PRAISE THE LORD! GOD IS CALLING HIS PEOPLE
TO HIS FOLD(Church of God)IGLESIA DE DIOS
Mark 16:15-16 and 20
And He said unto them, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and be baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
And they went forth and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
Truly it is a privilege to be used by God and to go where ever He tells you to go, and endure whatever you have to endure in order to complete the mission He has called you to do. There is no greater satisfaction than to know that you are doing exactly what He has asked you to accomplish.
Shortly after Brother Jeremiah came back from a mission trip to El Salvador, he received a phone call from his sister, who also lives in Florida. As he told her about his recent trip, she asked him to contact her father-in-law, a pastor in Honduras. She told him that this pastor was an honest man and that he should call him. Therefore, Brother Jeremiah spoke with Brother Carlos about this issue. He told him that he didn't know this pastor in Honduras or what his beliefs were, but that he would call him and test the spirits and allow the Spirit of God to witness.
All it took was one phone call. Pastor Manuel opened up to Brother Jeremiah and told him that he was tired of false religion, and mad at false teachers who are deceiving many, and that he no longer wanted to asociate with them. So Brother Jeremiah began to tell this pastor about God having one church that is pure and holy, that is not contaminated with these false teachers or the world..." And as he continued, Pastor Manuel began to cry and say, "I knew there had to be one church, one that was clean, holy..." It was then that God witnessed to Bro. Jeremiah that Pastor Manuel was a man of God hearing the voice of God saying "COME OUT! COME OUT!"
That same night Brother Jeremiah called Brother Carlos and told him all that was said. He told Brother Carlos to "call him and see for yourself." So soon after, Brother Carlos called and spoke with Pastor Manuel and the same feelings were expressed. He said, "Brother Carlos, God is calling us to live a holy life; God hates the religious assembling and I cannot be a part of it." Bro. Carlos told him that God's church is not an organization, nor is it run by a council or group, and that the "central command center" is not in the United States because there isn't one on earth. Jesus is the head of the church and the body is all those that have forsaken a life of sin and are determined to continue living a sin-free life. Bro. Manuel kept saying "amen" to everything.
God had witnessed to Brother Carlos and Brother Jeremiah that Pastor Manuel had the right spirit and a humble heart. God told them that this pastor was willing to receive whatever God had for him to learn. What a humble attitude, especially considering that Brother Manuel is 70 years old. God laid it on the heart of Brother Jeremiah that a trip was necessary. So he told Brother Carlos, "start packing your bags, Brother, we need to go on this mission trip." Brother Carlos said, "I don't have a US passport and it takes months to get one." Nevertheless, Brother Carlos applied for one, and the saints prayed that if it was the Lord's will it would have a quick turn-around.
Only two weeks later, the passport arrived and they knew that God had started moving in this effort.
The tickets were purchased and Brother Manuel and the saints in Honduras were waiting with great anticipation. But as you know, the devil does not sit around with his hands in his pockets doing nothing. He started putting stumbling blocks right before the flight. He made one last effort to make sure this mission trip would not come to pass. It was Thursday evening, July 3, as Brother Carlos and Brother Jeremiah waited at the terminal in Tampa for the boarding call. Instead it was announced, "all those that are traveling to Puerto Rico, Honduras, and Costa Rica, please come to the counter." There, they were told the plane was delayed and that they were going to miss their connecting flight in Fort Lauderdale. Brother Carlos and Brother Jeremiah said, "Oh no, we must make this flight. There are not any more flights to Honduras until Monday." That would mean canceling the mission trip. The clerk said, "You have two options: number one, we can refund your tickets; or number two, we can put you on another airline and you will have a 50/50 chance of making the connecting flight. But, if you don't make the flight, you'll be stuck in the Fort Laurdale airport. And due to the 4th of July weekend, all hotels are booked. Whatever you decide to do, you'll have to go back to the ticket counter at the main part of the airport." This meant catching the monorail, then the escalator back to where they started. On the way back their attitude was, "God knows what He's doing-- it's in His hands."
Finally, they got back to the counter feeling disappointed that they may not make this trip, but after a few moments they were told, "Why are you guys here? Your airplane is here. If you hurry back, you'll make the flight." So they ran back to the escalator, got on the monorail, went through security, you know the routine--take off your shoes, put bags in the tray, walk through slowly, and run to the gate.
When they got to the gate they were told "You're still going to miss the flight, even if you board now, so go back to the ticket counter and they will help you transfer to another flight." They continued to say, "Lord, you must know something we don't, but we'll do whatever you want." They thought they might cancel the trip as they headed back to the ticket counter via the monorail, escalator, etc.
Once at the counter, they were asked, "Did you guys not hear them calling for you at the gate? The connecting flight is delayed. HURRY BACK! They're waitting for you so the plane can leave." So they ran back to the escalator, caught the monorail, went through security, the routine there--take off your shoes, put bags in the tray, walk through slowly, and run to the gate.
Finally, they boarded the plane, found their seats, and by faith put their seat belts on. "Thank the Lord we made it." Or so they thought. You see, the computer on the plane caused the plane to lose all power. The flight attendant announced, "We must reboot the plane's computer. This may take anywhere from ten minutes to an hour. Therefore, all passengers traveling to Honduras and Puerto Rico, please step off the plane with all your personal items."
They could not believe this was happening, but they kept on saying God knows what He is doing. So they headed back AGAIN! Yes, you know, monorail, escalator, ticket counter... wait, when they arrived at the ticket counter, the clerk said, "The plane just started! HURRY BACK! They're waiting for you so they can leave!" So they ran back to the escalator, caught the monorail, then through security, took off their shoes, put bags in the tray, walked through slowly, and ran even faster to the gate. This time as they entered the airplane, all the passengers began to clap!
Many would have said, "I'm not going through all this hassle! Just cancel the trip and we'll go another day." But thank God for these two brethren who understood that they were on a mission from God, and that means you don't surrender.
Amazingly this was just the flight to Fort Lauderdale. Once there, they learned the connecting flight had been very much delayed. (Thanks to God.) Once the brethren arrived, they announced all to board. But after all were aboard, the flight attendant picked up the mic to make an annoucment. After all they had been through, they said "What now?" The attendant said, "The pilot erroneously boarded another plane. Therefore, we don't have a pilot, but we will try and see if one will be available." (It was about 2 AM; where can you possibly find one that is not sleeping?) "If we can't find one, then we will cancel the flight." That was all the passengers needed to hear to become restless. This caused the attendants to ask all to disembark. But before they did, Brother Carlos and Brother Jeremiah prayed in their seats.
About ten minutes later, they were told that a pilot had been found and the mission continued.
We say the mission continued because it doesn't begin at the arrival of the destination, it begins at home. If you can't overcome obstacles at home, you won't on the field.
The shy girl's family comes out to greet us all.
Pastor Manuel truly has a burden for the
people in his village.
Most houses have their kitchens outside.
As they went visiting house to house, Bro. Carlos noticed the amount of children playing in the streets, and God placed a burden on his heart for them. Bro. Carlos asked Bro. Manuel if it would be okay to have a children's service Saturday and Sunday morning. The pastor said they had never had one, but "whatever God has put in your heart to do is what we will do."
All children work with a sweet
attitude to keep things going.
Two young girls cutting shrubs to make bottom parts for brooms... and yes, she is using a sharp machete.
Children's clothes that the brethren took were
given to families each day.
Indira, one of the pastor's granddaughters. Bro. Carlos taught her how to sing, "Yes, Jesus Loves Me" in Spanish.
This girl and boy live up in the mountains, and from time to time they come down to the village to see their aunt. It is a long walk. Just a few weeks before our visit they lost their 10-year-old brother to a snake bite one night while he was walking from the village back home alone through the mountain. We gave them food, money and clothes, and asked them to stay for the children's service.
When we returned, lunch was waiting for us....
Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, yellow rice with vegetables, coleslaw with tomatoes, and watermelon juice... all home-grown and home-made. Truly organic food!
The First Service
The pastor's daughter washing the chairs for the service that Friday night.
What looks like a carport is the "tabernacle" where the services were held. They
used to have a building which they built on land that belonged to one
of the church members, but a lock was put on the door and they are not
welcome anymore. When Bro. Manuel began to preach that God
wants us to live a holy life, and preached against false religion,
doctrines and even false worship, the woman that owns the property told
them that she didn't like what he was preaching and he had to change or
leave. He told her he would not be a part of the devil's religious mess, so
she said "take your people and don't come back."
On the left side Bro. Manuel (pastor) is very sad because of the loss of the building. Bro. Carlos told him, "Bro. Manuel, they can take away the building, but you're still the church!"
Rain has made it very difficult for them to gather because, as you can see, there is very little shelter and only a few fit under the covering. Nevertheless the instrument players were setting up.
Before each service, Bro. Jeremiah would call out to all the village, "Come to the special services tonight. Come hear what God has to say to you. He wants to do great things for you in your life."
Bro. Santiago's bike, with his Bible. Bicycles are the main form of transportation in the village. Children learn to ride very young.
Bro. Jorge with his son arriving to the service.
Many came the first night. Many were standing all the way back to the road, others were siting on their bikes.
Bro. Carlos preached "The Church of God Revealed."
1 Corinthians 2:9 - But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have
entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for
them that love him. "When you really love God and truly serve him, and have forsaken your life of sin, then and only then will you see things you never saw before, hear things you never heard before, and the Spirit of God will reveal His church to you in your heart. God's church is holy, without spot or wrinkle. You see, you could be religious and not be part of God's church, which carries His name - the Church of God."
That night one soul came back to the Lord, and another came seeking salvation.
GOD STILL HEALS TODAY! Pastor Manuel's grandson was brought for prayer due to a condition he has been suffering for a long time.
This brother had a condition in his eyes for about a week. He could barely see. The next day at the service I asked him, "How is your vision?" He said,
"I can see! Praise the Lord!"
Saturday morning, July 5th
Bro. Victor took us into town to purchase juice and snacks for the children's service.
The bridge is only wide enough for one vehicle at a time, and it is not in the best condition, as you can see. It had holes in it that if you looked in, you could see down to the river.
Bro. Jeremiah and Bro. Victor selecting the goods.
Local girl working at the store.
The children were invited to come to the service, and they began to show up. Some walked, others came on their bikes, but they came all by themselves.
Notice all the bikes!We were only able to invite a few, maybe 9 or 10 children, but obviously those 9 or 10 told all the others! They kept on coming!
Bro. Carlos asked if anyone knew what "this" was (in hand). No response. They did not know that this book is the Bible, and that the Bible is the Word of God. Bro. Carlos asked, "Do you know what praying is?" Again, no response. "Praying is talking with God. We close our eyes so that we are not distracted, and if you want you can hold your eyes down like this."
They all closed their eyes and prayed with Bro. Carlos (except the one with the blue lollypop).
Bro. Carlos taught the children choruses.
You can almost taste it... this was the best beef soup ever.
Fried fish, plantains, beans and cheese.
Bible Study with Pastor Manuel
Bro. Jeremiah and Bro. Carlos were waiting for the spirit of God to guide them to when was the right time to talk about the second work of grace. During Bible study Sunday afternoon God opened the door and Bro. Jeremiah began explaining what it truly meant to be filled with the Holy Ghost, a heart that can fully please God through SANCTIFICATION. As Bro. Carlos went to get his camera to take this picture, the Lord laid it on his heart to draw a chart, showing the four conditions of the heart.
1. Pure Heart - God said, "Let us create man in our image."
2. Fallen Heart - seed of sin.
3. Sinful Heart - showing fruits of a life of sin.
4. Justification - the tree of sin was cut off with just the root remaining, but if the root is not removed, the tree will eventually grow back and lead to sin.
5. The root removed - only through sanctification. This will restore your heart to a pure heart, one that can do the perfect will of God. Pastor Manuel accepted the message.
It was at this time that Bro. Victor walked up to us and Bro. Manuel said "show this to him." So Bro. Carlos explained the plan of sanctification to him and Bro. Victor
understood the message. He said, "this is true, I see it. This makes sense to me." A couple of hours
later, before the evening service, Bro. Carlos saw Bro. Victor motioning at him to come over to
his house and to bring Bro. Jeremiah with him so he did. As they walked in Bro.
Victor called them into his office. He said, "I need to share something with you. I had a
problem with my neighbor and have been wanting to fix it with him but I just don't
have the strength to do so." Bro. Carlos told him, "Bro. Victor, you need to
be sanctified." He brook down and began to cry and said, "Yes, I want to be." So
they all kneeled and with laying on of hands they prayed that he would be filled with
the Holy Ghost, and then he began to pray that God would remove the carnal
nature, and fill him with power from on high, and in that moment he got up and
said, "I feel like such a burden has been lifted up from me, Praise the
Lord!" So off they all went to the evening service.
Praise the Lord for all who have an honest heart, and want to do the perfect will of God.
Last service Sunday 5:00 PM
Bro. Jeremiah preaching to the saints and to many
who came from the village."God is Seeking for Men of Courage."Men or women that have the courage to take a stand for Truth, have the courage to make a difference in their home. Courage to accept Jesus Christ as their Saviour.
Bro. Manuel gave the closing words that came from the heart, which ended with everyone in the place in tears. He was so thankful for what God had done in just three days. You could see his gratefulness to the Lord.
With tears in everyone's eyes, the call was made to all that were willing to take a stand for the truth, with Pastor Manuel. All who was saved, about 17, came forward, and Bro. Carlos made the closing prayer.
Please continue to keep these brethren in your prayers as we, Lord willing, will do all with the resources that God has given us to support them in all the Lord will guide us to do.
No glory goes to us, for we are just tools in God's hands... to Him be all the glory.