Peter Stone : June 2004 Prayer Letter

Posted in Peter Stone
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The Reformation of Ricardo

He was a sophisticated little street urchin of about 10 years of age. His appearance was ruddy. A miniature King David, I thought. He had freckles and thick, wavy reddish-sandy hair thas was carefully parted to one side. He was a confident young ragamuffin, it seemed, and was careful with his presentation of himself. His v-neck sweater and dockside shoes gave the impression that he was going places. “Señor,” he said to me. “Would you give me some pesos?” I was standing in front of McDonald’s one night with a friend when I had the privilege of being approached by this little fellow of the street—one of the thousands in Bogotá known for all kinds of mischievous survival tactics.

“What is your name?” I asked. “Ricardo,” he replied confidently. “Well, I won’t give you any pesos, but would you like to eat something from McDonald’s?” I asked. I almost felt like I had to pay him for the privilege of his company, he was so confident, bright, and chipper. We entered McDonald’s and walked up to the counter. His head tilted back, and his mouth remained open. Fascinated by the menu, he didn’t say anything. “Ricardo,” I asked, “what would you like to have? A hamburger? A milkshake?” He didn’t look at me. He just stared at the menu. Finally he spoke up to the person behind the counter. “Papas fritas y Coca Cola!” (french fries and Coke). That was all. Nothing else. “Are you sure you don’t want anything more?” I asked. Ricardo just shook his head. I ordered the food and the three of us sat at a table.

Ricardo munched contentedly on his fries and sipped his Coke with pleasure. None of us said much. My friend and I just waited. When Ricardo finished, he said, “Gracias, Señor!” We exited McDonald’s and we said our good-byes. That was it. My friend and I continued on our way.

A few moments later Ricardo approached us again, this time without asking for anything. He walked directly toward my friend and whispered something in his ear. Then he turned around and ran away into the night. “What was that all about?” I asked my friend. My friend replied, “He said I shouldn´t keep my cell phone in my back pocket. He said it’s easy to steal.”

A thousand and one people could have scolded, warned, demanded and directed little Ricardo not to rob people in the street because it’s not right. But law just doesn’t ever seem to inspire one to do the right thing. Grace, however—that which is characterized by kindness, tenderness, gentleness, and longsuffering—seems to have the same kind of affect on a heart that the spring sun has on the remnants of winter’s final snowfall. Grace melts the heart and simply wins.

We as Jesus’ followers should be driven by grace in everything we do. Like Paul ademately proclaims in Galatians 3:2-5, the Spirit of grace is what compels us to persevere in our pursuit of God. It is not a law or a requirement. Such demands are impotent to empower us in our lives.

I am reminded of the woman from Luke 7 “who had lived a sinful life.” She came to Jesus “and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.” I think of her sinful past life and how she must have used her hair and perfumes as a means to seduce. But after being in the presence of Jesus, something irresistable about him wooed her away from her sinful life. Those things she formerly used for sinful purposes were now used to annoint and worship the Son of God.

The more we know God, the more we see His holiness. And in the light of his holiness, we see more clearly a “Ricardo” in ourselves, and we understand our own condition and desperate need for grace. It is in this place of humility and brokenness before a holy God that we come to more fully cherish the life and mission of Christ. He didn’t come to conquer by acquiring slaves and servants. He came as a bridegroom wooing lovers to himself (John 3:17).

The pouring out of that costly perfume must have filled the air with a thick aroma, carrying with it a powerfully sensory proclamation of the conversion of a sinner. She had finally come home to the Father and laid hold of the surpassing treasure of Jesus. Oh, that we would allow the Spirit of Jesus to woo us everyday, and in turn let the world witness with awe this love affair called worship!

What’s been happening...

* I have finished my first two month Spanish course and have decided to continue studying through February in the same university. I am excited about the relationships God has given me there, and am eager to continue praying for opportunities to share the gospel.
* After spending the past 10 weeks living with different families, I am now in the earnest hunt for a permanent residence. Bouncing around in various living environments has taken a toll on me, and I can hardly wait to have a place of my own to start living a more “normal” life routine.

Prayer Requests:

* It is easy to become discouraged with difficulties in communication. Please pray for grace to study diligently and faithfully, while at the same time “enjoying the journey.”
* Please pray for intimacy with Jesus. The necessary discipline for this has been especially difficult this past 10 weeks.

Note to Supporters:

I could never grow weary of thanking you for your support. I am continually grateful for the privilege of being here. Thank you for making it possible!

“We are, each and every one of us, insignificant people whom God has called and graced to use in a significant way. In his eyes, the high-profile ministries are no more significant than those that draw little or no attention and publicity. On the last day, Jesus will look us over not for medals, diplomas, or honors, but for scars.” --Brennan Manning, Ruthless Trust

Please make support checks payable to NEM, write Peter Stone on the memo line, and send them to:

NEM
10600 SW 40th St
Miami, FL 33165

Peter Stone
1803 North Hills Blvd.
Knoxville, Tn 37917
peterpaulstone@hotmail.com
(865) 522-2585

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