Friday, October 12, 2007

God Continues to Transform Lives

The city of Medellín, Colombia, has a population of one million people. Although there are two Nazarene churches, God put in the heart of the leaders to open the church in other areas of the city. After two strategic evangelism events, a new group has formed with 22 new believers. José Restrepo, the local pastor, testifies that each person has received the blessing of Christ's message, some have found peace, and others have experienced the power of forgiveness. There is an atmosphere of change and hope. We continue to pray that the whole neighborhood will be touched by the Lord.

Deep Peace Fills His “Holes”

Rubert from Unguia Town, Colombia, recently experienced the power of the Holy Spirit when he accepted Christ into his heart. Jesus has begun to restore his life which was previously destroyed by an early addiction to drugs. He testifies that he consumed drugs to fill the frustrations and holes in his life. Now his emptiness has been replaced with a deep peace and happiness. The desire for drugs has simply disappeared, and he feels calm instead of despair. Praise the Lord!

Holy, Holy, Holy!

The following testimony is from a man who doesn’t want to be identified for safety reasons:

“My life was a disaster. Ever since I was a boy, I was involved in all kinds of terrible activities. I joined the military but was demoted because of bad behavior. After this, my life was a living hell though I didn’t realize it. Instead, I viewed myself as a brave leader among my friends. I practiced witchcraft with the purpose of harming others, and I also killed people. I try not to remember my past because it causes me so much pain. Many times I committed these heinous crimes while high on drugs. As I grew older, I was left without family and friends. My enemies even killed my oldest son in order to pay me back.

I came to the point when I didn’t know what to do with my life. I went into hiding because my enemies were trying to kill me. Another tragedy was that I helped take the life of a friend because he converted to Christianity. When we were younger and did bad things together, we’d always ask the saints for help. I was angry that my friend would change his religion and I helped take his life.

One day when walking by the Church of the Nazarene, I heard a song with these words: “Holy, Holy, Holy.” When I arrived home the song kept ringing in my ears as if the people were singing it to me. I began to repeat the words: holy, holy, holy. I shook my head trying to rid myself of the song, but wasn’t able to do so. That night I couldn’t sleep because this song kept going through my mind. Alone, I asked God to help me. I wanted God in my life but wasn’t sure what to do.

Soon after that some brothers of the church arrived and invited me to see the Jesus Film. They were sent by God. While watching the film, God confirmed his love for me and his forgiveness. I identified with the scene where Jesus forgave the thief on the cross, and I thanked God for having mercy on me and for forgiving my sins. Today I am a new creature. God has forgotten about my sins and has given me a new opportunity to live. Blessed by His name!”

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Jesus, Defender of the Weak

At 16, Adelita moved to the capital city, Quito, to get a job. She worked for two years as a maid but her boss didn’t always pay her and treated her badly. One day a friend invited her to church. The service she attended ended with communion. To prepare the hearts of the congregation for the Lord’s Supper, the pastor showed clips from the Jesus Film. Adelita could not stop crying as she witnessed Jesus’ love for her. She also remembered that her mother often spoke about Jesus during her childhood.

In Adelita’s words, “That day God used the Jesus Film to show me once again His love and protection for me. I continue to attend the Nazarene church and the people have accepted me and given me much love and respect. I have also found a better job. Best of all, I feel loved and appreciated by Jesus since He entered my heart. I love Jesus!” Amen!

Part of the Family of God

Jorge is a 27-year-old man who discovered Christ even though he was a gang member and a drug abuser. Every time the Nazarene pastor’s wife walked by the gang and tried to invite them to church, the gang made fun of her; yet, Jorge was impressed that she wasn’t afraid of them, like most people in town. While others would cross the street to avoid their corner hangout, the pastor’s wife walked right up to them and greeted them. Often she would give advice. Sometimes Jorge and his friends would hide from her just so she couldn’t confront them about their behavior. One night, however, she found them and asked them to carry some suitcases to the church. Begrudgingly, the group helped her but joked all the way to the church.

Arriving at the church, the pastor welcomed the group and asked them to carry the suitcases inside. Instead of being threatened by the gang, the pastor and the church members seemed to trust them. This greatly impacted the group. Inside the suitcases was equipment for the Jesus Film. The gang helped the pastor set up the equipment, stayed for the showing, and afterwards accepted Jesus as Savior!

When the church began preparing the people for a future showing of the Jesus Film in the streets, Jorge and his friend decided to join the ministry. In Jorge’s words: “Our new life is something marvelous. Today I am helping in the evangelism ministry that I used to mock. I thank Jesus that I am now part of the family of God.” Praise the Lord!