Every person, I guess, has a great animal story. It is strange how they capture our hearts. We give our energy, time and tenderness, yet we almost always outlive them and wind up with a broken heart, BUT becoming richer because of them. So is my story of El Salvador del Mundo.
Somehow I cannot find a photo with him.
I was carrying the cross through the country of El Salvador where there was great tension and crisis. I had preached to large crowds in the cities as they rushed around the cross, eager for every word. But one thing struck me. There, in the very heart of the city at the key intersection, was a roundabout with a great statue of Christ holding the world in his hands. The name of the statue is El Salvador del Mundo, interpreted in English, “The Savior of the World.” Oh, how that moved me. What pain Christ must feel at creation gone mad.
When you walk around the world sometimes you get a little eccentric. I got a sudden urge to get a parrot. Now, can you believe that? Walking from Mexico to Columbia can do something to you!
As I left the city with a deeply burdened heart at what was sure to come (war), I stopped in the blazing sun to preach under a great tree. The crowd gathered, but separated from the crowd were two boys who caught my eye. For on one of their shoulders was my bird, the most lovely parrot that ever spoke. These boys prayed to receive Christ, and as I talked to them I reached to touch the deep red and green parrot, covered in beauty and elegance. The boy stood still and the parrot turned his head as if to bite. I didn’t move my hand but let him softly chew. He blinked his eyes as if to say, “It’s okay,” and I began to stroke him. Then I slipped my finger in front of his legs and he stepped upon my finger. My heart leaped with joy. This was my dream. I raised my hand to shoulder height and the parrot leaped off, walked over to my ear and began to nudge behind my ear and turn his face and beak into my shoulder length hair.
“Quanto dinero por la papaque?” I said calmly, but excitement was rising inside. “U.S. dollar,” I said.
The two young fellows, about 11 or 12 years old, in short pants and bright shirts, could hardly contain themselves. “Dollar, dollar” they were leaping. One of them lifted his finger up “Uno dollar,” he said in a question. Surely that was too much, he must have thought. I smiled.
“Dos,” he said more confidently. “Si,” I replied.
They began to giggle and clutch each other as I walked over to our van that was parked beside me, where Mike my driver had stopped. I went into the trailer and came back. They were so happy as my parrot watched the transaction that was to determine his future home.
“Una mas,” I handed them one each. “Ultra mas. cono Biblia” (papers about Jesus Christ). Everyone was happy, especially me. The statue from the heart of the city flashed in my mind. Your name shall be El Salvador del Mundo. I will teach you how to preach. It is hard to get humans to do it, to go into the jungles and danger. I’ll teach you how to praise the Lord, all in Spanish, then I’ll release you in the jungle to the other parrots and you can teach them, then soon the whole jungle will be filled with the good news of Jesus and praise to the Lord. A great missionary plan was born. He did a “squat” on my shirt, so I knew he was excited too!
El Salvador grew close to my heart. He always greeted me with a kiss and began to praise the Lord with great regularity. I was comforted daily to know that El Salvador would be waiting to greet me at the end of the long walk. Through the country of El Salvador I walked and preached.
My dear friend Mike Ooten was with me on this trip driving our four-wheel drive vehicle and pulling a camper.
Pilgrim followers of Jesus,
Arthur and Denise Blessit