God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform; … William Cowper (1731-1800)
Rosa Maria Ramirez was despondent. Her husband of 15 years had left her, taking their daughter with him and leaving her with their son, 12-year-old Juan Carlos. She began drinking and soon lost her cleaning business clients. Rosa remembers, “I didn’t want to know anything. The only thing I wanted to do was sleep and never wake up.”
One morning she could stand it no longer. She told Juan Carlos that she was going to take some pills that evening and never wake up. Realizing what her words meant, he asked, “What will happen to me?” She told him that he would have to figure out what to do. Not knowing what to do, he said, “Mother, if you want to take some pills and never wake up, give some to me first and then take the pills you want.” Later that morning she went to get the pills.
Meanwhile, a series of evangelistic meetings, “Christ 2004,” had been planned for early 2004. The meetings would be held in the Forest Grove Spanish Church with Jere Patzer, North Pacific Union Conference president, as speaker. Members from six area churches, the Forest Grove English, Forest Grove Spanish, Gaston, Hillsboro English, Hillsboro Spanish and Laurelwood churches would cooperate to complete preparations.
Students from the Mission College of Evangelism in Gaston, Oregon, began to visit people and invite them to the meetings. Their enthusiasm inspired two young men, Daniel and Ivan Cardenas, members of the Forest Grove Church, to also knock on doors.
One morning in Hillsboro, they knocked on Rosa Maria’s door. When no one answered, they went to another home but were impressed to go back. This time Rosa angrily opened the door and asked, “What do you want?”
Daniel said, “We’ve come to talk to you; may we come in?” She invited them in and during the conversation, Daniel was inspired to say, “You should not do what you are planning to do. God loves you and has a better plan for you.”
Rosa wondered how they knew what her plans were and thought, “As soon as they leave I will ask Juan Carlos how they discovered our plan.”
However, she liked Daniel and sensed that he was at peace. “He was a happy person, and he told me many good things from the Bible,” she related. After reading from the book of Psalms, he told her that if she had some heavy burdens, she should give them to God and He would take that weight from her. He also told her that he and his family attended a church in Forest Grove and if she and her son would come to that church, she would find a family and never again be lonely.
“When those young people left my house, I had peace in my heart. I forgot what I was going to do. They told me that there was hope in Jesus, and I was happy,” Rosa said, smiling.
The next day, Daniel and Ivan brought their mother and older brother to meet Rosa. They invited her to the Forest Grove Spanish Church and that next Sabbath Rosa and Juan Carlos were there.
Hungry for hope, Rosa and Juan Carlos began studies and were baptized during the Christ 2004 meeting. “I gave Jesus my heart," Rosa says. "I know that He loves me. I know he will watch over us and will protect us. This wonderful church has opened its arms and accepted us. Now I have a family and it is a beautiful thing for me.”