Saturday, April 2, 2011

Back from Guatemala

Jessica being mobbed by 8th Grade girls
We came for the one but stayed for the hundreds! 

Well, we are back and life hasn't been the same. Since we've been back, our hearts and minds have been radically different.  Jessica and I are encountering God in deeper ways with more freedom and joy and intimacy.

Our trip was amazing to say the least.  We were a team of 21 students and 2 leaders.  Our trip was pretty much non-stop, always in the van going to minister somewhere.  We were asked to come to Guatemala by a church denomination called Verbo.  They saw what God was doing in Ecuador through our leader, Chris Gore, and asked him to come and teach and minister at their churches in Guatemala.  So our job was to teach and impart to the Verbo churches what we have learned about the Kingdom of Heaven.

I will go over some highlights because this update might get a little too long to tell of all the things we did.

- We ministered at about 6 different churches. Every church we went to and ministered at God moved in the miraculous.  Many of the people at the meetings had fresh and intimate encounters with God.  Sometimes they would fall down, sometimes they would cry or laugh, and sometimes they would fall and cry and laugh all at the same time!  I asked a couple of the people that this happened to what was going on and they just said that God is so good and they were so in love with Him.  Often we encounter God is very cerebral ways and that is great, but often we can encounter Him in such a way that it offends our very minds.  We ask, "What is going on!?" I have found that it is through those "crazy" encounters that we sometimes have that God does the most open heart surgery and gives us the greatest breakthrough.

-In one meeting of at least 50 people, at least 25 people had pain or sickness.  We asked for those seated around the sick or injured to lay hands on their friends and pray a quick simple prayer, "Be healed in the name of Jesus." (in Spanish).  Every one of the people that were standing for healing prayer were healed that night.  Best of all, the congregation got be the hands that God used that night, it wasn't US!  They got the revelation that God loves them enough to partner with them to see the Gospel preached in miracles (JUST LIKE JESUS DID!).

-Jessica got to "stand up" on stage and give her testimony at one of the churches we went to.  I say "stand up," because she was so under the influence of the Holy Spirit or "drunk" as the book of Acts would say, that she couldn't stand and needed a chair to finish her encouraging word over the people.  That night many people were touched by God and many tears turned into laughter as dozens of Guatemalans got the revelation that they were the Joy of their Father's heart.  Wouldn't that make you happy?! Jessica did amazing, I was so proud of her for being such a willing vessel for Papa's love. 
- We ministered at 2 PUBLIC high schools (come on!) and I got to speak at one of them. Kids had radical encounters with Papa's love!

- We also got to spend 2 hours praying for the sick in a hospital. Too many healings to count. My favorite testimony was of a woman with paralyzed legs started wiggling her toes after prayer. The nurses saw it and shocked said, "Come with me." They lead our team members to the nurses station where a nurse with a slipped disc was in severe pain, waiting for surgery. They prayed and the pain completely left! One woman who was healed followed the team around the rest of the time praying for other sick patients. Death fleed every room we walked into!

-We got to go to Antiqua, a quaint town that attracts many tourist and locals needing a get-away.  Although it was our day off, our team still got to see many people get healed and touched by the love of God.  A few people even gave their lives to Jesus that day!  This is what happens when you are a son or a daughter of God.  This is normal Christianity; we were just walking our way through the shops and amazing cafes enjoying our son-ship.

-Some of the miracles we saw:
Teenager with retina problems got completely healed.  Many people with partial or complete deafness were healed or had major breakthrough.  Migraines healed.  Lot's of painful necks were healed and sore or painful throats and necks were healed.  Man with injured ankle got healed.  One seven year old boy who Jess got to pray for have never run normally as his feet were crippled and he had to wear a leg brace.  He got completely healed, his mom was weeping and the boy was RUNNING everywhere for the rest of the night!  There were countless more healings and many many people were touched by the love of Jesus throughout our trip.  A man, who didn't have a leg below his knee when home after being prayed for.  He came back the next day and said that his leg had grown out a small amount!

- We also got to minister at 2 orphanages and love on the kiddos.
Here is an amazing testimony from Jessica:
At one of the orphanages we visited, I spotted a teenage girl quietly sitting by herself and decided to strike up a conversation. My Spanish only got me so far, so I grabbed our translator to sit and chat with us. Soon Brenda, who is sixteen, began to open up about her reason for being at the orphanage (she gave this information without us asking). It turns out she had just gotten there two days before and came straight from the hospital where her parents had forced her to abort her twin babies. Her parents did not want her back so she was sent there. My heart broke. She said, "Everyone is telling me to forget about it, but it's hard." Filled with compassion I asked if I could pray with her in private. She said she believed in Jesus and agreed. With the help of the translator I got to lead her through healing prayer. She did not want to forgive her parents but after explaining how forgiveness doesn't have to be felt, but that it is powerful in setting us free from anger and bitterness, she agreed to try. I had her repeat after me and she forgave them, even having the courage to say, "They don't owe me and apology." Now that is powerful forgiveness! When we were finished she let out a huge sigh and a smile came on her face for the first time. A weight had been lifted and her entire countenance looked different. I prayed with her more and got to talk with her about her babies, what their names would have been if they were boys or girls. I blessed her womb to bear the twins she desires when the time is right, and she thanked us profusely stating, "I never thought I would have friends like you." I told her if I came to Guatemala for her alone the trip would have been worth it. I left her with a letter of encouragement to keep forgiving and to always remember that God is with her every step of the way. Come on God!

- We also got to help out a church with an outreach to the city at a popular park/marketplace.  We were there for a whopping 5 hours in the hot sun.  We had a ton of fun though talking to people and blessing them.  We did prophetic art, balloons and painted on the hands of the kids.  We prayed and prophesied over dozens of people between our whole team of 13 that were there.  I got to introduce a few young men to their Savior and see their countenance change before my eyes.  So much joy was released that day and so many destinies were spoken over.  Jessica got to prophesy over a group of teenage girls that were passing through on their way to school.  All the girls were glued to the life giving words of Jesus through Jessica.  One of the girls gave her life to Jesus right then, who knows when the rest of the girls will, but they ALL had their eyes open to how much God loves them! 

Our goal of this trip was two-fold: To equip the Verbo churches with their identity as sons and daughters and all that goes with living from the full inheritance that is ours through Jesus.  Second, was to bring God encounters to everyone we met.  We were very excited when people gave their lives to Jesus but were also very excited to give people a love encounter with their Lover and Savior and if they wanted a relationship with Him right then, well then that is wonderful, but our only agenda was to love them right where their hearts were at. 

So there were many more laughs and miracles and salvations but I can't remember them all.  We want to thank those of you who prayed for us while we were gone and also a big thank you to those that sowed into us financially too, I pray you all get blessed in return for everything your poured out onto us!  We are so thankful for a community of friends and family like you all.  If after reading about all the amazing things God has done makes you excited and hungry for God to work in and through your life the same way or MORE, then set your heart on God and let Him know that you want to experience more of Him in EVERY WAY!  I have learned to put a demand on heaven and I am not satisfied until I have all that Jesus paid for on the cross.

Abundant blessings and favor to you all!

Jesse and Jessica



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