Claudia Gutierrez knows
Yesterday’s worship will surely be remembered as a time of inspiration for many of the listeners. The hospital church was crowded and many stood side by side at the back entrance. In the front was the teacher Claudia Gutierrez who currently works at our Diospi Suyana school.
The Gutierrez family saga begins with her grandfather. His family lives in Bogata and is very much involved in the drug cartel. He plants coca and in the family’s own drug laboratory, the substance is further processed into cocaine. From this crop, one can live with many luxuries because the middle men pay consistently and on time. No one in the family is aware of the consequences of their production.
But then the legs of grandfather Gutierrez begin to weaken and it is becoming increasingly difficult to walk. Soon he has to rely on crutches. The diagnosis at the hospital reveals he will probably be completely paralyzed in a few months. There is no prospect of healing.
It is said that people in need become religious. Sr. Gutierrez is invited to a church service and painfully hobbles in with his crutches. When the church service is over, he walks upright and exits the door without his crutches. He is healed. The doctors have no explanation for this amazing change.
Sr. Gutierrez has met the unlimited power of God himself. He understands immediately the need to change his lifestyle. He has to get out of the drug business! He travels to the rainforest and has all family members do the same. On the journey Sr. Gutierrez encounters a mysterious and violent death.
His wife is now a widow and is responsible for 11 children. She struggles and toils to raise her boys and girls, but she doesn’t feel alone. God is with her and as she tries to heal from the loss of her husband, she trusts the fate of herself and her children to God. Both small and large issues in her life, she takes to God in prayer.
She prays for each child and later for each grandchild. The first family member gets out of the drug business, but Claudia’s father wants nothing to do with God. Often he is drunk and his wife, Claudia’s mother, finds it difficult to find any joy in her life. Fights and yelling are commonplace in her home. Finally, his wife breaks free and goes to Spain.
Claudia feels betrayed and alone. She struggles with God and asks a thousand times why? But then she finds solace in the Bible, where it says that God is always with us, even when we are without a father and mother. She brings her deep bitterness to the cross of Christ and learns how to heal internally.
Soon afterward, her father visited a community worship service and eventually he learns to trust in Jesus Christ. The grandmother continues to pray for each child and finally, they all leave the drug cartel and turn to God.
When Claudia speaks of her brother, tears begin to flow. He lived for many years with a gang on the streets of Bogota. He is a drug addict. But is grandmother continues to pray for him. The incredible happens and he finds God, or rather, God finds him. Claudia’s brother is released and begins a new life without drugs.
Meanwhile, every listener is touched. “God has saved us all. You can always find comfort, no matter what the circumstances, in the Bible!” When Claudia ends, a surging applause is heard in the chapel. For 20 minutes the listeners were able to recognize God in the life of the young Colombian from Bogota.
I stand on the rear wall of the church and think, “If we had a Diospi Suyana radio station, stories like these could be heard live in the numerous huts of the Peruvian Andes, exactly where despair reigns.” / KDJ