Esteban Rodrigo Bustillos Reyes
Apr 8, 2006, 15 yro
By any worldly measure, Esteban had no chance. Growing up in Colonia Tarahumara in northern Chihuahua, his three block Tarahumara community is characterized by drugs and violence. Decades ago, the traditional Tarahumara corn beer – Tesgüino – had been replaced by Tecate from the local liquor stores. By the time Esteban was born, many teenagers were huffing glue and spray paint. Most of his peers would never graduate middle school, let alone high school.
A few years after Esteban’s older brother died, we had all but given up on him. He seemed to be going the way of so many Tarahumara teens in the city, towards life on the streets. Esteban’s father was and still is an alcoholic, very rarely at home. Oftentimes Esteban walked the streets, selling candies for a few pesos. Although he’d been going to LightShine since he was very young, it seemed as if his circumstances and temptations would be too difficult to overcome.
But little by little, the love of Christ that Esteban experienced at LightShine proved to be overwhelming. Although he was pulled by the world, there was something at LightShine- perhaps the gracious words, loving smiles and accepting arms of the staff – that kept drawing him to Christ. Eventually, won over, he gave his life to Christ.
But Esteban still had a long path in front of him. A major step forward on that path was taken as the Holy Spirit worked in Esteban to eventually forgive his dad for alcoholism and feelings of abandonment. Another major was forward was taken as Esteban was asked to participate in the ultramarathon last year. The time running and training helped Esteban to not just feel a sense of accomplishment an self-worth, but also to connect and be discipled by LightShine staff in a deeper way than ever before. God was miraculously leading and guiding Esteban.
Today, Esteban is a different person. His peer group and home is completely in the Joshua Program, not on the streets. He is a well-functioning member of the Body of Christ and experiencing loving Christian community. A few weeks ago, Esteban was deep in the heart of the traditional Tarahumara homeland in the Sierra Madre Mountains on a mission trip, sharing his testimony to encourage other Tarahumaras. The new-found joy on Esteban’s face is unmistakable. Esteban has beaten the odds, through the relentless love of Christ!
Esteban is running in the ultramarathon because he’s Tarahumara, and for many Tarahumaras running is as natural as breathing. But he’s also running because he’s experienced first-hand the healing power of Christ, and he wants the rest of his people to experience that power. He’s also running because he wants his church, El Alfarero, to have a place to call it’s own. He’s also running because he wants children from the streets of Colonia Tarahumara to go to LightShine just like he did. He’s running with the Gospel, knowing first-hand the power of Christ through the Holy Spirit.
Esteban asks on behalf of his people, the Tarahumara, for you to please partner with him in the GO! Ultramarathon. He’s going to run as hard as he can, both in the ultramarathon and in the life we have in Christ.