May our loving God’s grace, peace, and His ever present help be present with YOU on this day!
I would like to report to you the wonderful blessings God bestowed upon us in our most recent mission to Central America. We held more then 10 ministry events. We proclaimed the good news of Jesus to many thousands in three open air meetings in one of the Capitol’s largest courtyards, conducted seven evangelistic outreaches in four slum villages, two downtown missions, and one outreach in the Zona Rosa area of San Salvador distributing Spanish gospel literature and praying for the sick. In our open air meetings, in San Salvador, over 3000 heard the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and many could be heard calling upon Jesus for salvation during the time of invitation!
The trip, however, started off with all kinds of opposition. Allow me to explain from the beginning.
God spoke to my heart very clearly I was to travel to El Salvador to preach the gospel several weeks or so ago. I recall the night well. I was in front of a office building in Dallas one cold evening and I was just given the beautiful opportunity, by a dear family in Asia, to serve Jesus on a full time basis. A few days later, God told me to go to El Salvador. Mind you I didn’t know anyone there and had never traveled to this Central American nation of 6 million. I did come to find out this information from the US State Department though, “The State Department considers El Salvador a critical-crime-threat country. El Salvador has one of the highest homicide rates in the world; violent crimes, as well as petty crimes are prevalent throughout El Salvador, and U.S. citizens have been among the victims.”
Satanic Opposition from the Beginning
God loves the dear people of El Salvador and that is why He sent me despite the fact that violence is so prevalent in this beautiful nation. The gospel is the answer to the social ills that pain this land and that is why I was sent~to proclaim that Jesus is able to liberate those held captive by sin and the devil. At the onset of the trip, however, I thought, perhaps I made a mistake by traveling to El Salvador or didn’t clearly hear from the Lord about this mission. My first phase of the trip was plagued with difficulties. My first flight was delayed significantly thereby causing me to miss my second flight to El Salvador. That first night I had a very fitful and sleepless night. I might have gotten 3 or 4 hours a sleep, maybe! So, I used the time to pray during the night and read the Scriptures. The Lord led me Proverbs 25 and 26, specifically the Holy Spirit directed me to this in Proverbs 27:12: “The prudent see danger and take refuge…” I’ll explain in a moment how God used this passage to rescue me from certain danger!
The next morning I was able to catch a flight to San Salvador, El Salvador but more problems persisted! My luggage with all my Bibles, Spanish gospel literature, and audio equipment for the open air meetings didn’t arrive with me to San Salvador causing great distress. Moreover, I was beginning to feel ill on top of everything. So, I arrived in my room distraught and discouraged. I knew Satan was hindering me from reaching these precious people. Then the enemy would whisper, “You should have never come, it’s a failed trip!” or “You didn’t hear from God!” and such lies! I was tired from the lack of sleep, the lies were wearing me down, the physical afflictions were painful, the travel delays/cancellations were discouraging, and not having my luggage were furthering my already depressive mood (it takes a lot to bring me down as God has blessed me with a joyful disposition but these unforeseeable circumstances were having a toll on me).
Then an act of betrayal even furthered my pain. During the day I was visiting one of the slum villages located within San Salvador and fellowshiping with my translator Alvin (FYI–to my surprise I was informed that less then 5% of the population spoke any English whatsoever so I was extremely grateful of Alvin) in a very small church located in the midst of the slum (you will be able to view the video of the time I had with this church, it’s pastor and of Alvin). While in the church God quietly told me I was being set up by the gangs within the particular slum I was visiting and I needed to be prudent (that passage from Proverbs I had read in the hotel: “The prudent see danger and take refuge…” came to mind!) The feeling of danger only increased as I visited with those in the church. It was unusually strong as if the Spirit of God was warning me…He was!
Just prior to one of the church services Alvin approached me and immediately a demon surfaced within him (you could “see” the evil spirit looking directly at me) and with the demon’s aid he told me he couldn’t serve as my translator and he had to leave. Even one of the elders of the small church was utterly shocked as he knew Alvin was there to assist me, as it was so difficult to communicate without the aid of the translator. The demon, then speaking through Alvin said, “You need to watch yourself,” I immediately asked Alvin if I could pray for him and he said, “NO!” and moved away from me. When someone says they don’t need any prayers that just simply translates spiritually: YES, I DO NEED PRAYER!
I rebuked the demons in Jesus name and the demons compelled him to depart quickly, never to be seen again on this trip! This betrayal was hurtful but I knew my battle was not against flesh and blood but rather against real spiritual evil forces that sought to stop me from proclaiming the good news of Jesus. Satan failed though! I stayed for the service but the darkness around me descended and Lord peacefully told me I needed to leave NOW! I was in danger! I got up and left and God sustained me! Amen!
Got back to my room realizing now I had no translator, no luggage, no Bibles, no relief from the physical pain, betrayed, and deserted (the apostle Paul wrote: “At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen”).
I wondered out loud, “Why did I come here!”
I then cried out, “Lord release my luggage!”
Literally moments later, I get a call and my luggage arrived! Isn’t that an amazing provision and answer to prayer!
Gospel was PREACHED with POWER!
Armed with thousands of Spanish gospel tracts I headed out to the streets of San Salvador, the capital city, in the midst of the nightclubs, bars, and the party scene. Many gospel tracts were distributed and the Lord was faithful to use the tracts! Not one individual denied a tract (in American and Western Europe you get the rejection often but not in the Third World). Then later that night I held 3 open air gospel meetings. However prior to those open air meetings I had the wonderful opportunity to hand out gospel tracts to more then 400 or so young people whom had gathered at the courtyard in front of the convention center. The scene was bordering on being extremely violent–drug usage was rampant–kids stoned out of their minds, alcohol abuse everywhere, fights breaking out, the spirit of death hovering around the entire vast courtyard, littered with general filth and stench! What a perfect place for an evangelist to be in! I was able to hand a gospel tract to each and every young person in the entire courtyard prior to my open air meetings, it was an amazing sight to behold as I stood as a beacon of light and the darkness was restrained during the time I ministered! Every single precious soul received the tract with a willing heart–refreshing to see!
3000+ Attended to the Open Air Gospel Meetings
After midnight, in this vast courtyard, with my audio equipment and with the San Salvadorian Police in support (and God provided a new translator by the name of Hyman who was a young believer attending the local University), I held 3 open air meetings. In our first meeting perhaps 400-500 listened in, our second meeting God blessed us with over a 1000 souls who listened in to the message of the gospel, then in our final open air meeting of the night which went deep into the early morning hours nearly 1700 souls hearing the message of the cross and resurrection of Jesus!
I also included a time during the public meetings to command various afflictions, sicknesses and demons out of bodies in Jesus name. As you can imagine in a very uncontrolled setting such as this it was difficult to see what was occurring in the crowd of people but from what I can tell people were being touched by the love of Jesus and heaven will reveal the amount of people whom were healed and delivered on this night!
Street vendors, taxi cab drivers, bystanders, young people of various ages listened in as I proclaimed Jesus! In the conclusion of my messages I would invite people to join me in a prayer of salvation–one could hear many calling upon Jesus out loud–throughout the vast courtyard–it was mighty to witness this move of God! In our last meeting, we really caused a stir as a group of young people began to hurl insults, blasphemy, and profanity while I proclaimed the gospel. It didn’t phase me a bit! I was just exciting to see that the gospel was making an impact to the point where the enemy had to raise his ugly defeated head in an attempt to deter–the devil failed–Jesus prevailed! Amen! I finally got back my room around 2:30am or so rejoicing in the mercy of God!
Reaching the Slum Villages with Christ
It was quite nice in the evenings with the refreshing cool breeze blowing through my room so I left the windows opened. Big mistake! After only a few hours of lying down (traveling evangelists do not get much sleep ). I was awakened by the loud thumping music coming from the local disco bar downstairs. For hours the music played early in the morning. I wondered if anyone else was unnerved by such loud music first thing in the morning (though I have to admit some of the music was catchy). Well, I thought, this must be my wake up call to get up and preach the gospel in the slum villages that were peppered throughout the city. After taking upon Holy Communion (which by the way released me from my physical afflictions I had been battling at that moment) and spending time in worship I set out to preach the gospel in the worst of areas (Did not our Lord preached to the poor?) Not knowing anything about the slum villages, I was led by the Spirit of God and I entered a few of them in the morning and distributed the gospel tracts and everyone was very receptive! The children of the slums really loved me and followed me around. I was able to capture some video of the slums that I will share with you in the coming days! God was merciful and gracious to sustain me and provided great victories despite the various testing and oppositions from the enemy. Jesus is LORD!