Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Jose Ayala: Nov 22, 1989 - Aug 26, 2006

While ministering in Amsterdam I received the unfortunate news that a young sixteen year old man that we had led to Jesus had been murdered execution sytle near his home. On January 7, 2006 Pastor Terry Shuff of Raven MidWest and I joined Pastor Rudy Gonzales of Raven West Coast for an outreach in the gang infested area of Santa Rosa, California called "Papago Ct."
The reason for our being at Papago to begin with was because of the compassion of a little girl, Maddie Gonzales, who challenged her parents Rudy & Lori to be not only hearers but also doers of the Word of God. Even though the Gonzales family and the Raven Team who join them on the streets of this crime ridden neighborhood have faced much criticism and opposition in their quest to bring the love and truth of Jesus to this area--they have continued to carry groceries and Gospel to the families that call this place "home."
It was on our trip to Northern California that Pastor Terry and I first had the blessed opportunity to meet Jose and two of his friends there on the street that afternoon. As I look back to that day, I am so grateful that our mission and motivation was not limited to "making friends" or "building relationships", but instead to preach the Good News of salvation to the lost and dying. In Pastor Terry's own words, he describes the events that were chronicled in heaven, on our heats and minds, and fortunately by the camera lens that captured the images that afternoon.
(Above) Pastor Terry shares the Truth with Jose (behind the vehice), Sergio (center) and Edgar (behind Pastor Terry)

"I was going through the area inviting people to come to eat when three kids came over a six foot fence not far from me. They had their backs to me and did not know I was near them. I was caught by surprise at how they all came over the fence so quick, but I wanted to be the first to speak so I yelled "HEY". I don't know why, but that is what came out of my mouth! All three turned to look at me with a "what does this guy want" look on their faces.
The next thing I said was "guys, I've got a question for you" walking towards them. "What" they inquired? I said "If you were to die today would you go to heaven or hell"? All three laughed and said, "Oh, we'd go to hell." A holy boldness suddenly rose up in me as I took control of the conversation. I said, "You guys might think that is funny but, it is not alright with me for you to go there".
The smiles left their faces as they started to intently look at me. I described to them that they would have all five of their senses in hell and went into detail on each sense. I told them that this would be for eternity and that life here is a blink of an eye compared to eternity.
I then said guys I would really like it if you would come over and have something to eat. Their reply was "we might come over a little later" and at that point I had not asked to pray with them. I was really thinking that I would not see them again. They walked off and so did I.
It was close to an hour later when they showed up and it was such a blessing to see them. I immediately went over and started talking to them. As we continued to minister to them the tears began to well up in their eyes. I remember Jose being the one that laughed the most at the beginning, but I believe that it was an embarrassed and nervous laugh because he knew that the gang lifestyle he was living was wrong.
As we explained to them that there was no magic in a prayer and that this was all about changing their lives and living them for Jesus I then prayed for them. I remember the joy on their faces and I also remember the nervousness they talked about because they were still going to be living in that same area. They were still very happy and at that point; changed young men!"
Praise God for the opportunity to share the life-transforming Gospel of Jesus Christ with these young men that day. Tonight as I make this entry, I hurt for Jose's family but rejoice that his name was written down in the Lamb's Book of Life that afternoon as he was given the only thing that brings salvation--the message of Jesus Christ. Good works and good intentions will never serve to rescue a sould dangling perilously over an eternal hell--the Gospel alone was designed to deliver soul-saving faith to the heart of a person.Not long after that meeting with destiny in Papago Court this past January, Sergio (pictured above) was attacked and stabbed seven times in the neck and face near his home. Upon his release from the hospital he stated that even though this happenedto him, he was never going back to his old life. He later moved with family to Mexico to escape the gang related threats to his life following his conversion to Christ.
I cannot help but view the condition of the "church" in comparison to these two young men's lives. They not only surrended their lives to Jesus, but also put their physical lives on the line as well. Many in the church whine and complain about their plight or circumstances as if they plan on spending eternity in this temporal enviroment. Let this be a lesson on the frailty of life and the urgency of this hour.
The next time that you think you have a good excuse for not sharing your faith with someone or the next time you believe there is "plenty of time" to go preach the Gospel--consider Jose and Sergio--one losing his life and the other risking his--and someone willing to put eternity in perspective for them both--before it was too late.
More so now than ever, I realize the enormity and urgency of the great task that God has called this ministry to across this nation and beyond. Stand with us--lives and souls are at stake.
Pastor Troy D. Bohn
119 S. Palmetto Ave #152
Daytona Beach, Florida 32114

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