Tag Archives: Latin America

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Barnabas

Last week the Church honored St. Barnabas, ‘the son of consolation and encouragement’ who empowered St. Paul to fulfill his mission to the Gentiles. Barnabas seemed little concerned with his success; though both he and Paul were granted apostolic titles (Acts 14:14), Barnabas ignited Paul then flamed out into early martyrdom. He did his part as a servant leader.

Also last week, we sponsored our sixth annual Living Waters Training in Latin America (Aquas Vivas), this time in Guadalajara Mexico. At the helm was Daniel Delgado. What struck me about Daniel’s leadership was the way he encouraged everyone to do his or her part. He rejoiced in others’ joy in serving Jesus. He served others without complaint in order to help ensure their success. He did not get lost in whatever losses he incurred. He is a type of Barnabas for Aquas Vivas.

This was only Daniel’s fourth Aquas Vivas Training. Up until two years ago, he struggled to speak Spanish. In a relatively short time he has integrated his Mexican-American heritage, now speaks in the tongue of his forefathers, and authentically embodies the Latino spirit.

It is natural for him to come alongside a range of Latin Americans who seek to offer their brokenness to Jesus and others; given his transgender background, Daniel knows how personal transformation of identity releases healing for all. Like Barnabas in Antioch, Daniel in Guadalajara ‘saw God’s grace at work and encouraged them all to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart. For he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and with faith’ (Acts 11:23, 24).

This was a hard year for Aquas Vivas. Our blessed friends in Puerto Rico were devastated by Hurricane Maria and are still mobilizing to continue the work of Living Waters there. (It is miraculous that the biggest delegation from the island came to be trained last week.) Yet other seasoned leaders could not join us due to unusual obligations or had moved onto other forms of service. At times I wondered if our Mexican plans would be realized. Daniel is a deep healer and hard worker but not an administrator per se. Could he pull this off?

Not alone. He assembled an amazing team of Aquas Vivas leaders from the Guadalajara area. Meric, Francisco, Veronica and Father Ricardo share Daniel’s heart of servant leadership while possessing gifts he does not. Together the team did an excellent job, so much so that I evaluate this training as the most peaceful and effective we’ve yet experienced in Latin America. A cohesive team, coordinated by a man motivated by others’ success: thank you St. Barnabas for your witness of encouragement. Thank you, Daniel, for embodying that witness.

Download PDF

Rio Grande: Whole Church for the Sexually Broken

‘Where the river flows, everything will live.’ (Ez. 47:9)

Amazon - Brazil, 2011. ©Neil Palmer/CIATBecoming a Catholic provoked my retreat from Latin America; in good conscience, our beloved ‘Aguas Vivas’ (Living Waters) leaders there could no longer partner with one who in their view had compromised his faith.

Soon after, God gave me a vision of a big river in which many were coming to be cleansed. The river ran through the land and divided it; Catholics on one side, Protestants on the other. Accordingly, those immersed in the healing waters were segregated until they realized they needed those on the other side to do the job well. They began to labor together for the saving of many lives.

The vision was evident: God wanted to use the humble desperation of the sexually broken to help unify the divided body of Christ.

That vision began to be realized last week in Mexico City where we launched our first Aguas Vivas Training in that nation. God hand-picked an extraordinary group of Catholic and Protestant healers from all over Latin America (not to mention a seasoned leadership team) who were willing to enter into the healing waters with unfamiliar family members. The desire for wholeness, both for themselves and those they served, was simply greater than their need to be doctrinally uniform.

God’s river flowed. A wounded, noble Catholic priest laid hands on an equally wounded Baptist pastor and confirmed his divine ‘sonship.’ In humility and gratitude, the Baptist attended Mass the next morning. Both presided over the communion service that closed the Training.

A Pentecostal minister who had been abused for year by family members found safety and depth in the abiding prayers of 3 Catholic lay women who composed her small group. Her fears of Catholics were washed away in their Spirit-led care.

A Methodist pastor seeking to rebuild his family life post-sexual addiction relied upon the men coming out of same-sex attraction who lead a Courage group, the Catholic Apostolate for such issues. He did not know what surprised him more: his reliance upon persons with SSA, or the fact that they were Catholics!

An ex-Catholic taught beautifully how the arduous, grace-filled task of forgiving the Catholic priest who sexually abused him was the only way he could have faith for the Church, to see her with new eyes. An evangelical now, he has spent a lot of time in the water in order to welcome those approaching from the other side.

Sexual brokenness is humbling the entire body of Christ, bringing her to her knees and demanding that she give a Cross-centered answer for shattered lives.

Could it be that Jesus is using the depth of our brokenness—from gender disintegration to sexual addiction to the demise of marriage—to help heal a more fundamental wound–the divided body of Christ?

Aguas Vivas began as a humble gift to churches in Latin America that wanted to dig wells of healing for the sexually broken in their midst. We are now learning that He is deepening that task to invite Protestants and Catholics to dig wells together. Recovery from the ravages of sin has become an invitation to unite the beautiful, broken body of Christ.

What a privilege to help prepare for Jesus one pure, unified Bride.

‘For Christ Himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility; His purpose was to create in Himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile them both to God through the Cross.’ (Eph. 2:14-16)

Download PDF

Mercy for the Whole Image

After Massachusetts adopted ‘gay marriage’, we as a ministry sought to understand and pray for what was at stake for a nation that elevated the status of homosexual unions to those of heterosexuals.

We prayed for mercy, not judgment, for this ultimate expression of idolatry—the creature shaking its fist at the Creator and declaring that (s)he would image herself anyway (s)he wanted.

Yet we had a small emerging hope: we as a nation could turn back before it was too late. God might relent and have mercy.

Of course we knew that ‘gay marriage’ was simply the logical conclusion to the desecration of marriage itself; we had already burned her boundaries and assaulted her integrity with no-fault divorce and all manner of sexual abuse, including adultery, premarital sex, and porn addiction.

Read more »

Download PDF
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: