March 7th 2015
Remember the scene in The Wizard of Oz when the four are knocking on the door of the Wizard in The Emerald City? A funny man slides open a little peep door and then slams it telling them to “Go away!”? Elizabeth and Ruth had a similar door-issue when they tried to get into a prison the other day and a mean guard just slid open a little slot and told them “Never. Go away.” Since it is not in their blood to give up they went around the side door where they were again told “Can’t happen. Go away!”.
They went to the back door where the guards didn’t know what to do. “It just so happened” at that very moment the Head Director came by. They seized the opportunity and told him what we wanted to do. He was very puzzled and kept asking “Why did you come here and how did you get to me?”. He was gripped by their appeal and invited them into his office. He was overwhelmed by our story and wholeheartedly gave us an open door to come into his prison the next day.
He was there to greet us as we pulled up. He was afraid to bring two different groups of prisoners together because they had opposing gangs. It would mean we either would do one two-hour program or two and spend four hours in the 90 degree sun. He was persuaded by his assistants to go with one. So they called a squadron of police in face shields and riot gear. It was awesome.
After we were done they offered to cook out a barbecue traditional meal if we would come back the next day at the guard headquarters. Although we had to be in several other places we could not turn them down. We had a beautiful time of sharing with all men in charge. The (catholic) Chaplain told us that the day before he was praying with the men and said the exact words “Lord please knock on our door with your love, help us find Your Word”.
When we shared about trying to get in he just laughed saying the Lord’s sense of humor is wonderful and was so sure that we were the answer to their prayers. How encouraging this was to our ears. These men were so open, especially the Chaplain, to everything I shared of Jesus. It is our real hope that true salvation in the living Jesus will come forth from this predestined time. They were eager to read our tracts and watch our DVD’s.
We had no place to stay as we traveled through the Andes so we planned to just camp out in our tent. The Head Director made arrangements for us to sleep over in a prison we have been trying to get into out in the middle of nowhere. I mean it is desolate. No one ever goes to these prisons. They are some of the worst prisons in the world. So we will sleep there tomorrow night.
God has opened doors for us in the most amazing manner. “He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this…I have put before you an open door which no one can shut…” (Rev.3:7). Every prison we have tried to enter has opened to us. Just since we arrived back in South America about a month ago we have now been to about fifteen different prison courtyards.
You do not realize the absolute impossibility of this. We are nobodies. We have no credentials, no backing, no worldly references. Besides all this we are just a family, not a professional organization. No group backing with obvious financial support. Our needs are immense but we are careful not to show them. Our own savings dwindle but keep us going as long as we can. We don’t bring in any sophisticated educational rehabilitation program. We put together our own homemade simple dances, skits and “magic” to communicate God’s love and the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is truly mind blowing.
When you sit back and think about all the variables you can see why God is so with us. All the angels rejoice when there is a soul saved. This is “prime real estate” for open and desperate souls vulnerable to His saving grace. Men who have made tragic mistakes are truly desperate for help. Yesterday we talked to some guys who committed a horrendous murder. Jesus says “I came for the sick….the healthy need no physician” (Mark 2:17). So many men, so many sad terrible stories, so much hope, forgiveness and love.
We tell them one thing they must realize is how important they are in the eyes of God that He sent His Son to die for each one of them. If they were not here in this prison right now they would never hear the truth of how to receive eternal life. God has given us the abundant grace to sustain our weary and sick bodies. It is no easy work but it sure is rewarding.
We also continue our street ministry and minister to the poor. So many individual stories there is not the room here to share them. The every day downtown crowds are quite hard but there is always some who are seeking. There have been several huge rallies and festivals. Abraham was carrying his mega sign “Seek the Living Jesus-Read the New Testament”. A large hostile mob surrounded him and pulled it to the ground and started to rip it up. He knelt down to try to stop them when a guy unloaded a kick under his jaw.
At first he thought it was broken because the power knocked him backwards and his ears went numb but he was ok. Little could he or I have known when he was fifteen, and I trained him to lift weights, that his amazing strength was so he could one day carry a huge twelve foot sign for a several mile parade route that would be seen on numerous TV stations throughout Latin America.
Some of these cities are socialistic and even communistic. Basically they are just insane. There is a large miners conference coming up soon. Mineral mining is the sole of the economy in some regional cities. Most miners are quite quite lowly. We constantly pray and remain sensitive to the Spirit.
We constantly say it would be tragic if a man goes his your whole life and never puts all your cards on the table all alone before God to ask Him to be born again. We had a marvelous witness at one of the largest festivals in the region. Several parades to walk with our signs. Tons of people. Of course there are the religious and the rich who scream against us but the majority are simple common people who are quite open so we pass out tens of thousands of tracts. So onward and upward we go, hearing and responding to the call of the living Jesus: “Go into all the world….” (Mark 16:15).
The rest of that first Revelations verse is “because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name. Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie-I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and make them know that I have loved you. Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.
I am coming quickly, hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown.”
We close our presentation with Rachel singing New Jerusalem. Yesterday we were in a maximum security. When we told the guys if we are to see them again they must use this time to be born again. And then explained how the New Jerusalem will have no high walls with barbed wire or cells of darkness but rather mountains of beauty, running streams and streets of gold they all erupted in applause and a number started crying…and so did I… as we hugged, shook hands and the headed back into that horrible place.