I always tell my mission students that the number one rule for being a good missionary is to be flexible because nothing ever happens the way it is originally planned. The recent Charis Bible College trip that I led to the South American country of Colombia was an excellent lesson to prove the point. On one day we drove two hours from our base in Bogota to minister in a private school in a suburb city on top of the mountain range that surrounds the capital. When we arrived, we received news that the program had been cancelled. However, our host stopped by the local parochial school and enquired about the possibility of our presenting a chapel service there. The school administrator gladly accepted our offer and arranged for us to return after a visit that we had scheduled with a nearby orphanage. After presenting skits, playing games, and giving out gifts at the children’s home, we arrived punctually at the front door of the school – only to be greeted with news that the school board had overruled the administrator’s invitation. However, before we pulled out of the school’s parking lot, we received a message that the local public high school had opened their doors for the team to come for the full afternoon of activities with their four-hundred-member student body. We were informed that the director of the school is an atheist; however, she was eager to offer her students an opportunity to interact with native English speakers even though she realized that our intent would be to incorporate the gospel into our time with the students. [Read more…]
Our mission to Colombia marked our third time to take teams of Charis Bible College students to this South American nation; however, this trip was unique in that the team had quite an international flavor – of the fourteen members, two were from Indonesia, one was a Nigerian living in Canada, one was from Jamaica, one was of Korean descent, and one was half-Colombian.
Our ministry was centered in Bogotá and included a wide range of outreaches. We were on the go every day from 8 AM to 10 PM, preaching in churches, ministering in rehab centers, evangelizing on the streets, and presenting chapel services in schools. As you can imagine from an eight-day mission with this much ministry, there were too many testimonies to even begin to share them all. However, let us share a few highlights. [Read more…]
Delron and Peggy had the privilege of directing a team of twelve Charis Bible College students on a mission trip to the South American country of Colombia. This particular mission team had quite an international flavor as it consisted of a Canadian, an Indonesian, and two students from the United Kingdom (one from England and one from Scotland) as well as students from various parts of the US. The major emphasis of this mission seemed to be centered around the baptism in the Holy Spirit as scores of people in place the team ministered received the infilling of the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues.
The team’s first assignment was in a rehabilitation center for teen girls who have been rescued from lives of prostitution and drug abuse. Many of the residents in this particular institution were there under government protection programs because they were being sought by elements of organized crime in the country to silence any testimonies they may give concerning of their previous involvement and any identities they might reveal. Since many of the young ladies in the program had suffered from abuse and battering, a member of the team who had been so severely beaten that she wound up in a months-long coma shared her testimony of how God miraculously raised her up, restoring her life and health and giving her the grace to forgive her attacker. Her story clearly identified with the girls and the very name of the rehabilitation ministry — Talitha Cumi (young girl, arise), the words of Jesus in Mark 5:41 when He raised a Jairus’ daughter form the dead. After ministering on the power of the believer’s new identity in Christ and the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit in the Christian’s life, the team called the girls up for prayer. Almost the entire group came forward and received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. All the girls began to speak in new tongues as hands were laid on them and many of them were slain in the Spirit as the anointing fell on them.
The next day, the team ministered in a rehabilitation center for men who were recovering from alcohol and drug addictions. Students who had experienced deliverances from similar lifestyles shared their testimonies of how the Lord set them free, and one man who had suffered almost unimaginable abuse shared how God gave him supernatural strength to forgive those who had abandoned and abused him. Again, there was a repeat of performance of the Day of Pentecost as the men came forward for prayer for salvation and the baptism in the Holy Spirit. After that powerful experience, the team moved on to a home for children who had been rescued from slave labor on the country’s cocaine plantations. Since the building was very crowded, the ministry time was held outside in a park near the facility. This open-air ministry allowed the team to also reach the people of the neighborhood as they passed through the park. The result was that a number of passersby stopped to watch the dramas and listen to the testimonies. One mother and her child accepted the Lord when the invitation was given. In addition, a group of five teenagers on their way home from school stopped to see what was happening. When one team member walked over to them and struck up a conversation, she learned that one of the group was a believer who had been praying for her friends to come to know the Lord. Before the afternoon ended, all four of her friends had received salvation.
The next day, the team planned to go early to the church where they were to minster that evening and spent the afternoon walking through the neighborhood distributing tracts and engaging people in conversation. It was raining when they left the dorms at the Rhema Training Center where they were staying — and as the bus made the hour-plus journey toward the church, the rain turned into a deluge. The streets were transformed into rivers, and the spray from the tires of the busses splashed higher than the tops of the cars beside them in traffic. However, the rains stopped just before the team arrived at their destination, and the skies were perfectly clear the whole time the students were canvassing the community. By the way, this wasn’t the only time that the Lord stopped the rain during this mission. The rain stopped just in time for the outdoor outreach on one other occasion, and the rains held off until the exact moment the team was concluding another outdoor ministry time. Not only did the Lord close the physical heavens to stop the rain, He opened the spiritual heavens to pour out the anointing as the team ministered on the streets and in the churches. One of the students led four people to the Lord within the first fifteen minutes she was sharing her faith on the street. The special blessing about this experience is that she had never witnessed to anyone or prayed for anyone to receive the Lord before in her life. One student expressed his amazement at how eager the people were to receive the literature that was being distributed, “You would have thought that I was giving out thousand-dollar bills.” Others who received invitations to the service as the students visited them in their homes, in the shops, and on the street corners responded by attending the church meeting — and then responded when the call for salvation was given.
On Sunday, the team got a firsthand experience of what Delron calls “the first rule of missionary work,” flexible. The team was scheduled to split into three smaller teams and minster at different locations. When the bus arrived at the first church (which happened to be the same place where the team had ministered on Saturday evening), the pastor there apologized that there was no interpreter because the young woman who was supposed to help had to go out of town at the last minute. However, the few minutes that the team was at the church was just long enough for them to get the report that a man whom they had prayed for the night before was now seeing out the blind eye they had commanded just hours before to receive sight. Now, the team had to regroup and reassign the ones who were to minister at that church to the other two teams. Once the recordation was completed, the bus was on its way to drop of the students at the other two churches where the teams again saw many salvations and scores of people receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit. But the lesson in flexibility wasn’t over yet. The bus had a flat tire shortly after picking up the students who had ministered at the first church, leaving the students at the second church stranded at their church waiting to be picked up. By the time the tire was fixed and the bus arrived at the second church, it was too late to stop for lunch before heading to afternoon service assignment. Lesson two in flexibility, but lesson three was still ahead. When the team arrived at the next location, they found that the event was a children’s outreach rather than an adult church service as they had been told. They had to totally rearrange the program, substituting children-oriented skits for the adult dramas that that had been scheduled, replacing the testimonies and sermon, and frantically blowing up balloons and transforming them into dogs, swords, and flowers before the children arrived. One other miracle of the day was that the leader of the children’s ministry had almost stayed back in the dormitory because she had not been feeling well but decided at the last minute to come anyway.
In one church service, Peggy felt led to go talk to a young man who was standing quietly after the prayer and ministry time was coming to a close. When she asked if he had received what he had come for, he responded that he had not. When she asked him to tell her exactly what he needed, the story began to unfold that he was an addict who had just spent the previous two days in a drug house. His mother had gone to the cocaine den and pulled him out to bring him to that specific church service in faith for his deliverance. Peggy led him in the sinner’s prayer and laid hands on him. He immediately began speaking in tongues and was slain in the Spirit — and got up off the floor a new man in Christ!
The last two days of ministry were oriented to children’s outreaches since the country of Colombia was celebrating the Month of the Child, but the ministry was not what many people would immediately associate with the idea of children’s ministry — the “Father Abraham had Many Sons” song and the story of David and Goliath. Again the focus was on the baptism in the Holy Spirit and teaching the children how to live in their new identity in Christ. In fact, when one of the students offered to pray for one child, the boy looked up and requested that the prayer be in tongues. After a number of the children were baptized with the Holy Spirit, they went to other children who were still praying to be filled and began laying hands on them and praying for them.
One of the team members had prepared flash cards in Spanish with confessions for helping people begin to understand and develop in their new identity in Christ. The team distributed these card packets along with other Spanish tracts and literature at each church. In addition, they presented Spanish copies of Andrew Wommack’s books to all the pastors. Delron also had the opportunity to share Spanish copies of his book Finally, My Brethren with pastors and leaders in each place that the team ministered.
Of course, the impact of the mission experience on the students was just as significant as the work done in the people of South America. Several of the students said that that they had never led anyone to salvation or seen healings as a result of their prayers before the trip.
Our ministry in Colombia was part of the missions program of Charis Bible College’s program that requires all second-year students to spend a week on the mission field. The group of fourteen students that we escorted on this South American venture was quite diverse, made up mostly of students who had never been exposed to missions (with at least one student who had never even flown on an airplane) but also including some seasoned missionaries who had served for several years with Youth With A Mission. In Bogota, we connected with Rhema Church and Bible College and stayed in their dormitory facility while traveling around the city and its suburbs ministering in schools, children’s homes, parks, and churches. Since we were in the country during their national Children’s Month, our main focus was on children’s ministry; however, we also had plenty of opportunity for ministry to adults and young people. In fact, our first service was at a church composed mostly of converts from the punk rock culture. The service was held in the entryway to an auto garage. A capacity crowd was squeezed into the corridor leading into service bay area where cars were hoisted up on the service racks waiting to be repaired the following morning.
In all the services, we had the opportunity for people to come to Christ and for believers to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit. We strongly emphasized the necessity for the baptism in Holy Spirit in all the children’s meetings as well as in the adult services. In many places, when we prayed for the people, they would be “slain in the Spirit,” a new experienced to many of them. In each meeting, we also prayed for the sick and received many testimonies of hearing and vision improvements and healings from arthritis and other diseases. One man who was in a wheelchair, paralyzed from his waist down due to an accident, said that he began to have feeling in his legs after prayer. We look forward to the day when he will be able to leave his wheelchair behind and walk.
We visited several ministries that reach out to hurting children and their families by providing free meals along with the gospel. For many of the children who come to these centers, these plates of rice are the only meals they will get all day. It was such a blessing to be able to help distribute these meals and to lay hands on each of the children and pray over them. One of the most touching events was our time at a children’s home for children who have been rescued from forced labor slavery by the illegal guerilla forces who capture young boys and girls and force them to work on their cocaine farms. After we ministered to the children, the director of the center said that the children were then going to pray over us. Everyone on the team was surprised as the children picked out individual team members and came to them and laid their hands on us. The prayers that followed were incredibly sincere and mature with real authority and anointing. It was not only at this center that we discovered how well the youngsters are being trained in their Christian faith. In a Saturday Bible school for children, we asked the children to tell us what they had been learning. One young girl, probably not more than ten years old, responded by explaining the differences about our body, soul, and spirit. The explanation was a direct quote from Dr. Lester Sumrall’s book on the subject. Apparently, the material they were studying was written by a Rhema graduate who had sat under Dr. Sumrall’s teaching at the school.
Another highlight was the day we spent at a home for girls who are being rehabilitated from drug abuse and prostitution. Most of the sixty young ladies had already received the Lord, but only about a half a dozen of then had been baptized in the Holy Spirit. When we shared with them how to receive this new empowering from God, they all responded immediately. The pastor in charge explained that they had not emphasized the move of the Holy Spirit because the ministry is run by an interdenominational group and that all the churches involved do not recognize the charismatic blessing. He said that we had brought in the missing part. We also had special ministry with several of the young ladies who needed to be delivered from demonic control. We saw dramatic night-to-day changes in their countenances as the demonic control was broken off their lives. After the session, the director of the ministry thanked us for helping him also come to a new level in his understanding of the authority he has a believer.
When we visited a men’s rehab center, only five men were present because the others were working. However, all five of the men present received the baptism in the Holy Spirit and began to speak in their new prayer language. After leaving the rehab center, we canvassed the neighborhood, sharing “Jesus loves me” stickers, tracts, and invitations to a children’s crusade. Before long, the building was packed to overflowing. The pastor opened up the garage-style doors open to accommodate the overflow crowd who couldn’t fit into the building. Before long the overflow group wound up standing under umbrellas as a rainstorm came up—but no one left! The pastor remarked that the children don’t always come there with smiles on their faces, but that they were all smiles as we presented dramas, shared testimonies, gave a gospel message, and prayed for them. Of course the candy that we passed out as they left after the service helped broaden the smiles even more.
One thing that we stress when we take out mission teams is the flexibility beatitude, “Blessed is he who is flexible because he will not get bent out of shape.” On this particular trip, we had ample opportunity to put that principle into operation—like the time we came to one service prepared to minister to children—with children’s messages, skits, and candy—only to discover that it was a teen meeting. Or the time we were to do outdoor ministry in a public park—only to find that the sound system didn’t work. After a long time of working with the system, we finally got it working just in time to be caught in a rainstorm as we started presenting the drama. In spite of all the hindrances, we were able to share personally and pray for a number of individuals. In this outreach and in other park evangelism settings, we found the passers-by eager to receive our gospel booklets. Many times they would stop at a nearby park bench to read the booklets or walk away thumbing through the contents.
Of course, all the ministry was done by the students under our supervision rather than through our personal involvement. However, it was a very fulfilling time for us as we watched the students “step up to the plate” and do things that they had never done before—lay hands on the sick, cast out demons, pray for people to be filled with the Spirit, and lead new converts to the Lord. As they ministered, they were all excited to see the results as people fell out in the Spirit, began to pray in tongues, or testified that their long-standing sicknesses and limitations were suddenly gone! Of course, the crowning experience was when at least one student testified that she knew that God had spoken to her during the trip that He wanted her to dedicate her life to mission work!
We were also able to leave behind a permanent impartation with all the pastors we worked with through the distribution of copies Delron’s book Finally, My Brethren in Spanish.