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The Man in the Dark Alley

It was late and getting dark. When Israel saw the shadowy figure emerge from the cobblestone alley, he stopped what he was doing and stepped protectively in front of his wife. Mexico is a place where one does not take unnecessary chances. They waited as the rough-looking man slouched toward them, baseball cap pulled low over his face. What did he want?

Israel Chavez and his wife Sandra had been packing up from a full day of community building in Guadalajara. Their new ministry, Punto Vida (Life Point) had only just launched a few months previously, and response from the locals had been encouraging. People were eager to come to their bazaar, buy and sell their used goods and handicrafts, and were curious to hear their stories. It is Jesus, they would explain, that brings us here. Do you want to know more? Some would attend their informal church services and events in a nearby park, and there had been many deep conversations and new friendships formed. With this in mind, Israel now squinted his eyes, watching as the stranger drew closer. Did they know him? Suddenly, Israel relaxed. 

“It’s Chuy!” he said to his wife. 

Chuy had attended the Punta Vida grand opening and, as a lonely truck driver, he was attracted to their community events and church services. Yet he always held himself a little apart, seeming reserved and troubled. Israel thought back to when he had once offered Chuy communion, only to see him flinch. “I can’t, I can’t,” Chuy had said, refusing to say more. Now, though, he clearly wanted to talk.

“You know I am a Christian,” he said, then faltered. “Well, I have not gone to church much…” Then Chuy began to weep, going on to confess just how far he had strayed from God. “I am tired of being only religious,” he said, looking up bleakly, “but I am not worthy to come to God.”

Israel gently encouraged him, explaining that it is “while we were still sinners, that Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8), and praying with him. Since that night, Chuy’s hunger for the Word of God has grown, and he has begun to place his confidence, not in his own worthiness, but in the worth of his Savior. Pray for Chuy, and others being reached through the Punta Vida ministry.

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