“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (John 15:7 NIV). This powerful verse first became real for Elvis when he was just seven years old.

It was Bible distribution day at Elvis’ church-based Compassion centre in Bolivia. The older children were each going to receive a Bible through a special Compassion programme that provides every registered child an age-appropriate copy of God’s Word in their own language. The problem for Elvis was that he wasn’t in the age group scheduled to receive Bibles that day.

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Every child receives a bible at a Compassion Centre in Bolivia. 

Juana, a tutor at the Compassion centre, explains, “Elvis was little, and Bibles weren’t being given to the children his age. He couldn’t even read very well yet, but he kept saying, ‘I want my Bible.’” When Ruben, another staff member, explained to Elvis that he would receive a Bible at another time, the little boy began to cry. “He was desperate to have a Bible,” Ruben says. “I tried to comfort him by offering him a snack instead, but he insisted, ‘No, I’m not hungry. I want a Bible!’”

Ruben finally relented and handed Elvis one of the children’s Bibles. “Elvis didn’t want to wait even one more day. He was insistent, so we felt we needed to give him a Bible right there and then.” Before running off with his new treasure, Elvis thanked Ruben for always teaching him that the Bible is the most important guide for life. The seven-year-old also promised that he would never be separated from his.


A child's hunger for God


Psalm 119:72, which says, “The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold,” is a perfect description of Elvis’ feeling about his new Bible. He read it constantly. Elvis says, “I wanted my Bible so that I could learn more about God. My favourite Bible story is about Jesus’ birth.. I have memorised several verses, for example, Ephesians 6:2. It says to obey your parents in everything and not make them mad.”

Eager to learn everything he could about the teachings in his Bible, Elvis also never missed Sunday school. Even though the church at that time met in an unfinished rented structure without windows or finished floors, it didn’t matter to Elvis. Cold or hot, sunshine or rain, he was always there, sitting in the front row.


 

A persistent prayer


Trusting in the promise of John 15:7, during prayer time at church, Elvis always asked for prayer for the same thing —that his father, Sergio, would accept Jesus as his Saviour. Sadly, Sergio, an alcoholic, had been injured in a car accident. The paralysis he suffered as a result meant that he would never walk again. Elvis, Sergio’s youngest of four children, was extremely sad for his father but, at the same time, confident that God would work a miracle in his life.

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Elvis with his father.

Honouring the persistent prayers of this little boy for his father, God touched Sergio, and he opened his heart to Christ. “I accepted Jesus as my Saviour two years ago.From now on, I want a better life for my children,” Sergio says. “Before, as an authority in the neighbourhood, I was always busy attending meetings, and my children suffered because I was never home. My wife used to get mad because I didn’t have time for my family, but I liked that people respected me. Everybody knew me, and my phone was ringing all the time.”

With tears in his eyes, Sergio continues, “During the first few months after the accident, I had lots of visitors. But then, they started to forget me. The only people who never abandoned me were the people from the church. They have always continued to visit me and pray for me.” His father’s coming to Christ was a source of great joy for Elvis, as well as an affirmation of his faith. “Now he had proof that God answers the prayers of a child,” Ruben says.

 

An example of great faith


A little boy with a big faith was heard by a powerful God. Ruben says, “Elvis showed us a very strong faith which is an example for us. His determination wasn’t in vain.”Juana adds, “When Sergio came to church for the first time in his wheelchair, we were all very excited and moved to tears. God had answered his son’s prayers.”

Today, at 10 years old and in Year 5 at school, Elvis enjoys reading the Bible to his dad. He says, “I read my Bible at home and I also pray at night. I pray for my Compassion sponsor and my dad.”

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Elvis with his bible.

Ruben adds, “Currently, Elvis is praying for God to heal his father so that he can walk again. He believes that God can work miracles today, just like the miracles Jesus performed in the Bible. He also is praying that his mother and grandparents will accept Jesus and that one day, his whole family will attend church together.” And why not? “I prayed that my dad would receive Jesus in his heart, and that happened,” Elvis affirms with a smile of confidence. 

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