GE­ORGE’S STORY

Activated - - NEWS - By Han­nah Book

“This hu­man­i­tar­ian work you do— is there some re­li­gious mo­ti­va­tion? If it’s re­li­gious, I’m an athe­ist.” The old bum tug­ging at my arm looked more like a beast than a man. His shriv­eled body bore all the marks of ex­treme al­co­holism, but his eyes were alert and pled with mine.

“I was once an athe­ist, too,” I told him.

The large pub­lic mar­ket in Buenos Aires where this took place is home to many steve­dores and oth­ers who don’t have any­where else to live. Dur­ing the day, hun­dreds of street peo­ple comb through the garbage and vie for refuse from the pro­duce stalls. It’s a pretty rough place. In the years I’ve been go­ing there for sup­plies for our vol­un­teer work, I’ve got­ten to know quite a few of the ven­dors and many of the reg­u­lars. This one wanted to talk. He said his name was Sucker.

For a street drunk, he turned out to be sur­pris­ingly well spo­ken and ed­u­cated. Stand­ing there in the mar­ket, for the next half hour the man told me his life story—all 64 years of it—in­clud­ing how his po­lice-chief fa­ther had been as­sas­si­nated by or­ga­nized crime be­fore his eyes, and how he had then “gone loco” and been un­con­trol­lably vi­o­lent ever since. By the time he fin­ished, tears were stream­ing down his face.

What could I say? I prayed silently for the right words. “Do you want to be de­liv­ered?” I asked. “De­liv­ered from what?” “From your bit­ter­ness and fear.” “No one can take that away!” Sucker protested.

“I know Some­one who can,” I told him, “and I have a gift for you.”

He caught on im­me­di­ately that I was talk­ing about Je­sus. “Do you know how hard it is for an athe­ist to re­ceive that gift?” he groaned.

“I was an athe­ist too, re­mem­ber. That’s why I know this will work for you.” Sucker had no an­swer for that. “Do you want to re­ceive Je­sus?” I asked out­right.

For a long mo­ment he stood per­fectly still, star­ing at me. Then sud­denly he ex­haled and his arms fell open, as if to re­ceive the gift I was of­fer­ing. “Yes, I do,” he said.

So I prayed with Sucker to re­ceive Je­sus as his Sav­ior, and for Je­sus to de­liver him from the bit­ter­ness and fear that had driven him to be­come an al­co­holic.

When I opened my eyes, he looked like a dif­fer­ent man!

Be­fore we parted, he said, “Thank you for bring­ing me this peace—and by the way, my name is Ge­orge.”

Two weeks later, back at the mar­ket, I didn’t even rec­og­nize Ge­orge! He was clean-shaven and well groomed. He was also ea­ger to pray with me and happy to re­ceive that month’s Conéc­tate (the Span­ish edi­tion of Ac­ti­vated).

The fol­low­ing week, he told us that he’d read the lit­er­a­ture over and over. He’d also sat and talked to Je­sus for a cou­ple of hours, and con­cluded by telling Him he needed to find work. Be­cause of his vi­o­lent and ar­gu­men­ta­tive be­hav­ior, Ge­orge had been fired from job af­ter job.

“Barely one minute later, a boy walked up to me and said his fa­ther was of­fer­ing me a job at his stall—the same man who swore one month ago that I would never work for

him again!” Ge­orge was so ex­cited at how quickly his prayer had been an­swered!

On that visit, he asked us to pray that God would help him stop drink­ing com­pletely.

“The strangest thing hap­pened the other day,” he said. “I was drink­ing with my bud­dies when I felt Je­sus nudge me on the shoul­der and tell me to put down my wine—and I did! I just got up and walked away. I never would have done that be­fore! Then, about 20 min­utes later, the men I’d been drink­ing with started a big fight, and a po­lice­man came to break it up. This po­lice­man knew he could al­ways find me in the mid­dle of a good fight, so when he saw me sit­ting nearby, not in the melee, he asked, ‘Don’t you be­long in there?’ When I told him no, he just stared at me and asked, ‘What’s hap­pened to you?’ Je­sus is chang­ing me. I can feel it, and oth­ers can see it. Now I want to pray that I can stop drink­ing com­pletely.”

When Ge­orge said he didn’t think he could sur­vive an­other cold, damp win­ter on the street, we prayed for him to find a place to stay at a rent he could af­ford. The next time I saw Ge­orge, he told me that a large

Han­nah Book is a part-time vol­un­teer with The Fam­ily In­ter­na­tional in Ar­gentina.

cit­rus com­pany had of­fered him a su­per­vi­sory job, com­plete with liv­ing quar­ters.

Bet­ter news still, he said he felt he could once more face his wife and grown twin daugh­ters. “With all the mir­a­cles Je­sus has done for me, I’m sure He can help me make amends. Now, no mat­ter what the prob­lem, I feel that Je­sus is say­ing, ‘Trust Me!’”

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