Monday, August 31, 2009

Nicaragua 2009: Josh's Story

I asked the team members to submit stories that were particularly touching to them during the trip for inclusion as a guest post. Today I would like to tell Josh's story. As I mentioned before, Josh is the lead pastor at New Life. I talked about church leadership previously and I am just very thankful for the example knowing that our pastor was not asking us to do anything that he would not do himself. It was really quite fun watching and listening to Josh preach the word of God through a translator and see Josh and our translator Oscar start to work well together and even develop a style. The following is Josh's story:

"Ok so among many things that happened on this trip, I will never forget the late night, rainy drive into a town called Tipitopa. After a long day of feeding and evangelizing, we pulled into this town and I felt a sense of refreshment and excitement. I really should have been feeling worn out and tired but something was happening. I was slated to preach this night to a group who was meeting in the pastor’s home. A lady had started this church after having a desire to see her community evangelized. Eventually, her brother took the church over and is now pastoring here in this community.

When we rolled in to this town, as usual, things were well underway and we could hear the music a great way off. It was very common for us to show up 30-45 minutes late and the “party” was just getting underway. I was still in my shorts and I waited for everyone to get out before I changed in to a pair of khakis and a collared shirt. It was only appropriate to respect the pulpit where I would be preaching and while the pastor donned a pair of jeans, I felt very good with what I was wearing. We walked down this muddy, dark alley for about 20 yards before I could see right there in front of me was a church that was packed to the gill. No more seats, so the windows on the side were lifted up and people were looking through the windows. The music was very loud but yet very good. Kids were everywhere playing outside in the mud having a good time.

The atmosphere was festive and I had asked God earlier what passage He wanted me to preach from that night. He immediately took me to Ephesians 6:10-13 and I encouraged the body to stand strong against the wiles of the devil. I felt lead throughout the service to challenge men to guard their families against the demonic forces that were so active in this country. I’ll never forget the lizard over top of my head devouring a bug as I preached. Kim was checking it out the whole time, waiting for it to drop on my head in the middle of the service.

As the message ended, the altar call was given and it seemed as if the Holy Spirit reached in and took over the whole service. There was conviction of sin and I will never forget one young man who just became a father came forward and received Jesus into his heart. Yes he was now saved and able to lead his family to the throne of God! Immediately after the service, his wife came up to us and surrendered her heart to Jesus! Yes that night the whole family was saved and beginning a new life in Jesus Christ.

I will never forget that little town and all that God did that night. I will never forget William and his wife who spent most of their wage to hire a taxi to bring them there that night. William, a former whiskey dealer, got born-again and the Holy Spirit led him to burn his whiskey dealership. In front of the whole town, William lit the building up and all of those drunks, who used to buy whiskey there, witnessed this event. I am reminded in the book of Acts 19:18, “And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds. Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all”. That is exactly what William did! Oh friend, when you are converted, there is a change that overcomes your heart and the evil way of the devil become no more in your life. This is just one story of how God showed Himself strong to me and I appreciated the Holy Spirit ministering to me while I was there."

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