Drew told the pastor about Psalm 27, and how it has helped him in his time of trouble. The pastor shared how that passage helped him when he first got saved as well. Drew's eyes widen as the pastor told him. He was amazed how similar each story was to the other. Pastor Manuel grew up an orphan and was adopted by his Uncle Samuel Lopez. He was a drug dealer who used Pastor Manuel to traffic drugs, when the pastor was a kid. Pastor Manuel grew up tough, but realized, when he was 19 and in jail, that his life meant nothing, and that there was no way out of his life. He was in jail for dealing heroin. His uncle died in a shoot out, by rival dealers. He died when Pastor Manuel was 18. He had to make a living for himself, now that his uncle was gone. When sitting in the jail cell he thought about God, out of nowhere. He never grew up going to church in the least. He did however, watch a sermon by Charles Stanley one Sunday when he was about to do a drug deal...the day he was arrested. The sermon was on The Fearless Trust in God. The same as what had happened with Drew his first time at church. He watched all of it but laughed and shrugged it off, then he went to his business at hand. The drug deal went bad. He was duped by an undercover cop. He was arrested and his trial was waiting. Three days later, he thought about killing himself. Then he thought about Psalm 27. Pastor Manuel went on to say that at that time, he met a cell mate, who went to Bible Study on Tuesdays. He invited Manuel to go. Still in jail, 3 months later, on the day of his trial, he accepted Jesus into his life. 6 months later, he was out of jail, in school and studying to be a pastor. Drew was amazed at this.
Drew thought, maybe there is a way to get out of this. He had hope once again. He had about 3 hours before he had to go for the drop off. They talked for another half hour about Jesus, Sheila, Kyle and Aunt Rita. They also talked about Pastor Manuel's family. He had a wife, Sylvia, and four children, Benito, 15, Yolanda, 12, Fredrico, 9, and Amelia, 6. They also had Sylvia's parents, Pedro and Rebecca Santos. It was a tough life for all of them. The ministry didn't pay much. Sylvia worked as a seamstress for a rich old lady, who paid her pittance. The two older children worked on a local farm as harvesters. The grandparents took care of the two younger ones while their parents were working. The grandparents were in their late 60's and their health wasn't good, but they had to help raise the children. Drew found all this amazing and interesting. He was in awe. "I met my Sylvia in college, married her a year later, then we got pregnant 3 months later with Benito." Pastor Manuel continued. "She lived with her parents until we got married." He went on. He stopped. He looked at Drew, square in the eyes and offered to help him in whatever way he could. He told him of an idea he had, but would it work?
It was risky and he had a family at home to take care of but he was willing to help Drew. He showed Drew his gun inside his coat. He told Drew that he never went anywhere without it, and smiled. None of Juarez' or Hernandez' men knew of Pastor Manuel. They knew of a Manuel Lopez, who was a drug dealer years ago. Pastor Manuel and Drew went to the drop off address a little before 8 a.m. "I'll go in with you, as Manuel Lopez the drug dealer. You'll just tell them I am here to help get the money safely back to the states." Pastor Manuel told him. "Just as long as I'm not a police officer, we'll be fine." Drew was nervous and sweating because of nerves. He wasn't sure of this whole thing, but went along with it. When they got to the old building there were two vehicles out in front. Two black SUV's. There were two guards with guns at the door, and they waved them in. A man was sitting in an old worn recliner, while watching a 50" flat screen TV on the wall. He was definitely a soccer fan. He was Chilean and Chile and Mexico were playing. He heard Drew and Pastor Manuel come in and turned the game off. "Well, well, who did you bring with you? You were told to come alone!" Drew's sweat ran down his face and he wiped it off with his sleeve. "I am Manuel Lopez. I came as a favor of my friend here. I mean no harm." The man looked puzzled at him. "The Lopez boy that ran his uncle's business?" the man asked. "Si." Manuel spoke in Spanish. "Aha! I see..." "Oh, let me introduce myself. Excuse my rudeness. I am Ramon Valdez. Let's get down to business. You must be Drew. Do you have my package?" Drew started to hand him the package, but Manuel stopped him. "The money?" Manuel asked. "Aha! Smart man." Senor Valdez handed him a briefcase with hundreds of thousands of dollars. Drew opened it to verify it. Manuel nodded at Drew. The exchange was made with ease, almost too easy both Pastor Manuel and Drew thought.
Pastor Manuel made arrangements to go to the mainland of the United States. He said goodbye to his wife, children and his in-laws. They all cried and hugged each other. They all prayed together, then the pastor and Drew went back to the hotel to meet Poppi and Fernando with the money. The two men were angry that this guy, Manuel Lopez, came with Drew, but allowed him to fly back with them to the states. Fernando had his eye on the pastor the entire flight while Poppi flew them back. All Drew could think about was what God had told him...to minister to His people. He thought about Psalm 27:5 for a moment. He remembered the words in his mind. For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; in the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock. Drew was troubled by this for several hours. He prayed and read his Bible the whole way. Pastor Manuel prayed as well in silence. Fernando sneered at Drew and wondered about Manuel knowing Drew. Fernando thought to himself, how can this kid know this drug dealer and pray to God? Drew looked up at Fernando and gave him a smile that startled Fernando. It was like Drew knew what he was thinking. It gave Fernando a chill. The plane landed. Drew knew what he had to do after this whole ordeal was over. He had to become a minister. He could not bear the thought of ever leaving God's sanctuary.