Jesus Manuel is a local shoe cobbler in the city of Leon, Nicaragua. This is the story of how GO Team Member, Deb, helped this man come to know Christ and the miraculous Kingdom growth which is already happening because of it.
As I walked past a little work stool on the crowded streets of Leon, a humble cobbler’s delicate craftsmanship caught my attention. I slowed my step and noticed a small bowl of rice and meat on the man’s workbench. Thanks to a fellow GO Team member, an Esperanza magazine had been placed beside his meal. I felt my soul suddenly react to a spiritual nudging, urging me to reach out to this unknown cobbler. As I knelt down, I quietly asked him. “May I speak with you about the magazine?” His disengaged answer surprised me. In fact, he hardly turned his face away from the boot of the shoe he held tight in his left hand. “Not right now,” he replied, “I am working.” Disappointed, I simply explained that I would return at a later time. Yet, as I walked further down the road, God continued to urge me to remain in close proximity to the cobbler.
Sure enough, about 15 minutes later, I heard a faint voice calling from behind. It was the cobbler! He informed me that his name was Jesus Manuel. Now that he had a full belly and his work on that particular leather shoe was completed, it was time for him to hear about the magazine! This time, Jesus Manuel's mood was miraculously cheerful, and he seemed relatively open to conversation.
“Are you Catholic then?” he asked. I sensed a tone of slight negatively and suspected that rituals of religion may have jaded his view of the redemptive gospel. I had a feeling that Jesus Manuel simply needed to hear about the love of Jesus Christ. “I am not here to talk about religion, I am here to talk about Jesus and the Gospel.”
“Good,” he replied. I sat with him for many minutes, sharing the Good News and quietly praying...we were chatting like old friends. Toward the end of our conversation, I looked intently at the man; he had tears in his eyes. I asked if he wanted to have Christ in his heart forever. And, right then and there, Jesus Manuel accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour! After we had hugged and rejoiced, I went on my way, silently praising God for how he had miraculously intervened within the entire situation.
Shortly after I left him, I again heard a voice calling. I did not have to think twice; the voice belonged to my new brother in Christ, Jesus Manuel. I walked back to his workstation to see that this time, there was another man sitting with Jesus, a man who was now waiting for the cobbler to repair his shoe.
Jesus Manuel looked deep into my eyes and pointed at the customer. “I want you to talk to him.”
So I did. And, by the end of our conversation, Jesus Manuel—a man who had become a believer in less than an hour prior—had brought yet another one into the kingdom!