don’t think Protestant evangelism here in Colombia is easy, I don’t think so).
There exists a question here in Colombia and is a stereotyped perspective to Protestant pastors and churches, and the question is tithing. There exist several Evangelical Christian churches that are indeed megachurches that ask for money in exaggerated amounts, and the mainstream media of my country (which are similar to the U.S. leftist media) report on “Evangelical mafias”, and the social media, do not be told, because several Colombians are disgusted with the Evangelical pastors, but not only with Evangelicals, but also with Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses. As you don’t know, Roman Catholic laypeople here in Colombia are more connected to the liberal ties of culture and society. So, don’t panic, because the Colombian right is tied to communism. Yeah, Colombian Conservatism is very different to American Conservatism as well as to the Hungarian Conservatism/European Conservatism, and even with the Russian Conservatism. The Roman Catholic Church has endured the Colombian Conservatism, and the ideals are connected to Catholicism so much. I have learned so much about the American conservative idealism ultimately, and I feel so identified with the American Right-wing politics (as there are many Independent Baptist churches in that beautiful country), and yes, I have supported Donald J. Trump and his frustration had come to me when he lost the presidency all of this time, and I have differentiated so much the American conservative culture and politics to the Colombian conservative culture and politics, and they are totally different.
Back to the theme, I passed a way along with secular counseling from the people in the foundation I attended since I was a kid, and even with an older man (who, in fact, had liberal thoughts), and they often said to me “Leave them alone, they do not want”, I suffered, cried and frustrated throughout those times. I lived in two ambient: the Christian ambient in the Christian school and in the Baptist church, and the secular/worldly ambient in the disability foundation, as well as with my dad taking me to several places throughout Bogotá. It was pretty hard to me in order to prefer God.
A biblical contribution to my story as an Independent Baptist living in an explicitly Catholic country
I begin this session with this biblical verse:
These words I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be good of cheer; I have overcome the world (John 16:33 KJV)
The reasons I was troubling with my attempt to win the soul of my paternal family was the matter of John 16:33. Not only that, as an Autistic man, I have possessed obsessions with several themes and people have often misunderstood my themes. Most of all, a cartoon called The Amazing World of Gumball, which theme gotten me in 2012, when I was the first day of fourth grade in school. My interest in religion was due to the birth of my older paternal cousin’s daughter. John 16:13 is a clear example of what could happen to Biblical Christians, and within the context, I will explain with references to two biblical commentaries:
”It is the fundamental condition of Divine life in this world. Christ’s disciples may take that for granted (cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:6 1 Thessalonians 3:4), but the most striking and unique of the true faith is that this sorrow is blended with an inward rapture which transforms it into peace. The blending of fear and love, of law with promise, of righteousness with mercy, of the of sin with that of pardon, of a great peace with a crushing tribulation, is one of the most constant tokens, signs or marks of the mind of Christ”1
“It is very observable how the phrase, ‘In the world ye shall have tribulation’, stands, and is ecompased, before, with these words, ‘that in me ye shall have peace’, and behind, with these ‘be of good cheer’. Believers, of all men, notwithstanding their tribulations, have reason to be of good cheer, since their sins have forgiven, the love of God is shed abroad in their hearts, their redemption draws nigh, and they have hopes of glory; and particularly, because as Christ here says, for their encouragement all the tribulations in the world”2
Within these commentaries to this biblical verse, I am dared to say that Biblical Christians are the most persecuted people in the world, most of all in the Western World. Believe me, being an Independent Baptist within a country, far, far Catholic is not easy, repeat it is not easy. Besides, Independent Baptists are not legalistic (as neither the Bible is this), they want just to help, or instead to have charity with others. So, Independent Baptist are not indeed the most misunderstood Protestants in my country, but also other non-Catholic denominations that are indeed biblical denominations. In this fact, Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses are also persecuted and misunderstood by the Colombian society.
Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
(Matthew 4:7 KJV)
Every time I read this verse, the Lord Jesus Christ says to me “Angello, I do not see that you should get…”, sometimes I want to sin, that is to say, sometimes I want to drink alcohol, sometimes I want to get a tattoo, sometimes I want to presume my “sinful” myself on the social media, sometimes dance, sometimes watching porn, etcetera. But the Lord says “Angello, I do not see that you should do that”, and that’s it, I can’t do anything that tempts the Lord. However, I commit other sins that are tempting the Lord: Listening to secular music, watching porn, and do some other things that appear to tempt the Lord. But I have indeed some answers to those sins:
If I am watching porn, I should go to see those women on the social media in person and preach them the Gospel to them as the Lord and His Celestial Hierarchy of spiritual beings appear to those models I watch on social media in a mystical way. I would be pleased to have the Angel’s hand in me, so they mystically say to me how to use the Word of God to preach and show those models His Holy Word (as happened to Brittni de la Mora).
As I am listening to secular music, I should write some Christian songs on my own (obviously, inspired by the Angelic Hierarchy of the Lord), as well as I am dared to use online music makers as I listen to some contemporary Christian singers for inspiration. And even more, to put folkloric and alternative rhythms and melodies to those old Protestant hymns written in the ancient centuries (Such as Martin Luther’s “A mighty fortress is our Lord”, which I am considering to put a Gregorian melodies, rhythms and lyrics as well as to be sang on the Latin language). Using online music makers grants me the facilitation of praising the Highest God.
As you can see, I have indeed some ideas to save me from some sins we often tend to do, and my encouragement is for autistic that feel the Lord is wanting them to