The following story is in our November 2014 Newsletter
It is our policy never to ask the inmates why they are in prison. The Scriptures teach us that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” However, over the years we have noticed that after a period of time, when the men feel comfortable, they generally tell us.
Gustavo gave his heart to the Lord this past April and has been faithful to the church and with his Bible Studies ever since. However, he just personally gave me his testimony this past week. For 25 years prior to receiving Christ, he had been involved with witchcraft; and for the last 18 years, he was also associated with the Gulf Coast Cartel and had been addicted to crack cocaine for most of his life. He had street cred with the cartel due to his history of incarcerations in the states of Jalisco, Sinaloa, Isla las Marias and most recently in Matamoros.
He had thought that his faithfulness to the cartel’s god “la Santísima Muerte” had been protecting him in his cartel activities, but miraculously he learned differently. He and a few of his companions were captured by the Zetas outside Ciudad Victoria and were tortured unmercifully. One of the men was beheaded in front of Gustavo. Although he still feels the pain of the atrocities which he saw and experienced, his face glows when he tells his story. He knows it was not “Most Holy Death” that was protecting him but rather a loving God who had a plan for his life.
While he was being beaten in a desolate field near a patch of woods, his captors were distracted by a noise in the trees. When they turned to see what it was, Gustavo heard a loud voice that told him to run. He and one of the other men started running for their lives while bullets whizzed by them, mowing down the weeds and thudding up against the trees. They ran until they could run no more, and due to sheer exhaustion they collapsed.
The next thing Gustavo remembers is that he awakened in an older couple’s home. They were caring for Gustavo and his friend. Though this couple didn’t know either of them personally, they were aware of their cartel activities. Yet for almost a month, they nursed them back to health. For the first three days of their care, the Zetas kept patrolling the streets looking for them. Though everyone in the colonia knew where they were, the people lied, feigned ignorance and would not reveal their whereabouts. Gustavo was protected.
A few months after this event Gustavo was caught by the authorities and incarcerated in Matamoros. Things were hard for him in the beginning as he was sleeping on a cold concrete floor with no covering, no friends and no means of taking care of his needs.
Pedro, a brother in the prison church, gave Gustavo a few blankets to soften the floor and a few changes of clothing. Pedro then took Gustavo’s dirty under clothing and hand washed them. Gustavo had never seen anything like this before and he broke down crying, realizing that someone really cared for him. Because of this Gustavo came to church, heard the Gospel, was touched by the Spirit and gave his heart to the Lord. He is a faithful man with a mighty story to tell. He has been a great inspiration to many concerning the saving grace of God!
Please remember Gustavo in your prayers as he shares his life story with many who don’t know our Savior. They are still walking the same path that Gustavo used to walk.