LATIN AMERICA CARIBBEAN
Claudia and PabloSeventeen-year-old Claudia Oggero lay on the road, bleeding. Swirling around her, she heard the voices of neighbors and friends she had known her entire life. “Who is this person? Does anyone recognize her or know where she lives?”
Moments before, Claudia had been on her bicycle, peddling down the road to work. Suddenly, straight in front of her, was a truck. It slammed into Claudia, sending her flying from her bike and crushing her face.
Somehow, despite the searing pain in her head and down her spine, Claudia managed to identify herself. An ambulance was called, but instead of letting her lie still, well-intentioned neighbors dragged Claudia by her arms back to her home. There her sister screamed in terror and her mother broke into hysterical tears.
“Please, just leave me alone,” Claudia slurred. “I want to pray.”
While she was resting, alone in her room, she heard the voice of Jesus. She had accepted Him as Savior years ago when her family, desperate for healing and financial provision, began attending a Pentecostal church.
“Share testimonies about Me,” the voice said, “and in three days, I will heal you.”
Claudia believed the promise.
She was rushed to the hospital, where doctors declared many bones in her back were broken. Even if she were to undergo multiple facial reconstruction surgeries, they told her, she would never be whole again. “No,” Claudia said. “I will be healed.”
The next day, despite everyone’s protests, Claudia went to school, intent on telling everyone of God’s promise to heal her. Some students openly wept when they saw her; others screamed in fear. The librarian fainted.
Claudia returned to school again the next day. Her friend, whose father was a renowned plastic surgeon, tried to console her. “Don’t worry. My father can operate on you.”
“No thank you,” Claudia replied firmly. “My Father will operate on me.”
That afternoon when she got home, Claudia pled with the Lord. “Father, I know You will not embarrass your children. I will wait for You.”
She went into the bathroom to gently wash her injured face. Bending towards the water, Claudia was horrified to see clumps of battered flesh falling from her face into the sink. A sensation she describes as “ants rushing through her skin” seized her. She felt her mouth and nose begin to move and snap. Terrified, Claudia could not bring herself to look up at the mirror.
Finally, she raised her eyes to the glass. The face looking back at her — her face — was perfect, precise, whole.
Doctors had no explanation. No broken bones could now be found anywhere in her body, and her face was perfectly restored. “Not even the best doctor in the world could have done this,” one surgeon stammered. “Not even on a newborn child have I seen skin so beautiful. Your God is real.”
Claudia’s story did not end with the miraculous healing of her face at age 17. She went on to Bible school, where she experienced more of God’s prophetic and miraculous work in her life. She met and married Pablo (maiden names are retained in Uruguay), and together they pastor a small AG church — the Center of Faith — which meets in a cement building on a small plot of land.
Directly across the street from the tiny church, a recently opened meeting hall can be rented for banquets and public events. “That party store is a front for the largest drug ring in our area,” Claudia explains.
Faced with violence, spiritual oppression, and more, Pablo and Claudia — as well as other missionaries and national leaders in Uruguay (a secular state long known as a Latin American ‘missionary graveyard’) — need the prayers of fellow believers. Only prayer support and courageous faith enable them to continue in their ministry, unafraid.
“Little by little our church is growing,” Claudia says, “but from the very day we came here, we could see the clash between light and darkness.”.
Excerpted from Beauty Born of Brokenness in the September 2017 WorldView magazine. To read more about Uruguay and ministries to its people, pick up a hard copy today or visit WorldView magazine online.
—Kristel Ortiz, AGWM Communications