"And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed (Mark 16:20).
In early January Nick Bryant and I spent a week visiting our Honduran Tierra Nueva colleagues. We weren’t sure how we would find the ministry, since we hadn’t sent any money down to pay our original 15 village trainers (promotores) for over a year. We have been importing specialty coffee from them and had helped them set up a water purification and bottling plant as a micro-business to supplement their subsistence farming.
Our hope has been to see a new movement of the Spirit really get ignited that will engage new and younger leaders in Jesus’ ministry among impoverished Honduran peasants. We had been dreaming with TN coordinator Angel David about ordinary poor people being empowered by the Holy Spirit to announce Good News of God’s transforming love—with signs following to confirm the words.
We have always been about concrete signs of God’s love— which have included gravity flow water projects, contoured terraces of corn and beans,intensive gardens, composting latrines, preventive health education, and reconciliation between enemies and different streams of Christians. But we all need more of God’s love coming into our lives over and over again in both social and personal ways.
On this trip we took along John Arnott and his grandson James from Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship in Toronto. John is a veteran pastor and leader of a movement that began in Toronto 15 years ago when the Holy Spirit came more powerfully than anyone was used to, transforming people’s lives in amazing ways. He and his grandson are very humble and open people who long to see God’s Kingdom come. We all got to see the love of God poured out over and over everywhere we went—which included people’s homes, village churches, community centers, coffee farms and the airport.
We rented a Toyoto 4x4 pickup that was nearly always packed out with our Honduran colleagues and new, younger people who joined us as we traveled from village to village. John generously provided money so TN could throw two entire village feasts— the first ever that people could remember in both Mal Paso and Las Delicias. Over 200 people showed up for each feast—first to worship and then to hear teaching or participate in a dialogical Bible study. We then invited people in need of healing to come forward.
In Las Delicias it seemed that nearly everyone came forward for prayer—including the village Pentecostal pastor, Catholic lay leaders and many who do not normally participate in church. The first person we prayed for described feeling heat throughout their body and immediate and complete relief from their back and neck pain.
We had this man lay hands on the next person— who experienced the same sense of God’s burning presence and total healing. Immediately we would recruit anyone who was experiencing God’s Presence to help pray for others. It was delightful to watch people witness God’s power flowing through them— effecting change that was immediate and visible. After each healing in Las Delicias we would give a round of applause for Jesus after each testimony. People were so excited to see God moving like this that they didn’t even seem to want to eat.
In several houses where we met and prayed for people we saw person after person experience God’s Presence, which brought healing, peace, joy and new hope.
In one house John showed us how to pray for an older man who had a leg that was over an inch shorter than the other due to a lower back and hip problem. He had the man sit tight against a chair and gently held his legs out as we all prayed. A whole room full of people watched the leg actually adjust out so they matched.
When I returned home I remembered this during a jail Bible study as I was looking at Joe—a strapping young part Native American, Hispanic and Caucasian guy with a Mohawk who stood with shoulders sloping leftward complaining of bad back pain. I had him sit down with his back against the chair—and sure enough one leg was over an inch longer than the other. Seven or so inmates and I gathered around him as I held his legs out and we invited the Holy Spirit. His leg adjusted out to match the other one right there in front of everyone, with guys commenting “it’s efing growing dude, check it out.”
Joe was totally healed and looked shocked and really touched as he noticed his shoulders were level. His fellow inmates told me he talked about all the time until he left for three years in prison last Tuesday.
Last week when I attended a pastors conference in Toronto I got to see the love of God poured out once again in a generous offering taken for Tierra Nueva. $42,000 was given, allowing us to purchase a 16-acre specialty coffee farm that we had visited during our trip. This farm will help sustain Tierra Nueva’s growing house church movement in Honduras (Hogares en Tranformacion) and our Underground Coffee project to help ex-offender and gang members called into ministry here in Washington State. Last week we completed the purchase of this farm and even began our first coffee harvest. You might want to try some of this delicious coffee, which you can order online at www.tierra-nueva.org
Please pray for Angel David as he pastors a growing group of young and older leaders committed to announcing God’s Kingdom- on earth as in heaven from house to house and village to village in Honduras. We want to see a growing harvest of people so delighted by the reality of God’s love streaming into their lives that they can’t resist passing it on.