Like the Flower of Dracaena

Shin Gyeong-suk from Guayaquil, Ecuador

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It was when I went to my friend’s house back in my elementary school days. I was admiring a large variety of well-maintained flowering plants, and my friend pointed to a tall tree and said proudly, “Do you see this flower? It’s a flower of dracaena. It blooms once a decade. It is a very precious flower.”

‘It blooms once a decade?’

I thought if it’s a flowering plant, it should bloom at least once a year to fulfill its duty. So the dracaena was disagreeable to me. Come to think of it now, however, I can imagine how elated the owner must’ve been after taking care of it for a long time.

There is a brother who is like the flower of dracaena in the Guayaquil Zion, Ecuador. His name is Pedro. Born in Chile, he came to Ecuador to study a long time ago, and now he’s a medical student. He has been living the life of faith diligently since he received the truth about a decade ago.

He had a worry that everyone knew: Even though he preached whenever he had time, he had no fruit. Usually, if you do not bear fruit for about ten years, you may be disappointed and discouraged, thinking, ‘Why is it only me who bears no fruit?’ Nevertheless, he neither got discouraged nor gave up preaching. He just endured like the dracaena that waits in silence for ten years to bloom.

One Sabbath day, after the morning service, I was preparing meals as usual, when Brother Pedro approached me with a flush on his face and said:

“A friend of mine has promised me to come to church today . . . . I’m about to meet him now. I’ve been preaching to him for three years . . . . I’ll bring him here. Please pray for him.”

I could keenly feel his anxiety, and I encouraged him with “Animo!”

A little later, he returned with his friend who agreed to come. Jimmy was the younger twin brother of a local fast food restaurant owner whom Brother Pedro had known for three years. The owner had heard the truth many times from Brother Pedro but didn’t come to church. He didn’t allow his wife to come to church either, even though she had a mind to come to church. Nevertheless, he continued to preach the word of God to the owner’s family members and invited his brother to church.

As if he had prepared his heart, Brother Jimmy received the blessing of a new life right after the afternoon service. He led his younger brother’s family and his oldest sister to Zion on the next Sabbath. At first, they entered Zion with expressionless faces, but the look on their faces changed completely after studying the word of God and receiving baptism.

On the following Sabbath, the female owner of the fast food restaurant was reborn as a child of God. As she had been looking forward to coming to church for three years, she got all teary even before she entered Zion. She was so moved that she couldn’t control her emotions. Brother Jimmy’s older twin brother, who was the first to hear the truth among his family, also became a child of God soon. Since then, more than ten family members, including his mother, have received the truth.

Not only Brother Jimmy’s twin brother but also Brother Jimmy and his younger brother run famous fast food restaurants in the neighborhood. After the brothers received the truth, they put up signs “Closed on Tuesdays and Saturdays” on the doors of their restaurants, saying they should worship God on the Sabbath days and the Third days.

Brother Jimmy’s family members are spiritually growing at such a fast pace, and they work together with one mind when it comes to honoring God. They have changed the way they dress for worship services, and they actively volunteer to help with kitchen work and cleaning. They finish work at 3 a.m. and go to bed at 4 a.m. when they get home. Despite that, they have not missed a Sabbath day service. These new family members are indescribably beautiful. They know the value of the gospel and hope to become gospel workers with enthusiasm. Brother Pedro, who had bore plenty of fruits in ten years, shed tears when the brothers and sisters extended their congratulations to him. Brother Pedro is also so beautiful because he has walked the path of the gospel silently without getting discouraged for a long time, only looking ahead to the spiritual goal. God must be pleased with him.

If there are any Zion family members who haven’t borne no fruit of the gospel for a long time like Brother Pedro, I would like to tell them, “You may be a spiritual dracaena.”