In God’s Time

“Jesus was there that day pushing me toward His wonderful grace.”

Gilbert Rivera had been a gang member on the streets of Chicago for years when, one day, he found himself looking into the barrel of a gun. A rival gang member had pulled up in a car next to his and was prepared to end Gilbert’s life.

But the man who could have shot him suddenly said, “It’s not your time.”

Dangerous Lives
Gilbert and his sisters had grown up in foster homes without a real family. Their father was in and out of jail, and their mother was a drug-user. After his mother died, Gilbert began looking for comfort on the streets and spent his teen years finding temporary relief in drinking and getting high. He was also searching for people he could relate to—and gangs were his answer. They became his family.

Gilbert made a life and a name for himself on the street. Even the police didn’t bother him; in fact, they were nice to him. But they did warn him many times that his dangerous lifestyle would catch up to him.

Then it happened. A rival gang member pointed a gun directly at his head, ready to pull the trigger. But the man with the gun, for some reason, didn’t shoot Gilbert. Instead he said, “It’s not your time.” The would-be assassin put the gun down and sped away.

As he ran home, shaken by the experience, Gilbert thought he heard a voice that said, “Who do you think you are?” Gilbert is convinced that God was speaking to him that day. “Hearing God’s voice was the wake-up call I needed,” he shares. In that moment, his spiritual journey began. “I started reading about life, death, and God—everything I could get my hands on.” He wanted to know why he was on earth and where he was going. During this time, his friends would call and want to go out, but Gilbert always said he had other things to do.

Internet Discovery
One day while researching the topic of death on the Internet, Gilbert discovered Amazing Facts Presents, which he first thought was just a history program, but he soon realized it was a Christian program. He also watched The Prophecy Code and thought it was amazing, but the topic that most got his attention was the Sabbath truth. After the incident with the gun, he attended many churches where he asked a lot of questions about the difference between Sabbath and Sunday as the day of worship. The answer was always, “We’ll talk about that later.”

Gilbert had read the Bible in his search, but after he discovered Amazing Facts, he believed something about the ministry was very different. “Amazing Facts taught the Bible in a way I had never experienced before. All the principles and points of truth were proven through the Bible alone. I felt I could finally understand the Bible for myself because Amazing Facts showed me how to study the Bible verse by verse, with the Bible interpreting itself,” he explains. Gilbert sent for the free Amazing Facts Bible Study Guides and completed all of them. His life had changed. He left the gang life soon after.

When Gilbert studied the three angels’ messages, he couldn’t understand why the church he was attending at the time was not studying this topic. “I even showed a Study Guide on the Sabbath to my pastor, who told me his church would study the Sabbath, too, but they never did. I soon left that church, found a Sabbath-keeping church, and was baptized.” He says he joined the church not because of a feeling but because the truth was there.

Sharing the Amazing Facts Bible Study Guides with people has become Gilbert’s mission. He also gives away ministry DVDs with friends at his job who tell him they have been searching for answers to life’s big questions. Gilbert assures them that with prayer and good teachers, including those from Amazing Facts, Bible truth can be found and understood. Two people have been baptized as a result of Gilbert’s witnessing!

Gilbert once looked down the end of a gun barrel, but it wasn’t his time because God had a better plan. Through Amazing Facts he is now spreading the gospel seed in Chicago.
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