Is it strange that God wants us to develop a Christ-like character that comes through suffering? No sir. And we all have trials. We are all tried and chastened as sons. Not one but goes through that. The church that is not suffering, and is not being tried, hasn't got it--it isn't of God. Heb. 12:6, "For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons."

An Exposition Of The Seven Church Ages, Chapter 4.

Like all of God’s children, Brother Federico has been through some rough times. He was not permitted to go to school, so he couldn’t learn to read. The other kids made fun of him. And his parents showed him very little love. All this because of a speech impediment. But the Lord always had His hand on the boy.

One day, a mysterious man came by the house and gave his family a very special book. Not only did he learn to read from that book, but it built a foundation that has lasted decades. Here is his testimony.

I was born and grew up at small village named Santa Martha. When I was a child, I had a hard life. I couldn’t speak well due to my tongue was pasted to the bottom of my mouth. The letter “R” was pronounced as an “L”. This made my parents not love me, or at least that was the impression they showed to me. I never went to school, because I was useless even to go learn at school.

We moved from there to Veracruz, where my dad put me to work on the farm instead of going to school. After about four months, I finally got to go to school. My first day, I was called by the professor. He called me aside and told me that the school was not made for me, neither was I made for the school. He sent me to the classroom to pick up my books and go home. He told me that I would be a great farmer, but not a good student, and sent me out.

I grew up a little bit. At about 17 years old, I walked aside a small creek and once I was alone, I thought, “Well, if I can’t talk due to my tongue is pasted to my mouth, I’ll cut it out.” I took a shaver razor and cut it out. Since that time, I started to talk fine, or maybe just better. But I never told that to my parents.

The time went on and once upon the time, a man arrived to my parents’ home. He asked for food, as he was on his road, but he had no money to pay for the meal. He said, “Would you accept me this book?” It was the COD (Conduct, Order, and Doctrine translated into Spanish) Volume I. She said that it was OK; he didn’t need to pay for the meal. He left the book anyhow. Do you know how I learned to read? With that Conduct, Order, and Doctrine book.

One day, I was taken to watch a movie down there at La Martha. I did not want to see it, it made me cry. It was one like The Passion Of Christ. Them Romans whipped Jesus, and every whip, I cried. I cried the most when He was at the cross and there came a small bird, a robin. It tried to take the nails out of our Lord Jesus, but without success. Since then, his chest turned to red.

The years passed and I grew up. One afternoon I was reading a Message; I think it was “My Life Story” 59-0419A (Paragraph 45):

I've always loved robins. Now, you boys out in radio land, don't shoot at my birds. You see, they're--they're--they're... Them's my birds. Did you ever hear the legend of the robin, how he got his red breast? I'll stop here a moment. How he got his red breast... There was the King of kings was dying one day on the Cross, and He was suffering and no one would come to Him. He had no one to help Him. And there was a little brown bird wanted to take them nails out of the Cross, and he kept flying into the Cross and jerking on those nails. He was too little to pull them out, and he got his little breast all red with blood. And ever since then his breast has been red. Don't shoot him, boys. Let him alone.

When I read this, I started to shout very loud, “Ey, I know this bird, I know this bird! I knew him when I was a child!” I was very excited and claimed to my wife that I knew this bird, which was trying to set the Lord free from that cross. I was very excited, seeing again that very bird I saw when I was a child.

Brother Federico