Thank you all for your prayers for me and The Mordecai Project. I just returned from two weeks in Ecuador and Bolivia. I know it sounds trite to say that it was powerful, but it seems my missionary ventures are getting better and better. Here are some of the highlights.
...In Ecuador I ministered at Centro Cristiano de Guayaquil, a growing church in the city of Guayaquil that is pastored by an American couple, Jerry and Janice Smith (below), and their son Henry. What amazing leaders! The Smiths left California in 1985 and built an Assemblies of God church of 9,000. They are so humble and down-to-earth. We need more leaders like them. When I arrived I learned that all their cell group leaders have been studying my books 10 Lies the Church Tells Women and 10 Lies Men Believe. They are committed to empowering women and breaking the spirit of machismo in their culture.
...I took my Venezuelan friend Daniel Palencia (below) with me to Ecuador. It was fun to watch the look on his face when I told him he would be translating for me in a meeting of 1,700 youth! He did an awesome job and God stretched him so much! Daniel's wife, Mayra, translates my "Fire in My Bones" column into Spanish every week. They have been wonderful friends and supporters of this ministry, and they plan to go with me to El Salvador this year. They live in Canada and both Daniel and Mayra have ministry callings. It was great to have the chance to mentor Daniel during this trip.
...The spiritual hunger of the people in Ecuador was amazing. Even though Centro Cristiano has three morning services, some people came back at 10 am and noon because they heard I was doing different messages. And people gave their hearts to Jesus in every service. When I spoke to the youth, many of them literally ran to the altar to respond when I shared a message about marriage, sex and purity.
...While in Guayaquil I met Susi de Arellano, a doctor in Guayaquil who has had a dream to start a shelter for abused women in her country. She is shown below (in the red blouse) with Pastor Janice Smith. By God's grace we are going to partner together to make this happen! Please pray with me about how we can raise the funds for a shelter in Guayaquil. (The portrait in the background is of a famous Ecuadorean woman named Transito. She worked for the rights of indigeous women in her country for many years and she is a legend in the country.)
...After the Ecuador trip, I flew to Bolivia, and my Canadian friend Jason Chifan (below) joined me there. He is a youth pastor in Vancouver. Jason has traveled with me to Romania, Iceland and North Dakota. We ministered together in six cities in Bolivia, in churches that are a part of the Ekklesia network. Jason prayed his heart out in all the services when people came to the altar. And he won the hearts of so many youth. We will never forget the night we prayed for young adults in Sucre and 14 were baptized in the the Holy Spirit. (A funny side note:
I often told our audiences that Jason is "libre y buscando" ("single and looking") -- and as a result more than 40 Bolivian girls have friended him on Facebook!
...The Ekklesia churches began in 1971 during a powerful revival of healing. Today there are more than 30 Ekklesia churches in Bolivia, with a combined membership of 20,000. Jason and I were hosted by Pastor Mario Bohorquez (below, left), who is on staff in the La Paz church. Mario was my translator the entire trip, which included the cities of La Paz, El Alto, Oruro, Potosí, Cochabamba and Sucre. We had a great time getting to know all the people in these churches. It was not always easy because Bolivia has a very high altitude, and Oruru and Potosí are some of the highest cities in the world. We were literally out of breath at times, but God sustained us! It was also cold since it is winter in the southern hemisphere!
...We saw many salvations in every city we visited. I do not consider myself an evangelist, but there was such openness in every city and many non-Christians attended the meetings. I will never forget the man who had alcohol on his breath in Potosí. He told me he had never been to church with his wife and daughter, but he gave his heart to Jesus that night and wanted help to overcome his alcohol addiction. More than 50 were saved in Potosí, and dozens in all the other cities. Below you can see a scene from one of the services in Oruro. Jesus is being exalted there!
...It was great to spend time with Alberto Salcedo and his wife Silvia, the pastors of Ekklesia Church (below). This was my fourth visit to their church in Bolivia. I first met Silvia when I was doing a women's conference in Bógota, Colombia, many years ago. On this trip I taped two programs on Silvia's "Vaso Fragil" women's program, which is aired on the Enlace network. The message of freedom for women is reaching the masses!
...While in Sucre, the Lord connected me with this man, Hugo Castillo (below). He is the youth pastor for the Ekklesia church in the city of Tarija in southern Bolivia--a town where the machismo spirit is very strong. In fact while I was in the country a young girl from Tarija was raped, and her father and her community forced her to marry her 28-year-old rapist. This is the attitude we are dealing with in Bolivia. Thankfully when I go back next year, I will get to go to Tarija and work with Hugo's church.
...There were so many special moments of healing at the altars in all the cities we visited. I prayed with a husband and wife who were experiencing abuse in their marriage. The husband was under the grip of the machismo attitude and he had been hitting his wife. But that night he made a firm decision to stop, and he and his wife will be getting counseling now. God healed many marriages during this trip! You can see a scene below from our last meeting in La Paz, when so many came seeking healing from the Lord. Thank you so much for covering us in prayer.
Important Prayer Requests
** Please pray for all our our international projects. We have raised most of the funds we need to buy the new India house for our girls there.
But we need wisdom from the Lord on how to navigate all the legal issues. I am so grateful to Charisma magazine, publisher Steve Strang and the board of Christian Life Missions for promoting this project. We have now raised $170,000 for the new building! But we need wisdom from the Lord on how to navigate all the legal issues before we close a sale.
** I will leave for Guatemala on July 22. We are taking the largest team ever to an international location-- 30 people are coming from three churches. Please pray that the Lord will make a powerful impact in the Zacapa region as we work on the women's shelter in Rio Hondo and host a marriage conference and children's ministry in the area. I will send more specific requests the day before we leave on that trip. We are in urgent need of the funds to complete the shelter there.
** Please also keep our other projects in your prayers: Barranquilla, Colombia; Tarapoto, Peru; Lilongwe, Malawi; Uganda; and now Guayaquil, Ecuador. We are trusting God for the funds to move ahead with all of these projects.
Deborah and I are so thankful for all your love and support. We cannot do this work without you. You are truly our partners in the gospel and we are forever grateful. Please help us bring the healing of Jesus to the abused women and girls around the world. They need to know that the Savior came to heal the brokenhearted.
Lee and Deborah Grady