By Jeff Goins, Editor
Four days. Thats how long it took.
Things can clear up pretty quickly in the back of a pickup truck, when you have nothing but the wind and your own self-doubt to wrestle with.
The team of young, passionate missionaries had only been in the small southern Mexican town of Palenque a few days, but that was enough to ignite a spark in their hearts to see some life change. They stepped up to the challenge to live like Jesus. Not a religious Jesus. Not a happy Jesus. But an active Jesus.
Activated by some powerful teaching, they left the secluded Shekinah Bible Institute in search of adventure. The team would later find out that that they were the first and only ones who left the training site to implement what they had learned. So often in life, that seems to be the case. We have a choice to either implement what we have learned or save it up as head knowledge for another day. They chose to get activated.
Jake Rodriguez led the team to a drug rehabilitation center, admitting that none of them knew what they were doing when they left. They went in faith.
In the back of a bumpy pickup truck, traveling to La Esperanza Rehab Center, Jake was in desperate prayer. Lord, Im the leader, and Im supposed to be able to give some sort of some direction, he prayed. And then, with humbled admission, he pronounced, I cant!
Eleazar, a native Mexican and their driver, pulled the truck over and asked, What is it that youre worried about? Each listed a few concerns, which included not having the right words, being hindered by language barriers, and assuming they knew what the people were going through when they really did not.
Still stopped at the wheel, Eleazar responded with a realness that cut deep to the heart, All those things point right back at you Its not about you.
The vehicle continued to the ministry site, while Jake considered how he had said yes to the Lord earlier that morning and reaffirmed it right then in the back of the truck. It wasnt about him. Moments before they arrived, he received the words that he was supposed to speak and Gods purpose for having them visit the center in the first place.
Having shared what they were supposed to do, Jake and the rest of the team walked into the rehab center with confidence and peace. He began with preaching for about twenty minutes. Being that Spanish is his second language, Jake spoke it with such eloquence that he remarked, Wow, I know that wasnt me. It just flowed.
Moved by the truth of the message, over forty men declared their own freedom and prayed for their neighbors, laying hands on each other. They were suffering from alcoholism, drug addictions, sexual addictions, and spousal abuse. God began to release them. Raised hands in the air marked their newfound freedom.
Jake finished his message, and the rest of the team came alive. Kelly, who had left a career as a professional life coach to travel the world, stepped up and shared her teaching spirit, calling out sins in which some of the men were dwelling. This team of young pilgrims was a symphony of Gods hands, remarked Rodriguez.
They went back up to do an altar call, sensing that there were some who were ready to commit their lives to something bigger than a temporary high. About twenty men prayed to be set free from addiction and live in obedience to Christ. Some of them even beat Jake to the prayer for salvation, calling out, I declare today that I will be set free!
Jake said he felt like a parent would with their kids. His pride for his teammates was evident; they werent sitting in class rooms, analyzing the theology behind divine healing, nor were they discussing what Jesus really meant when he commissioned his Church. They were simply being obedient.
The whole event lasted about an hour and a half. When asked what he specifically preached about, Jake said, Honestly pausing for a moment and then continuing, that there is liberty. Regardless of their backgrounds, whether they were from Mexico or the United States, from safe church environments or with histories of alcoholism and substance addiction, the message was simple: God loves me.
Delivering the simplicity of the Gospel of Jesus by stepping out in boldness, this team was blessed with powerful resultsa moving of the Spirit. This is what Jake Rodriguez calls a simple message, profound move.