Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Fictional Short Story Written by Angeline M Duran Santiago

Part Three ~ The Ending

I had a lot of things at home I could share with him for his new apartment. As I gave him some quilts and home supplies, he smiled. "I started reading that book you gave me. Ah, ok, ok, I know it's a bible. Just kidding! Ok, see, I'm reading it and I'm going to believe in you."

"Not in me, Roberto, in the Lord. He gave His life for you and me, and my kids, all of us, even the people we don't like. Remember, He still sees that little precious baby he created. He still gets upset when he sees that sin and all the wrong choices we keep making and that we continue to pull away from him. He can't force us to embrace Him and accept His love. It's up to us. To me. To you. Whenever you're ready man." 

We both laughed. Roberto entered a program to help with his drug addiction and a few times visited church with me. God was working here and I was following God's instructions. Yes, Roberto had been heavily into drug addiction and male prostitution. That is all you need to know in order to imagine what his life was like. Many groups fighting for equal rights will deny his story, but his journey is one of many. Roberto was someone's baby at one time. He had been gently created by a loving God who had died on a cross for him, too. All he had ever wanted was to enjoy life and the wrong crowd during a wrong choice shook his world completely. 

It doesn't mean life is completely over. Yes, reality check, you're right. He had HIV, but I assure you, his life was not yet over.

Time passed. Roberto entered different programs, and had been sent upstate for some time. We couldn't visit, as rules were that way, and we remained in communication by letters. Funny, in a world of texts and emails, our letters became treasures to me of God's greatness.

Almost two years have gone, and I haven't heard or seen him. The hospital and rehab center won't give me details about what has happened because I'm not his relative. He is forever in my prayers and I know God is with him no matter what. 

I walk down Broadway, cold, tired after a long day's work. I still remember God gently leading me to buy a cup of coffee and just sit there. I still remember God telling me to listen and speak as little as possible, just listen. I decide I should walk inside in honor of my old friend and treat myself to a warm cup of coffee. As I sit there, a young woman approaches me. "You're her. You're the one who used to sit here with Roberto. You know he told us all about you. We loved hearing his stories about you and your family."
As I sat there and listened, I couldn't understand because I know the one thing I tried to do was listen. Somehow my silence had made all the difference. I'll never know how.
"So, have you even seen him again or hear from him?" I asked her. "Haven't you heart? He's gone all Jesus. Oh, yeah, and a whole bunch of the girls out here have been up to see him and he's helped a lot of them get into some program to get off the streets. I can't believe it either. Can you?" 
Oh, thank you, Lord, for letting me come inside once more.

Roberto, preaching God's word and reaching out to others, even in his weakened condition, he had been made super strong. This young woman, who later told me her name was Celia, told me he usually stood somewhere near Dekalb Ave, 
with a microphone in his hand, and a Bible on a speaker. Roberto. Filled with God's love, grace and forgiveness. 

Roberto. Shining the Light of the gospel on the very corner he was abused, hurt, sold and paid for. I imagine it all as she tells me the story. I imagine myself praising the Lord with him and when he is done, he asks if anyone would like prayer. A young woman stands next to him and holds his hand as a homeless man draws near to him and bows his head. Together they begin to pray for him, thanking Jesus and calling on God's power to deliver him and heal him.

What a joyous moment. God. You're an awesome God!
I am in awe at what you have done! I've searched for Roberto since then. Ten years I've searched. They say Roberto was healed from HIV and even married. Others say, he died from Pneumonia. I don't know what happened, as we moved away for a few years, and we lost contact. I do know this. No matter what you've done, where you've been, how messed up your life is, or how complicated things have become, God is able to do great things in your life and change the darkness into light!

This story is fictional. in other words, I made it up but I made it up from memories I had forgotten, people I had spoken to years ago and people I was privileged to make friends with before the passed away. I will tell you that some parts are real. They are pieces of moments I shared with people on the street when I was younger and spoke to prostitutes and drug addicts about hope in Christ. Roberto is made up, but his situation is real. His character is a like someone I truly met and spent time with. 

I've spoken with many like Roberto, lost in so many ways, afraid and filled with shame, thinking God can't look their way. The devil is a liar! God cares for everyone. We just have to draw closer to the Lord and He will heal, change, and show us the truth of his glorious message. It's in His word. Pick it up and read it. You never know what great things you'll discover when you read!

Return to Part One of Story

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