One important aspect of our ministry is prayer. We believe and have seen the power of prayer to change lives, nations, hearts, to reach the most unreachable people.
On Friday nights, we lead a team down to the biggest brothel in Costa Rica and hold a prayer vigil. The point of this vigil is to pray... but we always end up doing ministry to some of the most unlikely of people. We speak to pimps, to traffickers, to Americans who are coming to buy women, to drug dealers, to people in the mafia, you name it. It is incredible to see how our presence on this corner (where absolutely no one expects to see us) allows God's presence to work in the lives of the people down there.
A few weeks ago, we went out on a Friday night to have our prayer vigil. Carlos and I were leading a YWAM in which most of the people don't speak Spanish. As soon as we arrived to the corner, in front of the brothel, one of the biggest drug dealers in all of Costa Rica walked directly up to me. His name is Claud, and we have known him for quite some time. He is always there in front of that brothel, selling and doing drugs. However, over time we have developed a relationship with him. We entered into a very intense conversation, a very deep conversation that lasted about an hour. He began by saying that "you guys are the only people in the world who really love me. I know you love me, even though I'm so bad. You guys are my only real friends, the streets can't offer you real friends..everyone comes to take. I spent a lot of time in prison and the streets... well they don't ever forgive me for that." He told me how he was so thankful to God that we don't care about that, that we aren't scared of him, and that we truly love him for who he is. As I began to speak truth into his life about a 'better life and God's plan', he stared at me in complete shock. It was the first time in his life that someone had actually believed in him. Someone had actually been able to see the good in him.
The conversation just got deeper and deeper... I could see the desperation in his eyes. He knew that we loved him.... he could see there was something different. He even told me that a few weeks ago when we were there, he got into a fight defending us. It had begun to rain and we all ran across the road to get shelter under the brothel's overhang. Apparently some other drug dealers and pimps were laughing at us, and he fought them because he knows "we are good people". He knows that we are the only people down there on the corner who want to give.
Isn't that what God has done for all of us? Despite the filth in which he found us, he was able to find something good... he was able to see our potential. Everyone is a candidate for the kingdom of God... even these people on the darkest of corners.
A song of praise
For the past year, we have been working with this one young man on the streets who is so young and so precious. He has been prostituting himself as a transvestite for over 5 years, and he's only 20. We have been walking very closely with him, especially over the past 4 months as he has made the decision to finally leave the streets to look for God. Last Wednesday he came with us to the YWAM base's family night. This is a night where all of the students in the training schools, all of the missionaries, and people from the community get together at the base to worship God and to listen to a teaching. This young man stayed glued to me in the back corner of the room. During worship, I was standing with my arms raised, and he was sitting beside me in the seat. At one point, I looked down at him and he seemed like he was just zoned out, but looking towards the stage. I laid my hand on his shoulder to pray for him, and he bent forward. He began to weep. After the worship ended, Carlos, Ryan and myself took Israel outside to pray for him as he calmed down. God was doing something huge in his heart. He was completely moved by the powerful presence of God. He was amazed. He was touched.
Please pray for this guy as we walk with him through this process. After so many years in such a dark lifestyle, there is a HUGE spiritual battle over his life. We are the only Christian people who he knows. He is desperate for God. However, his is continuing to struggle with the lies that hold so many people to the streets... and the money that the streets provide to feed himself and to help him get an education. We of corse, are willing to help him in any way that we can.
A few of the people from our work program