Throughout the year, I am privileged to visit various countries that we work in and the common denominator is that God is moving in so many parts of the world. My most recent visit from last week was to Honduras and Guatemala.
We have been doing our church leadership training in Honduras for about 7 years now and have graduated 450 pastors and church leaders from all over the country. This year we graduated 52 of those leaders and are already seeing phenomenal results.
One of the questions I always ask these trained leaders is "How has your training impacted your ministry?" Almost always, the first answer is that their personal lives are what has been changed the most. And "changed lives" change lives.
These people who have been called and anointed to do God's work, usually start out with little or no understanding of the Bible and work hard at trying to protect what little they have been given. With Bible and leadership training, they catch fire and vision to get out of this "defensive" mode and take an aggressive posture that comes only through confidence in understanding the impact God's church can have on not only their small territory but also in their city, nation, and the world.
This can happen regardless of their economical, cultural, location, or physical situation. One such situation was in a prison in one of the most dangerous cities in the world, San Pedro Sula, Honduras. We have held classes in this prison for over a year and I was privileged to graduate 13 students inside of the prison last week. Without actually being there, one cannot imagine the darkness in this prison. There are 2,500 inmates in a prison with a maximum capacity of 800! Except for emergencies, the guards do not enter beyond the outer gates and leave the inmates to survive on their own.
One of the inmates is Pastor Angel, who has lived inside the prison for over 10 years. Five years ago, he started a church with a small group of believers that has grown to over 500 members. Since its beginning, they have baptized 1,000 new Christians inside the prison. One of the members, "Brother Eric", was the only Christian in his cell block and has lead 34 men to the Lord in the last 6 months! This was a common testimony of so many that I was able to talk with during my visit. Although some are unjustly in this situation, many are former gang members, murderers, and thieves. What a witness of God's power to change the evil in people's hearts into a flowing fountain of His grace and mercy!
This both challenges as well as encourages me that God can, and desires, to reach people in every situation we can imagine. He loves people without exception and wants "...that none should perish..." but all to come into an intimate relationship with Him. What a loving and great God we serve!