If you have never been on a LOLI trip, there is really no way to express in words what you experience during the week. It is a awesome thing to see the Spirit of God touch the lives of people who are in so much need. To be able to bless men and women, boys and girls, with with the truth and practical aspects of the Gospel is truly life changing.
One of the core principles of LOLI is Destiny: Changing lives with a vision of hope. But the lives that are changed are not just those in the countries that we minister, it is also those that go to minister.
Experiencing the privilege and honor of working with God in what He is doing in the lives of people in other countries has a Kingdom impact in our own lives. This is LOLI, and this is exactly what I experienced when I had the privilege of accompanying Stephen Evans on a planning trip, June 3rd – June 8th, for the upcoming Nicaragua Prays 2013 crusade to be held in August.
Having been on a LOLI trip before, I know the power and experience of a crusade week. But, I had never been on a planning trip before, so I was not sure exactly what to expect. But, as I will share with you, what I experienced was nothing that I could have ever imagined or expected. While I could write an entire book on the experiences of the week, I will limit this post to the highlights, or should I say, a few of the highlights.
Our week began Monday June 3rd with a flight from DFW to Miami, and then onto Managua, Nicaragua. We arrived about 8pm local time and were met by Dennis and William Aplicano (part of the LOLI Honduras team). We checked into the hotel and had dinner.
A pretty uneventful day to say the least. On Tuesday morning and afternoon, we were able to spend some time resting, planning, and praying for the rest of the week. It was very low key, and frankly it somewhat lured me into a false sense that the entire week would be this low key. HA! Little did I know what was coming!
Tuesday night we went to a tent rally at a baseball field in Managua. It had been raining earlier in the evening, but when we arrived there were many people out in the field praising God. Stephen gave a powerful word and the people responded to the call for salvation and the moving of the Holy Spirit. It was a great preview of things to come during the rest of the week.
Wednesday morning started off with us attending a prayer meeting. Now I have been in several prayer meetings during my 17 years as a Christian, BUT, I have never been to a prayer meeting like this one. When we arrived outside of the building, we could hear the crowd inside praising Jesus! Yes, I said crowd.
This was no small group prayer meeting that we tend to experience here in the States. There were literally well over a thousand people attending this prayer meeting. People who were excited to be there and who were on fire for Jesus! It was truly an awesome thing to witness and experience.
Now, as amazing as it was to see all these people, what was truly amazing was what the pastor told us about these prayer meetings. At this church, every Wednesday and Thursday morning there is a prayer meeting. However, there are so many people who attend these prayer meetings that they have to restrict who comes to each meeting.
The people who were attending the Wednesday meeting when we were there, were not allowed to come back for another two weeks in order to allow all the other people who want to attend the prayer meetings to attend! WHAT! I have never heard of such a thing! What an awesome problem to have!
Stephen had the opportunity to share with those who were at the prayer meeting, and his message was broadcast live across the country on the largest Christian radio station in Nicaragua. Not only is it the largest Christian radio station, it is the number one radio station in the country! That gives you an idea of the hunger there is in Nicaragua for Jesus!
After we left the prayer meeting, Stephen and Dennis were interviewed on another Christian radio station. They shared with the host how the Lord led LOLI to Nicaragua, and the vision they had for Nicaragua to come together, under 2 Chronicles 7:14, to seek God and His favor for Nicaragua.
Wednesday evening we attended another one of the largest churches in Nicaragua. This church has seven services on Sunday because of the number of people who want to attend. You read that right, SEVEN SERVICES! The people of Nicaragua are on fire for Jesus! Stephen challenged the people to go ALL IN with Jesus and the response was amazing.
Before the service began, we spent some time with the pastor of the church. He is a very humble man of God who is very passionate about what God is doing in Nicaragua. He is very excited about the upcoming crusade and will be a key contact for LOLI in the planning and execution of the crusade. It was truly a divine appointment, and the favor of the Lord was very apparent.
Thursday morning, William and I had the privilege of making the morning TV talk show circuit! There’s a statement I never in a million years thought I would ever make. It was a blast!. We were on three of the largest network TV stations in the country. The last one was “Buenos Dias Nicaragua,” which is the equivalent of Good Morning America here in the States. We were able to talk about the upcoming crusade and to promote what Jesus has been doing in Nicaragua!
Thursday night we traveled to a church about an hour outside of Managua. It was a smaller church than the ones we had been in earlier in the week, but their fire for Jesus was certainly not smaller. Stephen gave a great word, and the people responded in a big way!
Friday morning began with Stephen and Dennis meeting the liaison to the president. This is a key contact for LOLI as we prepare for the crusade week. While Stephen and Dennis were meeting with him, William and I were doing a radio interview on the largest secular radio stations in the country. It was awesome to go on a secular station and talk about Jesus and the upcoming crusade. BUT, what really blew me away was when the hosts of the show asked me to PRAY! Yes, they asked me to pray for them and the country. WOW! What a divine opportunity to be able to pray for the entire country of Nicaragua on the largest secular radio station in the country! Thank You Jesus!
The Lord’s favor continued into Friday afternoon when Stephen and Dennis were able to do a live promo on Enlace, the largest Christian TV Network in Central America. We then had lunch with the owners of Enlace who have become key partners with LOLI. Enlace was a key part of broadcasting Honduras Prays 2012 last year, and they have made the same commitment this year to broadcast Nicaragua Prays 2013 live! They are precious people who love Jesus!
Friday night we traveled into the mountains of Nicaragua to a little village. We arrived early and had a meeting with several of the local pastors. Stephen shared with the the vision of Nicaragua Prays and they responded with excitement and a commitment to participate in the crusade. Then we attended a church service that evening. It was a service that truly capped the week for us. There was electricity in the air as the people praised Jesus with all their might. The Lord moved mightily in the service and there were many testimonies of healing, salvation, and deliverance! It was a perfect way to end the week!
We had one last meeting Saturday morning with a key Pastor. During the meeting, this Pastor, who has the largest Christian radio station in the country, revealed to us the depth of the favor the Lord has given LOLI in Nicaragua. He told us that he believed that this crusade was truly a move of God and he was willing to bump his number one show from the air on Friday and Saturday evening in order to broadcast the crusade live on the air.
He also said that he was going to promote the crusade on the air for the next six weeks! Then he said that he would do all of this for less than half of what it would cost him to do it! It was awesome to sit there a listen to his heart and experience the awesome favor of the Lord.
On Friday night six of us got into two vehicles and traveled an hour outside of Managua. We left behind the city life of Nicaragua, and headed into the mountainous village region. This journey took us far from the tourist areas of Nicaragua into villages that, no doubt, see very few outsiders. These are the areas of Nicaragua where visitors dare not venture. If a visitor accidentally ended up there, they wouldn’t stop for directions.
As we passed through one of the villages on the way to our destination, the beauty of the mountains and the century’s old architecture was violently interrupted by gun fire. We weren’t sure where it came from, and we didn’t stick around to find out either.
An hour later, we arrived in a village called Jinotepe. There we met pastors from that region and encouraged them in The Lord. That evening, we walked into a church service that was filled with hundreds of people who had come to hear the Gospel. At the end of the service, hundreds responded to the Gospel and experienced the healing, saving, and delivering power of the Holy Spirit. It was truly the highlight of the week for me. Why does this experience overshadow all the others? Here’s why…
No matter what destiny The Lord has for me, there is one thing that burns in my heart to do, over and over again. No matter where I go, far or near, no matter the place, big or small, no matter the number of people, one or one million, I want to tell them about the One true God in heaven who loves them with a reckless abandon. I want to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ that is the power of God unto salvation. That’s why!
God Bless you!