It’s All Being Used for the Gospel – Jeff

Greater Things   -  

Less than eight years ago I was using drugs every day and on my way to prison. I spent two decades using drugs, selling drugs, making terrible decisions, and doing everything the wrong way.

At the end of that time, I found myself behind bars, lost, alone, and broken.

Shortly after I was arrested, I picked up a Bible and started talking to God for the first time since I was a teenager.

This July, I had the privilege of joining a team that journeyed to Nicaragua with an organization known as Ride Nature. Ride Nature uses action sports such as surfing, skating, snowboarding, and motocross as a means to spread the gospel. They recognized this as an untapped avenue for outreach and initiated their ministry in 2009. Our destination was San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua, where they have established their Latin American headquarters. San Juan Del Sur, historically a fishing village, has evolved into a sought-after tourist destination, especially among surf enthusiasts, owing to its picturesque beaches and renowned surf breaks.

During our stay, we actively participated in Ride Nature’s ongoing ministry. We attended weekly church services and led both the men’s and women’s Bible studies. We held a Bible study on the beach, surfed with local residents, and shared the gospel while skateboarding with local children. Additionally, we organized a three-day Vacation Bible School for local kids, which involved crafting, storytelling, singing songs, and joyously sharing the message of Jesus. Our presence allowed the dedicated Ride Nature ministry team to briefly step back from their tireless efforts.

San Juan Del Sur is a place desperate for the message of Jesus Christ.

One story we heard resonated with me, and I’d like to share it with you.

The director of Ride Nature recounted the history of a building situated across the street from their headquarters. It was a well-known bar and nightclub. Over the years, it had become a gathering place for unsavory elements in the community, a haven for drug-related activities and criminal behavior that perpetually troubled the Ride Nature team living directly across. Ultimately, the bar’s owner was compelled to sell, and Ride Nature bought it.

That former bar has since become a central hub for Ride Nature’s ministry. It now hosts church services, weekly Bible studies, food distribution to local families, and daycare services. It was at this location that we conducted Vacation Bible School and shared the gospel with local children.

I had the remarkable opportunity to stand in that very place, sharing the message of Jesus with the local kids and sharing my personal testimony during the men’s Bible study. As I stood there, I couldn’t help but think about the mysterious way God works.

Here is a person with a dark past, standing in a place with a dark past, and today it’s all being used to share the gospel and the message of Jesus Christ.

There’s a quote I like which states: Life can only be understood looking backwards but it must be lived forwards. Sometimes it’s impossible to understand why things happen and we often wonder where God is in those moments. What I can tell you is this: God is perpetually at work, especially when His presence isn’t readily apparent. One day, we will gain clarity on His purpose, and we’ll realize it surpasses anything we could have ever imagined.

Thank you church family for your support and prayers for all of those who travel to distant places to share the message of Jesus Christ. Keep the faith.