There Is Power In The


 Word Of God



     “Good afternoon!  Do you work here?”  With these words a young man addressed me as he walked into the office, at the port of Recife, where I was employed.

     He had a heavy handbag with him, and I could see that he was having a hard time carrying it around.

     Before I could give him a reply he pulled out a book and said to me:

     “This book is worth a whole library.  Everyone should posses a copy of this book.”

     Then he pulled out a Bible.

     I explained to him that I had attended an American Baptist school, and had tried to read the Bible, but had had no success.

     “The Bible is not to be read the way students read books in a literary Marathon race, nor is it to be read the way in which people used to perform ritual sacrifices.  You should read the Bible the way you enjoy your healthy meals.  Read it little by little, but read it constantly, and try to assimilate what it says.  You will find in it answers to your individual problems as well as solutions to your national problems.  Under no circumstances should you put it aside.  Have it always with you—as a soldier in combat always has his gun with him—and makes good use of it.  Whenever you have to face a dangerous or sad situation or when you see confusion before you, open the Word Of God.”

     I obtained a copy of the Bible, recorded the date on its first page (November 11, 1951), and kept my word to the young man.  But I never saw him again.

     Many years later I was serving time In jail, in Itambe, Pernambuco, because of certain political activities.  One day a multitude came to my cell.  They wanted to see the “agitator,” the “guerrilla.”  Among those people was a young lady who for some reason caught my eyes.  As she was leaving, I called after her:

     “Lady, what do you want to say to me?”

     “Nothing!” she said.  “I do not understand politics.”

     “But I feel you must have something very important to tell me,” I insisted: and if I leave this jail one day, without knowing what you wanted to tell me, I will feel frustrated.”

     A few days later, when the curiosity of the multitude died away, and the jail was practically empty of visitors, that lady returned with another person.

     I asked the jailer to place a bench in front of the iron bars of my cell for a comfortable talk.

     I told them about my revolutionary prowess, because I believed that I had not been struggling in vain, and I even thought that I had a good chance of making one or two more  converts to support the cause that I was fighting for.  Suddenly, however, the lady interrupted me:

     “You say you are a Christian.  So I have a question: If Christ were in your stead, do you think He would be doing what you are doing?”

     I was shocked, because I did not expect such an embarrassing question.  Coming to myself, I tried to justify my actions, but the lady continued:

     “With so much hatred in your heart, do you think you will be able to build a better world?”

     I was very much impressed.  So I sent for my Bible which I had left at home.  I wanted to prove that there was a similarity between my actions and the attitude of Jesus towards the poor.  However, the more I read the scriptures the more I saw a dissimilarity.

     After I had received many visits and Bible studies from those persons—who dwelt extensively on faith, Hope, and love—I noticed that a change was taking place in me.  Before I was only thinking of killing or dying in combat.  Now I began to feel the joy of a new life in Christ Jesus.

     September 2, 1963, I gave my father a birthday gift in the form of a promise.  I promised that I would not return to my former lifestyle.  And I have kept my word.

     Today that bench which was placed in front of my cell is in the living room of my home.  I got permission to take it home as a souvenir when I was released.  That lady who came to give me Bible studies in jail sits at the dinner table with me and our children.  She became my wife.

     Although many troublous years have elapsed since I got my first Bible, I still keep that precious volume.  I read it every day and, whenever I have to face adversities or doubts, I turn to God in prayer and find answers in His written Word.  The Bible has wrought miracles in my life and in my family.  I praise God for His Word!

Joel Camara