Pastor - Charan Grande, Peru
Silvio serves as the pastor of a Baptist congregation in the rural community of Charan Grande, Peru, near the border of Ecuador. He is the son of former missionary and pastor Gilberto Nole. After his conversion as an adult, Silvio began serving in the local church in Sullana and also as a missionary alongside his father. When his father was called to be with the Lord in 2014, Silvio was recognized by the church as the pastor of the congregation in Charan Grande.
Testimony of Conversion
I was born in a small town called Charan Grande de Romeros, which is two hours from the city of Sullana. Around Charan Grande there are some other small communities, each one about thirty minutes to an hour away. The closest one is called El Naranjo, which is where I studied in elementary school. In third grade, a new teacher came to the school, and she was very Catholic. She told us that she had studied in a school for nuns and that her students had to be Catholic like her. I remember one time during the school day she took us all to a Catholic chapel where there was an idol that people worshiped. That evening, my father and my grandfather found out where she had taken us, and the next day they went to the school early in the morning and spoke to the teacher about what the Bible says about idolatry. She said she wouldn’t take students of evangelical parents to the chapel again. I didn’t really understand at the time what they were talking about. At that point, the town was very devoted to Catholic idolatry, but my father and grandfather had already left Catholicism. As I grew, I understood that my father and grandfather were evangelicals. I remember that they used to travel up to three days on horseback in order to visit different towns and do Bible studies in people’s homes. Many believers used to gather in those homes, and I loved to sit and listen to the songs and messages.
I remember on one occasion as I was listening to a sermon, that the pastor preached about the account of Moses and the Red Sea. His enemies followed him, but they were destroyed in the midst of the sea. The preacher said that I must be converted. I did not know what it meant to be converted, but the pastor invited me to do so. I went forward along with six other children, and the pastor congratulated us on becoming Christians. But I didn’t understand what was going on. I just wanted to be like the other brothers and sisters that sung songs and evangelized. I lived in Charan Grande until I was nineteen, when I joined the Peruvian military. In the barracks, some of the other guys asked me what religion I practiced, and I told them I was a Christian. There were some others in the barracks that professed to be Christians, and we sang hymns together at night.
After leaving the military, I entered into a very cold stage spiritually. I didn’t walk in the ways of the Lord, and I distanced myself from Him and the church. For fifteen years I was gripped by the allurements of the world. In a very timely way, the Lord provided me with a wife. She attended a church, and she invited me to come with her, but I didn’t go.
One day, my wife and I visited pastor Angel Colmenares. He told me that I needed to get my life right with the Lord. I had a lot of respect for Christians and also recalled that a lot of people knew and respected my father because he was a pastor. I remember that I used to get really annoyed when people spoke badly about Christians, and I would tell them that the gospel was true and that they needed to repent and turn to the Lord. But after saying these words, I would always feel fear in my heart because I knew that I was just like them.
One night I was in a bar with some friends, and one of them told us that a relative of his—who also used to hang out with us—had been converted to Christianity and wasn’t going to hang out with us anymore. Some of my friends began to make fun of him. After a few moments, I told them that this man was walking on the true path. My friends all got up to go dance, but I stayed sitting alone. I couldn’t shake the sense that God was telling me, “Silvio, this is not where you belong.”
I no longer had any desire to stay at the bar. My friends tried to get me to stay, but I couldn’t. I wanted to run out of that place. At that moment, I knew I was living a bad life before the Lord. When I got to my house, I told my wife what I had felt in my heart, and she told me she was glad I felt that way because I shouldn’t have been going to those places. We decided that we would start attending a church.
Soon after that, I was riding home from the fields on the top of a big truck, holding on to the fruit I had gathered. Suddenly, the truck hit a really rough spot in the road, and I fell off and landed on the ground. They took me to the hospital and they told me that I had broken my knee and both of my hands—they were shattered. After they discharged me, I spent four months at home. After a long time, I finally got better and wasn’t in pain any longer.
I went back into the things of the world and began drinking liquor again. I felt again that sense of the Lord telling me that I was not where I was supposed to be, which was now the second time I had strongly felt that way. Once again, I told my wife about what I was feeling and said that I wanted to start going to church, but she told me she didn’t want me to go because she didn’t trust me. She knew that I would go to church for a little while, but then I would forget about it and go right back to living in the world.
One day, I decided to read the Bible. I wanted to follow the Lord, but something was keeping me from it—I wanted to serve the Lord, but only on my own terms. I remembered the word of God, which my father had taught me, where it says, “For those whom the Lord loves, He disciplines.” I also read Deuteronomy 4:39, “Know therefore today, and take it to your heart, that the Lord, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other.” These words were like a hammer that struck my heart. From that moment I began attending the church with my wife and our two children. I attended for a year listening and learning the word of God. It was sometime in the course of that year that God changed my heart, and as the year came to a close, I realized that God had done a work in me.
From that time I have not wanted to return to the world. I’ve been born again, and my life is now lived in fellowship with the Lord. I give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has transformed my life for His glory. My desire is to serve Him.
Call to Ministry
After my conversion, I was baptized; over the course of the next several years, I continued to receive biblical teaching. I began to travel with my pastor to visit other churches and little by little, I was given opportunities to preach. Also after my conversion, my relationship with my father changed drastically. He was so happy that the Lord had transformed my life, and together we began to serve the Lord. I went often to the place he was pastoring in order to help with evangelism—the houses there are very spread out so it would take a long time to get from one place to the next to share the gospel.
After the Lord called my father to His presence, the church he pastored began to pray that He would provide someone to lead them as pastor. After praying, they asked me to be the pastor. All of this testimony has been of the Lord’s mercy. From the moment that He transformed my life, He has given me all that I need to serve Him faithfully: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”