“I don’t think I am going to go up and get prayer for accepting Christ just yet. I feel like it is an important thing and should not be taken lightly.” This is what Eduardo said as he approached me at in the food line. The rest of my team had gathered around a few guys who were ready to try to get off drugs and make a commitment to Christ. I asked Eduardo what he thought “being ready” would look like. “Well, for starters,” he said, “I need to know that I am not going to load, like I plan to do later on.”
Eduardo is a heroin user. He went on to explain that he “loads” 2-3 times a day, and had already used twice so far today. He was sure that he would need the third dose. As I continued to encourage him that today is probably his day to get free, he shared the rest of his story with me.
He was brought to the U.S. by his parents, before he turned 2 years old. After a lifetime of living in Orange County, he was discovered as a non-resident, and was deported a year ago. When he was first deported, he had a very hard time understanding what was happening to him. He went through culture shock, desperation, agony being separated from his family, and ultimate hopelessness. All symptoms that I have heard shared hundreds of times now in our daily work. But Eduardo said that eventually he came to terms with it, and realized he needed to make Tijuana his new home, and accept the fact that he would never be able to return to life as he knew it. Very few make it to this critical point of embracing the new life. He got a job, even got involved in serving at a local church. He said that it really helped to take his mind off of his situation, by being busy and helping others. However, recently he lost his job, and eventually his living quarters, and all the hopelessness, loneliness, and fear returned. He decided to use drugs one night, to escape his pain. The false comfort of the chemicals set in and lured him deeper and deeper.
I explained to Eduardo that it does not get easier to take the step toward Jesus and eventual freedom. That it would get harder, and today was just as good as any day that he might want to set aside. He seemed to think that he should have his life in order first, before coming back to Jesus. I hoped that I was able to convince him that it was just the opposite. That he did not have to have a job, a place to live, nor be concerned that he was planning to load. Jesus can handle all that!
Throughout our remaining time there in the aqueduct, I continued to tell Eduardo, “Today is your day!” He also shared that he did have an eye opener, earlier in the day, which proved there is no guarantee as to how long he or anyone may have. A man (actually an American drug seeker) died from an over dose right there near the border. Eduardo was there when he was discovered.
It seemed obvious that The Lord was tugging at his heart. He did not make a decision with me, but did take information on how to reach us if he decides he was ready to go to the rehab. I hope I see him next week if not sooner.
While I was talking with Eduardo, another young man, Memo, came up to me with a note, and asked if I would call his family when I returned to the States. He had written down his family members’s name, phone #, and then a list of clothing items that he needed. Particularly, dress clothes so that he could interview for work. He had also clipped a newspaper sales ad of a set of tools that he needed, so that he could work if he got a job. As I drove away with his note, I could not help but think about how for Memo, and so many others, life really is just one day at a time, clinging to some good news that might come along. I thought, he has no real idea if I will place that call for him. Or if he would see me again the next week. Or if he can even trust that I can help get what he needs. He really has placed his “message in a bottle”.