The political situation which caused our mission to Honduras to be cancelled is ongoing. What follows is a message our group received yesterday from Jarrod Brown about what happened in our absence in the area we were to work. Jarrod and his wife, Allison, are directors of Mission Lazarus which coordinates many different mission-evangelism-outreach efforts in southern Honduras. The website link to Mission Lazarus is below Jarrod's update. The top picture is from the gospel meeting spoken of below. The other three pictures were taken by me last summer at a VBS in a Honduran village.
Thank you for your commitment to this work and the church's projects even though you all were not able to be here this week. The construction of the new building that will serve for now as a meeting area for the church and then in the future as classrooms will be an amazing blessing for the church in Namasigue. Thanks for your sacrifices to make it happen; more importantly, the commitment to still fund the gospel meeting in Namasigue. When we started planning this meeting back in February, I was a bit overwhelmed. I would be preaching this gospel meeting, my first gospel meeting ever. I have preached hundreds of sermons down here but your audience is much smaller and a poor sermon will not affect as many folks. As the date drew nearer, my anxiety of the gospel meeting grew larger. At one time I considered the fact that you all would not be coming down as my "way out" to not have to do it. I was not sure that I would be able to live up to the expectations of all of the churches and preachers locally that would be supporting the event expecting so much from the Gringo.
With a pile of notes that took hours of preparation, I headed to Namasigue yesterday afternoon. The big white tent was set and ready to go. I took time traveling by myself to all four corners of the city to pray over the city, that God would bless this meeting and that his Holy Spirit would touch the hearts of those in attendance and that the words that I would speak would not be mine, rather his. I then noticed a large hill towering over the small city with a cell tower on top of it. I parked my truck and I began to hike to the top. The view of the city was incredible, I could see the soccer field and the tent in the distance where the meeting would be held at and I could hear the Christian music being played over the rented sound system. Once again I began to pray for the Holy Spirit to intervene and that the night's events would be a success. I also asked for God to send wind to blow away all the evil spirits who have inhabited this community for so long, that the witch doctors would not be able to deceive this community any longer. I was pouring sweat from the hike up the hill and the oppressive heat and humidity. After about 15 minutes I began hiking back to my truck and then I returned to the site of the meeting. The crowds just kept pouring in. About 85 Christians from the jungle area of Las Pitas, Santa Teresa, Palo de Agua walked hours to get to where they could be picked up by an old worn out yellow school bus and then brought to Namasigue. We had 300 rented chairs that were quickly filled up, there were people lining the edges of the soccer field, folks peering out of their homes, folks everywhere. All of the kids were sent into the old house that the church meets in for special activities. In all there were around 600 folks present on the first night. Praise God.
I began preaching at 10 minutes till 6:00. It took the crowd a while to warm up to this white guy up front. Before long the Amens and the Hallelujahs were being heard loud and clear! After 40 minutes I decided that I better shut this thing down, I had not lost their attention yet. I offered an invitation, an invitation not to be converted but to be prayed over, an invitation to have the blessing of a prayer for their struggles in the world and their spiritual life as well, then I moved to an invitation to be reconciled with the church and then finally an invitation to be baptized. It seemed like they just kept coming. I was humbled by how the Holy Spirit had spoken through me, in my first Gospel meeting, that God could use a sinner like me to touch so many lives. We then sang an invitation song as more folks came forward. All of the traditional hang-ups were thrown away as at first just a few and then the whole crowd raised their hands to the sky, praising God. This one time closed minded ultra conservative missionary who had up until this point NEVER raised his hands for any song found himself with his hands held high praising God with the crowd. It was AWESOME. There is no other way to describe it but AWESOME. In all 20 folks accepted the invitation. When we were done singing I had all of the area preachers come and surround the group of folks and we all placed our hands on them as I prayed. The whole evening had been quite hot and humid, the air had been still. As I prayed the wind began to blow, just as I had asked of God in my prayer on top of the mountain earlier in the evening, to send wind to blow the evil spirits away. The wind blew across us and it was so pleasant. After we finished the prayer and finished the service we headed down to a river where 8 souls were baptized into Christ. What an AMAZING victory for God's kingdom. Thank you guys for helping make it all possible. It was a great great privilege to be used by God in such a powerful way to grow his Kingdom. This morning I was nervous and stressed, how in the world would I be able to preach as effectively tonight as I did last night? How little my faith is. It was not me last night, it was God, and tonight, it will be God once again who uses me as his instrument. I am so excited. Thanks so much for all of your prayers.
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