BOCAS DEL TORO, Panama — Ironically, my personal highlight from discipleship school outreach came near the end when many of us were struggling to stay focused on ministry rather than looking ahead to what’s next. One of my classmates, Simen from Norway, and I had sailed to Bocas (an island town) aboard a small motorboat. We were there to fix a ceiling that was deteriorating inside a home for the elderly, but our outing took a very unexpected turn.
As we started walking to the assisted-living facility, we were approached by a drug dealer who tried selling us marijuana. After we turned down his offer, he noticed the radio Simen had on his waist because he had been piloting the boat we traveled aboard to reach Bocas.
“Oh, are you a captain?” the dealer asked.
“Yes,” Simen replied.
“That’s so cool; captains are awesome!” he said.
“Jesus is the best captain,” Simen replied.
“Oh, I know Jesus,” the dealer said.
Then the drug dealer started opening up to us about his personal life. He said he wanted to follow Jesus, but he was so weighed down by drug addiction and alcoholism that he gave up trying. He said he had succeeded in changing his behavior for a short time, but then his old temptations came back stronger than before.
He also told us about the dream he’d recently had in which he was inside a fiery furnace, but the flames didn’t consume him. It was obvious from what he told us that the Lord was pursuing him.
Simen and I asked him if he was willing to recommit his life to the Lord and throw away all of the worldly behaviors that were holding him back. He said, ‘Yeah.’ So we went through a prayer of repentance with him and asked God to remove his desire for alcohol and drugs and replace it was godly desires and with Jesus himself. He seemed so happy and relieved after we prayed with him.
Later that day, we saw him telling some of his buddies that he forgave them for things they had done to lead him into temptation and that he was a changed man. When he saw us, he was filled with gratitude and gave us both hugs.
Testimony By Michael Severi | Photo By José David Leiva