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Arturo did not Die

Since 2018, I have lived in communal housing in the city of Odessa. It has been a difficult and uncomfortable living arrangement at times, but living in the hostel has been my way of meeting others, and has resulted in many opportunities to share the Gospel. 

After a recent trip to visit family and supporters in my home country of Colombia, I was glad to come back to my little room here at the hostel. I spent some days reconnecting with the staff and tenants, and the various venders, street musicians, and store owners that I have come to know. It felt like coming home. However, as I was walking my usual route, I noticed that one of my old friends was conspicuously absent. Where, I asked, was Arturo?

Arturo is a dear, disabled friend who could usually be found in his wheelchair, begging in front of the local Orthodox cathedral. Asking around, I was told that that Arturo had been very sick for months, feverish from infected leg ulcers, and near death. His neighbors were so certain that he was going to die, they had already begun dividing up his possessions! When I finally found him, I was shocked by his appearance. 

“I might as well die,” he told me weakly from his bed. “Just remind me - what must I do so that Jesus will take me to heaven?” 

While I was glad to go over the Gospel with him, I was also determined to fight for his life. Daily I went to buy medicine and prayed with him. I travelled to Zaporozhye to visit the MB churches there and asked them to also pray. I was gone for a few days, and when I returned to Odessa I was anxious to check on my friend. To my joy I found him sitting up in bed, impatient to get into his wheelchair and go back to his “place of work”. Arturo did not die. 

Never have I been so happy to see someone begging! Each day that I walk the streets I smile to see him in his familiar place again, in front of the cathedral. He tells everyone that God healed him. Now that Arturo is recovering physically, I pray that God will help him to continue in his faith. Father God, fulfill your plan in Arturo’s life!

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