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Meet the Ruiz Family

Written by Janet Les

Ruiz Family

Gabe and Zoraida and their boys Gabe and Allan attend Ebenezer church and Gabe sometimes works for Agua Viva Ministries. Gabe was introduced to Godâ??s Word in an Arizona prison where he did time for drug running. He believes in Godâ??s forgiveness but says he cannot forgive himself or feel forgiveness for his sins, especially the sin of supplying poisonous drugs to young people.

Gabe was discharged from the Mexican army in 2001 and moved to Agua Prieta to look for work. He says his military training and mafia interest filled his head with big ideas and he was soon enticed to earn $1500 US for drug running trips. He spent his illegal earnings on â??drinking, women and clothes for two years.â?? Then he met Zoraida and started to be afraid he would be caught. But he wanted a family and property so kept going.

Gabeâ??s drug running assignment was to carry 50 lb of marijuana through an isolated area from Agua Prieta to Wilcox, Arizona. These trips were about 5 days and 5 nights of walking. At first he refused to cross the border and made the drop in Mexico but after about 7 trips he also crossed the border into America. When he was caught by the U.S. border patrol it was discovered he was carrying cocaine as well as marijuana. This made it a federal offense but as a first offense his sentence was reduced to 6 months. The judge told him if he was caught again, he would receive at least a three year prison sentence. While in prison, Gabe was visited by an evangelical minister and he joined a bible study group.

Zoraida started coming to Ebenezer church with her sister Plinia, and Gabe joined her when he was released from prison. He says the church community helped him integrate back into a normal life. He soon got a job in a twin plant* making wire cable for tractors, earning $70 US per week. Zoraida earns $50 per week working a morning shift in another plant while her mother baby-sits their boys. Bit by bit the couple is building a home on a small lot which Gabe bought from drug earnings.

On the day I visited them, Gabe was disappointed at Pliniaâ??s husband who had promised to help work on his house and then went out drinking instead. But Zoraida reminded him that he falls into this habit as well. Gabe replied, that yes, like the apostles asleep during the storm when we walk with the Lord the Lord is with us even when the storm is strong. He knows he needs a closer walk with God.

* Twin plants are US/Mexican border ventures where cheap Mexican labor is utilized by an assembly plant on the Mexican side and a smaller processing and distribution facility on the American side. These plants are a major reason for the population growth in Agua Prieta. Many people come from the Interior of Mexico to work in the plants or with the hope of moving to the US, only to find there are far more workers than work available.

Posted Sep 28 2010, 11:50:52 AM UTC