Ministry is always full of ups and downs as you really have no control over the outcome of your "work."
André, whom many of you have prayed for over the years, has been in and out of our lives for five years now. A husband, and father of three teens, he was a humble but hard working man. He only completed his education up to the second grade and thus cannot read. But what he lacked in formal education, he made up for in hard work. His family never went hungry and he was well known in the community. James has done many Bible studies with him, for a time even worked with him to teach him to read as André wanted to read the Bible. His wife and oldest son have accepted Christ as Savior and the family is very involved in the church.
But, the last three years he has become more and more involved in the local drug culture. He no longer works a regular job, and any money he does make goes straight to his habit. He treats his family as a burden and there is no peace in the home as they struggle weekly to survive. He has had many scares as his brother was killed for a R$10 ($3 dollar) drug debt and more recently a well-known woman in the community was murdered over a drug debt. But after short times of remorse which include going back to work, attending church, and treating his family better, he always reverts back to drugs. In his mind, he needs no help, he is not addicted. He can stop anytime.
Then, last Saturday, a miracle happens... he shows up at our door asking for help to be taken to a drug rehab facility.
James spends the afternoon on the phone getting everything set up for him to go. He is at church on Sunday. He and his family spend the afternoon with us and Sunday night he is at church again. The family is hopeful...is it real this time?
Tuesday James and another pastor drive him 100Km to the Baptist rehab center. He takes two Bibles along with him. By 5 pm on Tuesday he is checked in and ready to go. We all pray that he will stay, it is a 6 month program, but it is voluntary.
Thursday at lunch time we get the call...
He wants to come home. He is all better. It is just too hard.
James spends another hour trying to convince him to stay,
to choose God's way.
to choose his family.
to choose life.
By 5 pm Thursday he is back home.
What do you say to the children who have prayed in faith for years that their father be saved?
To the wife who slaves alone to support her children?
What do you say to the man who chooses death?
Pray for André that God will save him before it is too late.
Pray for Teresinha as she fights to trust God in this situation
Pray for Rafael, Guilherme and Larissa that they will not lose faith in an all-powerful and all-loving God.