Monday, March 26, 2007

The team was practicing hard. We had arrived only hours before, and we were trying to get our drama ready to use as our primary tool for conveying the Gospel. Some were catching on quickly and others were struggling to get it. Would it be ready?

The sun was high as I headed down the dirty street towards the internet cafe. A newspaper vendor called from his position, trying to sell the latest stories. Yesterday's news blew across the face of this city finding cracks and scrapes to lodge in. The air smelled stale, like salsa mixed with sweat.

I made the final turn to head up the stairs to where the cyber cafe would allow me to update many curious parents on how our trip was beginning. This staircase was a favorite haunt of young couples who wanted to express themselves physically. I dodged between pairs of them as I made my way. I easily noticed them, but for some reason, they stopped to notice me. Perhaps they were more engaged in show than love.

I entered through the dirty glass door to the sounds of video games. The young man at the counter seemed embarrassed that he had to speak Spanish to me. I shared my need in a broken sentence. "Yo queiro un machina por media hora, por favor." He directed me to a computer holding up 10 fingers to indicate the number of the unit I was to use.

As I sat down I noticed a young lady seated perpendicular to me. She had beautiful eyes. She was young, maybe 12 or 13. In this culture the young ladies often mature sooner than in the states. Maybe she was only 10 or 11.

I began my quest for the website, so I could post an update of our young trip.

She began to speak to me in broken English. I answered her in broken Spanish. She was very friendly. Her name was Sylvia. Her eyes had a bit of a twinkle, but there was a deep sadness residing there.

Our conversation would occur intermittently as we continued working at our stations. She asked why I was here, where I was from, where I was staying. When she discovered I was a missionary it sparked her interest.

I asked if she had Jesus in her heart. She said no, that she had many spiritual problems. I told her she needed Jesus. She seemed to agree, but was preoccupied with thoughts about her difficult life. She told me she was a prostitute. My heart sank.

She told me she was 16, I found it hard to believe, but acted as if it were truth. For the 30 minutes that I battled with this foreign computer, I struggled to convey the message of God's love in a language I don't speak well. Her 30 minutes were up just before mine.

I said goodbye to her as I headed out the door and back to the church where we were staying.

Around 10 minutes later, as I was seated on the lower level of the building watching the team work out their roles in the drama, I was startled to see her enter the room. She searched the room and found me quickly. I motioned her over. I introduced her to some of the leadership.

She met David (my co-worker) and was cordial, deliberate, clearly she had met many men. I took her to meet my wife and Katie (another co-worker). She was very friendly, and then things turned quickly.

Back at the cafe, I had shared with her that God loved her, and could make her new. Here, out of the eye shot of most men, in the presence of two American women, she began to sob. She poured out her story as I searched for one of our team, who knew Spanish.

When we returned, I asked Sylvia if the three of us could talk privately. Marjorie, one of our team members had joined us to interpret.

As the three of us walked toward a private place, suddenly, Sylvia saw the bathroom and hurried into it. I turned around unaware that I had lost her. Marjorie went in to find her, and came out with tears running down her face.

Marjorie said, "She is in there at the sink, scrubbing her hands really hard. Do you know what she said to me? Sylvia told me as she wept, I am not clean enough to go out and speak with that man."

"I am not clean enough to go out and speak with that man?" This thought caromed off of the corners of my mind. Who did she think I was? I am nobody!

Not to her. To her, I was the answer she had been seeking. Well, not me personally, but she saw what was about to happen and seemed to know that she was about to encounter a Holy and Mighty God.

The two of them came into the room as I waited. They were seated on the bench in front of me. I began to share with Sylvia through Marjorie. Marjorie too, saw the magnitude of what was happening and fought to control her own emotions.

Sylvia had lived with her mother, but did not know her father. The man that was residing in her home (with her mother) was not related to them. Sylvia was raped repeatedly by this man. This went on until she decided that if she was going to have to endure this, she might as well get paid for it. She left home, and began making her own living. She feared she was too filthy for a Holy God to embrace.

I shared with her about "new snow" and how white and pure it was. I told her that her life could begin over again, that she would no longer be filthy in God's eyes. She could have a brand new life in Jesus Christ (JesuCristo). She wanted this desperately.

She wanted the opportunity to begin again, a life where she did not have to scrub the dirt from the outside, but would be cleansed from the inside. She poured her heart into her prayer to receive Jesus.

The initial sparkle in Sylvia's eyes had undergone a full countenance makeover! She was clean!

Tomorrow, I will finish her story.


My sincerest thanks to you Brad for writing each day last week. You do so, very well, and I appreciate you pouring your gift out right here! You are such a blessing to me!


At 9:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow... it's amazing to hear what reverance others have for that which we take for granted...

At 10:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praise God in heaven for His marvelous wisdom and grace. I thank my God for your willingness to present the gospel of our lord, dad. You are an inspiration to me as I sign up for my own trip to Mexico this next Wed. at church. Thanks again dad.

At 6:41 PM, Blogger natenamy said...

Oh! I have the shivers! What an amazing story... I can't wait to hear the end. No, the new beginning, that's what I can't wait to hear!
Glad that you all arrived home safely! We have been praying for you. It is wonderful what God can do with what we offer him!
We love you loads.
Amy (and Nate)


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