Mario Murillo says it's the most unique evangelistic situation he has ever seen in all of his years of ministry.
Last week during the Living Proof Bakersfield meetings, Murillo said there were wealthy people who came to find Jesus. There were homeless people who came to find Jesus.
But, to Murillo's surprise, it was a large group of young men who came seeking Jesus in the tent crusade, and a majority of those men found Him. It stunned the evangelist and preacher of the Good News.
"Young men, more than any other demographic, came to Bakersfield and came to Christ," Murillo told Charisma News' John Matarazzo earlier this week at the Fire and Glory Conference in Ocala, Florida. "This runs against the grain of everything we know about modern evangelism in the United States."
So much so that many local gang members, invited by a friend of Murillo's, surrendered their lives to Christ on the first night. It took others a return trip to the multi-night event in Bakersfield, California, but they too, with tears in their eyes, took Christ as their Savior to hopefully begin a new life of service to God.
Murillo gives all of the glory for the gang members' transformation, but God worked through his friend, Manual Carrizales, who invited them to the tent crusade through his connections with them in Bakersfield, a city Murillo says is one of "the most gang-controlled cities in America.
"There is a great deal of violence in Bakersfield, and the murder rate there at one point reached the highest in the United States," Murillo says. "Fentanyl is killing people there. And that gives you an ideal how the infrastructure is there.
"My friend Manual Carrizales is the head of Stay Focused Ministries in Bakersfield. There are approximately 26 chaplains on the Bakersfield Police Department, but all 26 chaplains were unavailable so they called Manual. They are so inundated with stories of people dying on all the time. We went in there, our tent went up in the heart of their neighborhood and God did great things that night."
Murillo says eventually the gang members surrendered to Christ during the four-night event, but God particularly touched the heart of one young gang member. In addition to his addiction to fentanyl, the young man has stricken with cancer.
"And yet, he's standing there getting saved," Murillo says. "When the Holy Spirit says 'tell him that he has cancer and that God is healing right at the moment of his conversion,' well, he was converted. He became broken when he realized God was aware of his cancer as well as his addiction.
"And then, he was saved. He's healed. His face changed. And, he joined our outreach team, so he left Bakersfield to go to Stockton to be with our Inner City action. He's being discipled right now, so he went from literally death to life and is now bringing life to other people. That's amazing. That's the gospel at work."
Murillo said this was only one instance of the great work God is doing in Bakersfield, and it was "the largest representation of non-Christians to attend a crusade of any event we've ever staged."
Multitudes of non-Christians have been attending Murillo's crusades over the past few months, and, Murillo says, it is destroying the stereotypes that "many, many Christian leaders have or America," many he says that "don't want Christ in the inner city or the racial issue to exist."
"Well, we go in unapologetically and we're watching all of those things destroyed."
To watch the full interview with Evangelist Mario Murillo, and to be blessed by his words, click here.
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Shawn A. Akers is the online editor at Charisma Media.
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