Faculty & Graduates

How a drug addict found freedom

Ralph Cooley

It was a glorious morning as our team met outside on the front patio of Hostel Bukou in Costa Rica.

Three of the girls on our team had a 10 am appointment on campus with someone they met on Friday, so I felt a little rushed as we began opening the Word and started teaching through Galatians 5.

We were in the midst of talking about, “What God has freed us from? And what has He has freed us to?” when a man from the busy street below came up to the patio and interrupted our study.

My first reaction to the man named “Jonathan” was not very positive. He asked if anyone spoke Spanish and Joseph, who was sitting next to me, began to talk with him. He shared that he was a drug addict and that he needed about $8 from us to buy a bus ticket to a nearby city where a drug rehab center was.

My response to his need was, that’s too much money to give to him and how do we know if his story is true? Joseph continued to talk with him and the Holy Spirit began to talk with me. My heart softened and asked Jonathan to sit down where I was sitting and told him we wanted to pray for him. Two of us laid our hands on him and began to pray. As we prayed Jonathan broke down and began to cry. Joseph finished our time of prayer in Spanish.

As I sat next to Jonathan with 13 of us sitting around him, I explained to him what we were just talking about. “It is for Freedom that Christ has set us free…” And that God wanted to set him free of this addiction that he was in bondage to. I asked him if he would die tonight where would he spend eternity and his immediate response was, “HELL.”

I went on to tell Jonathan that God loved him and wanted him to come into a personal relationship with Him. I then asked Joseph to read though the Spanish, "Knowing God Personally" booklet. As he went though the booklet, page-by-page, I could see the Spirit of God drawing him, calling him and convicting him. Everyone was praying and many of us were in tears as we watched a broken, addicted, soul be drawn by God’s love.

Near the end of the booklet Joseph asked if Jonathan wanted to put his trust in Christ for salvation and he said, “Si.” Then Jonathan asked Joseph to lead him in prayer, and he did. We all witnessed the power of God for salvation and right in front us we saw Jesus set the enslaved, “yoked” man set free!

We were all overcome by the mercy, grace and love of God! My plan for our morning lesson was to teach about the freedom that Christ offers and God’s plan was to, “Set the prisoner free.” a lesson I will never forget.

We spent another 30 minutes going through the wonderful promises of God, about eternal life, how all our sins are forgiven and how Jesus will never leave us or forsake us. Then I shared that he never had to asked Jesus into his life ever again but he could thank Jesus every day for coming into his life and for the great salvation that he has been given.

“Would you like to thank God now for what He has done?” I asked. He did and he began to pray out loud. He prayed in Spanish and so later on I asked Joseph what he prayed. Joseph said, “He thanked God for all that He had done for him, for forgiveness of his sins and eternal life. He also asked God for His strength to be free from his addiction. Then lastly he thanked God for his addiction, because it was because of his addiction that he met us.” (I was in tears again.)

Please pray for Jonathan. We gave him a Spanish Bible, shared how important it is to read His Word and to find good fellowship in a church. We also gave him more than what he needed for the bus and sent him on his way.

And that was just the beginning! The rest of our day was filled with almost non-stop Gospel conversations with students at the University of Costa Rica.

There is “rejoicing in heaven” over this one lost prisoner that now has been set FREE.

Would you like to have freedom in Christ? You too can be forgiven for your sins and find freedom from your addictions. Here’s how you can begin a personal relationship with Jesus.

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