Last week I met a man named Lalo. He looked like a tall and kind, Mexican gentleman in his 50s with a dark mustache and dark hair. He was humble and spoke with great authority. These are some of the things he shared:
A couple years back he organized a 21-day gathering of prayer and fasting at the Benito Juarez monument. Many people were there crying out to God. Upon the conclusion of 21-days, he left with his son, Abraham, feeling like they had just enjoyed a great spiritual victory. Abraham dropped Lalo off at the church and went to workout. At 9:30 that evening, Lalo got the call that his son was shot and killed in the streets of Juarez.
The last he saw of his son was his arm extending beyond the tarp that was covering his body. There was his blood on the street. Lalo told us how many liters of blood have been poured out on the streets of Juarez. He told us how many people have been killed there in the last few years. He told us how many families were mourning in Juarez right now for the loss of a child or parent or sibling or friend.
But Lalo did not dwell on the statistics. He shared these facts to evidence the great need for Christlike compassion. He told us stories to open our eyes to the power and need for the Gospel.
His daughter was kidnapped earlier this year. After three negotiations between Lalo and her holders, she was released. This was a miracle.
As people ask, “Why would these things happen to a pastor? Why would they happen to the children of a pastor?” Lalo responds with Jesus’ questions, “Is a student above his teacher or a slave above his master?” Jesus suffered in this life, and He assured His followers that they would suffer too.
Amazingly, the suffering does not lead His disciples away from Him. It brings them closer. Lalo confessed that he never would have sacrificed his son. But his son is gone. And experiencing emotions and convictions and despair and comfort, Lalo said his faith in God is much greater. He said he has a little more insight into how God the Father felt when His Son was killed. Lalo has never said a bad word about his son’s murderers. Following Christ, he does all he can to “Love [his] enemies and pray for those who persecute [him.]“
He leads a group of about 125-150 pastors in Juarez. God’s children in Juarez are going into the streets and into the markets with Bibles, tracts, and signs that read “Free Prayer” and “Free Hugs.” The people line up and wait to receive a hug. They’ve been so deprived of their humanity because of the brutality, and they are in such great need of a loving embrace, that people stand in line to wait to hug another human.
Revival does not come apart from suffering and persecution. Lalo believes that revival is coming to Juarez. He has been given a prophetic vision from God that when revival comes, it will extend southward. But in the vision, he had this awareness that God wants the revival to go north into the U.S. and Canada as well, if only we would repent and act with compassion toward our brothers and sisters in need. They don’t need money. They need Bibles, because the truth of God is what will bring peace. You cannot stop violence with more violence. They need tracts because they look at every tract as a potential life. They need prayers of faith because Lalo says the only thing keeping these Christ-following victims from retaliating vengefully is the prayers of those around the world. The only city that is more prayed for right now is Jerusalem. Juarez, Mexico, is the second most-prayed for city in the entire world.
Lalo and his colaborers in Juarez are fearless. They walk with a deep heart-knowledge of God’s sovereignty. They know that God is sovereign over their enemies, and that He is sovereign over their faith. They are trusting Him to overcome the evil in that place with love.
When God calls him home, Lalo says without any trace of doubt that he will see his son, Abraham, there. He awaits that heavenly embrace when he is reunited with his son and hears Abraham say, “Welcome home, Dad.”
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