When you hear what Anderson Sanchez is up to in Lima, Peru, you get a real sense of God at work. Hardened hearts are melted and changed. Young lives gone wrong are righted and redeemed.
Every Tuesday, Anderson visits a Young Offenders’ Unit in Lima. Several months ago he began chatting with two boys who are cellmates. The conversation didn’t start off well.
Thirteen-year-old Marcos was adamant that police had planted the drugs on him and had done him the dirty by imprisoning him unjustly for drug dealing. And 17-year-old Sebastian responded with hatred to Anderson’s words about Jesus.
Anderson discovered that Marcos was an orphan and had dropped out of school. Sebastian’s father was in prison and his mother had left home for another man; staying in school had seemed meaningless to him, and the life of drug dealing had beckoned.
“Both these young people decided to be honest when they got to know Jesus,” said Anderson. Marcos admitted that he wasn’t in prison because of corrupt police. And Sebastian confessed that the life of a drug dealer wasn’t quite what he had made it up to be.
Anderson’s friend Mark, who had joined him for the day, told the boys about how God had changed his life. This was when something shifted within them. “They began to trust that God can maybe do the same for them,” Anderson said. “They were in tears as they asked to God to give them a new beginning.”
Each week Anderson continues to visit Marcos and Sebastian to encourage and nurture them in the new steps they are making.
Prisons aren’t the only place where Anderson meets the needs of people. He pastors Christ the Redeemer church in the San Juan de Miraflores district of Lima, ministering to the whole community: men, women, young people and children, including visiting male prisoners and going into schools.
“God is always calling us to more and more,” says Anderson. “There is always room for progress, as God calls us as a church to continue in his mission. This is a great encouragement, as a church and in our personal lives.”
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