Bible Truth Transformed Their Lives
THE first thing you notice about Delia Rosero is her stature. She is short. Delia bubbles the explanation: “I believe I came from pygmy ancestors.” Her face is full of sunshine. You like Delia right away.
Daniel Rosero, her husband, is a “young” 50-year-old, and a handsome outgoing man. His smiling exuberance at seeing you frequently overflows into a hug. Daniel wasn’t always like that.
Knowing something about their past, I visited them recently with the purpose of recording their experiences. It seemed to me that these could be a real help and an encouragement to many persons.
The Roseros live in the Andean city of Latacunga, Ecuador, a city of some 30,000 people. This is an agricultural community where flowers abound and the people are proud to be tillers of the earth. The following conversation took place as we sat in the parlor of the Rosero home, overlooking the Cutuchi River.
EXTREME MARITAL TROUBLES
“I was barely 15,” Delia begins, “when I put my foot into the sea of matrimony. It was not long before I got the hard knocks. For 14 years I was in slavery. No place to go. No hope. Daniel drank. Every Saturday he would come home about midnight to mistreat and beat the family.
“One has to have lived the desperation to know it. When Daniel would strike me, I would climb up on a chair and clutch a picture of ‘Saint’ Vincent Ferrer to my breast and cry, ‘Hit me! Hit me!’ Daniel would desist for fear of the ‘saint.’”
Daniel confirms Delia’s account. “We married in 1948. I was only a scrap of a lad, just 19 years old. No training, and unable, really, to support a growing family. We eventually had four daughters and three sons. To me, life had no purpose.
“According to what we were told, my future was one of death and of burning in hellfire. The priest had us convinced that we were worthless, doomed to damnation. I remember so often in my drunken frustration saying: ‘I’m going to burn, so let me drink!’”
Picking up the thread of conversation, Delia continues: “We had a large reed basket for storing clothes. Benigno, our eldest son, and I emptied the basket and carefully stored the garments elsewhere. Then when Daniel would come home angry, Benigno would often hide in the basket until his father was overcome by sleep. It was the only way to avoid mistreatment.”
The Roseros’ pink home, with a neat patio and flowers abloom, is a far cry from their economic status of the early years of marriage. Daniel explains: “I was a maker of trousers—one pair a day. I did piece work. But I was always asking the tailor to advance me the next day’s wages.”
“The money didn’t come home for food,” Delia adds. Her eyes brim with tears. “Oh, how painful to recall some of those midnight showdowns!” The family situation deteriorated to the point where Delia, once wielding a large knife, threatened: “One or both of us may die but you will not beat me this time.” Happily, the Roseros’ story does not end there.
THE TURNING POINT
Daniel talks about the turning point. “It was a Sunday morning in June of 1962. Mario Hernández, a special pioneer (full-time preacher of Jehovah’s Witnesses) was giving his Scriptural presentation to my wife at the door and I was lying on the bed, out of view. Actually, I was doing more listening than Delia was. I had heard that the Bible was one of the best religious books in the world, although it did not strike me as necessarily communication from God.
“When Mario Hernández left, I leaped out of bed and insisted: ‘Call the preacher! Call the preacher back! I want to study the Bible.’”
Here Delia interjects. “I was very skeptical. I hesitated two or three times before going into the street after the Witness.”
When the Witness returned, Daniel asked for a Bible. “I still recall Brother Hernández’ reply,” Daniel goes on. “‘Fine, I’ll bring you a Bible, but not to gather dust. It is to be studied!’ Brother Hernández was always like that. Very direct. He came right to the point. You knew where you stood.”
Daniel continues: “Fifteen days later a Bible study was established, but it was not altogether regular. My brother Homero also started to study and made fine progress. Homero left the use of images quickly, but I remember telling him: ‘Homero, I’m still with the virgin Mary.’ Homero replied: ‘Little brother, keep studying! Soon it will come to you.’”
Daniel’s decision to do something about what he was learning came as a result of attending a circuit assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses. “Homero told me of the assembly in Ambato. I replied that if there was money enough I would go.
“The organization overwhelmed me. People got along, lots of them, together. You could feel love in the crowd. No one smoked. No dirty language. The young men and the older ones, too, did not make passes or talk nasty to the young girls. I remember thinking, ‘This is the truth!’ It was not fear of death or fear of the world’s end that moved me. It was the cleanness of the organization.”
THE TABLES ARE TURNED
“I came home enthused and announced to Delia: ‘I’m going to be one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.’”
“You are a drunkard. Jehovah’s Witnesses are not,” was the reply.
At that point, the Roseros explained to me, a strange thing started to happen. Daniel began to change his life-style for the better and Delia took an opposite turn. It appeared that Delia was caught in the vise of vengeance. Daniel was to suffer for all her suffering.
“No money for food, but for the Bible, oh, yes!” was her taunt. Delia admits that she deliberately baited Daniel. She felt secure that as he grew in spiritual stature, the danger of his abusing her had progressively lessened.
On one occasion, Daniel openly wept. “Delia, Delia, I’ve changed! What is happening to you?” he pleaded. Even Benigno asked his mother if she really wanted the beatings of earlier times.
As Daniel’s knowledge expanded, he put what he was learning into action. “The matter of images presented some problem for me,” he notes. “I felt that miracles had actually happened to me as a result of the icon’s intercession. However, Mario Hernández used 2 Corinthians 11:14 in his argument—‘Satan keeps transforming himself into an angel of light.’ My response? ‘Fine, the demons can trick us with idols. So be done with them!’”
Removing all the pictures and statues to the patio, Daniel jumped on them and later burned them. “I was horrified and rushed from the house expecting the roof to collapse as an expression of divine wrath,” Delia recalls, “all the while pleading, ‘Please, dear God, forgive this ignoramus. I pray that you will not punish us!’”
Daniel, though, had made the change. On May 4, 1963, he was baptized in symbol of his dedication to God. “It was uphill after that,” Daniel continues. “Smoking was a real problem. I remember at breakfast I used to say: ‘Don’t give me bread. Bring me tobacco.’ But this vice, too, I conquered.”
THE PICTURE BRIGHTENS
Daniel and Homero Rosero were the first Witnesses in Latacunga. The brothers recall the words of Arthur Bonno, who was serving as circuit overseer: “Conduct yourselves as Christians for you will open the door for others.” And they did. Delia, in time, dedicated her life to Jehovah, doing so in 1965.
Daniel remembers how a congregation overseer, Luís Narváez, encouraged him to acquire more self-confidence with these words: “Daniel, you have learned the truth from the Bible, which is a real accomplishment. Why can’t you learn to work sleeves, cut and sew suit coats? Be a tailor!”
“And I did,” Daniel says, grinning. “Luís would bring me his old suit coats. I would take them completely apart and re-do them. I got the practice and Luís got almost new suits. I built a business; set up a nice shop with glass windows. I became a master tailor. No more asking for advances. The customers paid me up front. In time, with Jehovah’s help we got a home.”
But as Bible truth grew in his heart, Daniel realized he needed, not more money, but more time for preaching. Homero, his brother, had several fine home Bible studies and Daniel wanted that same joy. So in July 1968 he took up the special pioneer service. At the time there were 12 baptized Kingdom publishers in the congregation and some 30 persons attending the meetings.
THE TRUTH SPREADS IN LATACUNGA
When Luís Narváez was about to leave Latacunga, Daniel remembers his saying: “Daniel, I want to leave you a ‘sheep.’” The interested person was the wife of one of Latacunga’s outstanding physicians, Dr. Mario Moscoso. Within two weeks of initiating the study, Dr. Moscoso joined in.
“Mario Moscoso was always so humble,” Daniel recalls. “He never made me feel inadequate. In fact, he made me a student. I had to study to find the answers to his questions. Dr. Moscoso was the director of the blood bank, and when the subject of blood came up it was openly discussed. Within a matter of weeks he left his position with the blood bank.”
Within six months, Mario Moscoso, who was later to be the family physician to the president of the republic, openly thanked Daniel for helping him find the truth. He sent Daniel to study with his relatives. “There occurred an explosion of truth!” Delia exclaims. “The list read like a telephone directory—the Armas, the Bravos, the Coronels, the Leons, the Villagómez family. More than 30 family members dedicated their lives to Jehovah, to say nothing of the many children and others who regularly attended the meetings.
“In three and a half years, 60 new ones were baptized, and attendances of 200 persons were common in Latacunga.”
In 1971 the Roseros were assigned to Cayambe, a small community of 8,000 people. “We took the whole family,” Daniel relates, “including my mother-in-law.” In three and a half years, a congregation was established in Cayambe, and 12 persons took the positive step of dedication and symbolized this by water baptism.
The year 1974 took the Roseros to Otavalo, Ecuador. “Again our whole family moved, with the exception of Benigno and my mother-in-law, who stayed behind to cook for Benigno. But the family grew anyway,” Daniel says, beaming. “In two years, 11 new ones were baptized, including three young men who became my sons-in-law. They married three of my daughters.”
Especially since 1973 has the bite of inflation made it continually more difficult for the Roseros to keep on in the special pioneer service. But continue they have. In 1976 they were reassigned to their home city of Latacunga where the economic strain is somewhat less.
“The greatest encouragement for me to keep on is a progressive home Bible study,” Daniel explains. “I ask Jehovah regularly to direct me to someone who really wants the truth, for this is as stimulating to me as it is to the student. Right now there is a ‘beautiful’ family that is advancing and coming to the meetings. I think the husband’s description of his religious development is very revealing. He says, ‘Catholic by tradition, Baptist by emotion, Jehovah’s Witness with accurate knowledge.’”
GRATEFUL FOR BIBLE TRUTH
Our conversation slows and we go into the patio where zinnias, roses and vines abound. Across the Cutuchi River cattle graze on a grassy carpet amidst brightly colored clothes laid out to dry. Dusty eucalyptus trees rustle in the breeze. The sky is bright blue. Delia is reflective.
“People tell me I’m full of life,” she says. “You know I owe it all to the truth of the Bible. Who knows where my children would be without God’s Word? All seven of them are baptized and stable. The truth has meant a completely new life, new happiness, for me.” She bursts into a smile and states: “We’ll keep on serving Jehovah and trusting his direction.”
Daniel adds: “The truth is life to me. I am convinced that had it not been for the truth, I would have died from alcoholism.” I note that Daniel appears to be getting younger each time I see him. He laughs and remarks: “You know, people right here in Latacunga say the same thing. In fact, they tell me it must have something to do with my preaching. I have a Scripture text that I like to show them, here at Psalm 92:14, 15: ‘They will still keep on thriving during gray-headedness, fat and fresh they will continue to be, to tell that Jehovah is upright. He is my Rock, in whom there is no unrighteousness.’”