This mission to Ecuador was our third visit to the South American country as the faculty leaders for mission teams from Charis Bible College. This year, our team consisted of fourteen students, including one international student form Switzerland. Our ministry was centered in the city of Machala, the banana capital of the world, with a one-day excursion to Huaquillas, a border city to Peru. Since we had ministered in both if these cities on our precious trips to Ecuador, we were excited to see the many friends and acquaintances with whom we had developed relationships over the years. It was a blessing to see how the individuals had been growing in the Lord and how the Lord was blessing the churches — both spiritually and physically. In addition to spiritual and numeric growth, the churches in both cities had made physical expansions, with one actually moving to a larger facility and the other having expanded its original building.
We saw a mighty move of the Spirit in every service as the students shared their testimonies, presented dramas, and ministered the Word of God. On each night of ministry in Machala, we experienced several dramatic deliverances as individuals who had been seriously oppressed by demonic spirits were set free from the diabolic powers that were tormenting them. Delron had brought a few Spanish copies of his book on authority over the devil; so he was able to present copies of the book to those who were delivered so they could learn how to stay free from future attacks.
We spent one day ministering at a care center for children who have been rescued from abusive situations. It was such a blessing to play games with the children, make balloon animals for them, feed them lunch, pray for them, sing with them, and just love on them. We also held a three-day Vacation Bible School for the children in the neighborhood near our home base church in Machala. Since the schools had just started their summer break, the children were eager to join in with the activities. In addition to the ministry at the church building, we also visited a number of home groups where we shared testimonies and presented messages from the Word of God. As the team members prayed for the people, we saw people give their lives to Christ, receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and be healed. One unexpected blessing on this trip was the request from one of the team members to be baptized in water. When we made arrangements for her to be baptized, two others joined her and were baptized in a local pool.
Our mission to Ecuador was our second visit to the same city—Machala, the banana capital of the world. It was a blessing to be able to revisit the same places where we had ministered a year before and to be with some of the same people we had met last year. We could see that there had been some real spiritual growth since we had been there on our previous trip. It was a blessing to see Martha again. We shared her testimony about how she was delivered from extreme depression during our visit last year. This year, she sported an ear-to-ear smile and was bubbling over with joy. We also got to visit with Yaniel who was healed of deafness during our visit last year. He is still doing well physical but had been subject to a spiritual attack and needed prayer to be freed from it. The church as a whole has continued to grow numerically and to mature spiritually.
On this trip, we had fourteen students from Charis Bible College. For most of them, it was their first mission experience. For some of the team members, it was even their first time out of the country. Each student brought his or her own personal strength and ability to form a strong team. We had jugglers, ones with great skills in children’s ministry, mature prayer warriors, ones with powerful testimonies, and seasoned Bible teachers. But even more importantly, we had a team of willing servants who never hesitated to try things they had never done before. As a result, we saw many new giftings released in the lives of our students.
The major impact of the mission was that we were able to introduce a new faith level to the people of Ecuador. Since the building of the church we work with in Machala was too small to accommodate the meetings, the pastor had arranged for the meetings to be held in the facility of a denominational church in the city. Many of the people who came to the meetings were from the church that hosted us in their sanctuary. The message we shared about the baptism in the Holy Spirit, healing, and living in the promises of God was new to most of them; however, they readily received ministry and began to experience a new level of spiritual life they had never known before. When we invited them forward for the laying on of hands, those who were unaccustomed to this form of ministry were a little reluctant to step forward. But as they saw people being healed, they soon joined the others for prayer. One example would be the elderly woman who needed someone to help her to just to come up to the altar to be prayed for. She had a bad heart, her head hurt, she had low back pain, and her legs ached. After prayer, she didn’t need help getting up or walking and said that she didn’t hurt anywhere. Another woman had arthritis in her hands so bad that her fingers were bent and full of pain. After prayer, she showed her hands to the student who had prayer with her. Her fingers were now straight and pain free. We saw several individuals who had hearing and sight problems receive improvements in their eyesight and hearing. Rosa asked one of the students to pray for healing for her son-in-law who had been given only two months to live because of a bad heart condition. Two or three days later, Rosa came back to church with the testimony that her daughter had called and said that the son-in-law was doing all right. A number of the people, including some of the leadership, also responded to the offer for prayer to be filled with the Holy Spirit. They all received the baptism in the Holy Spirit with their new prayer languages and some were even slain in the Spirit.
In addition to our ministry at the church in Machala, we also ministered in three other churches, some home groups, and at a three-day vacation Bible school for the local children. Every place we went, we saw salvations, healings, and baptisms in the Holy Spirit. There were also a number of deliverances from demonic control and restorations of lives and marriages. Even on our free time, we saw miracles such as the healing of deaf and dumb attendant at the concession in the botanical garden. The manager of the park asked us to pray with him because she had seen how two deaf men received healings when we prayed with them at the same park on our visit last year. After prayer, he was able to speak a few words—just enough to let us know that he could now hear a little!
One highlight of the trip was the women’s conference based on the syllabus from her Women for the Harvest class that has just been translated into Spanish. Plans are underway to also translate the full book. The Spanish version of Delron’s book Finally, My Brethren were also distributed at a men’s conference.
As the students shared their testimonies about how the trip had impacted their lives and as we saw how the ministry from last year had taken root in the individuals and the church as a whole, we couldn’t help but think that John 15:16 should be the motto for this mission:
Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
April 8-20, 2011, Teach all Nations was privileged to join with Charis Bible College alumnus Miguel Caragena and twelve students from the school on a mission trip to Ecuador that could appropriately be listed as a healing journey. Each day of the trip, the group of under Delron and Peggy’s direction saw God touch lives with outstanding demonstrations of His healing power.
After traveling all day and not getting into our hotel rooms until four o’clock in the morning, we scheduled our first day to be a slow-paced day of leisure. Our plan was to spend the day at a tropical botanical garden where we could enjoy a time in the pool and some relaxation in a beautiful natural setting; however, the Lord had His own agenda for the day. It turned out that another group was also retreating at the park for the day. When our group gathered at the open-air plaza for lunch, the senior citizens group was also at the plaza enjoying dancing to some traditional local music. When we began to mingle with the group and ask to learn some of the dance steps, they gladly welcomed us. Soon, we offered to give them an impromptu presentation of one of skits we had prepared for the trip. After the presentation, the president of the seniors group thanked us and explained that they, too, were a Christian group and that they were blessed to have met us in the park. At that point, a couple of the students shared their testimonies, and we offered to pray for those who needed prayer. Before long, the day of leisure in the park was transformed into a revival meeting with almost everyone from the seniors group receiving prayer. We saw many healings among the group with at least two men receiving restoration of their hearing. We closed our time with the seniors by inviting them to the services we would be holding in the local church. That night, both men whose ears had been healed did join us in the service.
The next day, we again had an opportunity to exercise the first rule of missions work, “Be flexible,” when the power went out during the Sunday morning church service. Since the children’s meeting was in a room with no windows, we had to move it outside the building to a public sidewalk. The blessing of this “flexibility moment” was that not only was the outdoor location cooler than the room inside the church but it was also in an area where several passersby were able to stop and watch the puppet show long enough to hear the gospel story.
From Saturday evening through Wednesday, we ministered in the city of Machala at Seguidores de Cristo Church with two quick trips to other areas—Huaquillas on the Peruvian border and the nearby town of Bolivar. On Thursday through Sunday, we moved to Salinas, a beach resort town on the peninsula which juts out into the Pacific ocean. Every service was characterized by long lines of people hungry for a touch from God. Due to a shortage of translators, we weren’t really able to know all that happened; however, in each meeting people came forward for salvation and baptism in the Holy Sprit but especially for healing. In addition to many healings of every sort—eyes, ears, backs, legs, stomachs, etc.—there were many emotional healings and deliverances. The stories of four particular young men and ladies and of one whole stand out.
Martha was an orphan girl who had come to live with her half-sister after having lost both her mother and father. Shortly after that loss, her brother also died. In addition to the multiplied grief that she had experienced, there was also anger because she felt that a sister had deliberately not been honest with the brother during the sickness that led to his death. Martha felt that perhaps her sister had wanted the bother to die so she would get more of the inheritance. The combination of all these emotional traumas had devastated Martha and left her easy prey for demonic oppression. When she came forward for prayer, the demon that was tormenting her began to manifest and sent her into a trance-like state. After we took authority over the spirit, Martha regained consciousness and prayed with us to be able to forgive her sister. After prayer for deliverance and emotional healing, a beautiful smile erupted on her face. When we say Martha in each service after that prayer, she was constantly sporting an ear-to-ear smile.
Tiffany had been subject to epileptic seizures for the full eighteen years of her life and often experienced as many as five episodes per day. When her mother and sister brought her to the meeting in Bolivar, she immediately fell into a seizure. Her mother later explained that being in crowds often triggered these episodes; however, this particular trauma was exceptionally severe. Although several of the students and some of the local believers spend at least an hour praying for her, ministering to her, and speaking the Word of God over her, Tiffany never regained consciousness. Several team members offered to come to her home the next day to pray for her, hoping that Tiffany would not be so traumatized if she were in a familiar setting away form the crowd. However, it turned out that the local believers actually didn’t know how to find her house, so we weren’t able to follow through on our offer. When someone was finally able to contact Tiffany’s mother, it was too late in the afternoon for us to go the home, so the mother promised to bring her to the service that evening in Machala. This was a test of the team’s faith since we knew that being in a crowd could easily trigger another epileptic episode. When Tiffany and her family arrived, a small group of the students met with them outside the church. Tiffany’s mother reported that she had only had one mild seizure that day—a wonderful improvement! Since Tiffany was alert, we could easily minister to her and get her responses to all our questions and counsel. When we asked if she was born-again, Tiffany was not able to say that she was certain that she was saved. At that point, we asked the rest of the family if they were certain about their relationships with Jesus. Soon, the whole family prayed, and their bright smiles evidenced that they were now certain about their salvation. After a short time of continued ministry for Tiffany’s healing and deliverance, she suggested that she wanted to go inside the church for the service—evidence that she had really received her healing because previously going into the crowd would have resulted in a seizure!
Yaniel had been totally deaf for all of his fifteen years, yet God had a plan! On our last night at the church in Marchala, the service had actually already ended as the congregation there made a special presentation to express their gratitude to the team for coming to minister to them. Yaniel’s sister had sung two special songs for the team, church members had presented gifts to the team members, and the congregation was milling about giving farewells to the team. Someone from mission team said that we were willing to have one more time of prayer for those who had needs. It was at this “last minute” altar call that Yaniel came forward. When the Holy Spirit moved on him, the young man fell to the floor grasping his head in excruciating pain. Several team members gathered around him to see what was happening. When he was able to communicate with his mother what had happened, she explained that he was hearing for the first time in his life and that the new sensation was actually causing pain inside his head where there had never been anything but dead silence!
Harold came forward in the youth service in Salinas to be filled with the Holy Spirit. When he received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, he began to worship God fluently in a new language and rejoice in his new level of fellowship with God. He immediately asked his friend to come forward for prayer, and the second young man was also instantly touched by the power of the Holy Spirit. In the church service the next morning, Harold took the microphone to share his testimony of what had happened to him during the youth meeting the night before. When his father saw the change that occurred in Harold’s life, he also came up for prayer to be filled with the Holy Spirit. After he had received prayer and returned to his seat, the father came back up to the altar for additional prayer because he didn’t know what had happened to him; he said that he could feel “fire inside his heart”!
When the owner of the hotel where the group stayed in Salinas learned that our group was a mission team, he asked if we would like to hold a church service in the hotel while we were there. Since our schedule was already very full, we declined his offer; however, he asked if we could have a special meeting just for him and his family. Although no one in the family was a believer, they all listened very intently as we shared the gospel message and some testimonies. The hotel owner and his wife shared about an experience that had driven them away from church. One Sunday, both of them witnessed the appearance of a demonic apparition in the church. When they turned to one another and asked if the other one had seen it, they were surprised that it had not been figments of their imaginations but a real manifestation that was actually visible to both of them. At that point, they left the building and determined never to return. However, difficulties in their family and business had brought them to the point to ask for help from the visiting missionaries in their hotel. The conclusion of our little private session was that the father, the mother, the two sons, the daughter, and her husband all six prayed to receive salvation and asked for the laying on of hands for God’s blessings on their lives.
In addition to the many lives that were touched during our visit, we were able to leave behind a full set of Delron books in English in addition to a case of the Spanish version of Finally, My Brethren to help bless and train the believers. When Peggy ministered at a special ladies’ meeting, they were so excited about her Women for the Harvest book that some of the ladies began to make plans to translated it into Spanish and to organize a national women’s conference and have Peggy return to introduce the book to the church leadership of the country.