To Reach Lost Boys Like Me

Updates | Stories | Lives Changed

Luis Magandi and his family live in Melchor, Guatemala—a village on the Belizean border. They run a small pizza shop to help support their church-planting ministry. Last week, a young man named Estuardo walked into their shop hoping to find work. As they talked, Estuardo revealed to Luis that he had just left his home 400 kilometers away, searching for somewhere safe to live.  In his home town, he had been approached by a local gang who wanted him to join them. When he refused, they shot him…four times. It’s a miracle that he survived. Estuardo said he believes there is a God, but he doesn’t know much about Him and wants to learn. Luis is thrilled to get to tell him about Jesus—not only because he is passionate about the gospel, but also because he himself met the Lord in a similar situation.

Luis also ran away from home as a young man. When he was only nineteen, he left Guatemala and moved to Belize alone. His family had broken apart, and he was desperately searching for a new life and answers for his pain. Luis says at that time he didn’t know a thing about God, and he was hoping a change of scenery would be enough to make things better. Once in Belize, a missionary named NT Dellinger approached him and shared the gospel, invited him to church, and continued developing a friendship with him. 

After working as a fisherman for a while, Luis realized Belize didn’t satisfy what his heart was searching for, and he prepared to move again. When he told NT, his friend looked at him and said, “You can go to Canada, the United States, or any other country in the world and still feel empty since everything lies in the heart—and there is only One who can fill your heart forever.” That night, Luis became a Christian and his heart was filled with explosive joy he’d never known.  He immediately began sharing the gospel with those around him, and it wasn’t long before he entered professional ministry.

Now God has brought the story full circle—Luis has gone from being the lost boy, to the missionary. His heart goes out to a young man that reminds him so much of his younger self. Please pray at least once today for Estuardo to meet Jesus! 

Church Planting

Although Luis is ministering to Estuardo in the pizza shop, most of his ministry happens outside the restaurant. Right now he is involved in coordinating five church plants. Every other week, he drives over 600 kilometers to visit, advise, and encourage the families pastoring these new churches. He is thrilled to see God providing new young leaders to share His love in Guatemala. Although Luis estimates 60% of the culture is involved in the Catholic church in some way, it’s typically due to family obligation. Just like Estuardo, very few people know Jesus. These young churches represent hope for people to experience the same joy God’s love has given Luis.

Six months ago, Missions Door joined with Luis and his family to help establish these fledgling churches. He is really grateful for their partnership.

How to Help

Luis is in need of a new vehicle to be able to reach these distant church plants. His current car is fourteen years old and has begun breaking down on his journey (last time he was stuck on the side of the road for five hours). Pray that God will provide a car that can handle the jagged terrain and will keep Luis safe as he shares the gospel!

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