Teaching, TravelsFebruary 20, 2014

From Mountains to Desert 02.20.2014

RIDDLE: What two things go up as we drove down below the equator? (answer at end)
What image do you have of the coast from Ecuador to Peru? Most would think of  lush green mountains? We were educated to the surprising landscape that reminded us of when we were in northern Africa. Sprawling desert, blowing sand and heat waves surrounding our van on an absolutely deserted road gave us that deep sense of total dependence on the mercy of God. The poverty of Ecuador and Colombia continued and even gets worse because these people have no land that they can live off of to grow crops and find shelter. It is unsuitable for habitation but these people are surely not there by their own desire.

We tented in the back of a cafe in a tiny city as laughter and blessing filled our hearts to have entered country number 38. We were just so aware of the Lord’s Presence in our midst. Contentment is an extraordinary choice. It eliminates all striving and self-pity and leaves you with the space of mind and heart to utilize your time to create life that breeds joy.

Ruth got hit with a bad cold and sickness from all the stress and drastic climate change but she is a world-class overcomer. (I just know she’s an angel in disguise.) We wouldn’t even know if she was sick if it wasn’t for the sneezing and coughing. Got stopped by a  road block where a cop was going to give us a two hundred fine for not having our lights on in the middle of the afternoon. We just bound Satan and appealed to him in the Name of the Lord. Oftentimes when a cop is corrupt he is looking for a bribe but the Lord broke his attitude and we were freed. Glory to God.

So surprised to not be able to find the one thing anyone would think was widely available; COFFEE! None to be found anywhere. But this would never stop Elizabeth our resident cook. She just trugged off down the gravel road going front to front until discovering our answer; boiling hot water and coffee bean extract. Suffice it to say it does the job.

Quite a story to tell about our efforts to minister on this plaza in a big town we entered. It’s quite modern compared to small cities. In fact some of it is downright beautiful. So there’s this attitude in the city towards it like it’s the Lincoln Monument or Washington Memorial. Like it’s holy ground.  It’s got a marble surface, water fountains complete with statues, manicured green grass and palm trees. Cops said “NO WAY!”. Officials said “NO WAY!”. Everyone said …. BUT no one knows the power of our God. Lets just say if Abraham, Sarah, Elizabeth, David, Joshua and Ruth were detectives on the tail of a wanted criminal I would just pity the poor soul. Not much time. Of course if we were back in the middle of the gold rush now I’d be on their wagon because they would soon be millionaires. They define the “persistent widow” in Luke 17. Anybody need prayers?

So after talking to every created office in their city buildings Abraham, Joshua and Sarah tracked down the wanted culprit who had the final say. He was a really cool dude. He tried to give them one final “NO WAY” but they walked out of his office with his signature attached to an official document of permission for the Forbidden Plaza.  It is really just so amazing. It was an evening crowd because of the heat and probably one of the biggest we’ve ever had. Jesus is Lord! He was lifted up and His Name proclaimed. It is an extreme amount of work to do what we do. It is exhausting. We performed in the plaza for three consecutive days. So much physical demand but even more to deal with so many variables and the spirits of so many people. It can only be the Holy Spirit and we sometimes fall short so it is an awesome comfort to be covered by His blood and redemption.

Like every country in this world we must face a people who equate Christian knowledge with salvation. So to break down all the components of the deception in the various cultures requires concentrated focus and an immense amount of compassion and patience. As Satan has no mercy. Things don’t ‘ just ‘HAPPEN’.  Jesus asked His Father to send forth “LABORERS”. A slave just wants to get the job DONE but the journey of a son involves entering into the vision of his Father for a lost soul becoming transformed. It  requires LABOR of both love and body. But it is a lob or of passion not servitude. Thank God His grace has no limitations. Last night I just wanted so badly to convey the difference between a dead and a living Jesus. “If only they could know YOU Lord”. But without anointing it’s just empty words they have probably already heard. The LIVING Jesus. Not a subject of a sermon, not a moral example or lifestyle to emulate  but a living Messiah to love, to hear; offering new creative life each day. Don’t know how much they got. We were spent.

It just doesn’t register to the majority. This is the reason we employ the use of music, song, dance, humor, magic, props, etc. to break up the inner ground and plant seeds sometimes without them even knowing at the time. Some tough guy may have no thought of God. Then he sees David dancing this “bad” Ninja dance with some contemporary oriental yet trance-ish music. This happened one time with a professional hit man who approached us for help. He was just overwhelmed with guilt and remorse. One time a guy from Ireland had issues and saw Ruth dancing an Irish jig and broke down right there on the street. Sarah grabs a crowd and commands them to yield to her joy. Last night a guy saw Elizabeth do her rap and came up to her and thanked her for helping him.  Joshua and Abraham do Brazilian Capoeira and it causes so many to stop to talk. One thing leads to another and someone walks away with a New Testament saying he would give the Gospel of John a shot. Abraham and Elizabeth wore the Lion and Frog (Wabyder) costumes and tons of children had a riot playing this game with them. (Make sure you get the Wabyder booklet).

The other day a middle-aged cool guy was devastated by his wife just leaving him. Couldn’t even smile. After some time in our crowd he came up and never considered the power of repentance that he heard us explain. Sometimes people come back to us days or weeks later and begin to understand. We work at so many different fronts. And it involves so many different conditions, ages, levels and stages. Paul says he is all things to all men to win one. Likewise, I’ll make myself an idiot any time if it in some way can reach into someone beyond reach. At times I feel like I am only beginning to realize what Jesus means when He says the harvest is “PLENTIFUL” . There is so much need but any sense of  burden is always trumped by the deep sense of  privilege. We are well aware that we are not coming to people with professional entertainment but what we must give them is what we do have, the gospel and hearts for Christ. We usually try to walk with our signs, the cross, as well as perform to cover the whole city. Between yesterday and today, we have given out about 3,000 tracks, so many coming out of stores and shop fronts to find out more.

Answer; You probably got the temperature. It went from the fifty and sixty degree range to the ninety to ninety-five range. What a difference. Tons of mosquitoes. The other thing is gas went from one dollar a gallon in Ecuador which cost us twenty-six dollars to fill up, to about five dollars a gallon here in Peru which, if you do the math, now costs us about one hundred and twenty-six dollars to fill up. It’ll set you back big time. But thus is the cost of going into ALL the world.

Last night we dealt with some angry Venezuelan protesters, a crazy woman who wouldn’t leave us alone, several cops who demanded we move our van and remove our cattle guard while we were performing, and some hostile religious hypocrites. Hey….no barking dogs in the middle of our crowd! Yeehaw!

I was awoken quite early this morning. Guess why. I concluded the worst animal I would want to be in the world is a rooster. Think about it. The only thing it is created to do is scream at the top of its lungs every morning as soon as the sun breaks. Over and over again you automatically start screaming at the top of your lungs this horrible full-out noise “COCKADOODLEDOOOOOOO”.

I dare you to sit there and imagine doing it (or actually do it) (just be careful not to burst a blood vessel in your head)  as loud as you possibly can. Not just once. Your head is throbbing after about thirty times, but are you done? Noooo. It’s only eight o’clock and you have to go for another two hours. Why?! To wake everyone up!  Now, that’s going to make everyone quite happy? Like, maybe they want to cut your neck off and eat you.

So the purpose of the rooster  is to let everyone know that it is morning. And, of course, you need to be informed  that its’ MORNING. I mean the entire atmosphere is filled with LIGHT! And there’s this thing called the Sun that is gigantic which is also kind of a hint that it is NOT night.  If you need something to TELL YOU that it is morning you need far more help than a rooster can give you.

What about pigeons? Have you ever observed pigeons? They look like they are absolutely puzzled by everything. Just watch how they constantly dart their head looking from one point to another with this totally inquisitive gaze on their face.They can’t figure ANYTHING out.  So they just keep landing and flying away.

Anyways these are some of the “deep” things I think about at six in the morning.