Lots of exciting things have been going on in San Pedro this summer. The soccer team is in training (and are doing excellently). The children's breakfast continues. The youth group has been doing events for fellowship. We have had some amazing visitors. More is on the way too!! We have a group from Houston coming down on a short term trip this Thursday.
One of the events that we had that stuck in my mind is our service at the Rehab Center. We recently went there with some friends who were visiting us from Arkansas. We started off the service with worship. At first the men were calm, hardly even clapping. After a while they started to experience the freedom of God. They began to dance for him and praise his name. Later in the service, one of our friends from Arkansas preached. The men were listening closely and were touched by the word. After the word, we prayed for the men and worshiped more. It was an incredible time. The men didn't want us to leave. They tasted the freedom of Jesus.
Being there reminded me of a man who used to be in the center every time I went. This rehab center is not voluntary. The men are placed there by their families. Every time that we used to have a service in the Rehab Center, this man was there. He would graduate from the program, but shortly be back in.
I used to also see him on the bus going to Torreon. He was selling candy to make a living. I would ask him, "How are you doing?" He knew exactly what I meant and would always respond, "I am not doing well. I cannot stay off of drugs." It was upsetting to see this man still struggle after so many people had poured their lives into helping him. One day, however, all that changed.
I was arriving in San Pedro on the bus when I saw the man again. I asked him the same question, "How are you doing?" This time was different and he didn't have to say anything to tell me. I could see it in his eyes. He smiled from ear to ear and with a sparkle in his eye said, "Pablo, I have found Jesus. I found Jesus. I am free!! I am free!!" He kept saying that and started saying it louder and louder until he was almost shouting it. I am sure the other people on the bus thought he was crazy. He even missed his stop to tell me all that Jesus had done for him. Jesus had set him free from drugs and addiction. He was truly free.
More than programs, these men in Rehab need Jesus. He is the only one who can truly make them free. Let us allow God to use us to bring that freedom.
Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."
Paul (Pablo) Ellsworth