May 5, 2012

Plino.



"For by thee I have run through a troop: by my God have I leaped over a wall."
- 2 Samuel 22:30

 When I was born, Daddy was a Bible worker and my parents lived in the back of the church in Mogi das Cruzes, Brazil. (My hometown!)  In Brazil, residences usually have a fence/gate in the front and in order for a person to talk to the person inside the house, they stand outside the gate and clap a couple of times. Because where we lived was right beside the church, homeless people would oftentimes pass by, clap and ask for money.

 My parents were always careful when giving out money; they wanted to make sure their money wasn't going towards the feeding of an addiction or that the church welfare department materials weren't going to dishonest causes. When people asked for bus fair, they gave them rides instead. When people asked money for food, they supplied the food itself. It was easier to not be taken advantage of that way. Several people who had fallen on hard times and were sincere came and were helped, but several people simply wanted to smoke or drink other people's hard earned cash instead of seeking the help they needed.

 One day, a man passed by, clapped and asked for money. He went on to tell a story, saying his grandmother had died and he just wanted enough money to buy a few flowers to take to her funeral and to place on her grave. But the overpowering stench of alcohol in his breath gave him away.

 Daddy let him in, gave him some attention, and they talked for a while. Daddy found out that the man's name was Plino, and that Plino lived nearby. Daddy invited him to come to church if he'd like, and he was soon in regular attendance. Guess who was the first person Plino invited to go to church with him ... his grandmother. Days passed and Plino announced he was no longer drinking; he had improved his diet; he was becoming a new man.

 Time went by and as Daddy and Plino became friends, Plino told his story.  He said he was a compulsive liar, and that he was quite good at it too!

 He told Daddy about how he had a really good job in a really good company. The company provided public transport to its employees and every day the company bus would pass by the employees' homes to drive them to work in the morning, and take them home in the afternoon.

 On one particular work day, Plino had been on the bus going to work when it passed by a local amusement park. He looked at all the people playing and having the time of their lives; he began to compare their situation with his. They were having a blast, and he was going to work. Suddenly a wave of extreme sadness poured over Plino, and he started to cry.

 He hadn't even noticed the tears streaming down his face, until a coworker nudged him and asked him why he was crying. Plino, ever cunning and not one to miss a chance given him, put on his best sad face and told his coworker his poor grandmother had died and that he was on his way to work and would miss the funeral of his beloved granny.

 His coworkers were shocked. "But Plino!" they exclaimed, "If your grandmother has died, you have the right to take the day off!" Plino just sighed miserably. When they arrived at work, Plino's colleagues went to their boss' office, and explained to him Plino's "situation". "Boss," they began, "Plino's grandmother has died. He was crying on the bus this morning; he's upset because he's going to be working and will miss her funeral!"

 Soon, Plino was approached by the company administrators who offered their condolences, gave him an advance on his salary, and told him to take the day off and to see to his grandmother's funeral good and well. He could take all the time he needed and they wouldn't be needing him at work that day.

 Plino made a beeline for the amusement park with a pocket full of money. He played and played and enjoyed himself all day long. The evening drew nearer and Plino was almost home; as he was going up the street, he noticed a familiar looking van coming nearer and nearer to his house. It was the company van.

 Plino sprinted to his front gate and made it just in time to meet one of his coworkers who had just gotten out of the van with a huge flower wreath with a ribbon containing the company's name and condolences printed on it. As he looked into the van he noticed it was packed with friends from work, in funeral attire, ready to support Plino at his poor grandmother's funeral. He realized it was over; if it weren't bad enough that all these people had comes expecting a funeral, his unsuspecting sister was inside the house.

 But Plino wasn't so easily deterred. He decided to give it one last shot. So he put on his most sorry looking face and apologized, "Aww man! Guys, I'm so so sorry but my grandmother's funeral is at my sister's house all the way across São Paulo! I really really appreciate you guys coming. I hope you won't mind, I'm really sorry, but I just came over really fast to get a piece of document I forgot and I'm running back there. Thank you so much for coming, but I have to go!" he rambled.

 "Well at least take the wreath!" said his colleagues. Plino hurriedly took the enormous flower arrangement and made his way inside while everyone piled back into the van.

 Plino's sister walked out onto the porch as Plino came up the walk. She gaped. "What in the world is that thing?" she asked staring at the flower wreath. "Shut up and get in!" Plino gasped as he nudged her inside.

 That was Plino. The liar.

One day, as he made his way to church in his church clothes and with a Bible under his arm, Plino heard two neighbors snicker and say to each other, "There goes Plino, on his way to trick the Christians." This made him very upset, but he knew that it was hard for those who had known him, and who hadn't themselves felt the change that God can perform in people's lives, to understand or believe the change that had happened in his life.

 Yes, Plino had been a master liar. But that was Plino. Through prayers, God's help, and support from church members, Plino changed and let go of his deceiving ways. He quit drinking, quit asking for money, and he changed his life around. Plino couldn't have done it on his own, but "Through Christ all things are possible."

11 Wonderful people made my day!:

  1. Wow, now that is quite a lie! The guilt would have gotten to me! Wonderful that he was able to change his life!

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  2. What an encouraging story! God CAN change lives. It's so sad when people react like that, like the people who saw Plino go to church. It's so typical how people judge without knowing the whole story.

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    1. It's typical of all of us to judge, right? And only God can change that in each one of our hearts as well.

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  3. What a fascinating story. I'm so glad Plino finally found the help he needed! I really like how your parents dealt with homeless people!

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  4. What a fascinating and inspiring story, Larissa. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. uau que históriaaa essa do Plínio... ele ainda vive??
    não pude deixar de rir quando a primeira pessoa que ele levou na igreja era sua vózinha... rsrs...

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  6. You are such a master storyteller, Larissa. I feel I have met Plino myself.

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