Amazonian Wednesdays 🌴
Today’s share are the thoughts I wrote up in February of 1998:
“I feel dirty and ashamed, like I’ve lost something. My step-dad abused my siblings and me for three years.”
“I want to serve God, but the pressure from the world is so strong, and it’s all around me.”
“My mom is in the hospital with malaria.”
“My family doesn’t stop fighting.”
“My parents abandoned me and my grandma has been raising me.”
“Sometimes we have nothing to eat in the house.”
“My dad died of a drug overdose a few years ago.”
“Somebody love me!”
Do you hear them? These are the hearts’ cries of the youth of Iquitos, a city of one of the poorest nations
in Latin America. These are the cries that have become dear to my heart. They call to me in the morning hours when my mind is stirring into awakeness on my bed. These are the words that I have heard from the young people I am coming to love in the church here in Iquitos. They are JIEL, the Youth of the Church of the Free Gospel (Jovenes de la Iglesia del Evangelio Libre), and their new banner is Siete Veces Más Caliente: “Seven Times Hotter.”
I’d like to introduce you to some of them. Edgar is twenty-six, and he was saved last year. After a life of drug addiction, he has surrendered his heart to the lord. There’s Tania, who’s fifteen. She’s somewhat shy, but very excited because after much prayer her mom has come back to the Lord. Moisés is twelve, but he’s in there with the best of them. At our all-night prayer vigils, he is the first to bury his face in his hands and weep and cry with all his heart, seeking the Lord. He went out on the streets with us and a group of Americans last week in an evangelistic effort in which over 8600 were saved. Lucy is eighteen and she loves me just about as much as I could possibly be loved. I am discipling her and training her to be a leader. Danver, also fifteen years old, is the clown of the group, buy he declares with much sincerity that he would like to be a singer for the Lord. Roger, tall, thin, and freckled, is another fifteen-year-old who scrambles into church every time the doors are open, very desirous to grow in the things of the Lord.
There are about forty youth in JIEL, and I am quite scheduled with discipling, organizing, preaching, teaching, leading prayer vigils, having youth over to my house, going to their birthday parties, ministering, planning, training, building relationships, and more than anything interceding and needing God’s mercy and wisdom on how to lead a youth church, something I have definitely never done before.
In our last meeting, two young men prayed to accept Jesus as their Savior and eight or so more rededicated their lives to Him. Afterwards twenty-two youth crowded into my house for our Friday night prayer vigil. This week we will have to move it into the church because my house is not big enough for so many prayer warriors.
Two weeks after I arrived back in Iquitos, I was presented to the youth of Pastor José’s church as their new leader, with my roommate and fellow missionary Emy as my assistant. I spoke that night on the heart of the Father and about sharing the secret place or our hearts with Him. Our vision is to start discipleship classes and get cell groups going, and our biggest need right now is prayer as we start to train and raise up leaders.
Please lift us up and intercede for the spiritual growth of these young men and women. When I asked for a show of hand of those who came from a Christian home with their parents still together, only about five of them raised their hands. Many started to cry during the ministry time that night and to acknowledge their deep need for the Lord to heal the hurts of their broken families. They are hungry for Him, and I pray that every day they might find more of Him in their lives.
As the Lord lays JIEL on your heart and you begin to intercede, please pray the promises of Joel 2 over us: “And afterwards, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy…your young people will see visions.” Pray that as the Holy Spirit fills the lives of these youth that He will indeed turn the fire up inside of them to be seven times hotter. Pray for the raw power of God to rip through strongholds in their lives, and that as the power of the Holy Spirit comes upon them that what looked like a lot of dry bones might rise up to become part of the mighty army of God marching across the land to take the kingdom of God by force in these last days.
God bless you tremendously with power from on high.
Filled with much love for you,