Today, I’d like to share with you the report about our Evangelism Training Ministry in Nicaragua at the beginning of January. This was my third trip, and the teaching content focused on the healing ministry of Jesus, helping leaders be better prepared and equipped for the work of Evangelism. It’s written 3rd person as it was my team’s report to PRMI.
Thanks for those who supported our work with their prayers and finances, enabling us to go.
Ignite at La Fuente Church, Matagalpa
A team of 4 from PRMI met up in Matagalpa Nicaragua to work with La Fuente church over the first weekend in January 2009. Matagalpa is a city about 2 hours to the interior of the country from Managua, the capital, and is tucked in a mountainous valley in central Nicaragua.
Pastor Raul of La Fuente (pictured with me) was our host, and founding Pastor Orlando Rutledge served as our translator during the entire event. Since we were in town for an event with Vida Joven, we were invited to have an additional conference in the city with La Fuente church.
Forty to sixty people met with us at La Fuente, which meets in a former warehouse that stored and distributed farm fertilizer:
- Concrete floors, terraced concrete slabs and a slight slope to lower a slab to a level appropriate for a truck loading dock.
- The steel plated entrance door is right at the street and slides to the left to allow cargo trucks to back in and be enclosed.
- Sounds echoed off the concrete wall, and wall mounted fans keep the place relatively cool even in the hot Managua sun.
This conference was the first of its kind for La Fuente, so attendance results were a surprise: More people than expected.
While the charismatic leaning congregation is familiar with experiencing the person and work of the Holy Spirit, the Ignite conference from PRMI was the first systematic teaching they have received in a while and many folks found it personally refreshing. For many, the theology sections on world view and the review on the Holy Spirit as the 3rd person of the Trinity were most helpful.
Chris taught worldview and the person of the Holy Spirit, and David taught on the 4 works of the Holy Spirit, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and Sam taught receiving the fullness or baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Saturday night, during the worship service, we had lab time and prayer time for the infilling of the Holy Spirit.
Sunday, Chris preached through Matthew 9 about getting the Father’s heart for the harvest field.
We had lab time and prayer time for the infilling of the Holy Spirit.
After lunch on Sunday, we visited with Raul and Pastor Orlando to discuss the event, hear testimony from them, and to discuss future plans.
Ministry with Vida Joven
After the Ignite conference in Matagalpa, Susan Lockhart and daughter Lydia joined us at the Young Life Camp in the mountains between Matagalpa and Jinotega, for the annual leadership camp for area directors and club leaders.
Approximately 200 area directors, club leaders, and organizers gathered for an intense week of training — 4 classes a day, 5 straight days — on subjects in areas of evangelism, Bible, psychology, leadership, prayer, worship, and administration of a club.
Our team had responsibility for about 60 leaders (pictured) who have had 6+ years of leadership with Young Life. Most were area directors and club leaders.
We left a different camp
“We left a different camp,” said David Cathcart, team member from Sylva NC.
Young Life Nicaragua is in the midst of a leadership transition that affects a multitude of people, their jobs, and their economic support.
The unknowns of the future and the changes coming provided an anxious back story to our teaching time. Our team found ourselves listening and praying with and for Young Life leaders, and their national leadership transition team, nearly every day during our team meetings and our quiet 1-1 conversations with them.
On Wednesday, we simply set aside a teaching period for worship and intercession for the work of Young Life. That seemed to create a breakthrough that lingered the rest of the week and opened the door for more significant ministry and teaching.
This is your ministry
Our team sensed a calling to focus was on empowering local leaders. Several times before our departure and even during our team meetings we felt led to pray “This is your ministry.”
Our group prayer times, lab times, and large group ministry times were run 100% by our class members. Our team served as the coach — coming along side the class members and helping them lead into ministry.
For example, during Thursday night’s large group on reconciliation, Chris preached a message on relational healing and that moved into a time of personal prayer to forgive people and to seek forgiveness. Our class served as prayer teams and with a little coaching from us when needed, significant prayer ministry went on for about 90 minutes or so.
Testimonies from that night talked about how powerful it was for them to experience the presence of the Holy Spirit. Some small and quiet deliverances were reported. Debriefing the next morning revealed major growth in applicable knowledge in our class — learn and do.
Friday night, team member Susan Lockhart preached on a ministry in transition, founded by Jesus and turned over to 12 local men. Acts 1.8 served as a preaching verse that pointed out that the ability to change the world is not your own strength, but to go forward in the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
That led into our class praying for their Vida Joven clubs and areas. Leaders organized the 200 or so members of the large group into clubs and cities and the leaders from our class prayed for the infilling of the Spirit for their leaders.
This was their ministry! Empowered Leaders.
Of that night, Susan writes:
The Lord led us beautifully as our team took on different roles at different times, and as we worked together with our class of leaders to empower them to pray for their people. I think a real hallmark of PRMI’s ministry — the team concept that focuses on listening to the Spirit — was a true blessing for them, and provided a great model for them as they have a leadership team in place for each Vida Joven club.
When Susan first introduced “lab time” in our class, she asked what do you do during labtime in school?
The quick answer: dissect a frog!
Midweek, a drawing appeared on the classroom wall. It was a frog, with the caption: “100% Frog.”
After the segment on physical healing, we had lab time. Volunteers who had physical pain agreed to be prayed for and other members prayed for them.
Some people with aches and pains reported signs of instant healing, and some healings will need medical verification.
We felt that our work impacted the future of Vida Joven.
- These are men and women that are rebuilding a society torn by civil war and even class warfare.
- They are learning about marriage, forgiving others, and growing into God’s dream.
- They are shaping the generation that will change the country.
- They grew up in a generation abused, abandoned, and wounded by war.
- They grew up in areas of high crime, drug related gang warfare, and broken families.
However, they know that Jesus calls them to a greater work: advancing the Kingdom of God and that they are called to invite people to start following Jesus.
What excited us most is that we know that these leaders “Get it.” They will take this teaching, and apply it in their Vida Joven clubs with great enthusiasm. We know that communities will be changed.
The healing work will continue and should we be invited again for the 2010 camp, I’m sure the training will continue with a year’s work of practice and experience to debrief.
Team member Susan wrote:
One image that stays with me is the last night, after I had preached; I was up on the stage watching the room when my eyes fell upon a young man who was resting in the Spirit on the floor in front of me. His shirt had risen up in back to reveal a several-inches-long huge scar. The peace and joy on his face were such a contrast. Who had inflicted that scar? A parent? A combatant in the civil war waged in his homeland when he was a child?
I had to stop myself from entering into the grief mode that it had been my privilege to carry, and to reflect on the transcendent fact that “By His stripes we are healed.”
God moved mightily in so many ways — a soul-stirring mix of power and love. Answering God’s call to Vida Joven Nicaragua was worth going into debt, airplane turbulence, digestive turbulence, long days of travel and other “inconveniences.”
Consumed by the call,
Team Members: David Cathcart, Sam Hale, Chris Walker, Lydia Lockhart, Susan Lockhart, Judy McManus.