Day 1 After 21 hours of travel the team moved into our Air B&B near an active part of Iquitos. An uneventful but long for this old guy. We ate at some local Peruvian food, including lomo saltado (or something like that). It was great! Tomorrow starts early for most of the team as they will have an all day long youth conference. Lora and I will attend for a while and then we are off to a night marriage conference. To have a flourishing marriage in Peru is tough, and we can’t wait to breath life and wisdom into their lives and marriages! We are excited to share what God has put on our heart. I sense that God wants us to open eyes, both figurative and literal. So, revelation we will give. It is great to be here. I can’t wait to see what God is going to accomplish.
Day 2 in Iquitos. Man I have missed this place and the friends I have met. It is been way too long. Seeing people has been so great. We spent some time with the teenagers today and I got to baptize 6 of them. We prayed over them, gave them words, and then dunked them. We also went to the zoo for a short tour before we had to head back to get ready. Maleah and Zoe got their first ride on a motorcycle without a helmet, I was driving. It is a little crazy on these roads. Always fun though. Tonight we got to speak at a marriage dinner. Lora and I enjoyed it and it seemed that the couples did too. I got to see Liliana Melissa Ramírez López and Coco tonight. I hugged Liliana and she cried. We have fond memories of each other from the last visit. It is amazing how much you can impact people when you are around them for just a week. That made me very happy to be here. I also got to pray for some people in deep need of healing. I look forward to some good reports on Sunday, I really love doing this stuff. I am exhausted but filled with anticipation.
Day 3 in Iquitos. It was a great day full of ministry. We were up early and out the door for a 2 hour ride to Nauta. We helped buy the church building there, so it was great to go there and minister. We helped with the kid’s club and also ministered to the youth leaders of the club. It was fantastic. The people here are so welcoming and warm. When we arrived at the church, which is on a muddy dirt road, Matthew was first out of the car. He was mobbed by the kids. It was fun to see. We were with them for about 4 hours and then headed back to clean up and eat before a worship night.
Matthew gave a teaching and the team prayed for almost the entire group. It was great. People were touched and filled and some of them were on the floor. A young boy came up and asked me why people were laying on the floor. I did my best to explain. Then he asked for prayer because he was being disobedient. I can pray for that. He went to the ground. I think he wanted to get in on it, but I know better than to dismiss someone who wants to experience God. Maleah and I prayed over him for a while. The kids are out eating - again, and the old folks are going to bed. I will preach 2 services tomorrow and we will pray over many. Pastor Felix Gil told me tonight that people really struggle with condemnation at the church. Funny, during the worship night I jotted down my teaching as the Spirit gave me inspiration. Living in your value and getting rid of condemnation. Thanks to everybody who gave to our trip and thank you Pastor Brian Heney and The Sound for sending us.
Day 4 and last day in Iquitos. It is always sad to leave this place. The people are terrific. So many friends are made in such a short time. Today we ministered in 2 churches in Iquitos where Matthew preached at one and I preached at the other. It was fantastic. We all learned a new worship song that we can’t get out of our head. The response to my message, which was we have value, was received well and people wanted ministry but it was difficult because of the timing of everything. We again prayed over another cancer victim, Antonio, and his sweet wife who has some health problem. We also prayed over a 3 or 4 year old that hasn’t spoken. We didn’t hear her say anything, but we are convince that when we pray, heaven moves.
We took a group out for lunch and then it was off to the river. Felix took us to a tribal show and we didn’t have to ask them to cover up for us this time. It was great because we got to pray for the chief’s dad who has cancer. His wife was there too, so we prayed with her for the chief’s dad. We ended the day with a Chinese dinner, weird I know, and some prayer over Gieselle. She is an amazing minister at the main church. We had many words for her and spent considerable time with her. Tomorrow Lima and hopefully, after an early flight, some rest.
Day 5 is in the books. Today was a travel day. We were up early and our flight was delayed enough to get a little nap in at the airport. We are in another world here in Lima. Modern for the most part and they have driving rules. Iquitos, not so much. In fact, if you break any of the rules there is no consequences in Iquitos. We already miss that city of 700K people. There is just something about that place that makes me want to go back already, but we have important work to do here.
We went to a really nice beachfront restaurant for lunch and then Maleah and I got in a little surf session down the road from it at a place similar to Sano. We are off and running tomorrow afternoon for a packed week of ministry. It is going to be great. Stay tuned for more testimonies and possibly an ask for some help.
PS, thanks for posting comments and encouragement. It is always great to see.
Day 6 is in the books. It was a late start day which was really nice. We all woke up late and I even took a nap! 4 of us went to the beach (about a mile away) and worked out. It was my first time in 6 days. I almost had a heart attack. Then we were off to minister.
After several busses and a train, we got to our destination on the outskirts of what I learned was an 12 million person city. The pastor had us do some house visits and pray for people. I love that stuff and so did everyone else. One of the families has a bodega and a bakery. Zoe had such a spot on word for the wife it was pretty crazy. She was telling her that she has been anxious and having problems because of it. Of course we ministered the peace of God to her. Come to find out, she had just been to the doctor for gastritis. The doctor told her that it was anxiety that was causing that problem and other issues! We ministered over that family and the other one that lives with them. It was great. We also went to another house that has 5 generations living there. It was packed. We prayed and I felt like we needed to worship, so I lead out. I could feel the demonic presence in the house and so could others. Come to find out that they recently became believers and just got rid of of ancestors skull that they had kept in the family for 100 years. Zoe and Malena were on the floor and both were feeling the floor shake. It was in the spirit realm for sure. We had some other words and ministered over them for a while before heading to another home and ministering there.
We went back to the church after that, which was the upstairs of the pastor’s house and worshipped and I ministered to the group a word that Jim (a missionary here that I know), said was right on for that group. We prayed for them and then sped to catch the last train. We made it by 45 seconds. It was pretty funny, but not. We made it!
Tomorrow we will minister in an area that a sewer line broke and has a sink hole a block long. The city has shut off water to fix the line. So many people have no water. It appears that we have a bunch, or I was going to ask people for help, but tomorrow we will be passing it out to people and playing with the kids and holding a meeting or two. It will be another full day of 14 hours.
Nobody is really sick and we all got good rest, but continue to pray for our strength. God has been so good. I am already planning my next trip.
Day 7 is over. In fact it is already day 8. We got home late again BUT we get to sleep in!! That will give us some much needed rest and time for Lora and I to get fully prepared for the marriage conference on Friday and Saturday. Yes!!
We started early today and went to a church that has a outreach in a pretty poor area of Lima. They had a kids program which we were very little help in to be honest. Their team was fantastic! During the morning I got a chance to help a family move across the street. We moved the walls of the house to another spot up a flight of stairs. Life is different here. We are blessed in the US. After all of that we got to minister to the leaders and that was an awesome time of prophetic words and prayer. Lots of them.
After that we went to eat and tried not to melt. It isn’t that hot in temperature, but it felt so hot. Next we went to downtown Lima and the youngsters went shopping and the older folks looked for and found a coffee place. Nothing like hot drinks on a hot day. A funny side note... While I was sitting down in the coffee shop I noticed my phone was hot. My pocket had turned my phone on, entered my password, turned off airplane mode, received 34 texts (thanks leadership team), and called some guy I don’t know twice. How does that happen!!!!
Back to ministry. We had a meeting at another church. I gave a word and Felix translated. We have so much fun together. I love that guy. I think it went well and then we prayed over people for a while. That seems to be the most fruitful time of our day. Again, many words and prayers. I got to set some people from from demonic bondage and then sent Lora to go pray for her. She had a lump under her arm which began to shrink in prayer and all the pain left. Freedom! The youngsters are getting bolder and bolder and giving words that are really spot on. What a pleasure to be a part of God changing people! More fun tomorrow where we will visit 2 different churches. It again was impressed on me by the pastor and those who are helping us here that our presence, even for one night, means so much to them. Amazing!
Day 8? I can’t remember. I think it is day 8. We got a late start which was really appreciated. Then we went to yet another part of Lima where a kajillion people live. We went to the church there, which was on a hill. People who live on a hill are looked down upon. You can see the city and the Pacific. It’s a great view. We ministered in the church over the leaders and a blind man for a while. No improvement for the blind man...yet! We all felt antsy. I felt like fighting. So we went to war in the Spirit for a while and prayed over the city. After that we started visiting homes and ministering to the people in the homes. I heard the most gnarly story I have ever heard. I can’t share it. Our life is really good. We prayed, ministered, gave out words in 4 homes to all of the family members. It is hard to incapsulate everything that we do but I am honored to have these young people with us. They are jumping in and hearing God and giving it out. It is great to see.
We saw a FB post advertising Matthew for a youth meeting on Saturday night where all of the Foursquare churches will bring their youth. They have asked him to speak on several difficult topics. Pray for him. After visiting homes we drove to another church and had a service there. I ministered the word and then every person there got a word. Nobody was allowed to leave without getting a word and prayer. I shut the doors! Not really. Everyone, everywhere want us to pray over them. It is pretty amazing.
On a funny note for this health guy. People kept serving us cake, pie and Coke today. I do not refuse when people prepare something for me to honor me and neither does our team. We also got some kind of sandwich too. These people have very little and they gave to us. Amazing. I have had more sugar in the last 8 days than I have had in the last 8 weeks. Everyone on the team is feeling pretty well except for Zoe has had a little sickness in her stomach. The kids get the day off tomorrow and Lora and I are up and out early. Keep praying for us!
Day 9 was an easy one for the young ones. They slept in, went shopping, hung out and ate food. They needed it. We are all pretty spent. Lora and I were up early for our journey to the pastoral marriage conference. We have taught 3 sessions and it went better than we expected. When we talked about romance, love and sex, the group really loosened up and we began to really have some fun together. Everywhere we have gone in Peru there is a common problem, marriages are a wreck. More so than the states I think. So this conference for the pastors is really needed. If the pastors have good marriages, then the people they lead will follow. My hope is the Peru will be a place where marriages do more than last, they will have a fiery passionate committed love to each other.
The pastors all brought us gifts. It was humbling. Most of them have very little and they are giving us something. Honor.
Lora and I took a 2 hour nap today. We were going to go swim in the pool but were knocked out. We feel pretty rested tonight and we are glad because as tradition would have it, the group ate chorizo about about 11:00 tonight.
It was really good to see the pastors have a lot of fun tonight. They are using my jokes and laughing their heads off at silly things. I told them that we have an American expression that sex starts in the kitchen, so when Pastor Raul was cleaning up tonight, the jokes started flying. It was all in Spanish but Lora and I got the jest of it. It is good to see these hard working men and women have fun. The average work week for most of them is about 70 hours or more. They are so committed to seeing people meet Jesus and be restored, but they still have to make a living. Amazing people
Day 10, check. It was a good day. We woke up at the marriage retreat and I actually worked out for 15 minutes. During worship Pastor Felix asked me to pray for the couples rather than teach. So Lora and I did. At first I was a bit intimidated to give prophetic words to pastors, but it was really wonderful to see God move and do His thing. The pastors and wives (who are pastors here) were really touched and God was so faithful to Lora and I to give us right on words that were timely and confirming. God have me a word before we started - Aug. 5, 2 kids, restore. I don’s normally operate like that, but I threw caution to the wind and spoke it out. Somebody said Aug. 6 was their anniversary. I didn’t move my word up a day. I figured I didn’t hear correctly... until we were giving words and praying for a couple and she said that Aug. 5 did mean something to her. She told us the story and we prayed and we believe the word was for her. It all fit. In fact, it was some super powerful ministry that went on because of it. I am so glad I risked and crossed the chicken line. We wrapped up the conference after spending probably 1.5-2 hours praying and ministering to the pastors, then off to lunch.
There I shared about TLP and physical health and took questions. I was a little uncomfortable because the Peruvian diet isn’t very good and most people don’t make enough money to eat a well balanced diet. So I gave them a few things to start on that they all could accomplish. At the end of our time we of course took photos. Peruvians love photos.
The kids had the morning and afternoon off. (I know they aren’t kids). The are powerful ministers! Matthew spoke at a youth meeting and then all four of the answered questions on a panel that would have been tough questions for me. Then more worship and ministry with many prayers and prophetic words. I am so proud of them. While I write this at 11:15, they are out eating dinner!
This old guy is ready to come home, but only to get some rest. It has been a busy time, but very fruitful. I am still amazed by how encouraged people are just because we showed up. We did much more than that, and people are all the more encouraged and built up. Tomorrow is our last day of ministry. It is going to be fantastic!
Day 11 is done and we have packed and are ready for the long flight home. It was a good day. I spoke in Lima Templo church for the 2 morning services on the love that God has for us. The team ministered at the end of both services and it was great. We love Pastor Fabio Padilla his lovely wife and Vanessa and the whole team. It was such a pleasure to be there and see the great response from the people. Many came forward for prayer. We ate and did a little shopping, and we also debriefed with Pastor Felix Gil, the national leader of Peru. What a man of God! His wife was here at the apartment too and she gave each of us an encouraging word. We love that couple! After prayer we did what you do in Peru, we ate again... at 10pm! We have to be up early for the high traffic time and our 12:30 flight.
Day 12. We are at the airport with mixed feelings. We want to go home, but we want to stay. Whatever money we came with is gone, given away to those who has so much less than us. We have no idea how good we have it in the states. Literally the homeless can eat better than some of the working we have ministered to. They are so humble and so many have great joy. Children with nearly nothing but dirt to play in are happy. It is amazing. If I could bring a lot of money back with me to give to these churches and the sweet pastors who serve so diligently and work more than most Americans before you count the time they spend ministering, I would. In fact I will. I so admire them that I am tearing up as I write.
Malena was incredible on this trip. She was the best translator! We were so blessed to have her. She often only translated because we needed that, but I saw her ministering and getting out of her normal. What a blessing to see.
Matthew stepped up like a champ. With authority and humility his word kept getting clearer our whole time. We was definitely out of his normal and he was such a blessing to have.
Zoe and Maleah both are champions. I am so proud of those girls. I am in awe with how they operate in the spirit. There is a grace on them that is incredible. Way beyond me at there age or in my 50’s. I love those girls.
My wife is absolutely incredible. She really doesn’t like speaking in public but she did so well. Where she thrives is a small group or one on one and there was so much of that in this trip.
I can’t thank Pastor Felix and Gisela. They treated us so well. They take care of us like we are their children. I don’t know what we would of done in Lima except get lost and use my translation app a lot more without Jim Birch and C'Cie Birch. They are missionaries who left all in Oklahoma to help with the Peruvian church. They are moving to Trujillo soon just to support the church there. We love all of the Peruvian pastors who welcomed us and honored us. You are powerful! Your work is important! You have what it takes!
Finally, I am humbled by the word that Pastor Felix gave me. I was telling him about my desire to help the church in Peru. I am in love with these people. I told him about a prophetic word spoken over me in 1994 or 1995. The word was that I will have a ministry in South America. At that time I didn’t even want to go to Mexico. I didn’t like it. If I am honest, I wasn’t fond of being ripped off as an American. So the word made no sense to me. During worship yesterday I was thinking about translating my book into Spanish, and my upcoming manual, and of course becoming conversationally fluent. I mean if I am coming back to Peru, then these things must happen. Then I remembered. I laughed and cried. This is the fulfillment. Felix as already asked me back for a men’s camp. Yet, his word went beyond that. It was that I would not just minister in Peru, but in many South American countries. Again, I just don’t even understand how that could happen. But my pastor, Pastor Brian Heney keeps calling Total Life Pursuit, TLP worldwide. I am humbled and am trembling at the thought of it. I just don’t know how it could be, but I will do as I ask everyone to do, be open, watch for God and believe for a God size vision that you cannot complete without Him.
Thank you all for you prayers and support. We take off in 2.5 hours.