True liberation

Those who devise wicked schemes are near, but . . . salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek out your decrees. Psalm 119:150-157 (NIV)

Sadly, many people who need to be touched by the Word of God the most don’t seek out the wonderful, life-transforming truth in its pages. Sometimes the Lord orchestrates the unlikeliest of encounters to change that, as He did in Peru.

Bruce and Jan Benson were Wycliffe workers serving among the Quechua people. In 1989, they were visiting Quechua villages when they were stopped by a group of armed terrorists. The militants forced them out of their vehicle, before separating and interrogating them for several terrorizing hours.

After arguing among themselves whether to execute the captives, the leaders of the group chose to “liberate” the Bensons’ car and equipment, and let them go. Part of this equipment included a film projector and films about the life of Christ. The terrorists wanted the projector, but Bruce suggested it wouldn’t be much use without the films. He secretly prayed that they would view the films and have their lives touched by the Holy Spirit.

A year later, Jan met a young believer in Lima. Only then did the Bensons come to realize the impact of the projector and films taken by the terrorists. The man said he had been a hardened criminal, accustomed to looting, beating and killing, and had finally been caught and jailed. He was a part of the terrorist group that stopped the Bensons.

He explained to Jan that more than 700 terrorists saw the movies and many were deeply touched by the message. The young man himself had been hardened to the message at the time, but God used it later while he was in prison, along with graffiti on the walls which declared the power of Christ.

“Lord,” he prayed, “if you really exist, save me and I will serve you.”

The prison commander was impressed with his testimony and eventually released him with a pardon. The man decided to become a pastor and evangelist, and God continued to use the messages of the films in the lives of men in the guerrilla camp.

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