On a balmy evening in the downtown Matamoros plaza, palm trees rustled overhead in the breeze and peddlers hawked their wares. The two men I was translating for and I were tempted to relax and just enjoy the ambiance. But we had asked the Lord to show us who was seeking him in the plaza that night and now we were waiting for His response.
Ramond was not our original target. The three of us initially zeroed in on a young couple seated on a park bench. They were cordial enough to engage us in conversation, but it soon became apparent that these two were not the ones that we had prayed God would guide us to.
As we talked about the claims of Christ, I noticed a scruffy character had drawn up alongside me. He listened intently and then abruptly disappeared. A few minutes he returned and continued to listen to our conversation.
Eventually he interrupted with an emotion-filled statement, “Necesito cambiar, pero no se como.” (“I want to change, but I don’t know how.”) He said.
I introduced myself.
“I’m Ramond,” he said. “I’ve done a lot of bad things in my life. I’ve broken the laws. I’ve taken people across into the U.S. and left them there. I drink too much. My life is a mess and I need to change.”
At this point another member of our group who had been an alcoholic walked up. He began to share how God had delivered him from his own addiction. Ramond seemed to be hanging on his every word. The conversation went on for some time.
“Ramond, the good news is that you can change,” I said. “God sent His son Jesus to give you hope and to rescue you from your sins. By repenting and choosing to follow Jesus, you will be given the power to overcome your addiction and your wrong behavior.”
Ramond began to weep as we explained how it was possible to change his life. Eventually we asked the question, “would you like to pray about this now?”
“But how do I pray?” Ramond queried, a note of desperation in his voice. He honestly didn’t know what to do. We explained to him how to pray and eventually led him in a prayer asking Jesus to make a difference in his life and become his Lord.
Afterward we asked the local pastor to come over and meet Ramond. They talked at length and the pastor gave Ramond a map to the church nearby. It gave us a great feeling to not only see how God orchestrated the conversation, but to know that he had a caring local church to which he could go.
There are a lot of people like Ramond walking around looking for someone to listen and help. Too often, I’ve offered the gospel apologetically, forgetting that to folks Ramond it is good news indeed. I need to ask God to lead me to them more often than I do. How about you?