This past October I celebrated my ministry's 7th year in the service of the King! I thank Christ Jesus our Lord that He counted me faithful and put me into ministry to serve abused, abandoned, and needy kids. God graciously sure has privileged and enabled me to help kids in difficult places, orphanages, and children's ministries around the world. God has helped me to be a warrior in the fight against sex trafficking, as well as advocating before churches, Senators, Congressmen, and politicians in various nations to discuss children's needs. The Lord on numerous occasions has opened doors so that I could preach His gospel in unique opportunities at public schools, government offices, Buddhist and Hindu temples, on a television program in India, as well as at churches and on the streets all over the globe.
Back in August 2018 the Lord began to burn within my heart to pray regarding the possibility of my living and serving in another country. Then earlier this year God brought to my attention the nation of El Salvador (which means "The Savior" in Spanish) and the country's dismal troubles concerning fatherless youth and the vicious MS 13 gangs. I began to pray more specifically as well as to do research. Months later I met with my pastor to discuss my prayers, and he began to pray with me over the next several months about God's will and the vision which God poured into my heart.
Central America, and more specifically, El Salvador, has a crisis! Many of the country's young people are caught up in the dangers of rival gangs "Calle 18" (18th Street) and "MS 13". Both of these gangs began several decades ago in Los Angeles, California. The 18th Street gang first involved mostly Mexican then later Salvadoran immigrants; MS 13 was formed by Salvadorans. When Salvadoran gang members were arrested and deported back to Central America, they became part of the out-of-control violence there. These gangs cause much havoc in people's lives, and sadly, the "church" has done little to reach these troubled young men and boys for Christ. I understand and sympathize with many Christians who are fearful about ministering to gang members. Nevertheless, we still have a great commission and are commanded by our Lord in Mark 16:15 to "preach the gospel to every creature".
Last month God gave me the opportunity to fly down to El Salvador. During the whole month of October I traveled, meeting with many pastors to discuss the vision God has burned into my heart; in turn, the pastors shared their hearts with me, and I sought their wisdom. Two Salvadoran pastors in particular were thrilled to hear how God is leading me. For years they've prayed that God would raise someone up to reach the gangs. Only two churches in El Salvador have distinct ministries for reaching gangs. In addition, God opened the doors for me to meet with the warden of the notorious Izalco Prison. He is excited about my desires, and he has requested that I start a prison ministry. God also allowed me to talk with four police officers as well as with a high-ranking federal security official.
In addition, I got to do a lot of street evangelizing, meeting the Salvadoran people, and sharing Christ with them. On several occasions God allowed me opportunities to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with gang members. One time, two pastors and I entered into a very dangerous neighborhood, MS 13 territory. God gave us great grace and favor! We were permitted to clearly explain the gospel of Jesus Christ to many gang members, including one of the street leaders, who looked me straight in the eyes and attentively listened to the message. He read Scriptures from a Bible we gave him, and he asked some good questions. He was amused to hear that an American desires to live in El Salvador; meanwhile, many Salvadorans want to live in the USA. I told him I want to live in El Salvador because Jesus loves him and his "brothers" and God has put a love in my heart to help him and his friends.
The Lord has been directing my steps for some time into this new endeavor. I happily believe that the Lord is calling me to move to El Salvador in 2021 and work alongside a Salvadoran pastor and his church who have a passion to reach youth and young gang members for Christ. God has given me a plan in how to reach out to gang members. I have sought the Salvadoran pastors' wisdom, and they believe the vision God has given me is an appropriate way in which to minister to troubled youth and young men associated with gangs.
I covet your prayers, first of all! Please continue to bring my name before the Throne of God. Second, I need to raise extra monthly financial support so that I can relocate to El Salvador to serve in this unique ministry. Some of you already give financially to my ministry, for which I am greatly appreciative! If you or your church does not presently financially support me, would you please seek God and ask if He would have you or your church to partner with my ministry? Please feel free to contact me with any questions. I would be delighted to come to your church and share more details about this outreach!
Meanwhile, I will keep you updated as I progress toward this new great endeavor with the Lord.