One of the memories that will stay with me for the rest of my life from my time in Bucaramanga began when Fr. Jorge invited me to be present during a spiritual ministry meeting. Fr. Jorge invited me so that I could have an experience in spiritual counseling and get a clearer view of his work. A young man, 18 years old, had come in with his mother, family and friends. After excusing everyone else from the room the young man explained his situation to me and the father. Since 11 years-old he had been bumming around the streets to escape his parent´s bickering and fighting. On the street he started using marijuana, then got into snuffing and progressed into the other drugs (not mentioned specifically). He found himself in street fights and one night was responsible for a terrible act. This act was told in confession and will not be spoken of outside of the father, myself and the young man. In this session of spiritual counseling the young man expressed that he had experienced the presence of Christ and a desire to be freed of this life style. His intentions seemed sincere as tears streamed down when the Father brought up the act on that unfortunate night.
Father Jorge put the young man in contact with Jaime who gives painting classes in the church building. Jaime offered him a grant to attend the classes free of charge on the condition that he is truly striving to turn his life around. Jaime himself as a youth had been caught on the streets into drugs and it was art and the Lord Christ that pulled him out. Jaime´s son also fell into the same pit as well as a number of other young men who have been freed of this life style through the ministry of Jaime in the name of Christ and the healing nature of art. Father Jorge also got the young man in touch with a fellow, Luis Fernando, who once worked in a young men`s half-way house, where he counseled hundreds of young men in the same condition. So the father offered this young man an arsenal of tools to help him along his way. One can only pray that he will use them. The father discovered that the young man had never received his first communion and so the date was set for the following Sunday to officially bring him into the shared communion. Along with Father Jorge, Jaime and Luis Fernando the young man´s family and friends were brought in to help keep him accountable to his new direction. I would never wish for such a responsibility, it is one that gets thrust upon you.
The days past and we had not heard news, good or bad, about the young man. However Saturday night the father received a call at 3am. It was the young man. He said that he had fallen back into drugs and was cold and hungry on the streets. This was a situation that the father felt could not be brought into his home because he fears the young man is capable, in his present condition, of doing some kind of harm if given the opportunity. The following day, Sunday, our hope was dim that the young man would come to the church. A lovely surprise was that a girl, one of his friends, showed up wanting to take her first communion. It struck me how generous God is, that even if this young man chose to not take advantage of the resources the father offered, the Lord was presenting another soul who was drawn in through the ministering of her friend. As I spoke to this girl about the church, Christ and what the Holy Communion means I continued to pray that the young man would still show up. Blessed is the Lord that he did come, just before the Holy Communion. The young man and girl were presented to the congregation and received their first communion, brining them into the community of the church. It is up to them if they choose to enter into the body of Christ. After communion Father Jorge offered a healing service. He laid his hands on the young man and the girl.
If I have not mentioned before, Father Jorge has the gift of healing. Once a month he goes to Cucuta for a massive healing ceremony where people come from all around wait for hours to have Father Jorge pray over them. Cancers have been cured, tumors have healed, demons have been cast out all in the name of the Lord Christ. If you doubt, I invite you to follow the Father around for a couple of months and read in Scripture of the very real truth of such events that passed by Christ and his disciples.
I was so very grateful that the young man showed up. I took that to be a sign that God was really at work in him and that though it was going to be a long and bumpy road to recovery, he was willing and determined. Well, in the course of life and miracles some things are not so cut and dry. The bumpy road analogy just doesn´t express it fully. Over the preceding days up through this past Sunday this boy was turning his world, and the world of those around him, upside down. Father Jorge and Luis Fernando were more and more skeptical that the young man was seeking transformation more than manipulatively seeking sanctuary from those who are trying to kill him. I was struggling with wondering if his tears and please for help had been sincere or manipulation. He was calling the father at all hours or attempting to rob from his own father, even making moves to kill his father. He was out of the house and on the street and then finally back in the house. He says he found a job and staid in the house an entire week and came to church Sunday. This young man is seethed in rage, drugs and pride and he is a skillful manipulator. If he does truly want to fight on, he has a long hard battle ahead of him. Only God knows how this young man´s story will play out. I pray that he has been touch with the healing power of the Spirit to be transformed.
1 week ago