Amazonian Wednesdays 🌴
A young man named Santiago sat with his head in his hands, weeping. Holy Spirit was touching wounds deep in his heart. He began to pour out these words to me…
“We would go to school, hungry. We never had any breakfast. With tremendous effort, my mom would find a way to prepare a lunch for us to come home to. But when we would arrive home, there was nothing to eat. That man would toss our food to his animals.”
“That man” was his mother’s live-in boyfriend, Edgar. His father had died when he was a baby. His mother then met Edgar. He had money. She had none. She had no other way to support herself and her two children. She allowed him to move in and began submitting to his abuse.
Santiago continued. “He made our home a living torment. His drunken rage never stopped. I could take the blows myself, but it tore my heart out to see my little sister crying. Over and over, I wondered, Why was I born? Why did I come into this world just to suffer?”
Santiago’s tears rolled down his cheeks. Jesus was healing his heart in those moments. As he shared and remembered, we were inviting the Healer into the pulverized pockets of his soul. The Lord was ever so gently cleaning out the infected wounds he had long carried inside. His son was holding nothing back, but pouring it all out to Him. He went on,
“My sister despaired of life too. At the earliest possible opportunity, she left home. Soon she became pregnant and had a little girl herself. Now I watched as my niece, too, cried in hunger and pain. Not long after that, I found out from my mom that Edgar had violated my sister. I was so full of anger, I longed to kill him.”
God’s grace kept Santiago from committing murder. The Father knew that the moment of change and restoration was coming for this precious, hurting young man.
“I got into the drug trade to survive. But I wanted to die. Every day held nothing but pain for me. Then one day, I was headed out with some guys to get high. We walked by the church. Out of nowhere, something rose up in me. I pointed to the building and said, ‘Some day, I am going to preach there.’”
The pastor of that church, Enrique, is someone I am very proud of. He graduated from our pastors’ training program eight years ago. He then planted a church in Ushpayacu, Santiago’s town, and has been faithfully pastoring it ever since.
Not long after that evening, Pastor Enrique sought out Santiago one last time. He had been reaching out to him for many months. Santiago had been resisting. But the moment had come. This broken soul had reached the end of himself. Desperate, he surrendered to Jesus.
Today, he is off of drugs and himself a student at our pastors’ training institute (which we affectionately call our “Missions School”). A passion burns in his heart for following in Pastor Enrique’s footsteps. He plans on starting a church of his own in the jungle upon his graduation.
What beautiful redemption! Santiago once wondered why he was born. Now he knows. There is a sacred and eternal purpose for his life here on earth. He will soon be bringing hope and healing to souls once crushed as his was.