The very first day of our Crusades in Mexico we went to a barrio in the Loma Alto region of San Juan del Rio, Queretaro. We had scouted the area the day prior and I was really excited about visiting the families again we had reached out to while scouting, being in the area we knew God had amazing things in store for, and watching God impact lives in the area.
The host church had been coming to the areas we were to set-up in for a couple of weeks and while there inviting people to the upcoming crusade they would provide free haircuts, children’s activities, and free medical care. Our first Children’s Crusade was also our opportunity to meet the teams that had been doing the prep work for our trip, and the first time I got to meet “El Doctor.”
“El Doctor” was a very frail and very unhappy looking fellow. I’m not sure how the church came across the doctor, if they were reaching out to him as he was reaching out to increase business in the community… what I did know was I wanted to see this man smile and it didn’t look like he had in some time.
The very first lunch provide to us by a family from the host church brought the doctor to sit in a chair next to me. He came in, never said a word, and proceeded to eat seemingly without a care of the rambunctious and talkative American company he was in. As he finished up his meal I turned to him and in Spanish told him he talked way too much. I had hoped for a laugh, to break the ice… instead I got a smirk and a grunt.
Our team would spend the week with the doctor. On the first night of the crusades, as we were packing up and about to leave he reluctantly let the team pray for a medical condition he was experiencing. As we prayed it would worsen instead of relax, seemingly in his own denial to let love overcome and heal him. But… at every kid’s crusade and every afternoon crusade he heard the gospel. And every morning I would greet him and hug him. Every time we left I would shake his hand and thank him for being there to help us. Every lunch I would connect with him and let him know he was valued and appreciated… I never got a smile. Never even a word back… and every time we saw healing take place I prayed “El Doctor” would get his regardless of what he believed.
On Thursday night in another barrio called La Rueda I was to share my testimony and preach the gospel to the crowds. That day prior to speaking I had asked the pastor and missionaries if the doctor was born again. What I found out that evening was a tragic story of rejection and deep pain, and the answer to my earlier question about who was reaching out to who. I prayed, God, if only one person gets saved tonight, let it be the doctor.
As I preached that night, and shared my own story of rejection, abuse, and finding my created value in Jesus, I prayed for a miracle. As I asked those gathered, through my own tears, who would like to receive new life, the area and crowd became a blur. There were many hands raised that night, but there was one attached to a man I will never forget. As I led people to an encounter with Christ, it was the tear stained face of the doctor that had my attention.
That night, one of our team walked up to me as we were leaving. He had been with the kids and hadn’t seen what had happened. He was amazed. “Did you see the doctor’s face? He was beaming from ear to ear!” my friend Mario exclaimed. “I know! He got born again tonight!” I told him.
In fact the rest of the trip the doctor smiled. Not only that, when I hugged him, he hugged me back and and gave me the biggest bear hug he could muster the day we said goodbye.
That one soul to me was worth the entire trip; the money invested, the time away from family, and the week long sickness I faced upon returning home. Just to see how God’s amazing love can completely wash away the hurt, the shame, the heart ache of a person trapped by their emotions… to watch a person come alive as they are reborn into their created value… to watch years of junk fade away by a single moment of an encounter with Jesus… how amazing it is to witness the life changing, and destiny changing miracle of rebirth.
“The gospel is a gospel of power, or it is no gospel at all” – Reinhard Bonnke
I love miracles and manifestations of God’s amazing presence… but the greatest and most powerful miracle of all is to watch an orphan become a son through the gospel.