Today started off well, with a wonderful church service at Elim church. Stephen shared his testimony and Dave preached on 2 Corinthians 5:21. After the service we all went on house visits in the Zone 21 community. I’d love to go into vast detail about them all, but I don’t think many people could endure that much of my writing, so I’ll tell you about the house visit I was on.
Mrs. Ingrid, Pastor Jaime, Tim Oliver, Mary Oliver, my mom (Anita Hughes), and I (Jerry Hughes) visited a family of mostly newborn Christians! We were greeted by Amelia (mom), Brandon (middle son), Ludwig (youngest son), and Mildred (18 year old daughter). We were delighted to hear that all four of those individuals have recently made professions of faith and are following Jesus! There was a sort of infectious sense of peace and happiness about them that was encouraging. Brandon is on crutches, because he recently underwent an operation to remove a tumor from his right knee. However, there is still a small amount of tumor that remains. He needs another costly medical procedure very quickly or the tumor will likely become cancerous. This young boy, maybe 12 years old, still seemed to have joy despite his situation. We were happy to have the opportunity to encourage the family, give them some gifts, and pray over Brandon. Next came a sad realization.
To get to the house we had to climb a steep hill, make a turn, and then descend back down a few hundred feet to the house. There to meet us was eighteen year old Mildred, who escorted us to her house. Along the way we passed a gang. Composed of young men, smoking and sitting on the curb, the gang members cracked jokes at our expense in Spanish. On the way back from the house Mildred and her youngest brother were again our escorts up the street, past the lively gang. This confused us. Why would an eighteen year old girl and an eight year old boy walk us past a seemingly dangerous gang, with no parent or safety? We questioned pastor Jaime about it. The answer was disheartening. She was our protection from the gang. Her eldest brother, who is not a Christian, is a member of the gang. She walked with us so that the gang would not bother us. Through further questioning of Pastor Jaime we learned that the gang has marked their church as their own territory, and when Jaime painted over the gang sign on his church, the gang has persecuted some of the church members. Recently, the gang drove by pastor Jaime and pointed an imaginary gun at him, suggesting, “You’re next.” Since then Pastor Jaime has had his car stolen and the gas tank that they use to cook food as well. The good news is that amidst all of this suffering and trial, people are coming to know Jesus – souls are being saved.
Pastor Jaime, Brandon, and the people of zone 21 need prayer. They need a lot of things, but they need us to go before God and fight on their behalf. For their safety. For their Health. And for their souls.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12.