Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I Should Have Been Murdered

My name is José Torres, and I’m 18 years old.  When I was 12, I ran away from home.  I traveled to Quito, Ecuador, to prove to my family that I could be a good student.  However, life in Quito was very difficult.  What little money I made only paid for my food and rent.  In my loneliness, I made “friends” with the wrong kind of people and began to abuse drugs and alcohol.  Although I felt “tough,” I also felt guilty, knowing that I was ruining my life.

When I finally returned to my family, I ended up in jail for robbery.  It broke my father’s heart.  Worse, at 16, I was shot with a gun while robbing a house.  I was very tired of my life.

One weekend, my friend, Manuel, went to a youth event called Youth Alert at the Nazarene Seminary.  When he came back, I wanted him to help me with a robbery, but he told me that we would not longer be “working” together.  Christ had changed his life.  Although I was frustrated at losing my partner, I was glad to hear that he had found a better way.

When Manuel shared with me what Jesus meant to him, it really impacted me.  His eyes were shining with happiness every time he talked about God.  He challenged me:  “José, do you want to have Jesus in your heart?  He changed my life and can change yours.”  In that moment I opened my heart to Jesus and accepted Him as my Savior.  That same night I had already planned to rob a house but didn’t go.  Later I heard that the police killed three of my friends in the robbery.  That proved to me that God has big plans for my life.  That night Jesus not only saved my life but my soul and spirit.  Thank you, Jesus!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Jesus Gave Me My Life Back

Mariano de Jesus Sambarano, a 50-years-old father, was once happily married with four daughters.  Then he started to drink socially.  Little by little, he became addicted to alcohol and gambling.  He was oblivious to the pain he was causing his family until the day they left him.  Ten long years passed.  Although he felt guilty over what his life had become, he couldn’t stop drinking or gambling.  He tried to find happiness through other women, but that didn’t work either.  Committing suicide seemed to be the only solution.

One day, Gabriel, a friend and neighbor, invited him to a Church of the Nazarene in Santa Domingo, Ecuador.  Although Mariano didn’t know much about the church, he decided to go.  God began talking to him during the sermon, and he knew he’d found THE answer to his life’s problems.  Since then God has healed his wounds.  His second wife is helping him to grow spiritually and they are both a part of the Jesus Film crew in the church.  Glory to God!

Heaven's Award

My name is Segundo.  I am 38 years old and this is my story.  I’m a homebuilder, and every Friday I took my salary and got drunk with my work mates.  I went home mad and abused my wife and two children.  Hugo, my brother-in-law, tried to talk to me about Jesus but I always sent him away.  I told him if he continued to talk to me about God, I would not be responsible for my actions and I would cut off our relationship.

About 2 ½ months later, Hugo invited me to see a film.  He also told me that he’d been praying for me this entire time.  I don’t know why I changed my mind, but I accepted the invitation.  Since that day, Jesus is the Master and Lord of my life.  Recently, the Nazarene church that I attend celebrated its anniversary.  They presented me with an award for “most faithful person to attend church.”  My prayer is that I will continue to live my life so that I receive an award in heaven because of my faithfulness to my Lord.  Alleluia!

Jesus Film as Evangelism Strategy

The Modelia Church of the Nazarene in the North Central District of Bogotá, Colombia, is using the Jesus Film in several ways to reach the lost.  First, the church planned an evangelism event during Passion Week in the city of Villavicencio.  A total of 210 people viewed the Film during the three-day event.  All of these people were contacted during the next week and 125 people requested either a second visit or agreed to discipleship.  Fifteen then attended a follow-up meeting, and Pastor Carlos Muñoz anticipates more converts soon.

Second, the Film was part of the strategy to plant a new work in a neighborhood called The Treasure.  Twenty people meet together for a weekly discipleship time.  The pastor praises God for transformed lives.  For example, Betty was so addicted to cigarettes that her family never thought anything or anyone could help her.  Now she is free from addiction!