A Life with a Purpose: Oscar's Story

A tiny newborn lay discarded among banana peels and milk cartons, struggling for breath inside a plastic bag. His mother had lost her mind and decided to kill the baby boy; she would die days later from loss of blood. His father, an orange peddler, found the infant, and took him to the woman he was currently living with so that she could care for him.

Oscar was raised in a home full of wickedness and sorrow. His father eventually left and set up a shack, squatting on a piece of land near the hospital where he would push a cart to sell oranges each day. Oscar would bike the five miles to visit his father and look for work. He was greatly disturbed by the crime and evil he saw daily: people robbed at gunpoint for cell phones and pocket change, girls beaten and raped, angry quarrels ending in bloodshed. In anger and desperation, he purchased a gun, which he hid in his room while he plotted. He decided to form a posse of teens to rid El Progreso of crime. His plan was to find thieves and gang members and kill them execution-style in order to bring safety back to the city.

One day while he was looking for work, he noticed that an American couple had moved into a house near the hospital. He inquired there about work, and the man hired him to cut the lawn one day. Although he was at first frustrated by the foreigners insistence that he pay attention to detail and leave the yard clean and neat, Oscar soon learned how to pass the “inspections” and was able to earn good pay each week. He got to know Pastor Robbie and his wife Christine; they fed him lunch and made small talk with him when he finished the yard. One day, Pastor Robbie sat down and explained to Oscar that he was a sinner and needed to trust the Lord Jesus Christ to forgive his sin and be his Savior. Oscar listened with interest. He admitted that he did indeed have a sin problem, but was not willing to trust Christ. He already had his own secret plan for justification: become a vigilante. He shook his head and told Pastor Robbie, “No, not for me.”

It took four years for Oscar to finally realize that he was as wicked as those he plotted to kill. After washing the pastor’s truck one morning, he sat down on the front porch with Robbie and talked of his need to trust Christ. He bowed his head and repented of his sins, trusting Christ alone to save him.

Excited to grow in his new faith, Oscar began taking the one-on-one discipleship course with Nathan Massey, his youth pastor. As he began to grow, he realized he needed a place to serve. He joined the church’s set-up crew, now arriving on his bike an hour before each service to arrange chairs, sound equipment, and furniture on the outdoor porch where we hold our services. After the porch is ready for service, he hops on a bus and assists the driver in maintaining order on the route. When he gets back to church, he dons his usher badge and greets people at the door as they arrive.

The baby who once lay dying in a trash heap is now a young man serving the Lord in every way he can. Oscar recently testified in a Wednesday night prayer meeting, “I thought I could change Progreso by violently ridding the city of evildoers; but then I realized the only way to change Progreso is by sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. He is the only One who can truly change a life.”

Are you thankful for what the Lord has given you? Take a tour of what has been Oscar's father's home for the past twenty years:

Oscar enters the land where his father lives as a squatter.

The make-shift shack where he keeps his belongings.

Oscar's dad's kitchen

Oscar's dad's bed

5 Responses
  1. Kathy Says:

    Wow! Such a poignant reminder of why Christ came, why you went to Honduras and why we all should overflow with praise and thanks! To God be the glory, great things He hath done

    Love you so,
    Aunt Kathy

  2. Praising the Lord for what he has done in Oscar's life. I pray I'll have the privilege of meeting him in person in the near future. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story. I thank the father for how he is using you, Claire and Robbie in El Progeso. He will richly bless you for it.


  3. Gwen Says:

    I'm so thankful that you all were able to win Oscar patiently, when he was ready. I had no idea that he had such a plan!

  4. Ricky Says:

    Seeing the "before" picture, can you imagine the "after" picture of Oscar's home in Heaven one day?

  5. Kimberly Grainger Says:

    How amazing- to see God's patient wooing of Oscar's needy heart, to see your persistent burden for his salvation, to see the poverty of these souls... God is preparing an amazing home for Oscar. Can't wait to see it someday!

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