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Freed from drug addiction

Troubled Paraguayan youths accept Jesus

Have you been praying for someone for a long time? Do you feel discouraged by the situation, even hopeless at times? That’s how Christian and Angelica felt.

For years, Christian and Angelica Dickson reached out to Shelia, a troubled youth in Paraguay, and shared with her about the transforming love of Jesus. Their message seemed to fall on deaf ears as Shelia continued to choose a lifestyle of drug addiction and abuse.

Christian and Angelica have served with TMS Global in Paraguay for 15 years. They invest in Paraguayan youth, discipling them to be leaders in the church.

“We continued to keep the door open in our relationship with Shelia,” said Christian, “but we were disheartened by her unwillingness to change.”

Several months ago, Christian and Angelica were hosting a youth camp and Shelia decided to attend. “At camp, Sheila felt the power of the Holy Spirt and said that she was dedicated to changing her life,” said Christian. “Angelica spent hours praying with Shelia, and she left the camp a new person.”

The change in Shelia was so profound that her friends, who were also addicted to drugs and involved in rough crowds, noticed the difference in her. Nicolás* called Shelia and invited her to hang out with him and do drugs. She told him that she had changed. When he asked what changed her, she responded, “the power of God.” Nicolás said that he wanted to change as well.

Shelia asked Angelica to talk to Nicolás, so she met him at a coffee shop. Nicolás poured out his heart to Angelica, telling her about his life of drugs, robbery, and even his role in the deaths of several people.

Angelica explained the power of God and His ability and willingness to free Nicolás from his life of sin. Nicolás decided to give his life over to Jesus. “As we walked out of the coffee shop,” Angelica said, “Nicolás got down on his knees and said that he had never felt freer in his life.”

Nicolás wanted to know how he could start studying the Bible, and where he could attend church. A few days later, Nicolás attended church with the Dicksons and saw a man he had recently punched in the face. The man was speechless when Nicolás apologized to him.

Angelica accompanied Nicolás to a class for people suffering from addictions, and is discipling him in his new faith. “He approaches Bible study with more enthusiasm than anyone I have ever met,” said Christian. “He is constantly asking us questions about what followers of Jesus should do in various situations.”

In the past month, Nicolás has brought seven of his friends to meet with Angelica. Two have surrendered their lives to Christ and have entered a drug rehabilitation program. Nicolás is well known on the streets, and people cannot believe the radical change they have seen in him. He has applied to finish high school and is excited about his future with Jesus as his guide.

“We know the power of the awesome God we serve, but still He amazes us,” said Christian. “We are looking forward to working with these and other troubled youth in the next few months. Please pray that they remain strong in their new faith and do not return to their former lifestyle.”

*Pseudonym and stock photo used for privacy.