Dear Reading Friends and New Subscribers, this is David Telbat. Recently, a man shared his testimony with me. He told a story that proved God is the One who had brought this man to his knees and saved him from a life of crime, homelessness, and loneliness. I’ve changed his name and written his story here for you. Many of us have stories like Sergio’s—one of being lost, then one day, found. Praise God His arms remain open, even for the most rotten of us!
Welcome Home, Sergio!
by D.I. Telbat
Young Sergio had been beaten before, but never this badly. He lay whimpering on his bed where he’d been thrown, drifting in and out of consciousness, listening to his mother argue with yet another man who lived with her.
When the screaming reached its peak after midnight, Sergio sensed another beating was imminent. With a broken arm, fractured leg, and multiple broken ribs, he still managed to slide open his bedroom window and crawl out. He just wanted the pain to stop. He wanted to feel safe.
The construction site in the lot next door offered refuge for young Sergio that night. He crawled under a backhoe and through a framed wall, but the drywall hadn’t yet been hung. Deep inside the structure, he lay on cold cement next to a generator.
As weeks passed, Sergio continued to run to the site next door every time his mother and one of his many “uncles” started to fight. The building under construction was gradually completed, but young Sergio found the back door always unlocked. Inside, he could hide in the back rooms where no one could find him.
A year went by, and every night Sergio ventured into the building, exploring the halls and admiring new art in the back rooms. There were so many happy people who must have frequented those rooms during the day hours. The posters and drawings and changing decorations were so cheerful and colorful! But Sergio never went into the building during the day. His hiding place was a secret. Besides, his mother demanded he remain in his room.
One night, after another particularly bad beating, Sergio was crying in a back room of the building when a man named Brad found him. Brad was a kind, middle-aged man who took Sergio to the hospital, had him treated, and took him back home. But Brad continued to leave the building’s backdoor unlocked, knowing it was Sergio’s safe place.
A few months later, Sergio found his mother overdosed on heroin. Undocumented, Sergio was an unknown to the authorities. He’d never even attended school. Before the age of ten, Sergio turned to the streets where prostitutes, who’d known his mother, raised him as he shoplifted for them. Instead of school in a classroom, Sergio learned on the streets how to survive, how to fight, and how to do drugs.
Sergio went to prison for several years, and the violence in his nature thrived. Others feared this man who had nothing to lose. When Sergio paroled, a long-lost sister found him and offered to give him a place to stay. While on the drive home on his first day out of prison, she asked him if he would like to go to church with her. He hesitated, but finally agreed to go.
She pulled into a church parking lot and explained that it was where she attended church. When Sergio walked into the church building, the greeters at the door welcomed him warmly. They shook his hand and smiled, looking past his gang tattoos and scars.
Lifting his eyes, Sergio felt great joy to discover where he was, and he ecstatically rushed through the auditorium shaking hands. Sergio’s character frightened the greeters and deacons, and confused his sister. They caught up to him in a crowd of smiling faces.
“What are you doing?” one deacon asked Sergio.
“I’m welcoming people.” Sergio held out his hands. “What’s the problem? This is my building!”
“No.” Another deacon chuckled nervously. “This is our church. You’ve never been here before.”
“Actually . . .” Brad, now an aged man, moved through the crowd toward them. He stopped in front of Sergio. “Let me see here. Yes, this is him, alright. This is Sergio’s building. He was attending this church and using it as a safe place long before we made it into a sanctuary.”
“I’m sorry. I forgot your name.”
“That’s okay. It’s Brad.” The man held out his arms. “Welcome home, Sergio!”
Note from David Telbat: Sergio is now a believer in Jesus Christ, and you will meet him in heaven. He will surely tell you the story of how his sister attended church in the very building he once ran to for refuge. Little did he know, the building would one day be the place where a loving pastor would lead him to the One who could offer him eternal refuge!
NEWS: Please pray for an American Christian couple recently arrested in Turkey. The wife was released but they are still holding her pastor husband. You can read the latest news here. And soon after, another American Christian was barred from entering the country where he had lived for years. This is alarming because we have friends over there, too. Please pray.
COMING UP: Join us next time when Dee peeks from behind the screen with David Telbat’s Novel News Update for Oct 2016. And in the following post, we have another glimpse into David’s upcoming novel in, “Loyalty in Distant Front.” Thanks for reading, friends!