(names changed for protection purposes)
I was sitting on the bank of the Amazon River trying to cool off from the heat of the afternoon sun. (Pablo), one of the students at the seminar, came up and offered me some coconut. He kept hanging around and finally said, “Pastor, I have been saved and baptized, but I have gotten away from God. I want to serve him, but the things of the world are pulling at me too.”
I am learning not to answer too quickly, so I just said, “Well, (Pablo), what is the sin that keeps pulling at you?” He rubbed his fingers together and said, “Money!”
I know that many of the Indians are involved in the coca trade (coca leaves are harvested to make cocaine). So I asked another leading question, “And what are you doing to get more money?”
He looked down at the ground a minute and then up at me and said, “The coca trade.”
We then discussed what he wanted to dedicate his life to…the temporary pleasures and possessions that money can buy…or to a life of service for God that will produce eternal reward. I ended the conversation by saying, “(Pablo), it is your decision. You must make the choice. I will be gone in a few days, but Jesus will stand beside you and help you.”
Another student (Raul) could handle a boat and motor exceptionally well. I commented on his river-savvy ability to one of the pastors.
The pastor replied, “Yeah, he’s been a boat pilot for the drug-runners. His dad, who is a pastor in Peru, has sent him here to get him away from that dangerous business.”
Later I talked to (Raul) and asked him what he wanted to do with his life. He replied, “God has saved me from sin. I want to prepare my life to be a missionary to the indigenous people in the remote river valleys!”
These boys are good students. They pay attention in class, ask questions, and want to learn. I want to do all that I can to salvage their lives and help them become servants of Christ. Please pray for God’s power and protection to be upon us!