Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Released From the Bondage of Drugs

We were conducting our annual VBS when I first met Rene*. I noticed her in the foyer of our education building. She was waiting there while her children attended VBS in our church. Rene was in her late 30's and one could see that she had lived a rough life. Her hygiene could be improved, her dress was too small for her, and all of her top teeth were missing. However, she smiled brightly when I spoke with her. She sat in the foyer paitently waiting while VBS went on for the first couple of nights. The third night, one of our volunteers for crafts didn't show up so Rene was asked to helped. She was delighted to be useful in some way. She worked in crafts the rest of the week.

At the end of the week, her two children made professions of faith in Christ and Rene was overjoyed. When I spoke to Rene about her life, she was very shy and did not open up. I encouraged her to bring her children to church after VBS ended. She did not have any transportation so we arranged for one of our members who lived close to her to bring their family on Sunday mornings.

Rene and her two children were faithful to come to church every Sunday morning. On the day that I had the awesome privilege of baptizing her two children, her husband, Bobby*, attended church as well. After the service, I spoke briefly with him and he made it clear to me that he wanted nothing to do with me or the church. He said that he only came to support his children but he had no intention of coming back.

Rene and the children expanded their attendance to include Sunday School as well as worship. The children were being discipled and growing in Christ. The Lord was touching Rene's heart as well. Finally, one day she asked me to come to her house and speak with her. She told me the sad tale of her life and how she had been involved with drugs since she was 13 years old. She said she was ready to change her life and she wanted to start fresh by giving her life to Christ. She received Jesus as her Lord and Savior that day. A couple of Sundays later, I had the honor of baptizing Rene. Bobby was there as well, scowling the whole time. A few days later, we took Rene to Durham to enter a drug rehab facility. After six weeks, Rene emerged clean and drug-free for the first time in many years.

A few months later, I received a call from Rene. She said that Bobby had been arrested for possession and they had no money for bail. I went to the jail and bailed Bobby out. He was embarrassed yet thankful that I had helped him. The next Sunday morning, Bobby was sitting with Rene and the children in church. He continued to come Sunday after Sunday. I was with him when his case went to trial. He received probation instead of jail time and we were all rejoicing in the Lord. After the trial, I went back with Bobby and Rene to their house. Bobby wanted to talk with me privately. That same day, in his bedroom, Bobby gave His life to Christ.

Bobby and Rene were faithful members of our church. It's amazing how different people look when Christ cleans them up. No longer were they unkempt, lacking personal hygiene, or appearing like they had not slept in days. Now they were clean and refreshed. It was a joy to see the change Christ made in their lives.

A couple of years later I left to go to another church. I did not hear from Bobby and Rene until a couple of years ago. Bobby called me at home one evening and told me that Rene had died suddenly. He asked if I would come back and conduct her funeral. I was very pleased to do so.

What a wonderful time of celebration we had together of the life that Jesus had given to Rene. We rejoiced in her transformation that only can come in Christ. We were all comforted with the knowledge that Rene was with Jesus. Jesus had released her from her bondage to drugs and set her free. Her family is forever grateful to Christ for all He has done.












*name changed.

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