I want to give you good news with regard to our evangelistic efforts as a church. We have begun preaching at the center for drug addicts, which is perhaps the largest rehabilitation center in the country. As I mentioned in the previous report, we were invited to preach in this institution in a very unique way, and in May we began with our first visit. The experience was very encouraging, though it was also very challenging.
The institution has several locations where they receive and help addicts that are admitted there. We visited the first level in the process of rehabilitation, the entry level, where the addicts arrive in their worst state in order to be isolated from their contexts and begin the process of detoxification. And that is how we found them, in a deplorable state of total ruin, some of them being severely affected by the damage the drugs have done. Others were there as a requirement for completing their judicial punishment.
So, it was made clear to us that a door had been opened to preach to the most pitiful and devastated criminals and drug traffickers of our city, as well as many other cities (since the majority of the interns are from other cities, with the purpose of isolated them from the negative influences around them). After greeting and chatting briefly with these men I began to preach, a little doubtful with regard to what would be the best way to communicate the gospel to them, and even wrestling with this in my mind for almost the whole sermon.
But to my surprise, even when I spoke directly about man’s depravity and explained to them theologically the dilema that demanded the substitutionary death of the Christ in our place, the Lord granted the ability to capture their attention. In some cases as the different aspects of the gospel were preached, their reaction was seen on their faces and in their mannerisms; at times with tears, at other times with humiliation, and sometimes with wonder at the purity and love of Christ Jesus. After the preaching, several of them came up to me to tell me that they had not heard someone speak about the gospel in that way. They said that they had been impacted by it. Among them was the man that is in charge of the institution, who had given us total access to preach when we desire in the center. A few days later, he also told us that he wanted to be discipled to know more of who God is and what he has done on our behalf in Christ.
So, we left that day from the institution very encouraged, but also very moved and challenged, seeing that we were entering into a world much darker and difficult than we had thought. Some of the men that we are training in the exposition of the Scriptures are helping Esteban and me with the preaching to these poor sinners. May God help all of us and work wonders in the midst of our city.