ANM staff member traveling in Mexico

MexicoDrugMapMexico (ANM/MNN) — Mexico is known for its drug cartels and gang-related deaths.

Drug trafficking is the world’s top illegal trade, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Between 2000 and 2010, the illegal drug trade generated roughly $650 billion per year, and drug-related violence has claimed at least 60,000 lives since 2006.

An Advancing Native Missions partner is breaking through this darkness to rescue San Pedro youth. An ANM volunteer team is there right now, building a dormitory and making repairs. They’re also sharing the life-saving Gospel Truth.

The following report was taken verbatim from ANM’s Web site:

Paul Robbins, part of the Advancing Native Missions staff, has been traveling in Mexico helping one of our ministry partners there, Seedtime and Harvest Ministries. Construction is the focus of the trip, but there have been many opportunities for other kinds of ministry as well.

SHM rescues at-risk children, particularly those targeted by the drug cartels, and provides them with a home, discipleship, education, and opportunity. In this report, Paul tells us about one young man and his ongoing journey to Christ. Please join us and Paul in praying for these vulnerable young men and for the ministry that is showing them the hope of new life in Christ.

“Harvest in San Pedro”

There was one empty seat at the head of the supper table, and Marco sat down. It was next to me. God reserved it for him. We began to talk, and before long we got to the topic of faith. Without hesitating, he told me politely that he was not a believer. He was getting closer but still had doubts. I asked him what they were, and he said he had many. We narrowed it to three, and he soon admitted they were not credible enough to keep him from Christ.

Marco was raised in Mexico City in an atheistic home. He came to Torreon to play semi-pro soccer. After a serious injury they sent him to San Pedro for rehab and an attitude adjustment. Seedtime and Harvest’s coaches and the workers here are known for their capability of caring for young men like Marco. It is working well in Marco’s life. He is experiencing Christian love and friendship amongst the other players and senses something he has never known before.

The trouble is that Marco was still not convinced of his need for Christ. So we continued to talk as everyone else left the table. As we went from the teachings of Jesus and the purpose of the law to forgiveness of sin and the new nature, his doubts lost all their weight. Jesus was not the problem, Marco was. But so were girls. He admitted to his unrestrained approach to sexual exploration. He confessed that he has misled and misused girls for his own pleasure and pride. His countenance shifted from a handsome young athlete who had life on a string to a troubled youth who despised his own thoughts and desires.

Since Marco came to Seedtime and Harvest, the conviction grew so strong that he could not sleep. Last week at 2 a.m., he walked out to the soccer field and cried out to God for mercy because of his wretched behavior. It sounded like a legitimate desire for forgiveness, but I learned different.

He had persuaded a 16-year-old girl that he loved her and would always be hers, and she exchanged her virginity for his word. He knew he had violated her, yet he was planning on escaping the next day for a different girl in another city, and nobody else knew this besides her, and now me. She was his old girlfriend, who was coming to see him play soccer at the stadium and was staying at a hotel and wanted him to visit. Our conversation ramped up a level, and I told him about how God visited Cain on the night before he killed his brother, pleading with him not to do it. ”Sin is now at the door of your heart and wants to have you,” I said. “Without the power of God at work in your heart, it will have you.”

“You asked God for help last week, and now we are sitting here together. You asked God for a sign, and here it is. It is a stop sign. The Proverbs say to stay away from an immoral woman, because she will reduce you to a crust of bread. She is no more immoral than you are, but you are now facing a choice that she has previously planned.”

I felt the urgency, and a sternness came over me. ”If you think that you can continue to live this secretive life of personal pleasure without future consequence, you are dangerously mistaken. Your visions of unending romances with countless women is an illusion. I can guarantee that one day your prowess will end, and you will be left empty and betrayed.”

We both remained quiet for a few minutes and then he said, “I want it.”

“What do you want?” I asked.

“I want Jesus. I want to be born again, like you said.”

I was overwhelmed with thanksgiving as he talked to Jesus out of his brokenness and asked Him to save him.

Two days later he came into the house with a hood almost covering his face. He said he was okay, but I pressed him.

“I couldn’t do it,” he said with tears. “I couldn’t stop myself.”

“That is not true,” I countered. His eyes were wet but fixed on mine as if begging for a second chance.

“Marco,” I told him, “you are capable of living differently but don’t know it yet. You have power and desires that are resting in this new nature, and you need to exercise them. But first you need to talk with Jesus about what you did. Allow Him to forgive you, and He will.”

I grabbed him by both arms and told him that I am fighting for him because I believe he can make it and that he will. He thanked me with his eyes.

Today God showed up in Marco’s life in a surprising way. We went with the team to Laredo for the last game of the season. After this are the playoffs for the state championship. The game was tied with minutes to go, and the coach sent Marco in as a sub.

He did not look as experienced as the other boys, yet no sooner did he run on the field than the ball landed in front of him. He dribbled a few yards toward the goal and shot and scored. It was amazing and the crowd responded. Marco immediately got on his knees and pointed his hands towards Heaven. It was not only the tie-breaking goal that would take them to the championship, but it was also his first goal of the season.

I have learned that, like many of the boys here, Marco has led a life lacking discipline and restraint. They face huge temptations daily within this culture. Please pray for him and the rest of these youth. God is meeting them here like no other place they have been.

Pray for more Gospel opportunities. Pray that more youth are saved from a violent future. Click here to learn more about the work of ANM.