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May 20, 2021

Christian Union Associate Produces Timely Documentary

By Tom Campisi, Managing Editor

Once a month, Christian Union New York convenes local pastors for an intense, fourteen-hour time of prayer, fasting, Bible reading, and seeking the Lord. Christian Union Founder and CEO Matt Bennett leads the meetings, along with Dimas Salaberrios, a Christian Union ministry associate and a bold Christian leader in New York City.

Dimas Salaberrios“We are mobilizing pastors to pray. We are praying for the city and for the churches,” Salaberrios said. “We are seeking God for revival and praying that the Lord will heal our nation.”

In addition to having a heavy burden for New York City, Salaberrios is also passionate about bringing healing and hope to Chicago. He is the producer of the soon-to-be-released film, Chicago: America’s Hidden War. The documentary seeks to expose the pain of Chicago’s inner city and what happens “when we, as Americans, turn a blind eye” to over 77,000 Americans shot and over 10,000 killed in that city since 2001.

“The violence and statistics are staggering,” Salaberrios said. “We must unite to address these issues in Chicago and other major cities in order to protect our nation’s youth from the gun violence that has claimed more American lives in Chicago than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.”

The documentary chronicles how Salaberrios and his wife Tiffany spent extended periods of time in Chicago, leading times of fasting and prayer, meeting with local pastors, community leaders, and even with gang members. Salaberrios, who is fearless in his desire to preach the gospel, often shared his testimony on the streets of Chicago.  In 2015, he published his autobiography, Street God: The Explosive True Story of a Former Drug Boss on the Run from Life in the Hood.

Salaberrios is confident that this approach to prayer, the presence of Christian leaders, and community involvement can bring change. A similar effort helped to drastically reduce the crime rate in the Bronx, where he planted a church.

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“Chicago’s violence should be viewed as the biggest humanitarian crisis in the country,” Salaberrios said. On NET TV’s Walk in Faith program, he shared some chilling examples of how dire it is in some Windy City neighborhoods.

“I fasted for forty days, walking the streets, and going up to the drug dealers and killers. I would tell them my story and try to get them to stop the killing,” he said. “We landed in a war zone. New York—even when it was the murder capital of the United States—did not come close to what is going on in Chicago. It was so bad that McDonald’s left. Walgreens left.”

In one scene in Chicago: America’s Hidden War, the six-foot-six-inch Salaberrios towers above a neighborhood crowd and, with a megaphone, boldly proclaims, “Father God, I pray that you would bring peace to this city!”

“A big core of the movie is fasting and praying,” he said. “We want to stir up and galvanize leaders. Chicago is a mission field. When pastors and people came together to pray, the shootings went down twenty percent.”

In addition to his recent film, Salaberrios worked on the production of the documentary Emanuel, with Viola Davis, Steph Curry, and Mariska Hargitay. The movie chronicles the 2015 Charleston church shooting that claimed the lives of nine Emanuel AME Church members.

As he has done in Chicago and in Charleston, Salaberrios remains a catalyst, a voice, and a change agent in his native New York City. Dr. Chuck Hetzler, the director of Christian Union Day and Night, spoke about his ability “to rally others to live wholeheartedly for God” at the monthly pastor’s prayer meetings.

“Dimas prays with bold faith that God is definitely going to work in response to our prayers,” Hetzler said. “He prays honestly, sharing his own true feelings before God. He prays biblically, with his requests grounded in the Scriptures…He prays with compassion, yearning for the lost to come to salvation.”

Hetzler, in his role with Christian Union Day and Night, inspires Christians across the United States to ask God to have mercy and bring about the greatest revival the nation has ever seen. He called Christian Union New York’s monthly pastors’ prayer meetings “intense spiritual training sessions.”

“There are moments of joy and delight in the midst of the fourteen hours as we worship God and spend time encouraging each other. There are also moments of sheer endurance as we read the Bible for two hours straight, persist in prayer for a few hours over the course of the day, and forgo food for the whole day except an early breakfast.”

Karen Hetzler, the director of Christian Union New York and the wife of Dr. Hetzler, said, “It is an honor for the ministry to steward these relationships with New York City pastors.”

“Being married to a pastor, I understand the tremendous strain that they carry; spiritually, they are always pouring out for others and rarely feel they have a place to be vulnerable and receive ministry and strengthening themselves,” she said. “When our shepherds drink from the Fountain of Living waters, they will have an overflow for the people in their care.”

“Matt Bennett and Dimas are faithful servant leaders who carry His anointing and are fulfilling a commission that God has put on their lives to sow deeply and faithfully into Christian leaders so that an entire city can be impacted.”

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