Colombia (MNN) — Several years
ago, Carlos was a typical youth in urban Bogotá: he was desperate to escape the violence and
abuse in his home, and gang recruiters were offering him what appeared to be a
solution. In order to join the gang,
Carlos had to kill a man.
The gang wanted to kill a pastor
in the area who had been recruiting people off the streets and out of the
violence. It assigned Carlos to kill
this man, and Carlos began following him around and plotting to kill
him. But God had other plans for Carlos. OneHope had ministry going on in the area,
and Carlos' girlfriend received a Book of Hope.
"She knew the incredible turmoil
that Carlos was going through, so she gave him the book and said 'Carlos, please
read this,'" related OneHope's Rob Hoskins.
before he was to kill the pastor, Carlos read the book. The
message of salvation from sin convicted him, and he broke down in tears. In the back of the book, he found a sticker
with contact information for a local church and its pastor. The pastor was the man Carlos had been
assigned to kill.
"So the next morning, he went to
the church and spoke to the pastor. He said, ‘Pastor, I came here today
to kill you. But I read this book last
night, and instead, I need to know — is Jesus alive and can He really change
my life?'" Hoskins said. "And the pastor
was able to lead Carlos to the Lord. That was several years ago, and today, that young man is actually the youth and
worship leader for this pastor. It's
an incredible story of transformation."
Now OneHope has made the story
into a dramatic film geared toward high school students, call "En Tus Manos,"
which means "In Your Hands." The film
grew out of OneHope's project, "Spiritual State of the World's Children," which
surveys the beliefs and attitudes of children around the world.
The purpose of the project,
Hoskins said, is "so that we as the church can better address those systemic
issues and create evangelism and discipleship programs that are really getting
to the real needs that kids are having, and being able to measure whether we're
making a difference in our programs in these different countries."
In Colombia, the survey was the
biggest project of its kind ever done. It revealed — "not surprisingly," Hoskins said — that the biggest issue
facing Colombian children was violence, and that the violence began in the
home. A three-sided war between
guerillas, paramilitaries, and the national military wracks the country which produces
75 percent of the world's cocaine exports.
The government of Colombia was
eager to implement any solutions OneHope might have to help youth break the
cycle of violence. OneHope's research
showed that the best way to reach the kids would be through film. Now the film is ready to reach millions with
"The movie was so well-done, it
was so well-received…that they're actually wanting to show it first in
broadcast on national Colombia television," Hoskins said.
After the broadcast, OneHope will
bring the film to three million young people in schools across the nation. However, OneHope has an even better tool than
a film to reach the hearts of the youth. OneHope is training Christian youth across the country to provide
one-on-one evangelism and discipleship.
"The young people that will
actually be taking the film into the schools will be telling their personal
stories, and that's where the most effective evangelism is going to take place–through
personal peer-to-peer usage of the movie as a tool and a story," Hoskins
said. "By working alongside the local
churches across the country, that's where we're really going to see the
discipleship and the long-term fruit come.
So this is a great partnership between OneHope, the government, and the church
Each youth who watches "En Tus
Manos" will also receive a copy of the Book of Hope. It only costs just 33 cents to provide a Book of
Hope for a child, and you can help.
Pray that many will find salvation through Jesus Christ.
"We have a wide open door right
now to address this issue," Hoskins said. "And we believe that if young people can see
that the answer is not in violence, but Jesus can break that cycle of violence
that existed in their homes and in their nation, then true transformation can
come, true hope can come."