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Christian Perspective

A United Methodist Church Missionary Story from Piracicaba, Brazil, 1978.

Aaron was a member of the church.  He was a very talented artist who could draw and paint beautifully.  He was also a master decorator who was called every year by the Country Club in Piracicaba to prepare elaborate decorations at Christmas and New Years.

But Aaron had a problem.  He was an alcoholic. He was marvelous when sober but awful when not.  Psychiatrists, doctors, loved ones, friends and I, as well, did our best to help him. Even Alcoholics Anonymous tried its best, but the result was the same–failure.  Sometimes he would be in hospitals for several months, only to come out and fall right back into his old habits.  When in the hospitals he would spend his time painting and making the most beautiful artifacts.

One day I went to see Aaron. He wasn’t in. I asked his wife, Dionysia, whether he was drinking again. She said that he was. The youngest son, Eduardo, was there, but I missed the oldest son, Milton, who was thirteen. She told me that he was with his father. Worried, I asked, “Milton hasn’t started drinking, has he?” She answered, “Oh no, that’s one thing I’m sure he’ll never do.  My two boys have come to detest liquor. For the last two weeks Milton has not left his father’s side. Wherever Aaron goes, night or day, Milton goes with him. He made up his mind that he is going to do everything he can to stop his father from drinking. He even goes to the bar with his father and tries to persuade him not to take a drink. When his father won’t listen to him, he then does everything he can to get the bartender not to serve Aaron a drink of ‘pinga’ (Brazilian rum).”

I was moved by what Dionysia had told me. I had a prayer with her and Eduardo.  As I was driving down the river-front street, three blocks from Aaron’s house, I passed by the corner bar. I was touched by what I saw. Aaron was sitting at a street-table drinking. Milton was sitting by his side, trying to persuade him not to.

Now as I write, I have before me a Christmas card from Aaron. He writes, “I have not drunk for a whole year and hope never to drink again.”

Rev. Cyrus B. Dawsey, Jr.

About religiousjourney

I'm a professor at Emory & Henry College and operate the religiousjourney.com blog.

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