Teacher - Lima, Peru
In 2013, HeartCry began supporting missionary David Silva. Along with his family, David left Iquitos, Peru in order to serve as a teacher in the HeartCry Bible academy recently established in Lima. Currently he is teaching several theology courses at the academy, and he also helps with the teaching and preaching at various new works in Lima.
I was born in 1983 in the city of Iquitos in the jungle of Peru. I was raised in a family that professed to be Christian, but when I was twelve years old my parents separated. Throughout my childhood, I had always heard it said that one must believe in Christ to be saved, and that only He could save us from our problem. Because of what I was taught, I knew that I had a problem, but I could not see the gravity of my problem.
During my childhood I liked to be with the church, but only because I enjoyed singing the songs and hymns. The part that I did not enjoy was the time of preaching. When it was time for the sermon I used to become so bored that even before the pastor began speaking, I was already falling asleep. What was most displeasing to me was that no matter what the theme on which the pastor was preaching, he always had to mention Jesus Christ. Every sermon he would end up saying the same thing, that Jesus died on the cross and that one has to believe in Him (little did I know, this is the core of all biblical preaching).
When my parents decided that they were no longer going to live together, I looked for refuge and comfort in my friends at school, trying to please them and earn their respect by doing the same kinds of things they were doing. By disregarding all the rules and authority of my parents, I thought that I myself was becoming an adult, thinking that I was wise and mature with liberty to do as I pleased. However, I was completely wrong, and later saw that this kind of wisdom was not wisdom at all. In all of this, I knew that God existed and was always present, but I did not know Him. I knew that God supposedly speaks to us through His Word, but I did not hear Him. I knew that I was a sinner, but my sin did not bother me. I knew that I was supposed to hate my sin, but I loved my sin very much.
As the years passed, I continued trying different things that the world has to offer, but I was never happy; I never felt peace. I thought that having a lot of money, women, and alcohol was going to make me feel better about my life, but I never found happiness or peace. I knew that I was not alright. Something was missing from my life, I thought. Now I know that it was not ‘something’ that was missing from life, but everything was missing. God was missing.
When I was 17, after many years without attending the church in which I was raised, an acquaintance of mine invited me to attend services at his church. For several weeks I was able to avoid him or make an excuse for not going, but eventually I agreed to go with him. The people at the church were very pleasant, and I enjoyed their company, but still I continued with my sinful life, given over to my own pleasures and desires. From time to time I attended the church services, and I began to realize that the believers in that congregation had something that I was without. They had joy in their lives and they loved one another very much. They cared about me and were concerned for me and for others. They could be happy without resorting to the same worldly pleasures that I was seeking after.
As I listened to the preaching of the Word, I began to understand the Gospel and I started to see my own sin. Through His Word the Lord began to show me His holiness, and at the same time I began to see His mercy. So at the age of 21 I was brought to the feet of Christ. The specific date of my conversion is not known to me, and I cannot explain exactly how it happened. I only know that I started to be so ashamed and had such a sense of my unworthiness because of my sin, that I felt I was the most foolish man on the earth for not having seen the gravity of my sin before. I was overwhelmed with terror, knowing that God was against me because of my wickedness, but now I felt the tremendous and inexplicable joy of knowing that I was now at peace with Him, having been completely forgiven in Christ.
All of this is to say that I had been born again. I now felt that I was different than the people around me, and I sensed that I no longer belonged to this world. Glory to God for all that He has done! Thanks be to our Lord for His mercy. Thanks be to Christ for His love displayed on the cross; for taking my sin upon Himself and dying in my place.
With time I grew in my desire to study and understand the Scriptures. Often I would stay in my house for hours with the purpose of knowing more of God and His Word. Now that I knew the Gospel and had forgiveness of sins, I also wanted others to see the same, so I began sharing my testimony whenever I had the opportunity. I was always looking for a chance to proclaim the Gospel. Seeing the need in churches for a true knowledge of doctrine, and seeing the lack of spiritual growth in many churches, I could not remain silent. However, I knew that I also needed to grow in my own understanding, so in 2005 I began preparing in a Bible institute in Iquitos, Peru.
Though I cannot explain exactly how the Lord called me to the ministry, I do know that from the time I was converted I could not keep from speaking of Him. This is the primary motive I have for serving Him: He saved me. That is more than sufficient. I have been serving the Lord in the ministry for nine years now, and I am now training current and future pastors and missionaries. I have been married since November 2010 to a daughter of God named Angelica, and we have one child named Jaris, who was born on April 16, 2012.
This is the truth that weighs on my heart: if the master and owner of the universe had compassion and mercy on David Silva, a sinful man worthy only of punishment and less than a worm; and if He sent His only Son, the only one who has ever truly loved the Father above all things; and if He made Him responsible for all our sins, all the filth of David Silva; and if He made Him suffer with tremendous pain, abandoned by God for David Silva; and if God has credited the righteousness of Christ to my account, saving me from my disgrace and misery; and if He has now told me to serve Him, then how could I refuse such an opportunity? How could I not want to obey such a commandment? Thanks be to God for His great love.