My time in Colombia was marked by the gracious opening of numerous doors by God. I had the privilege of connecting with pastors, churches, and visiting various needy places ripe for ministry. The time was very fruitful and allowed me to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ one-on-one to hundreds, as well as distributing gospel tracts and Bibles to many others. God's grace gave me the opportunities to meet and share the hope of Christ with gang members and many others living dangerous lifestyles. I was honored to speak at a drug rehab center, do Bible Clubs at parks, preach in churches, and distribute my children’s books to needy young ones in desolate communities through our “Book Angels Campaign.”
However, amidst the wonderful opportunities, my spirit often felt overwhelmed with grief at the sight of countless individuals wandering the streets in a daze, ensnared in drugs and weed. It is disheartening to witness so many lost in a haze, unaware of their need for Christ Jesus. In America, many foolishly question the harm of the legalization of marijuana, but the issue lies in its power to hinder individuals from recognizing their eternal spiritual needs. Marijuana serves as another Satanic distraction, steering people away from contemplating eternal matters and its designed to keep people outside the Gates of Heaven. It is a cunning deception keeping countless souls down a path toward Hell, where there is no comfort in marijuana to temporarily alleviate their misery.
Not long being back in the USA, someone asked me, “What do you want for Christmas?” I paused, and then responded with a gentle smile, “Nothing, really. However, if you feel the need to give me a gift, I would be happy with a pack of BIK blue pens.”
The commercialization of Christmas in the USA is undeniable. It’s disheartening to witness the inner urge and pressure many Americans feel to indulge in extensive gift-giving. The expectation to not just give one gift, but often, three, five, or even more, is excessive. Personally, I find myself fortunate to possess a different perspective. Spending a significant part of my year in Third World nations has granted me insight into a happier and more meaningful approach to this season.
Contrasting the American frenzy, so many people I know outside the United States will celebrate the holiday with a focus on the core values of family and community. Their Christmas day will revolve around visiting loved ones, attending church services, and, if they have a little extra money, they will sit down for a modest dinner.
Last Christmas I was in El Salvador. The holiday was uniquely meaningful. I spent Christmas driving over to the dirty brothels in San Salvador. I walked the streets lined with half-naked prostitutes. I distributed “Bags of Love” filled with essential toiletries, Bibles, and gospel tracts. I took time to listen to their stories, cry with them, and share the message of Christ Jesus’ love. It turned out to be one of the most significant and impactful Christmas’ of my life.
Do I have needs? Oh yes! I could run down a list of many things I need. However, when it comes to wants, I find contentment in Christ Jesus. God has proven time and again that He takes care of my needs, and sometimes wants, in the most astonishing ways that overflow my faith with encouragement, leaving me with a heart brimming with gratitude.
To each and every one of you who uplifts me in prayer, supports my ministry, and takes time to write words of encouragement, I extend my heartfelt gratitude. My sincere hope is that you will make time to reflect on Christ this Christmas. May you discover and embrace the profound significance of this season and enrich your spirit with the right priorities.
There is a profound sense of peace and contentment in memorializing Christ's sacrifice and resurrection for your sins. There is peace and contentment that can be found in connecting with family and friends, as well as in cherishing life over material possessions. This Christmas, my wish for you is to experience the tranquility that arises from embracing these deeper, more meaningful aspects of the holiday.
I offer you my warmest wishes for a joyous, wonderful, and Merry Christmas. Always remember, you hold significance not only to me, but more importantly, in the heart and eyes of God.