Anti-Christian criminals become extreme evangelists through the power of the JESUS Film.
The Kingdom of God is one of the few places where you can see a person who once hated Christians, a former thief, and their victims all working together to advance the Gospel. The story of Brother Silverio and Brother Carlos is one of extreme faith and incredible transformation.
Silverio was a man who abhorred Christians. He could not stand to even hear the Word of God. However, one day, God intervened and opened his ears long enough for him to hear. He gave his life to the Lord when the JESUS film was shown on the street corner near his house.
After a period of many struggles in his Christian life, including family issues, Silverio resolved to share the Good News in the most dangerous neighborhood in Peru, the La Esperanza district. According to the Peruvian National Institute of Information, 27% of people in La Esperanza district live in poverty. This district also has one of the highest crime rates in Peru.
One night, as the JESUS film was being shown in the Fujimori-Fujimori neighborhood of the La Esperanza district, a man named Carlos watched from the shadows. He was a criminal leader and a man who was feared by all his neighbors. Despite his reputation, he found himself crying as the JESUS film was being shown. Carlos was not able to sleep that night because of how strongly the film impacted him.
In this part of the city, an evangelistic preaching point was formed and led by Brother Silverio. One night, Carlos showed up at the Bible study. While listening to the group studying the Bible, he gave his life to the Lord. That night, he again cried like a child.
Jesus changed his life radically. His heart was so transformed, he asked for the preaching point to be moved to his own home.
Carlos, along with Brother Silverio, began to go house-to-house sharing the gospel. The police had threatened to kill Carlos if they ever found him, but he decided to continue preaching to his neighbors. These were the same neighbors Carlos used to mug and extort.
Carlos had also extorted many bus drivers in his community. However, after his conversion to Christ, some of the same vehicle owners he robbed would offer their help to the church. They would provide free rides to church gatherings for those without transportation. One day, the police finally captured Carlos. He did not offer any resistance and simply asked for forgiveness for all the damage he had done.
Today, Brother Carlos is in jail, still preaching the Word of God to fellow inmates. He is being discipled by Brother Silverio and is leading a group made up of Christian prisoners. According to the World Prison Brief, the Peruvian prison occupancy level is currently 232%, based on official capacity. This means that the opportunity for Brother Carlos and others to witness and spread the Good News is greater than ever.
Brother Silverio is the pastor at the Alberto Fujimori Community Church of the Nazarene. The church sign bears the words of Acts 1:8a, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.”
Sometimes we get to see God taking the work of the JESUS Film farther than we could ever imagine. Without JESUS Film Harvest Partners, people like Brother Silverio and Brother Carlos may not have walked into a church on their own. Yet today they are building the Kingdom.
They have the power of the Holy Spirit upon them and are serving the Lord exactly where they are planted—and the impact is rippling out “to the ends of the earth.”
Joy Forney serves as Communications Coordinator for JESUS Film Harvest Partners.
Holiness Today, Nov/Dec 2017