Not everybody realizes that the most catalytic of the Founding Fathers – Alexander Hamilton – was an immigrant. In fact, he was the only one not born here but on an island in the Caribbean. He could not claim any of the colonies as home, and it was that sense of national orphanhood that drove him to work for the creation of a nation while others were merely satisfied with a federation. He could not say, “I am a New Englander, or a Virginian.” He was foreign born. This is why he teamed up with two Founding Fathers born here, James Madison and John Jay, and as the Federalist papers reveal, they plotted and succeeded in steering what was convened as a commerce convention into a Constitutional Convention that gave birth to the United States of America and saw George Washington elected its first president.
Once on Washington’s cabinet, as Secretary of the Treasury, he conceived and championed the idea of the federal government assuming the colonies’ war debts in exchange for the creation of the First National Bank and authorization for the federal government to print money and to levy excise taxes. This three-pronged thrust provided the government with the means to lead and build a nation made up of colonies and not the other way around. He also worked for the creation of a Federal City – today Washington D.C. – so that the seat of government wouldn’t be in any of the 13 colonies but on neutral ground. When Thomas Jefferson, a fellow cabinet member, showed no interest in the war debt swap because Virginia had no sizeable debt, Hamilton offered to have the Federal City built closer to Richmond, moving the vortex of power away from Philadelphia and placing what today is Washington DC at an equidistant point between north and south
when his family fled to Egypt to avoid political persecution and genocide. Jesus spent his childhood years in a foreign land. Later on, when He could not carry the cross any longer because of the brutal punishment inflicted on him by the Romans, it was a foreigner, Simon of Cyrene, most likely a black person, who carried it for him. Foreign blood was no stranger to the Son of God since Rahab, a Canaanite harlot before she became part of Israel, is listed as Jesus’ ancestor and as the mother of Boaz who married another foreigner, Ruth from Moab.
In the Bible, every time God chose to transform a powerful nation or empire, He used an immigrant or children of immigrants: Moses, Daniel, Joseph and Esther. Moses was the son of immigrants born in a ghetto, the land of Goshen, to a family that did the work despised by the ruling class. Out of necessity he had to be given up for adoption and not permitted to speak of his ethnic roots. Esther, born in a foreign land, also had to hide her identity and ancestry, but both rose to prominence. Daniel and Joseph had every reason to hate their host nations but both of them chose to serve it and make it prosperous.
What these Bible characters, Jesus, and Alexander Hamilton included, have in common besides being immigrants, is that all were mistreated and abused but they chose to forgive and helped their host nation become a better place. Martin Luther King, Jr. is a modern example of the power of returning good for evil dispensed by an ethnic person.
The USA is a nation of immigrants but of immigrants who chose to adopt it as their homeland to grow roots and to make it great. Immigrants, and children of immigrants, are not the problem but the raw material out of which the solution for national crisis can be carved. One out of four police officers is non-white and there is not a single ethnic neighborhood that is totally non-white. The most catalytic word of the three for which USA stands is U-N-I-T-E-D. There is far more that unites us than divides us, but the climate is so bad that we don’t see it. Evil is becoming systemic, and the only solution is to change the spiritual climate over the nation by adopting police officers and neighborhoods for both groups to feel affirmed, blessed, supported and cared for, which is the practical way to bless people.
This is not mere theory; it is gospel truth as explained in my book Prayer Evangelism. And it works: violent crime decreased 93% in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and 80% in Newark, New Jersey. Recently, the city of Vallejo, on the northern tip of the San Francisco Bay Area, saw a 30% decrease in crime after 30% of its streets were adopted in prayer.
In the late 1970’s, Argentina (where Ruth and I grew up) changed from a peaceful, law-abiding nation to a scalding volcano of violence. In a surprisingly short time, an ugly wedge that no one saw coming, was driven between law enforcement and poor neighborhoods, and the impotence of politicians, coupled with the uninformed idealism of the young, allowed extremists to exploit that divide to do MAJOR damage to the social fiber of the country. Thirty thousand people died, mostly young people, and some of them classmates of mine. All of them were sacrificed on the altar of violence by a few but determined left and right wing agitators while those in the middle succumbed to their crossfire.
I see the same storm beginning to brew here in the U.S., and if the U.S. goes under, other nations will follow. This type of situation is like dictators, inflation and obesity: the best time to overcome them is before they settle in! The Bible states that the entire creation is eagerly longing for the manifestation of the children of God. Who are “the children of God”? According to Jesus, the peacemakers are the children of God. He did not say the peacekeepers but the peacemakers. The former are similar to UN troops keeping opposing bands from shooting at each other but with no solution for the root problem. Peacemakers are looking out for the good of everyone but know that first they need to win the war that enshrined evil to get the right to roll out terms for peace.
The war that has to be declared and won is the war on hate. Pitting police against ethnic folks, mostly poor ones and quite a few illegal/undocumented immigrants, is a recipe for disaster. Agitators from both sides are dousing this volatile environment with misguided words and deeds, and like with gasoline, all it takes is one spark for everything to go up in flames. That spark could easily come from mishandling the issue of immigrants to move the conflict to an unmanageable level. This is a serious problem and one that could easily escalate.
I firmly believe that we can see the U.S. turn from disgrace to amazing grace, but we need to act now. If we get to the 2016 elections in this out of control spiritual climate, we could well hit the point of no return. The time to act is now, before despair sets in. This is why we have launched two companion programs: Adopt-A-Cop and Adopt-Your-Street (neighborhood). Go to www.transformourworld.org and sign up.
We are pleased to announce that we will be hosting our Third Annual Transformation Family Camp! We are hosting it in the beautiful Santa Cruz mountains at Redwood Christian Park.
What I am about to share is very edifying, so get ready to be blessed!
This is the fourth and final report on Transformation in Mexico.
Can you imagine a medical institution specializing in cancer treatment that takes in stage 4 patients (the most advanced level) and obtains results that are three times better than the national average in the U.S.? A place where prayer, compassion and pastoral care, combined with superb conventional and innovative approaches, result in patients and family members receiving the Lord and renewing their faith in God?
While I was ministering in Ciudad Juarez, Ruth spent five days at the Oasis of Hope Clinic in Tijuana, Mexico.
While I was ministering in Ciudad Juarez, Ruth spent five days at the Oasis of Hope Clinic in Tijuana, Mexico, where she received their wellness treatment to strengthen her immune system that recently had been compromised and resulted in an autoimmune disease. This treatment was developed at Oasis of Hope to improve the overall condition of patients as the key to their unusually high success rate (see www.oasisofhope.com/patient-survival-statistics.php).
The clinic is led by Dr. Francisco Contreras, M.D. On the Sunday Ruth was there, he preached in a chapel service on how God can be trusted, even when we don’t understand Him, to impart faith to the patients – quite an unusual spiritual emphasis for someone who graduated with honors from both the Universidad Autonoma de Mexico and the University of Vienna where he specialized in surgical oncology. He is a Kingdom doctor bringing transformation to medicine in a most critical area: finding a cure for cancer and strengthening the immune system to cure and/or prevent the onset of diseases. Our contact at Oasis of Hope is Gaston Tessada (Dr. Contreras’ son-in-law) and, if you’re interested, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This combination of macro and micro is what we are called to do.
Ruth and our associate Jill Robson, who accompanied her, were able to minister to many of the patients and led to Christ a very skeptical Englishman who since then has begun to devour the Scriptures. I got a taste of how much God used Ruth when I visited the clinic last Wednesday and saw her going from bed to bed, laying hands on people, dispensing spiritual counsel and speaking faith into their lives. She was their pastor!! It was a pleasure to be introduced as “Ruth’s husband.”
In my previous report, I pointed out that the Great Commission was given twice by Jesus: in Mark 16 He instructs us to preach the gospel to individuals, and in Matthew 28 to disciple nations. It was so complementary to see Ruth and Jill, along with Dr. Contreras and his team, carrying on the Mark 16 “half” (individuals) while we were doing the Matthew 28 “other half” (nations) in Ciudad Juarez. This combination of macro and micro is what we are called to do, setting an example for individuals and churches to embrace both dimensions.
God’s perimeter in Ciudad Juarez continues to expand.
The first wave of training for 6,880 city employees is about to start, beginning with the top 120 department directors. City Hall will soon consider declaring Juarez a corruption free city! Can you picture this: every public employee trained in transformation and their political leaders going on record against corruption? Add the nine chambers of commerce whose members will also be trained, plus every student in each of the public schools, and as a bonus add the President of Mexico highlighting what is going on in Juarez as the ideal for the 32 states in Mexico to emulate. Juarez’s image is even moving up as a tourist destination in United Airline’s August 2014 travel magazine.
This is nation transformation in action and it has to spread.
But we don’t want you to be uplifted only momentarily by these reports. We want you to be able to put the biblical principles behind these stories to work in your sphere of influence since every inspiring story we are sharing began when one person decided to “step out of the boat” to walk where no one else had dared walk before. Like Peter, they have taken occasional dips in an angry sea, but they have consistently been picked up by Jesus and made stronger.
This is why we want to submit a mutually beneficial Kingdom proposal that will empower you to emulate Poncho Murguia, God’s point man in Juarez who you’ve read about, while enabling us to take the message wider, farther and higher.
This synergism enables us to present the Gospel of the Kingdom to tens of thousands all over the world
First you: to establish God’s presence firmly in your sphere of influence, visit the Mentoring section on our website to personally learn and to teach others about Intimacy with God, Pulling down Strongholds, Forgiving the Unforgivable and much, much more. Click here for Mentoring.
Next, sign up for the 10-week School of Transformation (TSOT) that you can do at times that are convenient to your schedule. You will be equipped to progress from personal transformation to transformation in the family and from there to your sphere of influence. Click here to register.
Finally, for a regular boost of inspiration, access our weekly Transformation TV series. These videos on demand are anointed, fast paced and high quality. In fact, they are ideal to watch with your family, especially your children. Click here.
And all of it is FREE!
Now us: we want to invite you to invest in this ministry so that the message can go wider, farther and higher. To that effect, we are producing four DVD’s documenting transformation in Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Canada. These documentaries will become the backbone for a weekly webcast in both
English and Spanish called TRANSFORMATION TV that has already begun airing on TV stations in Hawaii and South America, with Texas and Mexico to follow soon. This synergism enables us to present the Gospel of the Kingdom to tens of thousands all over the world in a cost-effective manner and simultaneously equip scores of inspired leaders by taking them deeper into transformation.
Unlike a local congregation where each Sunday members hear a challenge to give and then respond as they feel led, our ministry is global and itinerant. Jesus at one point left His carpentry shop to itinerate, and Paul, when not making tents, was also itinerating. Their ministry was supported in several ways:
- Those with material wealth invested some of it to expand God’s Kingdom and reap eternal dividends. This was the case with businesswomen who supported Jesus’ ministry (see Luke 8:1-3) and Philemon who came alongside Paul (see Philemon 1:7).
- The Thessalonians, on the first day of every week, set something aside from what God had prospered them with so that no request for offerings by Paul would be necessary (see 1 Cor. 16:2).
- Others, like the Thessalonians, provided regularly for those that came to instruct them (see 1 Thes. 5:12).
Today, as we itinerate on to the next assignment, both in person and via the Internet, you can empower us to get there by helping underwrite the cost of the new DVDs ($92,000) that will deliver powerful stories around the world.
Three weeks ago, many helped us when our funds were extremely thin, approaching overdrawn actually, and that timely investment enabled us to continue on to Mexico where the Lord showed up in over-the-top ways that we’ve been sharing in our reports. This exemplifies why your partnership is so effective and so needed.
Like the Thessalonians, you can also give regularly. If everybody reading these reports were to respond with $1 a day, our entire budget would be covered with money left over to redirect to other ministries.
To contribute as God leads you, PLEASE CLICK HERE.
Dear friend, what a day to be alive! Will you join hands, hearts and resources to help bring God’s Kingdom to earth and populate heaven? Please, let us hear from you today as it will encourage us immensely.
Read the rest of the story!
Are you ready to be blessed? Here it comes!
We just concluded five world-changing days of non-stop transformation ministry in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. I’m glad to report that the former murder capital of the world is emerging as an extraordinary transformation prototype.
Last Thursday, the Avanza Sin Tranza (Thrive without Bribes in English) program was launched and 500 community leaders signed up at a personal level, plus the heads of the nine Chambers of Commerce that represent hundreds of thousands of members.
Since then, due to the positive media coverage, corporations large and small are requesting the 12-hour program based on biblical values but expressed in non-religious language. Because the training will be done by Christians, this means that the city will undergo discipleship a la Matthew 28:29.
Celebrating the anniversary of the most interactive children’s museum in the world.
Last Friday, La Rodadora, the interactive children’s museum originally envisioned by Poncho Murguia as a city-wide children’s ministry, celebrated its first anniversary. Almost a quarter of a million people have visited the museum, including 43,000+ children from disadvantaged neighborhoods. It already has a partnership with NASA to expose children to aerospace science, and last Friday they announced that National Geographic has come on board as a partner to turn it into the most interactive museum in the world.
La Rodadora already has a partnership with NASA and now National Geographic has come on board as well.
A challenge to minister to 15,000 children orphaned by the city’s violence.
Anyone who is socially prominent was in attendance and Poncho gave a powerful Kingdom message that touched the hearts of this influential audience. He challenged them to keep putting a smile on the face of every child in Juarez, a city that has had to deal with 15,000 little ones orphaned by the violence, one third of which have witnessed the murder of a loved one.
Saturday and Sunday we ministered to about 1,300 leaders from all over Mexico. The head of this network is someone who has embraced our transformation principles and now tasked us with inspiring his followers to do the same. It was the most extraordinary time! They were touched, moved, inspired, and more than impacted; they received an imprint into which the Holy Spirit poured the transformation DNA. We now expect 200 of them to sign up for the Spanish School of Transformation (TSOT) and 20 leaders will come to our global conference in Hawaii next October 27-31.
Transformation in Uganda gives hope to leaders of Juarez!
Tax revenue went up 317% in ten years.
God used Allen Kagina, the head of the Tax Revenue of Uganda, in the most powerful way to challenge the city leaders to renounce corruption. She told the story of how the Uganda equivalent of the IRS was one of the most corrupt and inefficient government institutions in the country until she invited the Lord to come into the department, built a prayer altar in her office, was inspired and affirmed by my book Anointed for Business, and received a divine download to reinvent the Tax Authority. She eliminated redundant levels of bureaucracy, made honesty and competence the two pillars, saw one third of the workforce go, and rebuilt it along those lines while relying on intercessory prayer which has now become normative.
Did it work? Well, you be the judge: tax revenue went up 317% in ten years with minimal tax policy change. Those revenues used to contribute roughly 58% to the national budget but this year it will reach 82%, cutting back on the need for the government to borrow and/or depend on foreign aid with all its undesirable strings attached.
Inflation hovers around 4% and the economy has grown at a steady 7.2% annually over the last ten years. The top tax bracket for corporations and individuals is 30%. A newswoman was amazed at these figures and said on camera, “Can you come and take over our tax agency?”
The Uganda Tax Authority used to be a despised agency. Today, it is a pool of talent and many of Allen’s deputies – who she trained – have positions of power in other government agencies where they are uprooting corruption, and Allen has been used to put more than a kinder face on the IRS by changing its heart.
She learned of a hospital in a remote area that lacked beds causing men and women to share them and forcing pregnant women to give birth in plain view of other patients, including men. She prayed and then sent an email to her workforce soliciting donations and rapidly 100 beds and mattresses were pledged, bought and delivered. Such response energized the employees so much that humanitarian projects have now become commonplace.
A church where 100% of the offerings are invested in the community!
Today, we ministered at Poncho’s Ekklesia where he has removed the pews and replaced them with tables. Members commit to sit at the same table for two months to envision and implement community projects using the money from the offerings. This is absolutely extraordinary: 100% of the offerings are invested in the community.
Is this sustainable? Absolutely, since membership and offerings have grown and recently someone approached Poncho – whose congregation meets in a rented place – to build a brand new building for him next year! And this person is not a member of his church.
Why? The Scriptures are very clear: if we help the poor, God will bless us, and if we arise and shine to let our light shine farther than what we are involved in, kings (leaders) will come to the brightness of our light and will bring the wealth of the nations for us to manage it.
God’s extraordinary provision for those who help the poor!
La Rodadora’s total cost was $32,000,000 and it was fully paid by inauguration day. Now, Poncho is involved in El Punto. This is an iconic community center envisioned by the architects who designed the Bird’s Nest Stadium for the 2012 Olympic Games in China that because of its uniqueness and who these architects are, will define Ciudad Juarez the way the Sydney Opera House has branded the city of Sydney in Australia. It is expected to attract more than one million visitors each year and Poncho has been asked to move his congregation there to keep the presence of God in its midst.
Why that request? Because the architects, who are not believers (yet) see El Punto (the point in English) as the central place on campus for God to dwell since spirituality is vital to the life of society. They see such presence emanating from spokes shaped like a cross where local artisans and artists will exhibit the culture of Ciudad Juarez through music, sculpture, native art, technology, etc. This disposition will enable the Ekklesia to infuse Kingdom values and God’s presence into the city and eventually the nation!!!
This emblematic building will cost millions but it will be paid for by “God fearing Gentiles” who see in Poncho and his associates (Alex, Carlos, Pepe, Alma, to name a few) a modern day Joseph or Daniel. I believe that the principle at work here is the following:
We are instructed to seek first the Kingdom of God and its righteousness for all things to be added unto us (Matthew 6:33). I am afraid we have interpreted and applied the righteousness mentioned here in a very narrow, even selfish way: basically to ourselves and to our sphere of influence. This is fine as a starting point, but we must go beyond that because this passage speaks of righteousness in society since it speaks of God’s kingdom. And when we seek first the welfare, the righteousness of the city, God will add everything else to us.
My friend, what a day to be alive! To see God bring together Uganda and Ciudad Juarez, two places that have been, until recently (and to a degree still are), discredited as the worst of the worst and to turn them into beacons of light to remind people who dwell in darkness that God has a hope and a future for them is more than exciting.
Join us and embrace transformation wholeheartedly!
Be encouraged by this report but also be challenged and embrace transformation wholeheartedly. Join the movement. Go to our website –www.transformourworld.org – and sign up for the School of Transformation. Visit our resource center and acquire books and DVDs. Do the Mentoring sessions, especially the ones about Forgiving the Unforgivable, How to Destroy Strongholds and How to Have Intimacy with God. And consider doing whatever it takes to come to our Global Conference in Hawaii where you will meet these world changers who are eager to impart to you what they have received from the Lord. We declare this blessing over you:
“The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine upon you, the Lord be gracious to you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26)
We look forward to hearing from you!
I am fascinated by the respectful way Jesus always treated sinners. No wonder He did not refute the accusation that He was a friend of sinners.
The kindness that leads to repentance
For instance, He told Zaccheus (a chief sinner) that he owned something that Jesus needed – a bed and a roof for the night.
He said to the Samaritan woman (a serial adulteress) that she had what He lacked – something with which to draw water from the well.
In Luke 10 He instructed his followers, whom He described as sheep, that when entering a wolf’s house they were to speak peace over it and eat whatever food the wolf served them as a set-up for them to take care of its needs!
In these three examples the kindness bestowed led to repentance.
Even as Jesus was pierced by terrible pain while bleeding on the cross, He assured a thief that until moments earlier had insulted Him that because of his repentance he would be the first Christian in heaven!
It is the goodness of the Lord that leads sinners to repentance and this is what we are seeing in the former murder capital of the world.
Thrive without bribes
Last night, Poncho Murguia presided over a gathering of 700+ community leaders, most of them not believers.The theme was AVANZA SIN TRANZA (thrive without bribes) which is the opposite of what is culturally accepted as inevitable in Mexico: SI NO TRANZAS NO AVANZAS (if you don’t bribe you won’t thrive).
Why would they come to a gathering like this when they already know that they have fallen short?
Because the audience consisted of top-level community leaders who live and work in a very corrupt environment, they are definitely far closer to Zaccheus or the Samaritan woman than to Nicodemus or the rich young ruler. And this included the former right hand man of the father of drug trafficking in Mexico now turned Christian that I told you about in my prior installment.
Why would they come to a gathering like this when they already know that they have fallen short of the standard reflected in the theme for the evening?
Because they see in Poncho and the Transformation Family the same character traits His contemporaries saw in Jesus: agape love.
Allen Kagina, the head of the Uganda Revenue Authority (the equivalent of the IRS in the USA) whose testimony I mentioned in my book Transformation, has been in town for three days giving radio, newspaper and TV interviews that caused the local media to break records for listeners, viewers and readers.
Turning the most corrupt government agency into an instrument of righteousness
What has she been talking about? The same theme she covered last night: how to turn the most corrupt government agency into an instrument of righteousness that allows the federal government to take care of the needs of the people.
Nine chambers of commerce lead the way with their stand against corruption!
I was given an opportunity to share how this is happening in other nations (Indonesia, Philippines, Tahiti, etc.) and Poncho proceeded to “spike the ball” by challenging this VIP audience to sign a manifesto as a demonstration of their stand against the corruption that, like a cancer, has metastasized all over Mexico.
Nine chambers of commerce lead the way with their stand against corruption!
Poncho was so anointed and eloquent that when he gave the invitation the chairs of the nine chambers of commerce that constitute the lifeline of Ciudad Juarez were the first ones to come on the platform to sign it and to pose for the secular media while holding a decal with the legend AVANZA SIN TRANZA.
After seeing such a bold display of commitment, the entire audience stood up and committed as well.They proceeded to sign their names on canvases that will be displayed publicly and posted on a webpage, and received a wristband with the legend AVANZA SIN TRANZA to wear at all times.
This also included a commitment to undergo a 12-hour training program and to post a decal on their front door and car windshield, with a similar logo on their business card. Furthermore, the Mayor of Juarez decided that all 6,880 municipal workers will undergo the training, and children in schools will be taught as well.
Abundant favor with the city!
How does the city feel about it? The media reported it in absolutely positive terms via TV, radio, newspapers and a flood of tweets that enhanced its already earth shattering impact. Tonight at a public function we attended, the elders of Ciudad Juarez – owners of large companies, powerful politicians, influential civil servants and educators – came up to Poncho and Allen (in some cases deeply moved) to express their appreciation for having launched a process that allows them to hope for a better Juarez.
What about personal decisions of faith?
This is city and nation discipleship in action! You may wonder, but where are the personal decisions of faith? We need to remind ourselves that the Great Commission is recorded twice in the New Testament: in the gospel of Mark and in the gospel of Matthew. In Mark, the focus is on preaching to individuals: “Go into the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark16:15). But in Matthew, it’s on discipling nations: “Go and make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:19).
Jesus did not say, “go and preach to nations” but “go and disciple nations.”
We have done a very good job preaching to individuals,baptizing and teaching them how to access the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome evil. But we have neglected the other side of the coin: discipling nations. Notice that Jesus did not say, “go and preach to nations” but “go and disciple nations.”
How do we disciple a nation? By doing for that nation, or for a city in this case, what Jesus did for individuals: healing them of incurable ills (humanly speaking) to open their eyes to the fact that God loves them.
Poncho’s goal for this weekend is to get 1,000 commitments,and then 5,000 by next year and 50,000 in five years. My personal observation is that these goals will be reached much sooner, and that an extraordinary flood of salvations will happen because the follow-up training will be done by Christians,providing them with the unique opportunity to combine the focus on individuals with the focus on the nation!
Today I got a glimpse, albeit small but a solid one nonetheless, of what the Apostles may have done when they “filled Jerusalem with their doctrine” (Acts 5:28) as I witnessed how the still unsaved media was talking enthusiastically about transformation. Granted, it is not in evidence yet, but let us remember that the Kingdom of God is like leaven that once introduced into the dough eventually leavens the mass.It takes time for this, but the leaven is in place in Juarez and soon we will see the convergence between Matthew 28:29 and Mark 16:15.
We saw this at the very beginning of our transformation journey in Resistencia when we built water tanks for thirsty neighborhoods in a city with only 5,143 believers and watched that number grow to over 100,000 in a few years.
We saw it in Indonesia at Roy Tirtadji’s Multiplicator’s office when a cluster of daring businessmen signed a pledge renouncing corruption that set the process in motion for Sentul City to be dedicated to God by Mr Kumala in 2006, and for the entire government to do the same in East Belitung in 2012.
We saw it when King Flores introduced the leaven of the Kingdom in Parañaque City, at the time one of the most corrupt cities in the Philippines and today one that proudly states on its seal: “A City dedicated to God”.
Hope for other troubled areas of the world!
Just wait until Wall Street hears that just south of this turbulent and so maligned border there is now a city that has taken a stand against corruption, and then watch the kings of the earth come to the brightness of its light a la Isaiah 60.
What a day to be alive! And we still have two more days so “we ain’t seen nothing yet!” Be on standby for my next report, but keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we continue to press forward and go deeper to retake enemy-held territory for God’s glory.
Ed and Ruth Silvoso
What I am about to report is unbelievable, humanly speaking.
Only after factoring in God’s grace and power can it become believable. I am in Ciudad Juarez (the former murder capital of the world) with Poncho Murguia, getting first-hand exposure to God’s amazing grace being bestowed on extraordinary systemic evil to see a city, and eventually a nation, transformed.
God’s amazing grace transforming a major drug trafficker’s right-hand man!
Today we had lunch with a six-month-old new believer who used to be the right hand man of Caro Quintero, the alpha narcotics trafficker in Mexico who in the 1980’s employed over 10,000 people to cultivate thousands of hectares in central Mexico that provided 60% of the marijuana consumed in the USA.
His lieutenants split his empire and gave birth to Cartels covering the entire country.
To supply his work force he basically took over the town of Camargo, in the Chihuahua state, and with the acquiescence (or consent, or partnership depending on your point of view) of the president, the governor, and the head of the Army, ran a most audacious and lucrative drug enterprise.
Kiki Camarena was the DEA agent who infiltrated this organization and it was his work that led to its disbanding. When the dismembering occurred, Caro Quintero fled to Costa Rica, but his lieutenants split his empire and gave birth to Cartels covering the entire country.
Kiki Camarena was the DEA agent who infiltrated this organization and it was his work that led to its disbanding.
In the 1980’s, the CIA needed to channel funds and weapons to the Contra rebels of Nicaragua who were fighting against its socialist Sandanista government. Thus, an “off the books” partnership was established between the CIA and these “freedom fighters” that gave a massive jolt to the introduction of drugs into the USA, greatly aided by the launching of the North America Trade Agreement (NAFTA), making Ciudad Juarez the most active commercial border crossing and the prime target for the Cartels.
This new believer, when he was still in darkness, moved to Juarez after the dismantling of the operations in Camargo, took over supplying the cartel, and eventually was approached by, and brokered a partnership with, Pablo Escobar, the infamous Colombian drug lord who sent him a plane of cocaine (640 pounds each) a day which he moved through the Ciudad Juarez-El Paso NAFTA gateway.
When the Mexican President sent thousands of soldiers to retake Juarez due to the massive number of daily murders, he effectively disappeared.
For this he collected $1M for each plane from Pablo Escobar and paid $50K per truck to complicit drug agents in exchange for safe passage of the drugs into the U.S. Eventually he was apprehended in El Paso and extradited to Mexico to serve jail time, which he did, until he bought his freedom for $1M a few months later.
When the Mexican President sent thousands of soldiers to retake Juarez due to the massive number of daily murders, he effectively disappeared, closing operations and moving to a small town in another state where he ran bars and restaurants. But a few months ago he “happened” to visit Poncho’s church and God took hold of him and he invited Jesus into his heart. It was a perfect divine ambush because he had gone to church that morning with an ignoble purpose, but no one is able to overcome a divine ambush. He dedicated his life to the Lord and now is one of Poncho’s disciples.
Transformation’s impact on a corrupt sphere of influence
The first thing he did was to clean up his newest business project – a “private” club for top level VIPs. To give you an idea how private it is intended to be, customers can only gain access through thumb print or iris validation by scanners guarded by security personnel. Apparently there is a deeply felt need for a safe place like this in Juarez for high level influencers to relax and conduct business. Originally he had planned to employ Hooters style waitresses, but now he is hiring only ladies of good repute, normally college students or single moms, and he pays them in one day what they would normally make in one week on an assembly line.
He is also eager to provide prayer and ministry to the myriad of Mexican Zaccheuses like himself who he knows from the old days. In fact, one of them was a drug dealer that had a tigress as a pet, and when he was incarcerated he took it to jail with him. Another ran go kart races in the prison backyard, and still another an extortion racket. This all went on before Poncho was led to take over the prison for the mayor and clean it up. See this link for that back-story.
Holiness is not a picture but a movie.
Those old friends of his are still around and he is reaching out to them with love, prayer and mercy to bring them into the Kingdom. I realize you may have a million questions as to why and how this is possible and let me tell you, “Join the club!” because as I heard this most fascinating story, I was torn between the disgust at the raw evil sins reported, and amazed at the grace of God relentlessly being poured out on them while watching this new believer break down in rivers of tears as he acknowledged time and again the beauty and the power of God’s unmerited favor.
As you can see, there is a wide open door of opportunity here, but many are the adversaries. In fact, I felt what the elders in Jerusalem may have experienced when they heard that Saul of Tarsus was now a believer. I’m sure they wondered, “What about his crimes? How can he get in so easily?” Or, Jesus visiting with a major sinner in Jericho – Zaccheus – with the disapproval of the religious leaders.
However, I remembered that holiness is not a picture but a movie. The journey has just begun. Saul of Tarsus eventually became Paul of Antioch, and Zaccheus the predator became the restorer. We need to let the movie play on while providing teaching the way Barnabas did when he inspected the cluster of new believers in Antioch and after seeing the extraordinary grace poured on the equally extraordinary amount of sin, he encouraged them to persevere in the grace of God.
Juarez could be the “Resistencia” of marketplace transformation.
Juarez could well be the Resistencia of marketplace transformation. In the same fashion that the latter showed how the entire population of a city can be covered in prayer and everybody presented with the kingdom of God, Juarez could be the place where sin has abounded so much that extraordinary grace will be poured out on it to overflowing.
The slogan for this week’s meetings is Thrive without Bribes
I told you the story of this new believer to give you a glimpse of how depraved things have been, not only on the Mexican side but also on the Central American and U.S. sides. Even though sin abounds, grace is ready to overflow. I am now off to a meeting where Poncho, Allen Kagina and I will be challenging influencers, most of them not believers yet, with the message of transformation. The slogan for this week’s meetings – in Spanish – is Avanza sin Tranza which means Thrive without Bribes which is the opposite of the pervading attitude that in order to thrive you have to bribe.
I’ll soon post part two of my report from Juarez. In the meantime, please keep our team in your prayers as we battle on the front lines like Paul did in Corinth and Ephesus until God gives the victory!
Read the rest of the story!
Perhaps God has convicted you of double-mindedness. Now you are able to see the stronghold in your life, and you want to tear it down. Let me encourage you not to give up. Persistence is the opposite of instability. I suggest applying the 40-Day Treatment. Determine what the will of God is and begin to hammer away at your wall of arguments, for 40 days (the significance of this number is all throughout scripture)! If your children are not walking with the Lord, confess God’s promises regarding your children. If pastors in your city are divided, proclaim God’s view on the matter. If your marriage is on the rocks, confess God’s Word regarding marriage. Use God’s words like a sledgehammer, and hit those situations repeatedly (see Matt: 4:4,7,10; Eph. 6:17). Never give up. Do it, day in and day out. Memorize pertinent Scripture and quote it out loud!
A pastor friend of mine in the San Francisco Bay Area told a story that illustrates this point. He told how a friend of his who was remodeling his home hired a contractor to demolish a cement wall. He watched as the contractor hit the wall with a sledgehammer. One blow, 2 blows, 3 blows, nothing happened. Then 10 and 15 blows, and still nothing happened. He continued—30, 35 blows, and still nothing. Finally, on the 36th blow, the wall developed a horizontal crack. On the next one, a spiderweb pattern of cracks appeared. On the 38th blow, the wall cracked all over. At that point, the contractor put the sledgehammer down and picked up a small hammer and a chisel, and, little by little, he brought down the wall. This is also how a stronghold must be destroyed. That formidable stronghold you are looking at may seem to be made of solid granite. However, the Word of God is powerful. The gospel is the power of God (see 1 Cor. 1:18). Choose God’s Word over the circumstances. Confess the Word of God. Every time you do it, you are applying a sledgehammer blow to that granite wall. Keep doing it. Sooner or later, the first crack will appear. After that, it is only a matter of time before the whole thing crumbles. “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses” (2 Cor. 10:4). Everything opposed to the will of God must come down.We must be set free, totally free, in Christ. Are you already destroying strongholds in the innermost part of your soul? Go for it!*
*Excerpt from That None Should Perish, pages 174-175.
For more on Strongholds go to the mentoring section at www.transformourworld.org.
A number of years ago, in a moment of unhealthy self-pity, I began to tell the Lord how badly wounded I was, how much our family and our team had suffered, how brutal the blows had been and how little return we had seen on our investment. The Lord’s reply shocked me: Ed, you should see the other guy! He is the one who looks really bad. You’re on the winning team! If you think you look pathetic, just imagine how awful the loser must look.
Just then, a scene from the movie Rocky II came to my mind. It happens toward the end of the climactic title fight. Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed have slugged it out to the point of total exhaustion. Both of them are down, lying on the canvas, and the referee has begun the count. Rocky’s manager, crusty old Mickey, is frantically shouting in Rocky’s dull ears, “Get up, you bum. Get uuuup!” He keeps on screaming until Rocky, in obvious pain and with great difficulty, begins to pull himself up while the count continues. Under Mickey’s unrelenting verbal shoving, Rocky keeps riding waves of exhaustion on a raging sea of suffering. And when the referee cries, “. . . 9 . . . 10. You’re out!” Rocky is the one standing over the downed Apollo. Our hero stands for only a few moments, but he is on his feet long enough to be declared the winner and new champion.
As I reflected on this dramatic scene, I sensed the Lord saying to me, Get up and claim the prize! You are down but so is the devil. He does not want you to know it, but he is totally spent after such a fight. He has no more strength, and this is why he is so bent on keeping you focused on your own wounds. Both of you are down; but the one who gets up and claims the prize wins. Get up, you blessed one!
This experience enabled me to understand a powerful dynamic concerning trials: Trials require two fiercely opposing parties for its painful pressure to develop. Pressure, like a pincer, needs two anchor points to operate. We are one of the points; the devil is the other one. However, in the midst of these frays, we tend to focus exclusively on the damage done to us or to our loved ones. We seldom, if ever, realize what the trial has done to the opposition. Consider the way most Christians process Job’s tribulation. We concentrate almost exclusively on what Job lost and how much he suffered, and we fail to see the main point in this epic drama: The devil lost big to a mere human being. Satan ended up discredited and humiliated before his own demons. What the devil values the most, his pride, lay shattered at Job’s feet.
Take heart that even though we suffer, we always end up stronger than the devil. His scheme is to keep us focused on our pain rather than his. But remember…if you’re hurting, you should see the other guy!!
Excerpt taken from Prayer Evangelism, chapter 1.
One of the favorite expressions used by the apostles to describe themselves was “bond servant of our Lord.” A bond servant is one who sits at the door of his master, not even daring to look at him in the eyes. He watches his master’s hands. He never speaks unless first spoken to by the master. He always does what he is instructed to do—nothing less, nothing more. In light of this, I am appalled at the way we conduct our spiritual meetings. Many times we treat Jesus as if He were our bond servant. Our prayer meetings too often amount to nothing more than listing a set of errands for Him to carry out.
The thought of waiting on the Lord seldom occurs to us. We usually assume that we already know His will. There is no need to wait for Him to reveal it to us.
I remember a time when some Western visitors came to Argentina. I told them, “We are going to a prayer meeting where we will wait on God.”
As soon as we got there they asked, “How long must we wait?”
I said, “I do not know.”
“Why don’t you know?” they said sharply. “Are we going to stay here forever?”
“I honestly don’t know, and no one else here knows. This is Jesus’ meeting. We have gathered in His name, and, as such, we have come under His authority. When He moves, we move. If He does not move, we do not move.” Perplexity was the kindest response I got. Some of the visitors were visibly upset by this “waste of time.”
Have you ever wondered what the 120 disciples were doing when the Holy Spirit first came upon them on the Day of Pentecost? Because Pentecost (see Acts 2) represents the most dramatic display of God’s power on the Church, it would be interesting to find out what the disciples were doing when such
a phenomenon took place. Acts 2:2 says they were sitting. Sitting is always associated with waiting. We must adopt today the waiting attitude that permeated the Upper Room when the greatest outpouring of God’s power took place.*
*Excerpt from That None Should Perish, pages 225-226.