This article was originally published in The World Invader: the Global Outreach Developments Int’l Newsletter, Issue 17, January 2005. You can read the whole edition here.
The Lord continues to amaze us with all that He is able to do through this ministry. In all we accomplish, we acknowledge His work in us and all that He is doing through you — our supporters! We are so thankful for all of you who continue to join us through prayer and support. Without you none of the following things would be possible.
Our 2nd annual ‘International Thanksgiving Celebration’ was a wonderful day of gratitude. Over 50 people came together for a time of fellowship in meal, prayer, worship and in the Scriptures. We also took time to remember and pray for our family in Kenya and Uganda who were going through a time of famine.
A Bible conference was held in Nashville with over 50 in attendance. The G.O.D. office was filled with people aged 15 to 60. Over 20 hours of Bible teaching was given in a 2-day period. The message was focused on communicating that truth cannot be spoken independent of the person of Jesus Christ.
60 students and leaders from 4 states came to serve at the SLAM December Mission to Mexico. Times of Vacation Bible School for the children were facilitated and over 15 families in need had their homes repaired and protected from record rainfall in Ensenada. I would also like to note that this year the Mexican students from the training center were the primary facilitators of the service projects and even volunteered and assisted us in the actual projects. Among the volunteers were folks whom we had shared the gospel with just this last summer.
One man in particular was an alcoholic and beat his wife. His wife has been working with our team for a couple of years and last December we started really praying for him to come to know Jesus. A year later, he had come to know the love of the Lord; he no longer drinks or abuses his wife. This time he was busy helping us renovate homes, taking time off from his job to do so. Praise the Lord!
Another thing I would like to mention is a miraculous testimony of God’s power. In March of ‘04, I was in Mexico. Standing outside the front of the training center, I was approached by a Mexican woman named Perla. Her hair was a bit ratty, clothes shabby and her countenance was down. She began to encourage me of the wonderful teachings about God that she was so thankful to hear. I told her that the words she was hearing have the power to give life and to restore. She then began to tell me about her home situation. Her husband abuses her. He spends all their money on alcohol. They have 5 kids who are malnourished. ANd she had been recently diagnosed with ovarian and colon cancer. She continued to say, that in light of that situation, she was very happy to see people who were happy and who cared for others. I told her that these people, including myself, were products of the work of God. I shared with her that God loves us and cares for us as we are and is determined to communicate that love to the whole world and even to her. She then asked me if God cared about the fact that she had cancer. Now, let me say that she said this in a manner that was not aggressive, but very sincere and gentle. I told her that God is able to do what no human could accomplish even through all their technologies. In that moment I knew the Lord had opened up a door to make Himself known to that woman. I told her that I would like to pray for her and that I believed God could heal her. I knew she didn’t have money to go to a doctor and receive treatments, which was implied throughout our conversation. Outside, in front of the entire community, as vehicles passed by lifting up the dirt on the roads and bicycle vendors advertised their products for sale, we prayed to the Lord Jesus. The Bible tells us in James 5:15 that “the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up…” I gave her some money, not much; I believe I only had $10 in my pocket. With tears in my eyes, she expressed her gratitude and I told her that the Lord had touched her and that He will always be with her.
3 months later, we returned with some more teams to continue the work the Lord has given us. One night during a worship service, as I was leading the group in singing, I noticed a commotion in the back of the meeting. Everyone else was facing me since I was in the front and only a few other people and I could see the commotion. Since I was leading the congregation, others rushed to the situation. When I observed people break into hysteric weeping, I knew there was a problem.
From a distance I could then see the injuries on two women, including Perla (mentioned above). It turns out that Perla and her mother were going to make us all dinner to express their gratitude for our service. While using their propane-fueled stove, they had an oil fire that exploded onto their bodies. They rushed to the church because going to the hospital was not an option for them.
I immediately stopped playing the guitar when I saw them bringing the ladies to me. Normally I don’t address such situations with so many people around, because frankly, many people (mostly Christians) are not comfortable with the fact that God is able to do what only He can do. I saw this again as a moment God wanted to show His power. I then asked the congregation to begin to pray because God was going to touch these women. I motioned for my guys, Robert, Paul, Jason and Mike D. to come help me pray for these ladies. As I went to lay my hands on Perla I noticed her skin was puffing up. It was red and pink and was blistering all over. The odor of burnt skin permeated the room. The women were in great pain. As soon as we laid hands on them, immediately the red and pink and blisters faded away and the women ceased from crying, for the pain had left. This was the work of God! I brought the ladies in front of everyone and literally wiped the ashes off their skin and showed everyone the power of the only living God.
After this, Perla went to the doctor to get checked out. Some of the people on the mission had given some money for her to do this. The doctor told her that her skin showed no sign of ever being burned at all. They also did a test for her cancer and it was all gone; the doctor said it was a miracle!
This past December Perla stood in front of everyone and gave her testimony of how Jesus had changed her life, saved her, and showed her just how much He cared for her. Thinking about this makes me so happy to be serving Jesus.
This March, we will be facilitating a team from Canada, who will go and serve by renovating Perla’s home and ministering the gospel of love to her husband. Please pray for this family and this mission. Her husband witnessed these miracles and is in complete disbelief. He has even blamed his drunkenness, saying the fire didn’t really happen and he was just drunk when he saw them burnt. However, we believe God is going to do a work in his life to show him His love. Amen!
The first week of January Gregg, Robert, Jason, Paul and Mike D. taught at the G.O.D. Training Center in Ensenada, Mexico. 7 of the trainees, including international staff member Juan Serrano, were in attendance for 3 full days of intensive Bible study averaging about 10 hours a day. Here are some of their comments…
“It’s like my eyes have been opened up to the Word of God.”
“These are the mysterious things that we know are in the Word, but have never been taught to see.”
“All this Bible teaching has placed a greater love in my heart for God and people of the world.”
“We want to be a different church and ministry, not to be puffed up, but to have a ministry based on the Bible and we have been confirmed of that need this week.”
UnNamed Servant led worship and taught the Bible to 60 high school students and adults at a retreat in Wisconsin. This group will be going with SLAM to Ensenada to serve in the summer. The retreat was called “riot.” Pastor Dave Spooner told me that he really believed the weekend was what the ministry needed, and that it was what they had been praying for. I’ll never forget the closing evening when every student huddled into a circle and spontaneously sang worship to Jesus and then began to pray and encourage one another.
Finally, the Institute for G.O.D. Int’l has started its second semester with all of its students returning and 7 new students.
G.O.D. hired on a new staff member named Derek Bargatze. Derek and his wife Celesta will be G.O.D. Int’l full-time missionaries to Mwea, Kenya but are currently receiving training at our international headquarters in Nashville, TN.
Staff member Paul and Heather Olson were married on January 8th! We praise Jesus for the new marriage and we pray God will continue to use them as we serve together.
Again, there is so much more to say, but not enough paper!
Keep checking our websites, because Derek is now serving with us as a Communications Coordinator and will be updating them on a regular basis.