During a recent visit with Paul Otremba, area missionary to Central America and Northern South America, I found him rejoicing at the works of the Holy Spirit among our Foursquare family in Venezuela, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Argentina and Colombia.
These supernatural encounters with God have not been some unique, spontaneous outpouring of the power of God; instead, they have been the result of an intentional and passionate pursuit of the baptism in the Holy Spirit and ministry training. This intentional pursuit of God has resulted in healings, deliverance, miracles and a great joy that evidences the grace of God.
Central and South American Foursquare leaders invited John and Sonja Decker to minister their Doing What Jesus Did (DWJD) workshop. As the highlights below indicate, cultural differences, language translation and a five-day seminar schedule did not lessen the impact of the Word of God as these men and women encountered the living God in power and received training to minister.
- Costa Rica: 160 pastors, missionaries and leaders were trained; 35 were baptized in the Holy Spirit; 25 were healed.
- El Salvador: 21 pastors and leaders were trained; 16 were baptized in the Holy Spirit.
- Honduras: 111 pastors, missionaries and leaders were trained; 60 were baptized in the Holy Spirit; 12 testified to an immediate healing.
Venezuela is also experiencing a move of God. In March, some 600 people attended the DWJD seminar at the Foursquare church in Cumaná, the largest Foursquare church in the nation. Pastor Enrique and Ruth Villalba serve the 3,000 worshipers there and a small-group network of 350 homes. During the training, more than 200 people received the baptism in the Holy Spirit and, as a result of this training, 400 people reported being healed.
Enrique acknowledges God’s grace in the baptisms and healings but believes it is more important that the people are trained and equipped to “do what Jesus did” in their homes, on the campuses of their schools, at work and in the marketplace.
Why Overseas and Not in the U.S.?
These testimonies of the baptism in the Holy Spirit and miracles in Central and South America are only part of the global story. God is healing, doing miracles and delivering people around the world.
Why does God seem to move more powerfully and consistently overseas than in the United States? It’s not because God loves differently or that His work and the outcomes of His kingdom are different. Perhaps the answers are found in the background of these testimonies—in a pastor or congregant’s settled commitment to experience the power of God personally.
Often, the pastor or leader is actually baptized in the Holy Spirit, there is teaching about the Holy Spirit, and there are opportunities to learn how to minister the baptism in the Holy Spirit with others. Always, there is humility of heart and a passionate pursuit of the biblical mission of God. Finally, there is training in how to minister to others in the power of God.
Maybe we have forgotten, or maybe we never learned, about the message of this King and the evidences that His kingdom is present. The message of Jesus was, and is, that He is the King of His kingdom. The provision of the gift of the Holy Spirit and the baptism in the Holy Spirit are two of the many evidences that the kingdom of God is near.
A King and Kingdom of Power
The Bible knows nothing about a once powerful or powerless King and kingdom of God. If there is a King and kingdom today, then there is power today, for “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever,” (Heb. 13:8, NKJV). After all, the baptism in the Holy Spirit is a baptism of power to be a witness for Jesus Christ as the King of His kingdom, and for the declaration of the kingdom of God (see Acts 1:8).
In Luke 10:8-9 Jesus sent out the 70 disciples and told them: ” ‘Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. And heal the sick there, and say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” ‘ ” This is a very important part of Jesus’ ministry: He preached the kingdom and healed the sick.
In Luke 11:20 Jesus said: ” ‘But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.’ ” Clearly, the arrival of the kingdom brings an unprecedented conflict with Satan and his demons.
In Matt. 18:3 Jesus said: ” ‘Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.’ ” The power of the kingdom of God brings about the conversion of sinful, angry, selfish, rebellious, proud, envious humanity.
Thus, evangelism and missions seem to be the means of the witness of the church so that the people of God might declare His Good News. The kingdom of God is near, and the evidence of this kingdom is seen through salvation, healings, deliverance and miracles.
The Foursquare Church expressed an extraordinary commitment to global missions at Connection 2011 in Columbus, Ohio, by pledging an additional $1 million to Foursquare Missions International (FMI). Funds will serve these global opportunities:
- Opening new nations and people groups
- Cultivating leadership
- Developing church-planting strategies for global cities
While these pledges are remarkable, and $1 million is a lot of money, it is not enough to win this world for Christ, nor is it even enough to win Tokyo or any single nation for Christ. Our only confident hope for success is not in the “arm of flesh” but in this King and His kingdom.
We will steward these funds well, and we will continue to do our part to pray, give and go—but we do so knowing that Jesus and His power brings victory and a harvest that will endure.
May The Foursquare Church in the United States experience all that the King, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the kingdom of God have for those who are citizens of His kingdom. And may we faithfully proclaim His kingdom in power at home and around the world.
By: Jim Scott, Foursquare vice president/director of Foursquare Missions International