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The Prodigal Brother

By Mandy Marcone, Dec 21, 2015

“No. NO, Lord! Make him turn around. Bring him back! PLEASE. No, not Alfredo.”

About two months ago, I contacted my dad, who has been Alfredo’s sponsor for three years, to let him know that Alfredo was officially no longer part of the Peter Project, the drop-in center for street boys in La Ceiba, Honduras, which I help run.

I had done all I could do—prayed, begged, cried, and bribed for months, but we had finally lost him. He made his final decision and walked away from our talk and didn’t even look back. With tears streaming down my face, I took a deep breath, and my prayer continued. “Lord, thank you that Alfredo’s salvation has everything to do with You and nothing to do with me or him.” God has taught me this during the few years I’ve lived here. I’ve seen it: the hardest hearts have been softened and wooed by Jesus—not because of them or because I’m really good at “being a missionary” (whatever that means)—but because of who Jesus is and the continuous way He redeems broken things.

A prodigal returns
This week, I held hands with my “little brother” Alfredo as we worshipped the King of Kings together—tears of joy and gratitude streaming down our faces.

I didn’t realize the weight of his decision when he came back shortly after that day he walked away. Alfredo shared with me that he had been involved in some pretty serious things—drugs, crime—but the Lord continued to pursue his heart. I told him, “Thank you so much for coming back. We missed you.” He sat up, confused, and said, “Manda, me coming back had nothing to do with me. God brought me back here and saved me from everything I thought I wanted.”

Wow.

Later, Alfredo confessed some things from his past. He noticed that it was hard for me to hear, and this bothered him. He grabbed my hands and told me to look at him. “Manda. All of this was before I knew Him. He’s changed me,” he said. A reminder from this precious redeemed child that our sins—past, present, and future—are nailed to the cross. How can it be that I should share in the Savior’s work in this most intimate way? How is it that He brought me to a mission field to minister to my heart through redeeming lives of street boys?

But then again, isn’t this the story of every child of God? He uses us—the sinful, broken, messed-up, crazy—to proclaim His glory, His goodness, His beauty to a broken world. Sometimes I get so busy “doing ministry” that I somehow fail to be amazed by this.

True worship
Recently during devotions, we studied the story of the Prodigal Son. I hadn’t planned to, but the Lord put Alfredo’s story on my heart, and I just couldn’t help but share the joy that was flowing out of my heart for this child’s story. As I shared it, Amy, an MTW intern helping out at the center, noted how emotional Alfredo became. Afterward, we had a time of silent prayer. Alfredo grabbed my hand and we spent time with one another, individually praising our Savior and being amazed that He would “save a wretch like me.”

This is the real stuff in life. Call me radical or whatever other name you want to give me, but take fashion and technology and comfort, and just give me Jesus. This is real. This is the Good News! A little boy was destined for hell just like me, and now we join hands and shed tears of joy and gratitude together imagining the face of our blessed Savior who paid the punishment and died the death we deserve, all in the name of the most selfless love that ever existed, all for His own precious glory. If you don’t know Him, His grace is sufficient for you, too. 

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Pray for the orphaned and street children at The Peter Project. Pray for these beautiful boys to know the love of Christ and find refuge from the effects of poverty.

Pray for the street children in La Ceiba, Honduras, to find love, permanence, and a solid faith in Christ.

Pray for the used clothing store business ministry that helps young single moms in La Ceiba, Honduras receive job training.

Pray that God would call pastors to serve at a Bible institute in Honduras, and elsewhere around the world. 

Pray for our ministries in Honduras, impacted by severe lockdowns followed by two hurricanes.

Please pray for those in Honduras whose livelihoods have been devastated by the COVID-19 lockdown and for missionaries stepping up to meet their community's needs.

Pray today for Puerta de Esperanza (Door of Hope), which ministers to the needs of impoverished and vulnerable single mothers in La Ceiba, Honduras.

Pray for first-year missionaries who can feel incompetent and overwhelmed as they begin ministry on the field.

Pray for the street boys involved in the Peter Project ministry and drop-in center in Honduras. Pray that the boys will develop a relationship with Christ, grow spiritually, and heal from the impact life's hardships.

Pray for current missionaries, future missionaries, sending churches, and donors to be willing to ask the question, "How could God use me?"

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