SANTA CRUZ, Bolivia--It was dark. There were no streetlights in that section of town. A drunken man stepped into the road, and church planter Kimi Aukino (NZ) turned the wheel sharply. An hour later, the man was dead; Kimi's wife, Meafou, was on her way home from the police station; and Kimi was in cell number two with 19 other prisoners.
Kimi was confused, in pieces, empty, and lost for words. He cried out to God. What was he to do, and why had God allowed this to happen to him? The next day, God began to answer Kimi's questions.
Learning that Kimi was a missionary, one of the inmates called to Ricardo, the leader of the pack, and said, "Let the pastor share something from God's Word with us." Kimi began with John 3:16, and the power of God filled the cell. Kimi challenged the men to repent, and 16 personally accepted the Lord and spent the rest of the day talking about what Kimi had shared with them. But that was only the beginning of the Lord's answer to Kimi's questions.
The next day, Ricardo asked the guard to let Kimi go to cell number one. Permission was granted, Kimi preached again, and all seven inmates accepted the Lord. Kimi shared the message of repentance and forgiveness again in cell number three, and five out of six entered the kingdom.
Kimi had never known such joy, and he praised God for His love and mercy! On his third day in prison, Kimi noticed a young man staring blankly at the floor of his cell. He learned that Ignacio was a "spooky"-looking drug addict whom all the other prisoners avoided. "I discerned a deathly suicidal look about this guy," Kimi recalls. He talked to Ignacio, who admitted that he planned to take his life that day.
"I cannot explain my following actions," Kimi says, "but God was in it all. I grabbed him by the shoulder, took him out to the courtyard, which was almost full of prisoners and visitors, and pinned him in the corner. There I claimed his life for Christ. Tears began to flow as he repented of his sins and invited Jesus into his heart. We prayed as the Lord continued to set him free."
The courtyard was suddenly still, and everyone watched while God demonstrated that only His Son can restore a ruined life. Three days later, Kimi was released, leaving behind 36 new believers! Later, he returned to visit them and found that they were all still meeting together for group devotions.
God had reached deep inside a prison to three dozen men everyone else had given up for lost. And He did it through a man who was simply willing to be used.
If you had been in Kimi's place, what would you have done on that first day?