Broken but saved by grace

OM International | Chile

Patrick is 28 years old. He had a horrifying childhood, spending most of his life on the streets. His habitual use of drugs damaged his throat, and now he sounds like he always has a cold.

At first, Patrick wasn't interested in the Bible studies that the team members of OM Chile offered in the day centre he attends. Twice a week, the team visits the centre to hold Bible studies with the homeless people there. They noticed that Patrick's life was going in the wrong direction and started to pray for him. Family murders, criminal activities and addiction pulled him further into darkness. But God had a plan.

Eventually, Patrick started attending the Bible studies. In the beginning he was easily distracted and would leave early. Sometimes he disturbed the group by making inappropriate jokes and comments. But eventually he decided to stay.

"I realised that God sees Patrick lost and broken, but saved by His grace," said Marloes Achterveld from the Netherlands, one of the OM team members.

One day Patrick came to Marloes carrying a Bible and a notebook full of English words.

"He told me he wanted to change his life," she said. "He was tired of living like this."

That week, Patrick started classes at a high school for adults. God also put a pastor in his life, who took him to church. There, Patrick prayed for the first time for Jesus to take over his life.

"This was a big surprise and a miracle to me," recalled Marloes. After the conversation with Patrick, she cried tears of happiness and praised God. “All the time we invested and all the prayers offered had not been in vain. God had been watching this boy way before I even met him.”

Answer to prayer

Stories like Patrick's motivate Marloes to serve God in missions. She just finished a missionary training programme with OM in Chile. Before moving to Chile, she had prayed that He would show her how He changes people's lives. Her distractions made her unaware of what God was doing, so she prayed and God answered.

During the training, Marloes saw young teenage girls grow into women of faith. God taught her important lessons about how she should respond to those around her, and how her attitude should be towards her brothers and sisters in Christ.

“He made her realise how big He is, and it made her stand in awe of Him,” Marloes added.

The change she witnessed in Patrick impacted her greatly.

"God is using my limitations to touch other people—to motivate, to encourage, to stimulate them to seek Him," she said. "I don't want to spend my time on things that don't matter in the end. More than once, I've experienced that it's not about my abilities or how I do things. It is God who is working! In my weakness, He can show His power."

Published: Wednesday, 16 September 2015
Credit: OM International
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Chile is a long and narrow country in the southwest of Latin America, located between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It’s a country of great contrasts and extreme beauty, with attractions ranging from the towering volcanic peaks of the Andes to the ancient forests of the Lake District.

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