Monday, March 24, 2008

The Mexico Spring Break team in Nuevo Laredo. The team represents 8 states plus the Dominican Republic! The only person missing is standing on our van taking the friend Katie.

WOW!!! Let me just say it again, Wow! Thank you so much for lifting this team up while we were in NL! We had a blessed week. We saw God move in our lives and the lives of the people of NL. We are so thankful to be safely home, but more thankful for the great work he did while there.

Two years ago, after the spring break trip, I returned to write about a prison we visited. We returned to that prison on this trip. This is an intense experience for the team. Most of this team have never seen the inside of a US prison, let alone a foreign one. Going through multiple check points, and having to surrender everything personal just to be able to go in is an unusual experience.

We arrived around midday, and the sun was high position. The prison walls were flanked by turrets which had guards with machine guns walking them, making sure all was well. The wind on this day had kicked up to high gear, causing the surrounding desert to fill the sky. It was hard to look ahead. It was hard to breathe.

The stench of raw sewage from pipes that shrunk a couple of inches from each other at every joint, increased the unpleasantness of the day. The interior of the prison was filled with men. They stared as we entered. That we were from the US made us suspect enough. That we were dressed in costumes only amplified the curiosity of those who had not been outside these walls of encarceration in some time.

We met many who would tell us they were brothers in Christ and thanked us for coming. We would encounter even more who were still embracing the world, though it had dealt them a severe blow. Would this be the day of their salvation?

We walked single file until we reached one of several churches (the one I wrote about two years ago). We entered and worshipped for a time with those who would call Jesus, Lord. We met several pastors who were part of a network of 400 who routinely visit this prison and minister to these men.

We saw children and women, freely moving about the interior with their loved ones. At times if felt more like a park, except for the high walls, razor wire and machine guns. We always felt as though thousands of eyes were pelting us with their gaze.

We moved to the interior open area where we set up to share the drama. We had to wait for several moments, while the inmates, brought bucket after bucket of water to wet down the sandy field where were to be. The high winds seemed to intensify, a thinly veiled plan of the enemy to try to prevent onlookers from wanting to be near us for the pictorial view of the chronology of God's plan.

Many came. Some of the team were at ease, others were quite wary. The music began and so did our portrayal of the Gospel message. More and more came as the story unfolded. By the time the final pose was deployed, the hearts of many had been moved.

During our time of ministry, we saw families come to Christ. We saw the Holy Spirit move over men and bring them to Salvation! We saw wives return with husbands, we saw fathers return with children as they wanted their loved ones to know the Truth!

The Truth set many free on this day, our first full day of ministry. This team embraced the Savior in a very dark and vile arena, walked in His obedience, and saw Him draw many to His heart. It was an incredible way to begin a week of ministry.

The intensity of the experience overwhelmed one of our veteran 13 year old's. The range of emotions moved her to tears as she tried to understand the enormity of what she had just experienced!

This team is still working through this week of experiences in a similar fashion. We drew so close so quickly. God brought unity across denominational boundaries for His sake. Doctrine did not separate. It was not about anything but Jesus and making Him known.

The result is many new believers, and hearts that understand obedience in a new and more distinct fashion.

Praise God for His provision!

Brad, thank you so much for writing. I got very excited when I returned and read your posts! This was a huge blessing to me, personally! Your words stirred me, and I continue to love your heart! I pray that over time, the Lord will restore your memories of what you experienced before the plane ride home from Peru. Death is always lurking at our doorstep. The question for us all is "are we living life in Him?"

The young man my friend Laura did a tracheotomy on at the soccer field improved to the point of being moments from release, when he suddenly died. It seems that his previous attempts at suicide had caused an issue to his heart that went undetected. The perusing of his journals afterwords, hint that he may have actually come to know Jesus, before his death. One day will know for sure. For now, we need to lift up Laura, and this young mans family.

God bless each of you!



At 9:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God Bless,
Greenfield, Indiana

At 11:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praise the Lord for the spring break given to serve Him!

What a blessing to hear more details of the prison visit.

He is Risen, Indeed!

We continue to lift up the on-going preparations for the summer trips.

In Him,

At 12:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praise the Lord for His work through you in NL. My heart goes out to Laura and the young man's family.
Mark \O/

At 3:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God did incredible things in that prison, including leading Jesus to Jesus!!!


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