‘Mom, What’s Stopping Us from Giving Our Hearts to God?’

Child cancer patient helps his family to accept Bible truth and be baptized.

Liseht Santos, South American Division, and Adventist Review
‘Mom, What’s Stopping Us from Giving Our Hearts to God?’
The Villanuevas, in a recent photo. [Photo: courtesy of the Villanueva family]

At just nine years old, Yazid Villanueva is a brave boy, fighting cancer every day. During his treatment, he listened to a testimony broadcast on a special program at the Good Hope Adventist Clinic in Lima, Peru.

That testimony changed his life and the lives of his parents and two younger siblings in such a way that the whole family eventually decided to follow Jesus, even in the midst of difficulties.

Yazid was a cheerful child with a lot of energy until symptoms began to affect his daily functioning, which led him to be admitted to the clinic. Her mother, a nurse by profession, couldn’t believe what was happening when physicians told the family that the eldest of the three children had cancer.

Since the diagnosis, Yazid has followed the recommendations of specialists, taken his medications, and undergone chemotherapy sessions. Throughout the process, he has displayed great commitment and endurance, according to the attending physicians.

Baptism of Yazid Villanueva and his family, surrounded by church leaders and workers from the Good Hope Adventist Clinic in Lima, Peru. [Photo: Southern Peru Union Communication]

One day, while Yazid was undergoing treatment in the clinic, he and his mother listened to a message from a Seventh-day Adventist preacher. After that message was finished, they also watched a baptismal ceremony of a group of people who had decided to follow Jesus. The baptismal ceremony was broadcast by Good Hope Adventist Social Service. After watching the ceremony, Yazid turned to his mother and asked, “Mom, what is stopping us from giving our hearts to God?”

His question was a call for the entire family, who, upon discussing it, decided to take Bible studies, and eventually asked to be baptized during the 2023 Annual Council of the Southern Peruvian Union, the headquarters of the Adventist Church in southern Peru. In a special ceremony, the father, the mother, and their two eldest sons, Yazid and Aaron, gave their lives to God.

Yazid’s current health condition is stable. With faith and their decisions placed in God’s hands, the family continues in their efforts on behalf of his health, with the hope and love of Christ in their hearts every day. They are now sharing their story so that more people may also seek God, because there is no situation powerful enough to prevent people from giving their hearts to God.

Regional church leaders asked church members in Peru and beyond to continue praying for Yazid and his family and for the dedicated team at the Good Hope Adventist Clinic in charge of Yazid’s and other patients’ treatment. May God protect every patient, member, and practitioner.

The original version of this story was posted on the South American Division Spanish-language news site.

Liseht Santos, South American Division, and Adventist Review