Saturday, October 24, 2009

I am touched by many of the guys at the center. Each man is unique and God speaks through them to me; and I hope in return God speaks through me in return. I believe He does. Of late there is one of the students, Dave that has captured my heart. To look at him, he’s a rough cut; no question if a conflict were to arise I would want him on my side. In some ways he reminds me of my son Richard who is blessed genetically with a large and unusually strong frame.

Dave has the prison tattoo of a tear under his eye, knuckles are scarred many times, and he explains matter of factly that these scars are the reality of prison life. Dave was the child of a broken home; his mother is Mexican his father is white. They lived in California when he was a baby where his father’s neglect and abuse applied through the haze of alcoholism broke the marriage up and Dave and his mother left to Mexico where Dave grew up. His mother hooked up with a man soon after whose business was growing marijuana in the hills of Mexico. Dave climbed the hills and began working in the family business farming pot at age six. He knew nothing of laws or dangers; he was a six year old child doing what his parents told him. Needless to say he continued the family tradition and this led him to drug dealing and trafficking which led to his repeated jail and prison terms. But this is where Christ got a hold of Dave and began his restoration. There were many relapses; and on Dave’s brow there is a reminder of one of the slips. He backslid and got into another drug deal and this time as he had his back turned, one of his “friends” pulled a gun and aimed it at the back of his head just at that time Dave turned around, the man discharged the gun and it hit Dave in the forehead, but because of the turn it glanced off, he shouted at the man, “Dude, you just shot me!”, and he returned fire and hit the guy in the butt. Such is the world Dave has been saved from and the stories are endless but what has captured my heart is the depth of Dave’s faith. Unlike so many, Dave truly listens to the Lord and he has a sharp mind and a deep faith at this time of his life and he strikes me as absolutely fearless. He fears not man nor circumstances and walks with such a self-assuredness clothed in a meek spirit that I find myself continually inspired and humbled. I’ll give you just one recent example; I was selling some furniture to two men obviously stoned, they wreaked with Pot, and what else one could only guess. They were in a good mood, we talked and teased and they bought. They asked me about some items that we had in stock way too long, so I gave them a generous discount and all was bliss, they were happy, money was flowing, all good. Now my lead man had a look of disgust and told me he’s sure they are drug dealers and wasted no Christian love on them. I’m sure he’s right but it went well.

The next day however, they returned to pick up a few more items and they weren’t in such a jolly mood, they expected a big discount on a bed they wanted to buy, and when I didn’t oblige they showed their less benevolent side. I could tell this may unravel so I stood firm explained my allegiance to the guys in the program and explained I can only discount on items that have been in the store 90 days or so. I salvaged the situation and we wrapped up the sale. But I could see the side of them my lead man had warned me about the night before. Now they wanted it all delivered and Dave is my delivery man along with another student. I was thankful it was Dave because I had no fear of sending him to these guys house, after all he is bulletproof. I talked with Dave and described the guys to him and warned him to keep it simple, be extra careful with the furniture because if they put a nick on it the whole thing will become a wrestling match over devaluation and it will likely all come back for a refund. This would not be a stretch. What next happened caught me by complete surprise; Dave was eager to meet these drug dealers and couldn’t wait to talk with them and hoped this was a ministry opportunity. He explained how he went downtown to witness to drug dealers and the Lord has used him to offer hope to many, and he was itching to see these guys to see what God would unfold.

Neither fear or anxiety entered his mind; he was off on a mission. He called them to let them know he was on his way and he spoke to them like long lost friends. They told him their car had broke down and asked him if he could give them a jump start. Oh no, my fears were about to unfold; I knew this was going to get screwed up and here was the first step. Before I shared my anxiety with Dave he gets a gleam in his eye and says,” Wow, we get an opportunity to do a good deed for them, the Lord is already preparing the ground.”

Here I had been filled with anxiety, worried this would end up in some big problem, or shouting match or scene of some kind; which I might add would not be the first I've seen of this kind while at the center; but Dave said, “Let’s huddle and pray that Christ will give me a word for these guys”. I sheepishly joined in the prayer trying to hide my lack of faith, but I couldn't hide the encouragement that Dave inspired me with. Here was a drug dealer that had been soundly saved by Christ and his heart burned to speak with other drug dealers and left in full anticipation of a blessing while I stood humbled in unbelief.

I left that evening before he returned, and I must say it wouldn't surprise me if we have two new drug dealers joining the program in the morning.

Dave is in the truck in the picture, the other man is Jay, who was a Professional bull rider.


Matt said...

I don't know your last job was pretty interesting... You had better fill us in on what happened on their delivery.

Danielle&Hannah said...

God is good all the time and yes it’s amazing to hear such a testimony! Thanks be to God – this truly ministered to me today.
Regardless of his history or shortcomings, God see’s him fit for the kingdom! I just had a friend relapse recently – spending time cleaning up the mess they made of their life got me thinking – there is a reason why he is not dead and God only knows. There is always hope and no matter how bad a relapse, God has a reason that we are alive today and not dead because of our bad doings! Does that make sense?
This ministry sounds exciting and monumental in your life! Praise the Lord !~!
Blessings!  Danielle

FCB said...

Hi Matt,
When Dave and the other driver got to the location, they were first offered some pot, imagine that, being tempted first thing. They declined without a sermon. The delivery took place without incident, no ministry took place but all went well. I was looking for a miracle but maybe next time.

Hi Danielle,
I'm glad you got a blessing from the post, my intention of course.
It is always difficult when someone we care about relapses, but God is God of the living and I have found Him to be so faithful to bring along angels, maybe you, to help them to their feet and continue the race. I too, like you stated, believe their is always hope, mercy! I am still in the race with all of my contending.
You are so right that this ministry is monumental in my life, it obsesses me I'm afraid, hard to shut off, but it has expanded my little prearranged world in a thousand ways.
God bless you and Hannah,

Danielle&Hannah said...

Thanks Fred,
So awesome to see God working in these lives and God knows you have been prepared for 'such a time as this'!

There will be alot of testing times for all of you - but through it all... God can win their trust and heart.

This powerful song made me think of your ministry (after I posted)


Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Fred:)

The story of Dave is amazing. Several things come to my mind.

When a family is broken up, it is the children who suffer.

It is really sad and unfortunate to see children get into bad business and break the laws at a tender age on account of the parents.

Is it so easy to go around smoking pot in the US and also to carry guns?

I admire Dave's faith and trust in God and I wonder who introduced him into the ministry?

God always works miracles. Dave reminds me St.Paul. Is Dave married?

You have narrated a long story so interestingly and yet so briefly. This post is very exciting from the beginning to the end.

God be praised for working this miracle in a man who could have easily become a hardened criminal.

It looks like you are doing a difficult job at present. I pray to God to give you all wisdom, courage and strength.

Have a nice day Fred:)

FCB said...

Hi Joseph,
You are so right, I have not talked to one man in the center that had an intact family life, without exception they suffer when the home's broken.
I had not seen parents that actually encouraged their own children to do evil until I became involved here. Now I have heard about it, and seen it. Drug addicted parents standing across the road calling to their sons to leave the program because they "need" them. And some times they do leave.

Regarding guns and drugs; guns are sold in nearly every Dept. Store and also in Gun Shows, where thousands of guns are offered for sale, and can be bought without background check or registration.
Drugs are prevalent and pot is looked at as a misdemeanor and in some states small amounts for personal use are legal. We may have the most freedom of any country in the world, but with it comes the potential for the greatest good or the worst evil.
God bless,

FCB said...
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HAINAngel2000 said...

The tattoo of the tear means he killed someone (that is what it means) anyway isn't it awesome how God uses the very least to further his kingdom? What an amazing testimony. Do you all have a testimony night where you work? Very inspiring to me

David Soto said...

This is a real inspiring story,God is good through all things and he continues to be good even when we fail. I must say this story gives me a way of looking back on all God has done and how faithful he is. My Mother actually led me to Christ which Christ led me to meet Fred since meeting Fred I must say Ive had my relapses and struggles but Christ continued to pick me up. Im now sober married for 7 yrs been working as a loss prevention officer for 6yrs going on 7. Go in to the jail, to minister Christ to those that are there and I attend church on a regular basis. With Christ life isnt easy but lets face it, its hell without him. Today Im very greatful for the body of Christ and the relationship I have with him and my brother in Christ Fred. You know O must say one can lead many to Christ, its when one teaches others to live in Christ is when the rubber meets the road. Fred has done this for me and continues to do so. Now I know the tattoo of a tear means someone killed someone, I got mine as a follower of what many others do, childish ways. I never killled anyone but my old self. In prison when one of your friends get killed you get one means your always sad for them a permenant tea, also theres other reasons for a teardrop like doing time all depends where your hearts at, and my Heart is for Jesus. Rest assured remember one can never truly pick themseleves up without Christ it is Christ who will pick us up each time we fall. A million relapses and sober today but most of all a new creation in christ. Stay blessed, stay up, and never down. Tge actual guy that offered us the weed actually stated oh wait you guys dont do that because your Christian right? We stated we dont have to live that way anymore because we live for Christ. GOD BLESS YOU ALL

David Soto said...
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