One of my favorite stories from our recent crusades in Mexico happened while we were out on the streets inviting people to come out to the event. In fact we saw many healing miracles and salvations take place just going door to door and out in the markets while in Mexico.
While setting up for the crusade in La Fuente, a little mountain pueblo outside of San Juan del Rio, Queretaro, we decided to have the driver drop groups of us off on the outskirts of the village. We would invite people while walking back to the town center where the crusade was to be held.
My brother-in-law Rolando, and a local guy who would be assisting with the church plant went out and I were dropped on a road coming down the mountain into town. A truck of field workers pulled onto the road from a side street and I hollered for them to stop so we could talk to them. There were about 11-12 guys in the pickup.
The local guy said, “Oh they’re just stopping to drink and party on the roadside.” to which I replied that I used to do a lot of partying and began walking toward where they pulled over.
Men began piling out of the truck. Sure enough they had a huge jug of alcohol, and several had large rolled joints ready to smoke. They had pulled over to celebrate the end of the work week.
Since I don’t speak fluent Spanish, as with most of the week thus far, I was left to either an interpreter or local to speak for me. As our local friend began to invite the men to our event, I watched on not knowing what they were saying but it being obvious they were making fun of us. I did understand when one of the men asked if we were catholic, and he responded Christian. It’s also when the laughter at us grew. Obviously these guys were not interested in our Crusade.
And it was also obvious the hold of third world Catholicism on their lives. The town we were in, as most of the area north for hundreds of miles, contained no evangelical churches. These people have never heard the true gospel, or experienced Holy Spirit. To these people, we were in a strange cult, there to cause trouble and destroy their way of life.
As a last ditch effort, I heard our local guy say something about Estados Unidos… there was a little more conversation… and then all of a sudden everyone turned, stared at me and waited…
These people don’t see gringos much. We were not in an area where tourists venture. After what felt like an eternity, I turned to my brother-in-law who was born in Mexico, and asked, “Uh, why is everyone staring at me?” Well our friend had seemingly pulled the gringo card and said that his friend had come all the way from the United States to share a message with them, so they wanted to hear it… “Uh, Now?” asked. “Yep” replied Rolando, “Now.”
I preach in public places so my nervousness actually surprised me. But here I was, the only white guy, standing on a Mexican mountain back road, a truck full of mocking guys ready to react to a message they knew as heresy, who could have been violent, already drunk and high, who knows… in an area where as far as I knew Evangelical Christians have been beaten, run out of town, turned up missing… with an opportunity to let my light shine in the darkness…
…And Holy Spirit came…
I began to share my own testimony, and preached the gospel as Rolando translated and Holy Spirit convicted hearts… Right there on the back roads of La Fuente, mountain views in the background, right there in that amazing moment, their laughter and mocking turned to tears that stained their faces… Men became aware of their great need for intimacy with God and the true condition of their heart. Right there in the moment hearts were awakened to the emptiness of religion and the need to know the Father.
On the side of the road, where they had stopped to party to end the week, they were instead met with an altar call to begin their new life. At least 7 as I tried to count quickly raised their hands and asked to know Jesus, and we prayed, and we filled, as these men wept with the joy of salvation.
It was a beautiful moment that I will cherish for eternity.
People are hungry for truth. They are hungry for intimacy with the Father. We were designed for it. While this happened in La Fuente, it could have easily happened in Dallas, Atlanta, Miami, Boston, Chicago. These men didn’t give their hearts to Jesus at the Crusade, in fact they made fun of us for even holding it in their town. It was just an opportunity and excuse to flag them down and talk to them.
All around you today is opportunity and hungry, hurting people, whose actions and even words may say one thing… but their hearts are calling out for salvation. It’s up to you and I to declare the gospel to them. Don’t let fear of rejection or of men hold you back. These types of encounters are available everywhere we go.