Tag Archives: Mexico

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Heart of the Lion

‘I love you tenderly, faithfully, mercifully; and I will draw you into the embrace of My friendship, and hold you close against My sacred side until, at length, You come to abide in My Most Sacred Heart, the sanctuary of My elect, and the refuge of poor sinners.’ In Sinu Jesu

Leon (lion in Spanish) houses the longest running Living Waters group in Mexico. The city’s core is Sacred Heart Church, built only yards away from an archway commemorating the city’s founding in the 15th century. Displayed atop the majestic door is a life-size lion. Aha, I thought: The Lion of Judah endowed with power to vanquish sin, leading us into the House of the Lamb—Jesus’ Sacred Heart, Almighty God slain for sinners who welcomes the poor into the chambers of His compassion. The Lion becomes a Lamb: cleansing, feeding, healing, protecting the most vulnerable in the courts of His Heart, His house, in the city’s center. Jesus is the Heart of Leon.

We passed through Lion’s gate to go to Mass soon after arriving. It was Friday night, the first of the month—celebration of Jesus’ Sacred Heart. The house was packed, the pastor turned on and up, the rapt crowd hanging on every Word declared; passionate, yes, then quietly reverent for the Meal of His Heart, partaking of the Lamb broken for us. Afterwards, the pastor invited up all intercessors who wanted to pray for someone in need of Jesus’ Sacred, sheltering Heart; he offered each intercessor a red-ribboned medallion of that Heart as a reminder to pray daily for that one. The crowd stampeded the altar. Jesus is the Heart of Leon.

My Leonese friend, Samuel Rojas, exhausted his young adult life in ‘gay’ pursuits then began to be drawn back to Jesus through a devout mother. Sharp of mind, he realized through studying developmental psychology that his same-sex stuff was a window to wounds, distorted perceptions, and unmet needs. He wanted healing and began to seek it through Jesus’ Sacred Heart of love for him; practically, he attended Courage meetings in the city and Living Waters Trainings outside Leon. He was aggressive in pursuit of wholeness—lion-like—but at the end of the day realized that any progress in chastity was pure gift, born of the Lamb’s merciful Heart. Jesus, the Heart of Leon, shares His Heart with Samuel.

It was fun to watch Samuel grow. Each year, in weeklong trainings (Argentina, Mexico City, Guadalajara), he progressed, one step at a time. He caught a vision for life beyond abstinence, he started dating Alejandra and married her in Sacred Heart Church, the two had a son David, his mother came to get healing for herself….He has become a good leader of others, working in sync with his parish and pastor to accompany spiritual sons and daughters into growth in chastity.

After Mass Friday night, I was pleased to discover that our conference was to be held at Sacred Heart Church. We gathered joyfully; Mexican bearers of ‘Living Water’ witnessed to how Jesus restores His wounded and makes us healers in His house, merciful agents of His Heart. I realize that each one worshipping, repenting, and receiving healing from fellow members is being built together to take their places in His Sacred Heart–lion-like, utterly tender, imploring all—‘Come into the Heart of Leon and be set free!’

Please take time to watch our video and become ‘Chaste Together.’

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United State of the Americas

‘How pleasing it is when brothers and sisters live together in unity.’(PS 133:1)

We please Him. Maybe it’s because we realize that America is as much Mexico and Chile and Puerto Rico as it is the United States. Maybe it’s because we love marriage and treat it as holy, indissoluble, or because we have committed to growing beyond homosexuality and various addictions and abuses in order to become the good gifts we are. Or maybe He just loves us. Period. He showed His love for us by pouring out the oil of unity upon us as we gathered from the four corners of the Americas for our fifth Aguas Vivas Training in Cordoba Argentina last week. I have yet to experience such a diverse and ‘well-oiled’ team of leaders who gathered to offer their stories and gifts in love. Grateful for others’ gifts as well, we created a whole, united in our brokenness and the broken God who raises us up over and over again.

Miguel from Puerto Rico brought his two Pentecostal pastors and the woman he hopes to marry soon. He has become a mighty man of God since he joined us five years ago at our first training in Mexico City, a man divided by the ‘gay self’ yet desperately seeking Jesus. Five years later, he taught powerfully from his life experience about the gifts we can become for each other and for our churches.

Marie-Innes had been sexually and spiritually abused by a New Age leader which damaged her marriage to Daniel, a man struggling with same-sex attraction. After they became part of a dynamic Catholic community in Cordoba, the couple drank in ‘Living Waters’, which brought renewal to their marriage and a vision for their vocation as husband and wife. Along with awesome Father Adrian, they are raising up witnesses and healers throughout Argentina, several of whom shared brilliantly at the training (Griselda, Roxanna and Walter, you are the best!)

In 2001, I met Ruth, a pastor’s wife with a deep wound from her pastor/father and Ignacio who was seeking to overcome sexual addiction. In their brokenness before Jesus, they represented beautifully the Vineyard Churches in Chile. For nearly 15 years now, they have dug a deep well of Living Waters in Santiago; that was evident in the team they brought to the training to minister expertly to all. Gracias Carol and Alberto, and Ruth’s daughter Constanza whose worship leading broke open the fragrant oil Mary of Bethany offered to Jesus. We offered ourselves to Him, sweetly broken and grateful.

From Guadalajara Mexico came Father Ricardo, and Veronica who is growing out of same-sex dependency and into a calling to offer the gift of ‘Living Waters’ to Catholic young adults throughout Latin America. She is sharp and humble and loved by all. Father Ricardo is among our greatest gifts. Before he imparts his considerable priestly wisdom, he offers his humanity to us and like Pope Francis simply asks: ‘Pray for me.’ He receives Living Waters like dry ground and wants to ensure that his diocese is a deep, evident well of ‘Living Waters.’

From the Caribbean, to the Southern Cone of South America, then upwards to Mexico–Catholics, Pentecostals, and evangelicals entered the ‘Living Waters’ together in Cordoba under the sure leadership of North Americans Daniel Delgado and Ondine Morales (with special assist from our Kansas City treasure, Pamela). Undergirding the seven days was a team led by Anne in Canada that interceded daily and specifically for us; I believe their prayers guarded our graceful cohesion. Prayerful trust in His divine mercy forges a unity among us that pleases God’s heart. That unity overflows as a fountain throughout the Americas.

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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)

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