Manuel (my right-hand man in the prison at Santa Adelaida, caretaker of our Christian library and administrator of our Bible Studies) was not in his room when the assault on his cell-block occurred, but those details will be held for another story. He left about 15 minutes before the fighting took place. After almost three hours of storming the doors of cell-block East to gain entrance, along with the gunfire from assault rifles at the windows, the occupants of cell-block North accomplished their objective.
You see, cell-block East housed the current leadership of the cartel in this prison. It just so happens that many of the church members occupied the same building. As the attackers gained control of the building they went cell by cell rousting out all the inhabitants, and then set fire to the now empty cell. During all this commotion the Christian men in this cell-block made their way to Manuel’s room, not knowing he wasn’t there. As the mob advanced in their plunder, setting ablaze each cell as they advanced, the Christians (15 in number), scared for their lives, began to sing praises and worship the Lord. It just so happens that there were also others, not part of the church, that made their way into the room trying to hide, seeking refuge.
When they got to Manuel’s room the angry hoard heard the singing and saw the scared occupants. It is hard to explain, but many of these men have great respect for religious things, while others view the Christians as weaklings. Whatever the reason, when they saw the men praising the Lord, though scared they were, one of the leaders spoke up and said, “we don’t have anything against these men. Let them go.” However, as they let them leave they checked each man out to see who they were. Each Christian they let go, but one by one those that were trying to take refuge but weren’t Christian were pulled aside and beat unmercifully. EVEN THE CARTEL KNOWS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THOSE WHO ARE REALLY SERVING THE LORD AND THOSE WHO ARE PRETENDING.
When the room was empty they started to set the cell on fire, when one of the men spoke up and said, “wait, we can’t do this. This is the Brother’s room.” The two little girls of the newly crowned prison leader of the Gulf Cartel (Luz and Milagros) are regular visitors to the library. They attend the Bible classes and are two of my favorites, They also have nothing to do with the activities of their father. However, their father knows of all the assistance that we have rendered to the children; not only church children, but the children of the general population. So Manuel’s was one of the very few cells that wasn’t set ablaze. God is so Faithful and Good to his own!