Heaven's Family Magazine
February 2011 Issue

Guilty but Innocent

The Prison Ministry & Rehab Fund at Work in Mexico

CJ McDaniel, Prison & Rehab Ministry


Marcos Bragado Cruz, enjoying his freedom from prison, and as a new man in Christ

Two men fled into the night—in opposite directions. One was the dead man’s killer. The other was the dead man’s best friend.

It started with an argument that ended with a fatal gunshot. The body of Marcos’ best friend, Daniel, lay dead on the street. Fearing the murderer would shoot him as well, Marcos ran for his life into the darkness. To the local police, his flight made him a suspect. They nabbed him and then locked him up. The real murderer was never apprehended.

Although Marcos was ultimately released for lack of evidence, his deceased friend’s family didn’t believe his story, and they were willing to pursue justice at any cost. Sadly, justice in Mexico often goes to the highest bidder. It is estimated by some that as many as fifty percent of those incarcerated in Mexican prisons are innocent and held without evidence. Many remain in prison because they have no money to mount a legal defense.

The family of Marcos’ murdered friend paid for a warrant to have him arrested. Fearful of unjustly spending the rest of his life in prison, Marcos appealed for help from some American missionaries. Jason and Nicole Fitzpatrick listened to his story, believed it, and with financial assistance from Heaven’s Family, secured legal representation so that Marcos could have a fair trial and stay out of jail until his day in court.

While awaiting that day, Jason and Nicole also invited Marcos to live with them at their ministry base, a place they refer to as The Village, where numerous other needy folks reside, including orphans and widows. Marcos had to agree, however, to abide by the rules, which included helping in the fields and attending prayer meetings and Bible studies. Although he was not a believer by any stretch of the imagination, Marcos accepted their invitation. At The Village, he found sanctuary from a dead man’s family’s revenge as well as from corrupt Mexican police.

After living at The Village for five months, Marcos’ heart began to change. In May of last year, he attended an evening crusade where David Servant taught and proclaimed the gospel. That night, Marcos believed in Jesus and repented of his sins. Since then, he has been regularly traveling to Mexican villages with other godly men, preaching the gospel and making disciples.

Marcos is now nearing the end of the legal struggle to clear his name, and he is grateful for what God has done for him. He is also thankful for Jason and Nicole, as well as Heaven’s Family, for the part each has played in his redemption. Now declared innocent before God for all the crimes of which he was guilty, Marcos is rejoicing that he will soon be declared innocent before men of a crime he did not commit!

The Bigger Picture:

The Prison Ministry & Rehab Fund exists to serve Christian prisoners as well as non-Christian prisoners who are listening to the gospel. Guilty or not, multitudes rot in third-world prisons where conditions are unfit for animals, and where there is little hope. If you, like Jesus, have compassion for these men, women and, yes, children, and would like to help us provide basic needs like medicine, clothing, food and (most importantly) the gospel, please consider giving to the Prison Ministry & Rehab Fund.

You can also financially assist the worthy ministry of Jason and Nicole Fitzpatrick, who are making disciples in Mexico, by clicking here. Thanks so much.

Help minister to prisoners


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Heaven’s Family provided funding for these new toilets for one of our sponsored orphanages in Myanmar. Misunderstanding where the credit belonged, the orphanage director posted my name on the completed project so that I would always be remembered during millions of future urgent moments. This photo was taken as I basked in the embarrassment of being so “honored” — David