Victor Villasenor was born in the barrio of Carlsbad, California in 1940. When Victor began school, he spoke only Spanish, like his Mexican parents. Besides the language barrier, he faced cultural challenges, heavy discrimination and a reading problem, later diagnosed as dyslexia.
Villasenor dropped out of school his junior year and moved back to Mexico. As a young adult a compassionate woman taught him to read, and ironically Victor decided he wanted to be a writer. For ten years he worked as a common laborer, digging ditches and cleaning houses. But all the while he thought about plots and characters in the stories he could write.
He wrote nine novels, sixty-five short stories, and ten plays. And every one he submitted was rejected by the publishers. However, in 1972, after receiving 260 rejections, he sold his first novel Macho!, which the LA times compared to the best of John Stienbeck. This began a journey for Villasenor that led to the best-seller Rain of Gold, which has been translated into seven languages.
Our word of the week is “continue.”
“Continue” may not seem like a particularly captivating or fascinating word. It doesn’t fall into the same category as words that powerfully speak to the Christian life like faith, hope and love. It is not a word that verbalizes God’s plan for salvation like grace, mercy or gospel. It is not a theological word like justification, sanctification, or predestination. But it speaks to the need of persistence. Perseverance. Tenacity. Just like Victor Villasenor!
“Continue” is an often used word that urges Christians to keep on keeping on. To remain faithful. To be diligent. And to be steadfast.
I was surprised that 10 different Greek words are translated into our English word continue. One of the words “prosmeno”” means to remain, or to continue with a person. It is used in Acts 11:23, speaking of Barnabas when he came to Antioch. “When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.”
The 1611 KJV translates the expression “continue with the Lord” as “cleave unto the Lord.” The NIV translates it “remain true to the Lord.” The ESV renders this “remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose.”
The word is also used in Acts 13:43 where Paul encouraged the Christians to “continue in the grace of God.”
One of the great challenges we face is the feeling of discouragement. Of growing weary in well-doing. Of becoming indifferent and lukewarm. Of failing to hold on to our faith. Of losing our first love.
Like Victor Villasenor we may encounter difficulties, handicaps, and rejection. Living a spiritual life in a secular world is not always easy. It is filled with temptation. Discouragement. And sometimes outright opposition.
But we must remember that being a Christian is not like being a casual, nominal member of a club. It is a lifestyle. A commitment. A daily walk. A discipleship the demands discipline. It means we must continue growing. Remain faithful. Keep on going.
Fundamental to Christianity is the call to continue. Of perseverance and persistence. The Bible urges us to “continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel…” (Col. 1:23)
Don’t give up! Don’t give in! Don’t give out! Continue!
–Ken Weliever, The Peacherman