Not to long ago we moved from an apartment in Bogotá, Colombia into a van to travel down through South America to bring the living Jesus to as many people as possible.
Not two.. or four people…. not six people ….but EIGHT full-grown adults living and traveling out of a VAN in a 3rd world country. Awesome. Nothing more edifying than living on ‘the edge’ (literally driving along the edge of three-mile high Andes mountains). The power God offers to live by faith is no little thing. After some forty years of traveling the world we are setting out to do the most difficult thing yet…and I’m 60 years old!
Jesus says, “Go…and…Lo, I am with you always…” ( Mt.28:20).
God does phenomenal things but altering the molecular structure of possessions is not one. But God does alter our hearts and minds so that we get rid of junk, live with little and learn how to access His love for each other and big grace in little space! (2 Cor.12:9). Jesus repeatedly emphasizes to put no importance on possessions. Why? They become like anchors to the soul (Luke 12:33/ 18:22/Matthew 6:19).
So here we are making our way through the many, many mountain ranges on the way through Ecuador. We stopped to minister in Quito three days ago. We we’re quite surprised to find a socialist government in place which greatly affects the mental posture of the people. Hopeless is an accurate word to describe their disposition. A huge billboard seen all around the city WHEN YOU GIVE MONEY TO STREET PEOPLE IT ONLY HELPS TO MULTIPLY THE BEGGARS. It is just evil.The absolutely bizarre spirit is hard to explain. It’s like people are just confused. The states came in here to get the oil and supplanted the Ecuadorean culture with an empty materialism and it just doesn’t make sense. Gas is only a dollar a gallon but the promise of tremendous tourism (Charles Darwin and the Galapagos Island) is seen as a lie by the amazing desolation throughout the nation. We were interviewed on the radio in this large plaza where we performed. It brought back memories of my college studies of Karl Marx and communism in my studies. It is so outdated and just built on propaganda.
Anyways we spent several days with large crowds sharing Jesus. It was quite effective being that there are many Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons and hard-core nonsense evangelical$. So many individuals with such stories. Then as we were driving through one of the many, many devastated cities we spotted two little girls playing on a porch of an old shack. They are surrounded by filth, mud and forrest.
Joshua ran over to give them each a stuffed animal, blankets and some clothes. Suddenly about six other adults came out of the hut giving us fist pumps and many thanks. So grateful for nothing. Just that they mattered. That something good could happen to them in the midst of their terrible life situations. It just broke our hearts. Just one of many, many experiences. As we continued to travel we saw a similar scene repeat itself as we were able to give out a lot of stuff we brought.
Until we finally just pulled into a large parking lot and set up our equipment…
Nobody around. We turned on the music started sharing and dancing and immediately were surrounded by several hundred people. What an awesome afternoon. Ruth dressed up as Wabyder (a frog costume) and Elizabeth as Judah (a lion costume) and did their hilarious stuff. (By the way make sure we get you the booklet Joshua wrote called “Adventures of Wabyder”. It is so beautiful. God is really using it.They gave us a really cheap price two hundred twenty bucks for a thousand copies.)
It’s easy to see them all as a third world nation but these are individuals with unique heart breaking stories. One guy just shared his heart about being an orphan and not having any exposure to love from anyone. No one who ever held him or told him “I love you”. David (and all of them) talks to so many young people. He does this really cool Rap to a song he wrote and it is quite “worldly” in the way it comes across but the message is so compassionate in that it hits the specific buttons of what each young person struggles with today.
Several guys wanted to know how to read the Bible and how to talk to God. A woman was just blown away that she could actually know Jesus. “How do I start?”. So many sharings. So many young tough looking kids who are just so desperate for that TOUCH of personal love and concern. We all spread out and there’s just no words to explain the joy to be used by God in the ultimate dream of any true Christian; to share Christ with an honest lost soul.
Just telling the people they didn’t need a building and that God is not some boring irrelevant moral irrelevant legalistic code. Jesus wanted to enter their lives and lift their burden of sin. So many are weighed down with SELF PITY because their situations are just so unbelievably terrible. We have to expose this emotion as the destructive force it is in their lives. That Jesus can enter into their situation no matter how hopeless and change their hearts. Abraham shared a beautiful word about how things around them may not change but when things within them change it changes everything for them.
Then a national news agency pulled up with these huge cameras and taped the whole time for a TV news presentation across the country. Just shared Jesus full-out. Praise God! These reporters said they’d never seen anything like this in their country. They got on top of our van to record it then interviewed Elizabeth and Joshua.
I went out to dance with Rachel and I was trying to act funny and was waving my arms like I was Frankenstein and knocked her right in the mouth and just about knocked her out. The crowd thought I was pretty funny but Rachel….not so much.
Up and down we go, around and around, where we land only God knows, through so many pot holes to speak to the holes in men’s hearts, so many broken roads shaking us in our seats while sent to repair broken lives that shake us in our hearts.
The message of freedom from legalism into the Spirit of Jesus is so contrary to everything they have been taught. The main reporter lady asked Elizabeth “So your message is that everyone can be forgiven for anything? And that Jesus will come anyone personally they don’t have to go someplace to find Him?” It is such a blessing having Abraham to help drive. He’s awesome. Hope to include pictures soon, unless Joshua can add some here real quick.
So funny the other night it was getting late and we had no place to sleep. So just before dusk I see the abandoned catholic church up this gravel road to the left. I turn up the road and pull next to it and we haul out our tent, set it up just before dark. Farmers down the way brought us some bread. Slept on a basketball court with a chorus of dog howling “angels”. A real “religious experience”. (lol). His glorious moon and stars shining so beautifully.
God is so faithful. Last night we were at our end. Just wiped out. Pulled into this deserted town with really no hope for a place to sleep. It was pouring rain so we couldn’t exactly stay in our tent. At the end of the road we spotted this motel sign that we all kind of laughed at. “Ya. Right.” We had seen a few before but they are quite rare. Then God blew us away by it not only being open but them having one large room converted from a mechanics garage into a living area for us all WITH AN AIR CONDITIONER. $45.00. wow. God is good.
Beyond all the visible images that this world projects there is a Kingdom unseen and in this Kingdom is where we put our trust. It is upon which we make our decisions to leave all behind and venture into the unknown…because this is our Known. Oh, how great, how real is this Kingdom!
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