While governments dither and the world decries the deteriorating situation south of the U.S. border, one missionary and his co-laborers are doing something about it. Using the time-honored concept that saturation of an area with the gospel will beat back the devil, they are seeding hundreds of thousands of Bibles, Bible portions, Chick tracts and other literature into the city of Juarez, just across the Rio Grande River from El Paso, Texas.
Teams include missionaries, local pastors, shop owners, grocers, and lots of children and teenagers from area churches. Astounding stories are beginning to come back from the effort. Seven teens were able to hand out 4,000 tracts at a shopping mall in just two hours. A local church handed out 12,000 Chick tracts in one week. The whole church got involved working busy intersections, parks and walking the streets in the neighborhoods. Their children were particularly successful in getting people to take the tracts. Christian shop owners are encouraged to place a display of tracts and Bibles on the counter for customers to take.
One dramatic story came from a believer who had an assortment of tracts in a basket at his roadside stand where he cooked and sold hamburgers. One mean-looking customer demanded a hamburger and was handed a tract picked at random from the basket to read while the burger was cooking.
When the order was ready, the customer had finished the tract and was visibly shaken. He told the brother that he was one of the local hit men in the area and he had killed four people so far that day and had two more to go. The tract that had been handed to him was El Pistolero (Gunslinger), and he had a question: "Can God forgive someone like me?"
Before the brother could answer, the man cautioned: "Think about your answer, because if I don't like it I might kill you, too." The courageous brother came from behind his stand, put his arm around the man and said: "Yes, God can forgive you, He wants to forgive you, He died for you, you need to repent of your sins and accept Jesus as your Saviour and He will forgive you. In fact the Father that you never had, is here right now and wants to forgive you and save you." The hit man started crying and prayed out loud to receive Christ as his Saviour. He later threw away his pistol and brought other men from his gang to get more tracts and have them listen to the gospel.
"Several former gang members have been won to Christ and Chick tracts are a great tool to open the door," says Missionary Tim Urling. "Gang members come up to me while soul winning and ask for different titles of Chick tracts. Many times they'll sit and read them right away."
To reach the thousands of children, Urling's team furnishes Chick tracts and Vacation Bible School materials. Somebody Loves Me and A Love Story are favorites.
Urling says that the media has exaggerated the violence situation to include everyone, while the fact is, 99% of the violence is centered around the drug trade and those involved. But with so many Mexican soldiers and Federal Police there, this creates even more candidates for the gospel. "They will eagerly accept the tracts and Bibles and even ask for copies if they see them on your car's dash board when you are stopped at various checkpoints."