God Moved in Latin America!
My first trip to the country of Nicaragua was one I’m certain I’ll never forget. It is always interesting to travel to a country that I have never been to before. Without knowledge of the culture and the ministry setting in advance, it’s hard to picture what it will be like. I love experiencing new cultures and meeting people from other parts of the world. Nicaragua is one of the most impoverished countries in Latin and North America. Life is simple and finances are a challenge for many. But despite the extreme poverty, most of the Nicaraguans I encountered were meek, grateful and warm people. It was a pleasure to meet so many Nicaraguan brothers and sisters in Christ. I was invited by Rob and Nita Wehrley who serve as missionaries with Project Samuel. They have been working in the country for the last few years. Although I have followed their work for some time, it was such a blessing to be able to experience it firsthand.
The trip was packed with preaching opportunities. My first service was on the night of my arrival. We traveled to a small church called Iglesia Immanuel in Managua. The people there were very hungry for the Lord. I preached a message about the blood of Jesus, and the people responded enthusiastically to the preaching of the Word. We had a great time of altar ministry, and many came forward asking me to pray for their marriages, families and to receive a touch from the Holy Spirit. One young man in particular responded, who I later found out came from a very broken home and was walking through an intense season of temptation. I believe the Lord worked in his life that night. It was a great time of ministry, and we all left very encouraged. One of their leaders, Henry, had us over to his home afterwards and we enjoyed a home cooked meal and great fellowship.
The next morning, we went to a village that is built right next to a landfill. The people in the community try to eke out a living by going through the trash to find things they can recycle. Rob and Nita have a lunch program where they provide a meal for the children in the community once a week. We were able to serve around 80 children that day. Afterwards, the kids sat down to do coloring sheets and listen to a story from the Bible from Rob. The children were so sweet and excited. Rob has a great passion for the next generation to learn the Scriptures, and it shows in the work that they do.
That evening, I preached at an outdoor evangelistic service at Alpha y Omega Pentecostal Church. In Nicaragua, the church has the right to preach the Gospel anywhere that they want. Many churches have indoor services in their buildings, but also hold open air meetings where they setup speakers and have services right on the street. That night, after a time of vibrant worship and prayer, I preached a message about fully surrendering our lives to Christ. Throughout the message, I noticed a man sitting on the hood of a car a block away with a young girl. When I gave the call for salvation, no one responded. We prayed for some other needs in the church, but I asked my translator to go with me to talk to that man. We introduced ourselves and asked him about his story. He said that he was not where he needs to be with the Lord. We asked him why he didn’t respond, and he said, “There will be another church service tomorrow, maybe I will respond then.” We encouraged him that today is the day of salvation, and he said, “Maybe I should do it now.” He and his daughter came with us back to the meeting and made a decision for Christ that night. As I ministered to him, tears filled his eyes. The Lord did something in that man’s life that night, glory to God! The next morning, the Lord spoke to me that the way I left the church people to go after that one man was a picture of how He leaves the 99 for the 1. I’m so grateful for the leading of the Holy Spirit.
We found out that the men’s service we had scheduled for Saturday night fell through. We had a sense that the Lord was redirecting the ministry, but we had to pray and wait to see what He would do. During the day, we went to a local mission property called Pan Mission, where Rob and Nita hosted a Bible League for young people from several churches in the area. It was great to see so many young people, who had memorized many Scriptures and Bible facts in order to compete with their knowledge. What really blessed me was the church from the landfill. Their pastor was so proud of the students from their church. The kids had never been a part of something like that, so it was a big deal to them to get invited to a competition. It was a great day.
That night, another opportunity did come up and I was invited to speak at a gathering at Pan Mission. A group of Pentecostal churches was meeting for a quarterly service and asked me to come and minister. It ended up being one of the most powerful services I can remember being a part of. Several hundred people came together, and when the worship began, the hunger of the people brought the presence of God into the church in a tangible way. Their worship team was on fire, and many people were touched during the time of worship. Something so unique and beautiful happened to several people as the Holy Spirit moved on them. The best way I can explain it is they would worship the Lord in a spontaneous, ecstatic form of dance. A little girl, probably six years old, began to dance before the Lord in a child-like excitement that was so precious to watch. I preached a message about believing God to use us in signs and wonders as we step out in faith and preach the Gospel to people in our lives. The people were very engaged. We prayed for many people during the altar time. One young girl, whose body had been crippled due to brain lesions touched my heart as we prayed for her to believe that God would do a work in her body. I’m able to keep in contact with her through Jonathan, my translator, and will continue to believe for a miracle in her life. Also during that altar time, I heard a demon manifesting out of a man behind me. I turned around, and a pastor was ministering to him. That night, he got completely delivered to the glory of God!
The next morning, I preached at the church that meets in the village by the landfill. The pastor of that church had a great spirit about him and really loved the people of the community. It was a small, humble gathering of people. I preached about the power of the blood of Jesus and the people were very encouraged. At the end, we prayed for two ladies who testified that the Lord healed them. One had something going on in her shoulder and the other in her stomach. God is so good! One of the young adults came forward and she was completely broken due to some emotional things she was walking through. We prayed for her, and the love of God touched her in a deep and intimate way. It was beautiful to see the Lord ministering to His people in that small village. During worship, I had the thought that Sundays must be God’s favorite day on the earth because, all around the world throughout the day, all tribes, tongues and nations are worshipping Him. Rob shared a powerful word for the church that God had not forgotten them and that they are special to Him. The presence of the Lord was evident in that service.
The next day, we took some time to go the top of an active volcano. There are actually 19 volcanos in Nicaragua, some active and some not. Although you cannot see the lava during the day, the size of the volcano was massive and seeing the sulfur smoke rise out of it was a very unique experience.
That evening, I preached at my translator, Jonathan’s church in Managua. It was another outdoor evangelistic service. I shared about the parable of the prodigal son, along with some of my testimony. About halfway through the message, a man who was obviously intoxicated came and stood by the crowd, listening to every word I said. When I gave the altar call, the man came forward, got down on his hands and knees and we prayed with him for salvation. Praise the Lord! During the altar time, a man came forward and said he had pain in his arm. As we prayed for him, his arm starting moving quickly up and down. When I asked him if he had any pain, he explained to the translator that he hadn’t been able to move his arm when he came forward. Now he was able to freely move it around! Afterwards, we went to talk to some people on the streets. I prayed with a husband and wife who wanted to rededicate their lives to Christ. Another young father was standing close by. He said that when we came over to him, he felt the love of God calling the man back to Himself. It was a great night in the Lord.
The final day that I was there, we went back to Pan Mission for a minister’s conference that was going to take place on a weekly basis. Rob was going to be teaching on eschatology in the coming weeks, and they invited me to open the conference. I spoke to about 50 ministers about our responsibility to guard the fire of God in our lives, families and churches. I gave some practical advice from my own experience about how to prevent the flames of passion for the Lord from fading. I felt led to pray for each of them, and the Lord touched many. One young man broke down in tears in my arms, and the Lord did something special for him that day.
That evening, we headed to Tipitapa for the final meeting of the trip. The pastor of the church invited me to speak with men from his church and other churches who attended. That night, I shared my testimony and gave some practical advice on living a life of purity as a man. At the end, the men were hesitant to respond for prayer. Jonathan shared that it is important for men to be honest and to realize that everyone needs something from the Lord. The men let their guard down and most of them came forward for a time of ministry.
As I boarded the plane to come back to the United States, I was overwhelmed at the goodness and faithfulness of God. To look back at such an amazing time of ministry, and to see Him work in the way that only He can, is both humbling and encouraging. We are already making plans for a possible second trip to Nicaragua next year. The Lord has been so good to our ministry. A heartfelt thank you to everyone who is praying and giving so that we can do what God has called us to do. We have an amazing team of supporters that make trips like this happen.
For more information about Rob and Nita’s work in the country of Nicaragua, please click this link to follow them on Facebook.
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