It was sad to know that tonight was going to be my last Bible study with Jason for a couple months. He is reading the book voraciously and is so eager to learn. I spent about 90 minutes just retelling the stories of Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his brothers and Egypt and Moses and leading the people out of slavery. He knew a little bit about the 10 plagues and the Red Sea parting but he didn’t know any of the rest of those Bible stories. It was fun to tell them while he sat mesmerized by them.
We talked a good bit too, and Kristin joined in when she brought Justin home from just being out of the little apartment so we could study in peace and quiet. They shared with me some of the life’s story and how they were in Minnesota until about 5 years ago and their lives were so messed up. I was the one who set mesmerized by this story. I’d like to share it with you.
They were both on some serious drugs: methadone and heroin. He said he was ashamed to pray to God but he did a few times to help him get out of the drug addiction but he didn’t think God would listen to him since he never worked at getting off the drugs.
Jason was in the U.S. illegally but had had some contact with Immigration to try and become legal. It looked like it would eventually happen for him. However, he’d had a couple of run-ins with local police for some fairly minor things but they would eventually figure things out and call Immigration.
Finally, they were driving in the snow one day and their car slid through an intersection and barely hit another car. There was no real damage to either because their car was almost stopped when it tapped the other one. They were afraid to stay in case the other driver might call the police so they drove off. The other driver took their license plate number for leaving the scene and called the police who tracked them down.
They were never charged for anything in that accident. There were no injuries or damages. However, in talking with the police he said something about Immigration and so they called Immigration. The officials there told them that this was the third call from police about this fellow so they were done with him and wouldn’t be helping him any further. Three strikes you’re out sort of deal. So, the police put him in jail as an illegal.
He didn’t fight this through the courts as he figured he would have lost. Since Kristin was an American, he could have slowed down the process, but he would have been in jail for that whole time and he didn’t really want to spend a year or more in jail. So, he waived any rights he might have had. Nonetheless, he spent some months in jail.
Jason said his time in jail was an answer to his prayer to God for help. During his time in jail he went through withdrawal from the drugs but he got through it. He said if it hadn’t been for that time in jail, he probably never would have gotten off.
This was also the step that got Kristin off too since they ended up in Mexico without any money for drugs. She went through her withdrawal down here a bit later in this story. They both say that the time in jail saved their lives. They know that they’d both be dead by now by the drugs.
He was deported in shackles and stayed in Nuevo Laredo in Mexico (just over the border from Laredo, TX) until Kristin could come down. She sold their cars and bought a conversion van and drove down to be with him. They had a 3 month old baby and a little boy and they simply dumped them with one of Jason’s relatives in Minnesota (who was a naturalized U.S. citizen). His uncle and aunt hated him for a few years for literally dumping their kids on them but he says now they’ve forgiven him.
Once in Mexico they drove to San Juan where Jason’s family lived. However, Kristin had bought the van and come down so quickly (he didn’t have any money to live) that she didn’t have a title or even plates for the van. So, they had to bribe their way through the main checkpoints.
They were stopped again by police about 3 hours north of San Juan del Rio when they only had 200 pesos left and were almost out of gas in the tank. The police took that and said they were going to take the van too.
He finally convinced them that this was all the money they had left in the world and he showed them a nice radar detector that he had and so they took the radar detector and actually gave him back his 200 pesos and let them keep the van. They believed him. So, they arrived in San Juan on fumes and had 50 pesos left. They slept in the van for some time while he looked for work.
It was then that Kristin had to deal with the withdrawal from the drugs. Jason was away all day at work when he got a job, and she was left at his parents’ house with his relatives who just hated her. She spoke not one word of Spanish and was totally alone and depressed. She got clear of the drugs but the depression grew worse.
By this point, he hated his work, hated his family, hated Kristin, and hated life. He really didn’t see the point in living. Kristin, well, she felt the same way! They wanted to have a baby again now that they were finally drug-free but they weren’t having success in that area.
They were just about to give up on life when Beth’s mother and then Beth entered Kristin’s life and Kristin also got pregnant. It was actually through a lady in the church here who lived nearby who helped hook up Kristin with Beth Hanna (Beth’s mom). Beth H. tried to help Kristin but Kristin was still dealing with the drug and alcohol and depression and was not really interested in the studies and was looking mainly for someone to navigate Spanish for her and to maybe get a handout of money or whatever she could get.
Both Jason and Kristin said that the pregnancy saved their lives. Having a baby was the only thing they could think of to live for and for which to be together since their marriage was so bad they didn’t even want to be together anymore. But Kristin had nowhere to go and couldn’t communicate or survive on her own so he didn’t send her away.
It took about 3 years for God to use the relationships between Beth Hanna and then Bethie to break through to Kristin’s heart and to become genuinely interested in God’s Word and in knowing God. Those were some tough times but oh so worth it!
Of course, now in 2009 “baby” Justin will be turning 3 in August. We won’t get to be here for that celebration. Their faces are just radiant with the transformation God has done in their hearts. It is no less than amazing and a miracle. It took jail and deportation for both of them to beat the drugs and be saved from that.
Befriending Kristin was about the hardest thing Beth has ever done. Kristin was “unlovable” from a human perspective. But God was in control and God loves the unlovable. That’s you and me and Jason and Kristin and everyone else. I’m so glad for God’s amazing grace! Aren’t you?!?
BTW, Jason’s brother, Gerardo is having problems with his work as a long-distance bus driver from Guadalajara to Tijuana. He lives just down the street from Jason and Kristin even though his job is 5 hours away (and a lot more to Tijuana). A few weeks ago, Gerardo’s wife, Lorena (I think I remember that correctly) was very sick and he couldn’t leave her. He lost his normal bus route so now he has to wait for a bus trip to come up that’s not on the schedule (there in Guadalajara). Unfortunately, there just aren’t extra trips available very often so he’s not getting enough work and they’re in trouble financially now.
They don’t know what to do BUT last week Gerardo asked Jason to pray for him. Gerardo has seen the change in their lives and has seen God answering Jason’s prayers. Tonight, Jason asked me to pray for Gerardo too.
You know what would be great? If all of you would join me in praying for Gerardo…it would be great to see how God answers all of our prayers and to let Jason AND Gerardo and Lorena AND all of Jason’s family know that God does answer prayers and the changes that God has done in the lives of Jason and Kristin are because of God’s grace and mercy and His grace and mercy is there for them too.
Would you let me know that you are praying with me for Gerardo? It is now officially July 1st. Let’s pray for this family every day here in July 2009. Let’s see what God will do in their lives too. Jason knows God answers prayers because God saved his life from drugs and then saved his life from sin after crying out to God.
The only thing holding God back from answering our prayers is…our not praying them.
Are you in with me? If so, let me know…leave a comment or send me an email. I’d love to tell Jason how many other believers are praying for his brother and family in July 2009.