“By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.” Hebrews 11:4
(The following true story was told to me by brother Alberto Tosh a couple of weeks ago. I have added some dialogue and tried to arrange things in the best narrative order.)
“Mr. Tito was not a target of envy among the villagers of Yo Creek, Belize, but he certainly was a target. People made fun of him for his curious appearance and his clumsy gait that was likely the result of polio. He was a convenient butt of anyone’s jokes, because he would never talk back, not even if he wanted to, because he could not speak a word.
“To earn his living, Mr. Tito peddled whatever he could grow, collect or forage. During mango season, he would glean the fruit that everyone else had left behind, and then ride his bicycle down San Antonio Road for nearly nine kilometers to sell the produce in Orange Walk Town.
“Every week, Mr. Tito would cut the grass at the Yo Creek Seventh Day Adventist church, and every week he would sweep the sanctuary and clean the bathrooms. Every Wednesday night and every Sabbath, he was the first one to arrive at church. He unlocked all the doors and opened the windows. If none of the brethren showed up for prayer meeting, Mr. Tito could be seen leading the worship service all by himself. For years Mr. Tito was like the heartbeat of that little village church.
“The day came that the brethren decided it was time to build a new church in Yo Creek, and a call was made for each one to make a pledge. When the time came to collect the offerings, Mr. Tito shocked everyone when he presented 2000 Belize dollars ($1000 USD), for the new church. How in the world did humble nobody Tito come up with such a fortune for the cause of God? Some whispered evil murmurings, but Mr. Tito’s life was without reproach. He had apparently given away his life’s savings from years of arduous toil.”
Brother Alberto had nearly finished his story when our own version of Mr. Tito ambled up in his shuffling gait, his left arm held out bent at the wrist and elbow. Everyone calls him “Chevito.” He communicates to us mostly through hand gestures and a series of odd, mostly unintelligible sounds from which we occasionally can understand a word or two like “agua” or “auto.”
“Unfortunately, Mr. Tito was struck by a car and killed while riding his bike to sell fruit in Orange Walk.” Brother Alberto finished his story.
“Oh no, how sad! But what a beautiful testimony of faithfulness” I remarked. “Thanks for sharing this story. Isn’t it amazing how God uses his humblest children to teach us such powerful lessons about what it means to be faithful? Isn’t that right, Chevito?”
Chevito grunted and nodded in affirmation.
“You can be a missionary for Jesus too, just like Mr. Tito was!”
Maybe it was my imagination, but it seemed I saw a glimmer of desire in Chevito’s eyes. Perhaps it is mere coincidence, but Chevito had on a new shirt for church last Sabbath.
Chevito attends our group regularly at Chan Pine Ridge where he almost always sits in the first or second row. Despite, his speech impediment, he loves to sing, and he can hum enough of a tune to request his favorite hymns. He is our most willing deacon, and when we ask him to help collect the offering, at every transition in the program he points at the offering baskets with the unspoken question, “is it my turn yet?” I pray that God will use him to testify for the truth in Chan Pine Ridge, just as he used Mr. Tito in Yo Creek. May God use us all wherever we are, and may we be ever faithful.
Kody & Lyli Kostenko