“I want to bring Senderista terrorists to Christ!” The young Bible student’s eyes burned with his desire.
His city, Lima, Peru, had swelled to seven million as people fled from the countryside because the Senderistas were murdering so many. “I do not want to flee. I want to attack with the Gospel!” he exclaimed. God answered the prayers of this Jesus freak.
One day, as Francisco was walking past the national palace, a car sped by. A mortar launched a bomb from the car which exploded in the palace. Then the car vanished. Immediately, Peruvian police swarmed throughout the area. Francisco was arrested and taken to the maximum security prison. He was locked up on the fourth floor, in an area set aside exclusively for holding the Senderistas. Five hundred men and women – all terrorists – were imprisoned in this area.
Francisco wasted no time grieving over his circumstances. He was prepared. He had diligently studied how to present the Gospel to Communist revolutionaries. In a gentle way, he began preaching to the terrorists, sharing the love of God.
A pretty woman named Maria listened carefully. She was a 24-year-old student from San Marcos University in Lima. One of Maria’s tasks with the Senderistas had been to take her pistol and shoot the wounded victims through their skull to guarantee their death.
“Could God possibly love and forgive me” she wondered. When Maria prayed a sinner’s prayer with Francisco, she found out He definitely could – and that He did!
A year passed while Francisco waited for his trial. During that time, he brought over sixty terrorists to Jesus! As the love of God penetrated hardened hearts, terrorists became children of God. There is now a church in this prison, filled with new believers brought to Jesus Christ through the faithfulness of Francisco. Francisco’s prayer was answered in an unusual way – but what safer place could there be to minister to terrorists than in jail?
Francisco was quick to recognize that God had changed evil to good: He used Francisco’s wrongful imprisonment to give him the desire of his heart. Then God blessed his efforts, and many were brought into the kingdom of God.
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
Joseph Sold into slavery and later imprisoned circa 1689 BC
Genesis 50:20 (NIV)
Everything happening to me in this jail only serves to make Christ more accurately known, regardless of whether I live or die. They didn’t shut me up; they gave me a pulpit! Alive, I’m Christ’s messenger; dead, I’m his bounty. Life versus even more life! I can’t lose.
Paul the Apostle Martyred in Rome, 65 AD
Philippians 1:20-21 (THE MESSAGE)