The Mordecai Project Newsletter
August 2008 / Bolivia and Colombia
My recent trip to South America began with an all-night flight to La Paz, Bolivia, the second-highest major city in the world. After A.J. Hall and I arrived, Pastor Alberto Salcedo and his wife, Silvia, who pastor the 20,000-member Ekklesia Church, arranged to transport us to a city called Oruru, three hours’ drive from La Paz. After passing the city’s entrance and 10 huge metal sculptures with devil masks, we learned that Oruro is one of the strongholds of Bolivian witchcraft and idolatry. The locals there worship Satan along with frogs, spiders, ants, the Virgin Mary and a being called “El Tio” (“the Uncle”), who is guardian of the silver mines. Yes, it was starting to feel a bit creepy…
** A.J. and I were blessed to have Pastor Mario as our translator during the entire trip. Pastor Alejandro of Ekklesia Church in Oruro was so glad we had been willing to add Oruro to our itinerary because not many outside ministers visit there. He had planned a special meeting that night for all the evangelical churches in the city. When we arrived in the hall, all the pastors were sitting on the front row—and they had asked their wives to sit elsewhere! They did not realize my message that night would be focused on “How to Treat Your Wife.” Needless to say, many men came to the altar that night to repent for abuse and mistreatment—and a few of the pastors also came to the front. Later, when I opened up the altar for the women, they streamed forward to receive prayer for abuse and abandonment. Several also came to the altar for first-time salvations.
** Years ago I told the Lord I would be willing to go to the “out of the way places.” I was reminded of that promise when I as in Oruro. It was not a fun place to visit. The altitude is even higher that La Paz, so both A.J. and I got headaches. The hotel was cold and damp. The spiritual oppression was thick. But after we met pastor Alejandro and his wife Beatriz, and saw their courage and dedication, there was nothing to complain about. They are true heroes. I was able to encourage them a lot, along with the other pastors who attended the meeting. Pastor Alejandro also told me that he plans to do follow-up meetings now to help encourage the pastors to release their wives in ministry so they can combat the machismo spirit in their region. I am ready to go back there now.
** The next day we drove back to La Paz and did two nights of meetings at Ekklesia Church. I focused the first night on empowering the women. After the message I asked all the men in the church to form a prayer tunnel and we prayed for and anointed all the women. It was a powerful time of impartation. On the next night I addressed the men, and we allowed time for personal ministry for any of them who felt they had abuse issues because of the way their fathers treated them. We must have hugged more than 200 men at that altar the second night, and tears flowed freely. It was evident in both of these meetings that the Father is releasing His healing touch on Latin America in a tangible way.
**I was so proud of the way A.J. ministered at the altar. This 24-year-old pastor poured out his heart in each meeting as he prayed and prophesied over people. And he learned so much about ministry just by watching. Probably one of the most rewarding aspects of these trips is being able to mentor and train younger leaders like A.J. so that they can take this message much farther than I can. We must invest in the next generation!
** I preached in both services on Sunday morning, and the second service was televised in several places including Spain. I preached a message called “Jesus Broke the Walls”—about how Jesus broke the barriers of racism, gender prejudice, economic injustice and the generation gap. I emphasized the economic barriers because Bolivia is very divided right now between socialists and capitalists, and between the poorer indigenous population and the wealthy people from a Spanish background. Pastor Alberto has been involved in trying to bring healing to his nation at a time of intense political tension. He felt this was the word of the Lord for Bolivia at this time and he said he would be airing the message on television throughout the next week.
** There seems to be a strong grace for evangelism on me right now. It seemed to begin a few months ago and something kicked in during July when I started watching some videos of old Billy Graham crusades. It was obvious on Sunday morning when I preached in both services at Ekklesia Church. When I gave an invitation for salvation, dozens of people responded in both services. In the second service we hardly had enough room at the altar to accommodate all the people who needed counseling and follow-up.
** On Monday we flew to Cochabamba, a city that has the highest rate of violence against women in Bolivia. We fell in love with Pastor Zacharias and his wife, Estella, and his staff. I did a special meeting with his leaders that afternoon and then an evening service about “Breaking the Power of Machismo.” We were supposed to be there only one night, but our trip to Sucre was canceled because of strikes at the airport so this allowed us to stay two nights in Cochabamba. Pastor Zacharias was thrilled that we got to invest in his congregation another night. I did a prophetic meeting that second night and I was able to encourage a lot of his leaders. We also saw several people saved and a large number were baptized in the Spirit. Also on that last night, I asked A.J. to pray for all the teenagers. After he did that, parents began to bring their smaller children to him for prayer. Before the night was over he was praying for about 50 children and many of them were falling on the floor, overcome by the Holy Spirit’s power. It was so awesome to see how spiritually hungry these kids were—even some as young as five or six.
** On Thursday after we returned to La Paz, A.J. flew home to Florida and I flew to Bogota, Colombia, to speak at a women’s conference there. This was like a reunion because the other speakers included my friends Naomi Dowdy, Igna Suarez, Susan Combs, Esther Millian and Hispanic recording artist Kristy Motta from Guatemala. We also had a guest appearance from Danilo Montero, who used to live in Orlando. There were about 2,500 women at this event and they were so hungry. I preached three times even though I was exhausted when I arrived in Bogota. The Lord supplied the grace. I also preached on Sunday morning at Iglesia Filadelphia, and again I saw many come to the altar to make first-time decisions for Christ that day.
** If you would like to see photos of my Bolivia trip, they are posted on my Facebook page. (If you are not on Facebook, join me there! It is a great way to network.)
Posted by Lee Grady on September 2, 2008 08:45 AM