Zulema’s Story

"But he said to me,“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me." -2 Corinthians 12:9 The first time Ciro and Adrian tried to visit the rehab home after she started working there, Zulema asked them not to come. They thought they’d lost everything- all the work they’d done with the people in the rehab house. The next weekend, though, one of the men in the home insisted that Ciro and Adrian talk with the therapist, the boss, of the foundation. Ciro had said that it is incredibly hard to get an appointment with her, but in this case she set the appointment up herself. She asked them to keep coming because they really needed someone to help them on the spiritual side of rehabilitation. When they returned for the next meeting of their house of prayer that weekend, Zulema not only apologized for not allowing them to come, but she also asked to talk with them alone and told them her whole story. Ciro said, “She kept saying, ‘I know you guys are young, but what can you do to help me. I need your help.’”

When Ciro and Adrian brought Flor and I to meet the girls in the home, Zulema was working as the operator there. She asked us all sorts of questions about what we believe as Christians. At first it was refreshing to meet someone with so much interest, but as she continued to counter every belief with what she as a catholic believed it soon grew wearisome. It is common here in Salta for someone who is Catholic to be defensive when talking to Christians. It’s a sad realization to come to that the people of this city have been hurt by both catholicism and lukewarm christianity as well as the fights between them. So Zulema’s interest was easy to misunderstand as being against us.

The guys continued working with the rehab group, holding a house of prayer there each week. Zulema is almost always there as she is one of the workers there at the foundation.  Zulema continued to open up each time they visited, and asked them to pray for her through different struggles she faced.

One Sunday as Adrian, Ciro, Flor and I were on the bus heading to prepare for church that evening, we were all taken by surprise when Zulema got off the bus with us. We hadn’t seen her on our way there, and we weren’t exactly expecting anyone to be joining us at church until the service started in about an hour. A few days before, Ciro had finally gotten up the courage to remind her about coming to church after several weeks of her promising to come and never showing up. Her response was, “I know the enemy is trying stop me, but he’s not going to win this time.”

During the service as I was stumbling through the song lyric slides I had thought how bad of a job I was doing and that everyone was going to be angry at me. But I remember having a moment when God whispered, “Just back up for a minute and watch what I can do,” as if to say that none of the problems that had seemed so big really even mattered in the bigger picture. Others from the team also said that there were parts of the service in which they felt the same. Even Pastor Dayvison said he wasn’t understanding his own sermon he was speaking! During that service we witnessed how God uses our weaknesses in His strength. At the end of the sermon Pastor Dayvison asked if anyone wanted to accept Jesus into their heart and life, and Zulema came up in tears. Ciro and Adrian had the opportunity to pray with her and lead her through the decision. It didn’t matter if any of the rest of us understood that sermon- Zulema did, and God used it to change the direction of her life.

Zulema has continued attending church services and the house of prayer group. Over the last few weeks she’s even been trying to get permission to bring the rehab girls to church with her on Sundays. Also, she’s planning on attending the first Encounter later this month. It’s incredible to see how God is going to use her and how He already is at work!