Saturday, June 7, 2008

Faith of a Mustard Seed

The following is the story about the man with Parkinson's that we saw outside the hotel:

Sunday night I went down to the hotel restaurant to get a Coke. As I was passing by the front door on the way back to my room, the bellhop stopped me and asked if I spoke Spanish. I gave him my standard response of "un poquito." He tried to explain to me that there was a gentleman outside having some medical issues. He kept pointing into his mouth and saying "epilepsia." I went outside the hotel and saw a man sitting against the building. His arms, legs, head and torso were convulsing violently. I ran back inside and went up to the meeting room where the medical team was having worship. I pulled Jeff Davis out of the room and asked him to come with me. I explained the situation the best I could. Jeff attempted to assess the man's condition, but was not making any progress giving the language barrier. I ran back up to the meeting room to find a translator, but they had all gone to their hotel for the night. I asked Amber Peek to come with me, as she is fairly fluent in Spanish. Shanna Smith, Melissa Martin and Neal Blackwelder followed.

At some point after we were back outside, we discovered that a taxi driver had dropped the man off at the hotel. Since Jeff, Shanna and Melissa were not sure what to do to treat the man, a decision was made to take him to a hospital. Shanna suggested that we pray over him before we left. We all gathered around the man and laid hands on him. Individually, we prayed. I recall asking God for healing for the man, but also for the faith to believe the healing would take place. We all closed our prayers and I remember hearing Neal continue to pray "set him free...in Jesus name" over and over and over again. Each time he verbalized the name of Jesus, the man's body began to calm down. After a few minutes, his body went completely still and he slumped against the building, with most of his body laying on the sidewalk. I lost it...to say the least.

At some point during these events, the taxi driver came back. Apparently, he dropped the man at the hotel because he thought it was safe and then he went to the pharmacy to get the man some medicine. All we knew at this point was that the man needed some medicine and his supply was used up. The taxi driver witnessed the prayer and the man's calmness. We stood him up and the taxi driver gave the man some medicine he had purchased. Jeff, Amber and I put the man in the taxi and the taxi driver took us to the nearest hospital. He had begun convulsing again as we put him in the taxi. Upon arrival at the hospital, it was apparent that we were not in the best of circumstances. I felt very uncomfortable even though there was a policeman in the area. The man would not go into the hospital. He said that since he was poor, the hospital would let him die and then steal his organs and sell them. Apparently, this is a common fear among the poor in the area.

He kept telling Amber and the taxi driver that he needed food. We found a street vendor near the hospital and Jeff bought him some dinner. The taxi driver tried to feed the man, but he refused to take the food. We found out why...he wanted to pray and thank God first... He subsequently let the driver feed him and then after a while took the spoon and fed himself.

As it turns out, everyone in the area knew the man. We subsequently found out that he had Parkinson's Disease. The remainder of the evening was spent getting the man to a pharmacy so he could be comfortable that the was taking the correct medicine. He kept trying to look at the medicine through a single lens from a pair of glasses. The lens was smudged and the the man was still shaking enough to make it difficult for him to read the dosage. As it turned out, he knew he hadn't had enough.

We got him back to the hotel so Shanna could get him a new pair of glasses. He hugged and kissed us before getting into another taxi to take him home. He said that Amber was an angel from God. (I saw the other taxi driver the next night and he said the man had come by the hotel looking for the doctors to thank them for helping him.)

After he left, we gathered in the lobby and had a group hug. We all broke out into tears. This story on the blog cannot possibly relay the overwhelming presence of the Holy Spirit that night.

A short while later that evening, my roommate Jack Roberts relayed the story of the deaf and paralyzed boy that had been healed earlier that day. I got into the shower and the Holy Spirit hammered me with some sin that I had been living with for the last two years. I almost fell to my knees in spiritual agony. The Lord opened my eyes to the fact that I had let my prayer life die off after my friend Troy passed away. It wasn't a conscience decision to stop praying for healing of others, but Troy's death made me feel like my prayers were not heard. In God's beautiful sense of timing and purpose, the local pastor we were working with asked me to preach at their revival the next night. He said I was to preach on healing. The Lord gave me the scripture about the mustard seed. It was difficult to verbalize what God had laid on my heart, but I managed to say what I thought God wanted me to say. Several people were prayed over and healed at that service. It was an amazing turn of events. God is so good! And his timing is perfect!
story by Robert Plummer

Monday, June 2, 2008

Guayaquil Trip Photos Available

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then how many words are 5000 pictures worth? You can now check out the mission trip photos online - all 5000 of them. We don't have everything upload as yet (10 GB is a lot of data) so keep checking back throughout the week for more pics. Check out the gallery at SMUG MUG

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Praise The Lord - 1122 Professions of faith!!!!!

We praise God today that 1122 people gave their hearts to Jesus Christ this week. We are also thankful that in cell groups and in home discipleship visits we were able to minister to 1857 people. This year we added a children's ministry. God truly blessed this as we had an opportunity to minister to 1206 children.
The main purpose of an E3 trip to help nationals in existing churches start NEW churches in communities where there are is no presence of an evangelical church. This week God allowed us to see 10 new churches start.
Please pray for our brothers and sisters in and around Guayaquil as they continue to disciple these new believers.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Update Through Wednesday - 374 saved at medical clinic

I am sorry that we have not been able to blog as we wanted because the internet connection at our hotel is not reliable.
Today is Wednesday - I had the privilege to work with the medical team today. We had a very interesting day to say the least. Our bus took a wrong turn and we thought we had arrived at our clinic site. There was one problem, no one was there. Diego our national co-ordinator quickly noticed that this place did not look right and we moved just a few blocks away. When we turned the corner there were people standing in front of a school. The line was a long as you could see. A politician was outside telling the crowds that he has lined all this up. That we were there at his invitation. He made promises to the people on our behalf for things we could not possibly do. The team leader for this city became very upset as the people were becoming angry waiting in long lines in the sun and heat.
God gave me some boldness to go out and say in a loud voice that the politician did not bring us, but that God sent us and all that we did was in the name of Jesus Christ. At each point where we preached this message, the people would applaud and shout for joy. They knew the truth.
At the end of the day, I helped Carrie Davis, the team leader at St. Lucia count the decision cards for Christ. There were 374 today. Praise God!

Dental clinic Spiritual Warfare

I had several answered prayers on this trip. First for safety and protection, second for strength. Today I am humbled beyond belief. God provided to overflowing supplies for the dental clinic. Yesterday we had another local dentist join us. So we had 3 dentists and 2 hygenists. Yesterday the third dentist (Mercedes) cleaned teeth because Sheila was on an evangelism team. Today I set up for three to extract since Sheila was back to clean teeth. Only God provided our supplies. I was only prepared for two doctors to extract.
About midday I was involved in a very difficult extraction. I started praying and crying, Lord I cannot do this, You have to release this tooth. I was also becoming frustrated with myself. The patient was becoming frustrated also. Dr. Mercedes came up and was trying to help. Finally with tears I asked her to take over. She continued to try to get the tooth out. Finally, she asked the lady to take her ring off her hand. The ring had some type of emblem on it. I could not see or tell what it was. Only 20 seconds after she removed the ring, the tooth came out.
Later that afternoon on the bus I asked a translator to have Dr. Mercedes tell me about the ring. She said she saw me working on the patient and she started to pray for me. She said "Lord I cannot do this but You can be my hands". She saw the ring and it was a witchcraft symbol. Mercedes asked her to take it off. She said she got a new forcep and the tooth came right out.
This is not Mercedes first medical mission trip. She always prays, "Let my hands be your hands Lord." I responded and told her I was praying and crying. I was praying for the Lord to release the tooth. I was praying for God to overcome the spiritual warfare. I told Mercedes that she was God's hands today.
It is easy to approach dentistry on missions as a task only job. The patients come in, get them numb, pull the tooth, give pain meds and a toothbrush and let them go. We pray all the time that they were somehow blessed by something that is usually associated with pain and bad memories.
How easy I forget I cannot do this without God. He chose not to use MY hands in this case. My prayer is that I recognize I need to humble myself before Him and offer my hands to His work always. Whether He choses to allow me to take the tooth out or recognize that I need to step aside. Only God gets the glory. He will overcome. Our battle is not with flesh and blood. Our battle is spiritual even when extracting teeth.

story by Lauri Williams

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

UPDATE through Monday

Here is a quick update through Monday. So far we have had a great week. There are 12 evangelism teams going pretty much into all the areas of Guayaquil. We have seen 350 people come to Christ so far.
Please continue to check this blog for future updates.

From Rejection to Acceptance

On Monday Katie Grooms and I experienced something unique. First we had no translator in the afternoon so we simply walked around with our nationals watching them work. We were just the bait. Katie would stand there looking pretty, I stood back looking tired.
Our sweet nationals Luse and Carlotta approached a man watering his flowers. He allowed them to talk but when it came to "the question" he started watering his flowers again and sent us on our way.
After 45 minutes of so, he sent a security guard for us. When we arrived back at his home, we were not only given a warm greeting, we were invited into the home (patio area).
His wife was there and served us refreshments and wanted to know what this was all about. After just a few minutes of visiting with them and presenting the gospel message, both husband and wife were saved.
This day we saw total rejection turn into total acceptance. Praise God!!
The picture above has NOTHING to do with this story... I just wanted you to see how cute Katie is.
story by Katie Grooms and Sam Neugent