AUGUST 2023 WHEN THE ENEMY COMES IN LIKE A FLOOD THE LORD WILL LIFT UP A STANDARD
We have many works in Latin America and have started to focus more on supporting pastors in very dangerous towns and cities where the criminal gangs are more in charge than the government. Just a couple of weeks ago, the criminal gang killed a politician during a family event in Latin America. Suddenly, automatic gunfire broke out, and about ten innocent people were killed, including the intended target. I was sent a recording of the attack by members of our staff who live and do ministry in Latin America. In an area just below there, we minister to a lot of very poor families and do everything from building homes to feeding them, along with weekly Bible studies. We have also been repairing an orphanage in this area.
Recently, I have become increasingly concerned for staff working in these areas. In a place in Latin America, the criminal gangs killed about 17 people in a single day. The offense could be as minor as not being able to pay for protection, but often the reasons are unknown. Many of the places where we do ministry are becoming dangerous. We are working with a Calvary Chapel Pastor, who is experienced in planting new churches and has over 50 church plants. One of the pastors sent out has planted eight churches in one of the worst cities in Latin America. We used to send photos of the pastors serving in Latin America to those sponsoring them but have stopped doing so because things are getting so bad. We are now moving those pastors under Ghost Operations to protect them.
One of the pastors we support, Vicky and I visited this year. He and his wife are from the U.S. but have chosen to move to Latin America to reach the people. They opened a Calvary Chapel and have a healthy thriving church. When they picked us up and drove us from the airport, they explained that lately, criminal gangs had been stopping cars and abducting people for ransom or would burn their vehicles to make some example to the government. The town we went to was a charming place. It had old stately buildings and a downtown that had many nice restaurants where tourists would come to enjoy the food, music, and the culture of the city. The pastor and his wife explained that the city was once very alive, but things changed recently. It started with an American man who went down to meet his fiancée’s family. One night, they went to dinner with a couple of her girlfriends. They were later seen on camera having dinner before they disappeared. It would be a month before the bodies of all four were found riddled with bullets. No one knows why they were killed. From the time of this incident, things have gotten much worse. Every year, they have a festival where thousands would come, but this year the streets were empty. People are too afraid to go out. The fear is so bad that people are afraid to even go for groceries. I spoke with the pastor and asked what he was going to do. He and his wife have chosen to stay for the sake of the flock. We will call this pastor Cornelius for security reasons. His wife is a very beautiful woman, and I worry what would happen to her if they were to be abducted on the way to the city.
One of the things that embassies teach is a survival strategy. When working in extremely violent places, if a roadblock is set up, you are not supposed to stop, thinking that compliance with the criminals or terrorist will save you. Instead, you are supposed to put the vehicle in reverse and flee. I have realized that for the sake of Cornelius’ wife, we need to buy an armored vehicle. This is not a luxury, but I feel a real need. Far Reaching Ministries (FRM) is going to raise about $55,000. We have found an armored B7 Toyota Hilux with 6.6L Duramax engine and Allison transmission. We want to purchase this to ensure the safety of Cornelius and his wife. The vehicle is designed to stop automatic gunfire from machine guns and also has run flat tires with which you can continue driving even if shot. We are asking that many of you would help us to purchase this for the care of this couple.
We also have a missionary serving with FRM who is from Latin America and is in charge of building homes for abused women. So far, we have not had to be overly concerned about safety, but if things continue, I believe this will change.
Latin America has criminal gangs at war for control of the drug trade and all other criminal enterprises. It used to be just drugs, but now businesses are having to pay for protection: meaning if you do not pay, you will be killed. One of the current Latin American presidents has allowed the criminal gangs great liberty and seems to have undermined law enforcement. Truthfully people are afraid, and they have good reason to be afraid.
Proverbs 29:2 talks about when a nation has an unrighteous leader, the land groans. We are told in II Timothy 1:7 that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and a sound mind. This does not mean be foolish but to use wisdom when in a world where those in power do not obey the law but break it. And when all others are afraid, it is important that the Body of Christ hold a godly standard. So, we have to look at each hardship through what the Bible tells us and use wisdom. And with this couple choosing to stay for the sake of the body of Christ, FRM is choosing to do what is needed to ensure their safety as much as possible. We have other ways of helping that I cannot discuss but be assured we use everything in our power to protect against evil people. I just spoke with Cornelius today, July 8th, and he told me a young man that was attending the church went missing a couple weeks ago and nobody knows what happened to him, but it is believed that he was abducted by a criminal gang. Please pray for his safe return.
When the enemy comes in like a flood, the spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him. When the world is falling apart because of the sin of our leaders, it is important we as God’s children hold a righteous standard. I ask the Lord daily for wisdom. Many lives have been saved through this ministry, but it did not come from fearing man but praying and asking for His will and clear direction. Then when God spoke, we chose to believe and to be firm in our trust of the Almighty.
Far Reaching Ministries