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By Grace
Alone By Adam Fridenstine
The story of Carlos and Sandra Hernandez
illustrates how God is at work in Cojutepeque,
El Salvador. He blesses His biblical plan of soul
winning, baptism, and discipleship.

Carlos and Sandra were a normal El Salvadorian
couple wandering through life enduring the
tough times and making sure they were doing
their best to be “good enough” to go to heaven.

They occasionally went to a church that taught
one has to maintain his salvation and “feel good”
to really be right with God.

Sandra became pregnant with twins—it was a
rough pregnancy and delivery. Once the baby
girls were born, some old childhood friends
went by to see them. These friends were Walter
and Mayra Menjivar, our first disciples in
Cojutepeque. They encouraged Carlos and
Sandra to visit our church and offered any help
needed with the new transition of twins.

Finally, one day they showed up. Carlos really
liked the church, but Sandra thought everyone
must be a hypocrite and did not trust this whole
salvation by grace alone with no works attached.

However, she was impressed by the friendliness
and love shown, so they kept coming. After
several months, Sandra asked if they could be
members. I said we needed to meet and hear
their salvation testimonies and answer any
questions they might have, knowing they really
Adam & Esther
Fridenstine and
family 14
were not saved. We met and began studying
the assurance of salvation discipleship lesson.

After several weeks of explaining Scripture after
Scripture, verse after verse, and passage after
passage, Carlos and Sandra bowed their heads
and received Christ as their personal Savior.

Soon after, they were baptized, and they started
fully into discipleship. It was not an easy
process. Every type of trial came their way from
extended family to health, marriage, financial
problems, deaths in the family, past failures, and
relationships. After three years they graduated
from our 9–12 month discipleship program!
Many times we were tempted to “give up” on
them, but we knew God wanted to use them, and
He was only working to make them more into
His image. We kept giving the time, meals, and
investment into their lives.

Today, they are one of the top couples we call
for help and service. They only want to serve
and support. Carlos is a faithful usher, and he
disciples others and oversees our roof expansion
project (he is a professional welder). Sandra sings
in the choir and groups, heads up the church
nursery, and cooks for any event as needed. She
also disciples two ladies. Recntly, they gave their
testimonies and taught their first Sunday school
lesson to the teens. They have led several people
to the Lord and are constantly bringing visitors
to the church.

The Gospel changes lives, and the freedom of
salvation by grace gives a desire to serve and live
right. The results of discipleship, investment, and
prayer are beyond description. Serving God is

A Little Bit
at a Time
By Donna Whiffen
Webster’s dictionary defines surrender as “the
action of yielding one’s person or giving up
the possession of something especially into
the power of another.” The dictionary goes
on to say that surrender implies a giving
up after a struggle to retain or resist. Wow!
I hear the word surrender and my memory
takes me back to a warm evening as I sat on
the rooftop of a house on a small farm in the
northwest corner of the island of Puerto Rico.

I had climbed up to the roof to get away for a
bit and do some thinking. I had been invited to
the island for my summer break from college to
help a friend and her family in their Christian
day school and church. I spent most of my
time cleaning, learning to cook, and trying to
have meaningful conversations with the family
with my limited high school Spanish. I missed
my family in South Carolina and I was feeling
lonely. My friend climbed up to the roof and
tried to keep me company, but she knew I was
going through something I had to settle with
the Lord.

That night settled it. I surrendered to full-
time missions and yielded my person and my
possessions into the power of Another. I guess
Mark & Donna
Whiffen and
family one could say I gave up after a struggle to retain
or resist.

Fast forward eight years. I had just landed in
Mexico City for the first time. My husband and
I were chaperoning high school seniors for what
we thought would be a life-changing trip for
many of them. What it ended up being was a life-
changing trip for us! Although we knew we were
going to Mexico City someday, those ten days
spent with loving missionaries and nationals
cemented in us the desire to make Mexico City
our new home. We surrendered again.

Three years later, we were on our way to Mexico
City with a two-year old in tow, a baby on the
way, and a Dodge Caravan pulling a much-
too-big trailer. We stopped at a Burger King
for lunch somewhere in Louisiana, and all I
could remember was that I was beginning to
doubt we were doing the right thing. I walked
outside and did laps (eight weeks pregnant)
around the Burger King, all the while crying and
saying, “Lord, if you do not want us to do this,
please stop us, now.” He did not, of course. So, I
surrendered again.

In the 18 years we have been in Mexico City, I
have had to surrender over and over. The night
I surrendered on a rooftop in Puerto Rico was
only the beginning. The surrender my husband
and I made in 1996 to start the long process to
get to Mexico City was also a beginning. That
surrender got us here, but daily surrenders keep
us here.

Each day I have to choose to surrender another
area of my life. A speaker once said that when
we talk about surrendering our lives to God, we
picture giving God $1,000 and saying, “Here is my
life, Lord, take it and use it for Your glory.” God
takes us to the bank and gets the $1,000 changed
into quarters. Then He asks us for 25 cents here,
50 cents there, etc., for the rest of our lives. We
just celebrated 18 years in Mexico City, but I have
found myself even more than ever conscious of
the need to give God those pieces of 25 cents and
50 cents He asks of me each day. W
Number 2, 2018