Joining a gang was the only way Rodrigo could imagine surviving on the dangerous streets of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. With natural leadership abilities, by his mid-teens he found himself to be a key leader of one of the largest, most violent gangs in the city.
Gang warfare, often following nationally popular soccer games, was common. Fueled by alcohol, drugs and adrenaline these battles often resulted in young people seriously injured or killed. Yet Rodrigo somehow managed to survive.
One day on the streets some women sought him out. They said they were Youth for Christ “Prayer Mothers” and they were going to pray for him. Rodrigo couldn’t care less.
Not long after, he found himself the target in another gang battle. This time he ended up seriously injured. Rushed to the hospital, it was doubtful he would survive.
The Youth for Christ Prayer Mothers, upon hearing about Rodrigo, went to the hospital, surrounded his bed, and began a prayer vigil. Miraculously, Rodrigo survived. When he regained consciousness and opened his eyes the first thing he saw were these praying mothers.
Looking into their eyes, Rodrigo said he saw the love of Jesus and it changed his heart.
Rodrigo is just one example of young people who have been prayed into the Kingdom by these Youth for Christ prayer mothers. What began in Brazil in 1995 is now called WakeUp Deborah and is a global prayer movement that is calling and equipping parents to pray for lost youth. With over 100,000 Deborahs (praying mothers) in over 50 countries, this movement partners in prayer with Youth for Christ missionaries to see every young person reached.