The conclusion of our dilemma in the desert was that the sole battery that was in a desert city got us to where Abraham found someone to fix the alternator. So the van rose again from dead in the desert.
As we approached a new city we were faced with a whole new set of challenges. When we left Bogotá, or other cities in which we stayed for a while, we spent much work and time to established favor with those who print our tracts, with various officials, venders, lots of street people, some police and merchants. Now once again we have to start from scratch in another city. Nothing too difficult for God. People are not as friendly as in Colombia. Everybody quite mean and people don’t know or care who we are but God does…so God DOES. Since we don’t have phones we do everything by foot. First we have to find a place to stay. No place for a tent. A tight budget limits our options. Then we study and figure out the roadways and places for ministry. Find someone to make tracts, copy CD’s, a place to get food, etc.
We have to fight with so many people to get into places because they just don’t understand who we are. They have a fixed protocol to classify us with groups they think we represent and we don’t fit into any of them. Hard to argue when you are trying to win favor. We don’t ask for money, we don’t need a stage, we don’t need police protection or fire trucks (well… maybe one), etc. Neither are we protesters instigating a hostile issue-orientated political crowd. This is why it’s always so freeing to just go on the streets and preach with no stuff. Huge city. People fill the streets like a South American India or Thailand. The very center is nice, historical and like a European city but once you get out of about a five-mile radius it’s an entirely different city.Just flooded with people everywhere. The earthquakes that have hit here have caused them to build huge football field sized walls from the ocean floor up to protect from tsunamis.
First day was a great blessing. To touch the spirits of another country is always an exciting privilege and challenge. People are so the same despite the cultural differences. So sad, so lonely, so in need of reality; God’s reality. “If I be lifted up…” Jesus says and so we do….center on…..HIM. But how to bring Him to them first reaches deep within us to show us our own deep void demands that we must fight to bring forth the love that is not found within our flesh. Tired, weary but if we don’t who will? Like Paul asks “How will they hear….” (Rm.10).
Not the arm of our flesh lifted to exalt our human potential but the cry of our hearts lifted to beg for the unceasing grace of the living God. Our hearts must melt before we can hope for theirs. Individuals. Children. Housewives. Elderly men. One on one. Faces. Thoughts. We are Americans but we have no ‘American Dream’ except to build His “house”. The poor. The lowly. The chosen. Lot’s of tourists from all over the world here. Talked to people from France, Israel, Germany, Australia, etc. Lot’s of rich. Lot’s of burnouts. Abundant hope for lots of people.
Over the years I have learned how to hide my voice, when I sing, behind the bass or synthesizer so I can sound “good”. It is my heart’s desire and goal to learn to worship God with all my capability in a creative and personal manner. This night was a real blessing in the song of Rachel; the Butterfly. She dances with the girls. You can see it on a video clip I’m including. For a moment I felt like a puppet in the hand of a ventriloquist.
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So long ago, back in college at Central Michigan University, I read Hope For The Flowers about Strip the butterfly. I would strongly encourage anyone to read this book. You can get it on-line. I don’t think of myself as a “preacher” but as a son who in my song cries “Abba! Father!” (Gal.4:6). Paul says this is the gift of the Spirit in this journey in this empty land called earth. I truly am a NEW MAN. What would I ever be doing without Him? How could I ever survive this world without His Spirit?
Then check this out. As Ruth is prepping these two torches that we use for a dance she doesn’t notice that someone too close to her kicks over the fuel and it spreads a fire all over the cement by our equipment and prop boxes. Suddenly, in a literal flash, the flames jump to burn our large bass speakers and mixer. As I try to stamp it out the fire catches onto my pants. From the knee down they melt on my leg. (My other pants would have disintegrated and scorched my skin. I just happened to be wearing special insulated military pants that Abraham just got me.) The fire actually runs up my left side singeing my arms, eyebrows and eye lashes. Ruth’s hair catches on fire as she bends over to move wires and cords. The crowd rushes in somewhat hysterical and it seems as though we are going to have a full-blown disaster. I think within myself “Is this really happening?” There is no blanket or anti fire preventive anywhere to douse the flames.
All I can is that Jesus is Lord. What should have definitely resulted in several of us going to the hospital with severe burns and possibly a major fire breaking out was stopped in a matter of minutes. How? We can not exactly say. The fire was put down with just some water from drinking bottles. It was an oil fire so should not have been effected by water. Yet it was. We couldn’t believe when we got to my let there was no serious burns. A few small burns, a couple of microphones, the mixer warped, and some clothing was destroyed, and a few other things but nothing major.
It was quite comforting to watch complete strangers in the crowd come to our help.It was no little thing. It was serious. Cameras caught it all on film and issued an order for an ambulance. Yet we were all calm and could later see how much God’s Spirit was upon us. Paul says “Our struggle is NOT against flesh and blood…”. I was not going to be overcome but rather I was determined to overcome. We cleaned up the mess, silenced and comforted the crowd, distilled any concerns for further help, gathered our composure and went on despite a few setbacks. We ended the night with some beautiful exchanges and interactions. Jesus. Amazing. It made us take so seriously the work we are about. Satan would destroy us in a heartbeat. He despises us. Fire is his eternity. When I see that fire I see God’s unquestionable love and protection. I can’t imagine how devastating it would be to lose all that we could have lost as well as the injuries we could have suffered.
There are just so many people here. There are so many sub-cities and places to work. When we went down with the signs we were overwhelmed by crowds. We preach the “full counsel” of God’s Word and are amazed at times by the openness. God says “Behold days will come…that I will send a famine in the land, not for bread or water but of hearing the words of the Lord..” (Amos 8:11). It is no little thing to have to learn HOW to break through all the rhetoric and tongues of delusion. We just wrote a tract that we are so grateful for. It cuts through so much religious babel. People are just so sick of the hypocrisy of Christianity! They yearn for reality and touch it …Him…in our work. It’s just a fact. A wonderful privilege with the price tag of our lives.
Somehow Ruth and Abraham in their search of the city talked to a guy who talked to that guy who talked to another guy who asked if we wanted to perform inside the main park down town. When we got there we thought we could reach more people if we went out in front of the main entrance. So we did. It is so beautiful to see the Lord do things. NEVER. Never. never underestimate His power. Simple and plain. Childlike faith. God is so good. He cares so much. So many times we have seen how secular officials who think our downside is that we preach Jesus discover how people are actually more drawn to us because of Him. Again, the “famine”. God says to Joshua and to Israel “Do not be afraid…be strong and courageous…I will be with you” (Deut. 31:6). If you will be courageous for Jesus He will undoubtedly stand by you and do things for you that you could never do for yourself. Believe Him. Step out and you will step up.
One amazing discovery my wonderful Elizabeth just made for us. It is something that we have not found in any other city in the world. No exaggeration. Including Poland. It is real POLISH SAUSAGE! Any Kielbasa fanatics that read this would be wise to begin saving up for your trip. Well worth it! Mmmm…even rye bread here…yeeha…I’m set for life!