Victor came by the team house the other day and one look into eyes told me something was terribly wrong. There was intense pain in his eyes as he fought back tears. I asked him if he was okay, he lied through a half-hearted nod. I sat down beside him, placed my arm around him, and asked again. “Are you okay?” No sooner than the words left my mouth a second time, he started to tremble and cry and through his shaky voice said “I just got robbed!”
He explained that it all started when I was walking though the park with a mission team passing out prayer, gospel tracts, and empanadas to the drug addicts and alcoholics. Victor came running up to me explaining that he had “found” a bike for my six year old son Seth. My first question was “What do you mean found”? He explained that it wasn’t stolen, but someone he knew was selling it for four dollars. Sounded like a great deal. I gave him six dollars, Four dollars to pay for the bike, and two dollars as sort of a finder’s fee and for him to take the bike to my house.
Someone in the park must have seen me give him the money. They must have been following him and when the opportunity arose, “a big man with a big knife”, robbed little Victor. He had lost the money to purchase the bike. His solution was simple, he quickly ran home and sold one of his prize possessions. A few months ago Victor’s family bought a used Play Station 2. They had two games and two controllers, but now only have one game and one controller. Victor sold one of his games and controllers to get the money to buy the bike for Seth. Wow! I was blown away and encouraged by his integrity and humbled by his sacrifice.
I asked Victor if he was upset because he had to sell his game and controller. He looked at me as only Victor can, with eyes that say you are such a stupid gringo! He then explained “I don’t care about the game! I could have been killed!” Once again I’m amazed at how great I am at missing the point! It never occurred to me that people actually stab or let alone kill each other over six dollars! Furthermore, he had to keep it from his father, “because he didn’t want to cause problems for his dad.” I asked problems? What kind of problems could it cause your dad? He explained that if his dad found out he would go crazy, hunt this man down and probably kill him, and then he would end up in jail! Oh my! All I could think was “note to self…never rob little Victor.”
Anyway, this entire experience led to us having a great discussion about fearing death. I was able to explain that I don’t fear death, but rather embrace and welcome the thought of being in the presence of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I explained that I can’t wait to get to heaven; that being said I hope it’s not anytime soon or by way of a big man with a big knife.
Victor confessed he wasn’t sure if he would go to heaven. He said sometimes he thinks he’s a Christian and other times he’s not sure. He has heard the gospel message so many times that he can recite it frontward and backwards. He’s just not sure if he really believes it. This is great progress! During my time here I’ve challenged Victor to grow in his faith. It’s been frustrating because with Victor it seems to be one step forward and two steps back. It sounds so easy “Go and make disciples” but as I’m learning it’s very hard to do. However, last night he went to a Bible study and this Sunday says he wants to go to church. These are all small steps of progress.
In closing I’m asking for all of you to cry out to God to continue to work in Victor’s life. Pray that God will continue to provide more experiences for me to share the gospel in a real ways with Victor. Pray that we, my family and I, will live out the gospel in such a way Victor will understand what it means to become a follower of Christ. Pray that we believe and live out the great commission everyday here in Costa Rica!
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 ESV