We had a powerful time at Rompiendo Cadenas yesterday. In the afternoon, we drove into the most dangerous part of Bogota where the church owns several buildings on the same block. We talked with the pastor and his wife about the wonderful work they are doing among the most lost young people in this country. He was involved in drug trafficking himself working with Pablo Escobar, but the Lord saved him out of all of that, many times rescuing him from death. He has the scars to show for it. Since being rescued off the streets, he has given his life to rescue others out of similar lifestyles and has been recognized by the government for the work he does. They have around six hundred people undergoing rehabilitation at any given time, in these buildings and on the three farms that the Lord has given them outside the city.
They invited us to visit with the young women in the women's shelter, so we spent an hour or two with twelve of them. It was a blessed time, and as they relaxed, it became clear just how young many of them were even as their underlying sweetness came out. We ministered to them and then prayed for all of them. Last evening, we sang and I spoke at the evening meeting with probably around 250 young people and others present, including all of those young ladies. All of these people are in the process of being rescued out of lives of drugs, thievery, and other destructive activities. Many of them are very young, and would not have lived much longer unless they were rescued. The Lord was very much with us during the message, and these restless young people were both attentive and responsive. When I gave the invitation for salvation, the first young man to come forward had just arrived into the program that evening. When he came forward, many others did so as well with probably over 80 up front by the time we prayed. I then invited all present, including believers, to surrender not only their sins but to yield their lives to the Lord as well, and more than two-thirds of the congregation came forward for a second time of prayer. God was powerfully present as a Vicky Estrella (the lady who organized most of our meetings) stated on the spot, "Now I know why God closed the door to Medellin, because He wanted us to be here!"
Afterwards the pastor made it clear was very happy with the message and the meeting, and sat us all down in order to speak to us. He told us that the Lord had shown him earlier that many of these young people were going to die, but that when he saw how many responded to the invitation to receive Christ, he was very moved to know that many of them were now on their way to heaven. It may be hard for us to comprehend, but when these kids leave their lives of crime, they risk being killed by those they once worked for. Rompiendo Cadenas does all that it can to help them, and many have permanently escaped destruction to live fruitful lives in the Lord, but not all. The corruption in Colombia is too great, and even some people in government and some rich people profit from all this suffering. The previous leftist mayor had tolerated all of this, but when he left office and a more responsible mayor took over recently, the police did a major successful raid into the district, arresting crooked cops and dealers, and rescuing many who had been kidnapped or were being held against their will. Many of the victims were children being used as sexual slaves. They also found unspeakable scenes of death and torture in the basements and caverns below the buildings in the area. If you did not believe in a devil, a place such as the Colombian "Bronx" is a clear manifestation of his hatred for human beings, beginning with the youngest and most vulnerable, as well as a testament to the evil that lives in fallen human beings.
Your prayers are much appreciated for tomorrow as I speak at 8 AM to pastors from all over the south of Bogotá. At 2 PM, we will do an open air outreach in the heart of the Bronx so we need all the prayer we can get for that time, and then at 7 PM, I will speak again at Rompiendo Cadenas. We are weary but blessed, knowing that the Lord will give strength!
God bless you all,