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I wanted to share the testimony of Paz Islas Rufino as an example of how David Servant’s 500-page book, The Disciple-Making Minister, has not only served tens of thousands of pastors around the world, but also many others who have benefitted from its practical teaching. What follows is Paz’s own written testimony, translated from Spanish:
My name is Paz Islas Rufino. I am a mother, wife, and sister in Christ. I would like to share my testimony with you, which for me is somewhat sad. Although I have my mother, father, and brothers and sisters, I always felt alone. I never felt kindness, or hugs. There were only beatings and such from my mother. With time, I escaped from home, found work, and managed to buy things for myself—even basics like shoes—things that my mother bought for my sister, but not for me, because she said there wasn’t enough money.
Eventually, I met a man who promised me a happy life, but it was nothing but hell. It was seventeen years of pure cruelty—being mistreated physically and emotionally. He told me that if I told anyone what was happening, that things would be much worse for me, so I had better keep quiet. I lived in constant fear. I remember one time, when I was two months pregnant, he beat me causing me to miscarry that baby. He kicked me and dragged me on the floor, telling me that I was not worth anything, that I was a nobody, that I had no value whatsoever.
He did this because I found him with another woman on Valentine’s Day. Later, I was able to work in a coffee harvest earning 200 pesos ($11 USD) per day. In the afternoons, I would make donuts, muffins, tamales, and other breads so that I would have money for my 3 children. This man I lived with, did not work, choosing to pass his time drinking alcohol. Year after year, things only got worse.
I decided to make some changes in my life. I told him to get away from me and my children, that I wanted to improve my life.
As time went on, I met Leonardo. We respected each other, talked, and got to know each other. I felt I could trust him, so I told him all that went on earlier in my life. He asked me why I put up with such treatment, and I told him that I feared what people would say about me. I didn’t want to be an embarrassment to my parents. He told me that he would help me with my children.
Soon after we became a couple. We met Brother Jason Fitzpatrick and heard the Gospel for the first time ever. We gave our lives to Jesus, were married and baptized, and together we are brother and sister in Christ, and very happy!
Faith, patience, and hope are with me thanks to the Bible and to the book by David Servant, The Disciple-Making Minister. This book motivates me to daily study and scrutinize the holy scriptures. Brother David teaches us how to be a leader and pastor, and to be obedient to the commandments of our Lord by making disciples. In this way we can begin and sustain church growth God’s way. God’s purpose for His church is to preach the gospel in all the world. I want to be able to help others that have fallen into what I did.
The book especially helped me understand my role as a wife and co-laborer. It helped me understand how to both honor and love my husband, and how to work together. It has helped me learn from my past but let it go. It helped me forgive. It teaches me to press on and move forward, to trust even when things seem impossible, the will of God is always found.
Sister Paz currently serves and teaches in the house church of Huautla. Her pastor, Pedro Carballo Luna is a missionary mentored by Jason Fitzpatrick. Since 2003, Jason and Nicole Fitzpatrick have planted over 30 churches in the impoverished mountain villages of Peubla, Mexico’s poorest state, and are supported as national missionaries by Heaven’s Family.