RECIFE, Brazil (BNc) by Randy Short — He was unusual, in our circle and in yours as well, I’m sure. He came to us, the son of a denominational pastor, but had chosen not to follow his father or his father’s religion. He wanted to study the Bible.

He had gone to several local seminaries but because of his looks had been rejected by all. He was tattooed all over, and had long dreadlocks, a huge gaping hole with a “gauge” in one ear, and a huge piece of wood hanging from the other. He had studied philosophy and read about religion.

He came to us, we believe, expecting to be rejected as he had been before. He wasn’t! We accepted him as our student. All of our other students embraced him. Our employees befriended him as any other. Even the teachers were patient and loving as he expressed some pretty off-the-wall ideas. No one gave up.

Then one day it was time. Daniel Palk took him to the Atlantic Ocean and baptized Anderson Santiago into Christ.

In a conversation with Anderson after the fact, we found out what really touched his heart: love, acceptance and concern! It was not just that Daniel or any of the other teachers and staff spoke the truth of the gospel of Jesus; they lived the gospel of Jesus.

Samuel was a great prophet of God. When he was “helping” God choose a new king for Israel and he was looking at all the older, stronger sons of Jesse, God told him this:

“Eliab is tall and handsome, but don’t judge by things like that. God doesn’t look at what people see. People judge by what is on the outside, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 ERV

We are a long way from judging people as God does. We are a long way from living like Jesus but we are trying. And, we are thankful that this one time, at least, we did not look on the outside and jump to conclusions about this searching heart.

We are thankful that the love of Jesus was seen and felt by him and the truth accepted. Rejoice with us in the saving of this lost soul, our brother Anderson Santiago.

“He can reach people with the gospel that no one else can,” Walter Kreidel said.