GERMAN GOMERA was the second youngest of 11 children. After his father and two of his sisters died, his mother, Luisa, moved the family into town. There, they joined the Mennonite Church, where Luisa’s brothers and their families were members.
“In 1962, a special pioneer couple arrived in our town,” recounts German. “It was said that they were subverting the townsfolk with ‘diabolical teachings.’ Nevertheless, when the couple came to the home of the Piña family, they were invited in. The Piñas were a large family. They were impressed by the pioneers’ kind and friendly manner, so they listened attentively to their presentation. As a result of that visit, the Piña family and my three older sisters began studying.
“One day when the pioneers were visiting the Piña family,” continues German, “Mom was invited over. They read Bible texts that highlighted the hope of living forever on earth. Mom asked, ‘Why, then, do they say in my church that we go to heaven?’ After the brother answered her from the Bible and explained what the Scriptures say about the earthly resurrection, Mom responded favorably and began to tell others about what she had learned.
“When the pastors of the Mennonite Church found out that their members were studying with Jehovah’s Witnesses, they tried to persuade them to stop. However, they did so in an aggressive and threatening way. Maximina, the mother of the Piña family, told them, ‘Look! I am an adult, and I make my own decisions.’
“Eventually,” says German, “22 people left the Mennonite Church and started attending congregation meetings in a rented home. Mom was baptized in 1965, and I was baptized four years later in 1969 when I was 13 years old.”