The entire month of August was spent working at Colegio Cristiano Integral in Santa Marta. It was an amazing time of ministry, growth, and learning. I helped some with PE and English classes, but most of my time was spent teaching Christian education classes in Spanish. The school was pretty small with about 200 students, but the kids were great and I loved the staff. I got to attend weekend retreats with 10th, 8th, and 5th grade. God poured out His spirit on the kids on each of those trips, and I got to pray for a lot of kids. I got to speak for one session for 10th grade and led a few devotionals at the school in Spanish.
I also got to be a part of an evangelism event with 10th graders at a nearby park. Many people want me to come back to the school. A few people told me that they saw angels around me when I arrived. I feel part of my vision for working in the schools is to help bring spiritual revival (not only to the schools, but also to the cities). One of my favorite experiences was attending a ministry event at a public school. Public schools there are havens for all kinds of things. All the kids wanted to talk with me as they haven’t seen an American before. I would have a great opportunity there, and I hope to go back some day.
Before arriving in Santa Marta, I really sensed there would be strong spiritual warfare there. This has been something that God has been growing me in, so He definitely knew what He was doing in sending me there for a month. As I walked I could often sense the presence of spirits and I would command them to go and declare God’s peace, joy, love, life, and presence in those places. I often could feel the difference after. In the first few weeks, I got to build relationships with some people in the downtown area, share the gospel, pray for healing, etc. I felt so full of God, faith, and boldness. And God allowed my Spanish to flow. I met a very special family that has so much problems with demons and poverty. Someday I hope to continue helping that family. I was also blessed to be able to take a few day trips outside the city to be refreshed physically and spiritually. I really feel I will return to Santa Marta sometime soon and possibly long-term. There is so much physical and spiritual need there and so many broken families. It is a city that needs love and a fresh touch of the Holy Spirit.
The Ultimate Surprise
My time in Santa Marta was great, and little did I know that He had a big surprise for me there. I met an amazing woman and six days later God showed me she is my wife, and she already knew before I did. It was completely unexpected, but it really is a confirmation of so many things in my life, and we are both sure about it. The peace I felt was unlike anything I’ve felt before. As we have gotten to know each other (which is way different already knowing someone is your future spouse), I have seen more each day how much she is a blessing and how much she encourages me and pushes me to God. She really is an answer to many years of prayers. Maria is so loving, firm/encouraging, beautiful inside and out, and is a warrior in the spirit. Right now we are dating with the goal of marriage and praying and asking God to continue to confirm that this is from Him and to give us patience and strength to wait on His timing for the next step. I don’t know how God will bring everything together considering my job right now, but we are trusting the Lord and know that His timing is perfect.
Growing in the Spirit
Some things I have been learning are to prophesy God’s Word over myself, truly learning how to fight the enemy, and to remove barriers in my relationship with God. I believe God wants to take me deeper in Him and higher in spiritual things. I have been asking Him to let me see the spiritual realm, not just the physical, so I know how to fight spiritual battles. I’ve truly realized for the first time in my life that I am not in control. My life has taken so many twists and turns in the past few months, and I feel like a young, lost child. God is taking me deeper in depending on Him. I’ve had a lot of fear and anxiety about my future and I’ve been forced to give up control. I’ve also been having a lot of spiritual attacks, but I’ve been learning how to fight through them. I believe this is the season to make decisions and become more decisive in my life. I have continually been encouraged to be strong and courageous and that the Lord goes with me. The adventure is only beginning.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and don’t lean on your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” - Proverbs 3:5-6
“Rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to Him; trust in Him, and He will act.” - Psalms 37:4-5
"Be strong and courageous. Don't be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord you God is with you wherever you go." - Joshua 1:9