(Just a side note about Abraham’s video Going to see the Son (2nd chance). We will send a copy to anyone who would like it. When we were ministering in Boston this last fall we met a guy who was a professional videographer. Abraham sent him the video to critique. He just wrote last night with a response that blessed our socks off. A complete unbeliever and stranger couldn’t stop saying how he was blown away by such professional quality from an amateur. He specifically detailed all the variables in the five specific work sections with A to C grades. Mostly A’s. Couple B’s. One “C” on too many words. He also really liked the music I wrote for it. That he would even take the time to write such a long and specific help said everything. We registered in his world. It gives us great hope for the vision we are seeking to yet bring into reality to glorify Jesus in this generation. Abraham spent hundreds of hours so he is really encouraged.)
So we arrived at the Miami International Airport terminal…
The Woroniecki clan all huddled just outside the security check-through line. One tiny, little, gigantic problem; we got 2000 lbs. of luggage when our limit is 800 lbs. In any number of other places you might think there was hope. But an airport has such strict guidelines for security reasons. When I looked at all our boxes, bags, back packs, etc. I just thought “Oh Lord how can you possibly get this through?” It was, in one word, ridiculous.
(A back-story to all this stuff is that various companies finally responded, after months of petitions, for blankets and shirts for prisoners and stuffed animals for orphanages.) So anyways, we were denied entry by the guard and expected to eliminate 1200 lbs. of stuff right then and there that we had worked so hard to bring to people.
We fight hard with everyone, whether it’s police to get into some areas or officials to get onto plazas, or bureaucrats to get into prisons etc. So Sarah went to the head of the airport and presented our case. The guy was, of all countries, from Colombia, which we consider our second home. It was his only day there all week. Needless to say we found great favor. He did a lot of string pulling and computer work to come up with those beautiful words “Bring all your stuff here right now!”. Glory to God!
So here we are in Montevideo, Uruguay after going into three prisons within the first two weeks of arrival. The blankets are a God-sent to the prisoners and also even to some guards. They say it is very cold inside even during the summer and are very grateful. These blankets open up hearts into which we sow God’s Word. They see we are not there to do “good works” to feel good about ourselves but sincerely care about them in the love of Jesus. “Thank You for Your heart Father!”.
Sad to tell that we had a type of tragedy that hit us hard in the second prison. My precious David tore his Achilles tendon. We were devastated. Being in a third world country with such a serious and severe injury scares me. People don’t care enough to give us accurate information. For most people who live in a stationary place with access to local hospital care it would be bad but not near what it means for us. Below is the very moment he tore it. You can see his face is bewildered. Just couldn’t walk.
As foreigners, having to deal with 3rd world medical care, not having a stationary residence but rather traveling in a van is not an easy thing to resolve. And of course when the poor people see us in their hospitals, whom they are convinced are rich Americans, they can not believe that we are in financial need. David IS energy. His life is constantly LIVING to it’s fullest. I can’t express how much he gives us vision, inspiration and sheer desire. For him to have to deal with a wheel chair plus carrying it about in an already extremely tight living situation forces us to reach deep. We were at the hospital most of the night after prisons but God gave us the grace to go to another the next morning. It is tough to trust doctors who seem quite ambivalent and unprofessional in dealing with something so serious as David’s future walking capacity. Especially after the cast they temporarily put on just broke in half. Now we have to go back to do it again. We have to yet figure out about surgery. Where can we look for help when no one cares? The Lord God is a Father Who will be over everything.
None of this touches on the personal suffering of David. Our strength is that God says He “scourges every son He loves” (Heb.12). His leg is in a thigh high full length cast for two months. For us two months is traveling on difficult roads into three or four countries with the need for David’s help in so many, many areas. For anyone who is at all aware of our ministry you may recall when we first shipped our van here. The second day in Cartagena, Colombia I severed my Achilles while ministering downtown. God led us to a Naval surgeon who operated the next day and I was in a wheel chair for the following four months.
So surely God is with us and will give us the grace we need now as He did then. We are trying to gather ourselves to head back on the road tomorrow headed North. We have to go back to the hospital to redo the cast then load up all our junk onto our van and drive on as “The Beverly Hillbillies”. There are some large festivals going on in this region we will try to get to.
God is so good, His ways so deep. Trusting Him within though everything burns. What a divine privilege to carry His gospel to all these people in such need of Jesus. We were downtown yesterday, after the prisons, and a guy from Iran came up to me who was moved by our witness to Jesus. I can share about many, many people with whom we have found open hearts here on the streets and on the beaches. We had some awesome ministry downtown. Just so unique here. Uruguay is a very unreligious country. Nothing like the states. Just not that “Oh ya, I already know all that I’m a Christian”. Not at all. It’s so refreshing and hopeful.
Yesterday we were in a courtyard of another prison with guys that the guards said were the worst of the worst. I wish I could take you with us to see what we see. To watch men transformed right before our eyes. It’s amazing. I don’t mean in any way to imply that it has anything to do with our fleshly abilities but yet I want to proclaim how powerfully God works through us, despite us, to manifest Jesus. The guy below (center) is Jorge whom David gave the Chicago Bull’s hat. Amazing guy we saw change his heart.
So many grieving stories of young men sentenced to 20 or thirty years for one drastic mistake. One guy was stabbed near his heart and threw the guy against a wall in defense, he hit his head and died. A lot of armed robbery and murder stories. Old men, 60 to 70 years old, unable to get a job, desperate to support their families get caught in the web of drug smuggling. Now destined to die in prison never to see their families again. One very young guy had that tone of about to weep at any moment telling me over an over he would never see his mother again. Not his girlfriend. Not his wife. Not his child. His mother. It just says so much. So many men who are just boys.
The guards are horrible. We are told stories of beatings and abuse. These guys, we are able to comfort, make them smile, laugh, hope and most of all hear the gospel of God’s love. To help them realize that there is a Father Who will run out to meet them regardless of how terribly they have failed in life. Sarah wrote this beautiful poem of Luke 15 and I just can’t tell you how moving it is to these men who were convinced their crimes rendered them hopeless in the eyes of God.
I tell them how wrong those rich evangelicals are who equate success and self-happiness with God’s Presence. The idea of being “broken” is a detestable concept. Above all NEVER BE BROKEN. Quite the opposite for the Jesus of the Scriptures. I tell them how Paul called himself “the scum of the earth”. Paul had “fellowship” with the sufferings of Christ (Phil.3:10). He writes of constant failures, sufferings, fears, rejection and a redemption of his sin as God’s means of bringing His blessings. Blessed are those who mourn for they shall know God’s comfort.
I tell them my life is one of failure after failure in every way. I thank my Father for breaking me in so many ways. It is not about merely having to endure suffering. Everyone does that. It’s about engaging God in it all. Suffering requires active participation of faith in God or it does nothing but make you bitter. Paul lost everything. Jesus and Paul did not “put up” with suffering. They drew from the Father HIS light and purpose of another world. So, you ask, what has suffering gotten me? Everything that is anything. Where has it gotten me? Here. Where I am. With them. Which was my original prayer way back in 1974 in the Notre Dame stadium when as a twenty year old kid I asked God to please use me to my fullest potential.
All my failures brought me to this prison right here right now to love them with the truth of Jesus. His ways kept me from my ways. All those many years of “success” and “blessing” of striving to find a “ministry” from my Master’s Degree from Fuller Seminary spent, unknowingly, on trying to satisfy the hidden monster of ego (self). Trying to re-save the “saved” for the fifth time around. Teachings upon teachings upon teachings upon teachings to those who have had so many teachings their whole life is just another effort to obey another “unique” teaching.
While throughout the world there are multitudes who respond immediately to the simple gospel, intended for those who are SET, not to harden their hearts, but to give their hearts to Jesus. God is going to judge by how He sees, not how we think He sees.
I held a middle-aged man (below) in my arms yesterday for several minutes. He just wouldn’t let go. Naturally I wondered if it was just emotion or maybe he was overreacting. His name is Julio. Then when I saw his face I realized my arms were those of Jesus. He just broke. He heard. “Forgiveness? For all my sin? Who is this Jesus? How do I can I find Him?”
Today, by God’s marvelous grace, David was sitting in his wheel chair back behind our equipment. Despite the cast in the burning hot sun. He insisted on being there and ministering. Please don’t think I am trying to sound religious when I say his attitude is like “It’s not about me. It’s about souls”. So many young guys surrounded him in his wheel chair to talk. It was like seagulls on a beach when you throw out bread. He uses one of those “cool” modern raps to hip hop music he wrote to reach out to young guys.
A couple of hat companies sent him some amazing hats that he is able to give to certain special guys and you can not imagine how much it means. It is like you gave them a brand new car. One guy actually said “I’ve wanted to own one since I was a little boy”.
The women’s prison reminded me, no exaggeration, like what you see in the death camps by the Nazi’s. It was a condemned hospital building. Dark, crumbling, all overgrown. Unfit for human occupation. Their faces were etched with pain. Some of them had children and you could see they were absolutely at their end. It meant everything to draw the children into dance and give them a stuffed animal. It opened their heart.
Protect Your House
God gave me this word: “If you had a nice house or apartment that had nice furnishings and furniture would you let some crazy hooligans wander in off the street to raise havoc in your home? Would you let them destroy your house for the sake of their own insanity? The answer is obvious.
So then why do you do it? Why do you let THOUGHTS out of the thin air walk into your mind with chaos? Why do you leave your door open to all the lying emotions Satan and all his demons choose to bring in to you? He hates you. Jesus says that a house divided against itself will fall (Lk.11:17).
Thoughts are not in your pocket. They are not in your cupboard. You can’t show or touch them. They are invisible things that Paul says Satan fills the very air we breath with (Eph.2:2/2 Cor. 10:4). You must stop these “strangers” from coming into your house (Jn.10:5). This will prove who really owns your mind. Imagine some stranger boldly coming into your house, laying on your bed at night, and saying whatever he wants. Self-pity, loneliness and regret are relentless in their effort to live in your house.
Wallow-In-Nothingness is some guy who walks by, in the middle of the day, seemingly harmless, until he gets inside your house. Then he is all over you with crazy nonsensical aimlessness.
But what if someone came by your house who sincerely loved you, out of nowhere? What if he knew all about your personal suffering, sin, fears and weaknesses? He stands outside your house waiting for you to welcome him in. He offers promises of hope and goodness. We have been carrying signs up and down the beaches here that are filled with tourists. This morning I drew a line in the sand with my big toe. On this side I wrote SELF. Then I stepped over it and onto the side of a walk of faith where I choose to believe God is so good. He is the Father Who created the magnificence of all creation.
So my friend think seriously about who you allow to come into your house. For whatever you allow to come in will determine your state of mind. If you don’t stop them at the door they will just wander in. Before you know it they will control of your house. They don’t care what you say. They only respond to what you DO. Grab them by the neck and throw each one of them out. Do so with “violence” (Mt.11:12). Because I assure you that the one who is sending them does so with malicious intent.
Choose to welcome in humility of mind, praise, thankfulness, love, faith. God is good. Forgiving. Picture a sunset. Watch one. See a flower. Stop. Smell one. See a face. Touch a shoulder. Grab a hand, love someone. Lift up your eyes and believe. See the cross. See the One Who shed His blood so you can love His Father. Say it once. Say it a thousand times. “I believe You Messiah Jesus are the Sacrificed Lamb”.
So we journey on. Anyone who could and wants to help us, we need it. For us fifty dollars is a lot of money. Gas is six dollars a gallon here. No exaggeration. You can check it on the Internet. This place, as poor as it is, is more expensive than any country in South America. It’s one reason we are leaving. We can’t afford it. The government is just insane. Paraguay and Brazil are both better than here. We love you all very much and pray for those of you we know. Hallelujah! Jesus is coming soon!