Dear friends, we are sending out a plea for urgent prayer on behalf of ‘Jay’ (not his real name) and Pastor Mario. ‘Jay’ was the only one to respond publicly this year to the month of open air preaching by Reformed Faith Mission Community Church. He was a prominent gang leader and the church has witnessed a dramatic change in his life, giving evidence of genuine salvation. In fact, his wife has been so amazed by the change that she gradually grew in her openness to the gospel, and has also professed faith in Christ.
Last week I received heavy news from Mario. The rule of the gangs is ‘blood in, blood out.’ You must kill someone to enter the gang, and if you leave the gang, you or a family member must die. ‘Jay’s’ old gang has been harassing and threatening ‘Jay’s’ extended family in an effort to force him into a vulnerable position.
Mario’s church has spent the last week in fasting and prayer, and Friday he and ‘Jay’ will confront the gang in an effort to make peace and proclaim the gospel. The situation is extremely dangerous, lives are at risk, and we plead with you to join us in prayer for God to intervene in power.
Here is one of ‘Jay’s’ earlier messages to his new church family:
“Family I was making a cup of coffee this morning and felt such huge gratitude towards God for having a cup of coffee. A couple of months ago I was sitting on a corner in the cold, lost, broken, suicidal, waiting for someone that I can rob just for my next fix. A cup of coffee sounds small but it’s huge to me because God made it possible.”
This was his message to his church family last week:
“I am so grateful for everyone’s prayers, care, and concern. I really do find comfort in knowing that God is in control and that He works everything for the good, even if it means dying for the sake and name of Jesus. At least I will die for the Truth and not some lie that I was prepared to die for, for so many years. I have peace, I am saved by the grace of God, so that’s already more than enough. Should God deliver me from this situation, it would be a bonus, because He has done more than enough for me. God’s will be done and Jesus be glorified in all this.”
Before his current role at HeartCry, Robert served several years in pastoral ministry, and a few years in Zambia, Africa as a missionary. He is also a veteran of the Marine Corps. Robert and his wife have been blessed with 3 children and 4 grandchildren. They live near Christiansburg, VA in the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains, where he enjoys deer hunting and fly-fishing for trout.More By Robert Shepherd