Today was another good day serving in Floresta. I had the opportunity to share the Gospel with several people, and two of them repented and believed. One was a young lady who had lived in the favela for just a few years, and one was a young man who grew up in Floresta. Please pray they will be connected to Floresta Baptist Church.
As we were walking back to the church, we walked past some of the gang members/drug dealers sitting at a table covered with drugs and money located across from the church. Normally we just pass by and enter the church courtyard.
Today I felt the Spirit of God tell me that I needed to walk over and pray with them. This actually made me nervous. However, I then remembered the verse God placed on my heart earlier that morning from Acts 20:24 (ESV): ” But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”
I knew that today I could not just walk by and ignore them. I asked Will, one of the members of the church, to ask permission if I could come over and pray with them. I knew that it would be almost impossible because they are not allowed to be distracted while they are “working.”
By the grace of God, they allowed me, one of the interpreters and a few of the church members to come over, and I prayed with them. There I was, standing in the middle of nine young men, most of them with guns and all of them there to sell drugs. The youngest one was about 12 years old. He should have been somewhere kicking a ball, not carrying a gun and selling drugs.
My heart began to break for these young men. I was hoping they didn’t notice I was becoming emotional. I prayed for their families. I prayed that God would keep them safe in order that they might come to understand how much God loves them. I prayed they would hear the Gospel clearly and that God would have mercy on them. I asked God to pursue after their hearts because He is the only one who could give them what they really need, what they are really looking for.
Please pray for these young men, the church and all of the residents of Floresta. I know God can redeem these young men because He redeemed me. If it was not for the grace of God that is greater than my sin, I would be in the same place as these young men. I would still be living in my sin. I am so thankful that Jesus died in my place in order that I might live!
State Missionary Lee Dymond serves as Baptist Campus Minister at Auburn University at Montgomery