Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Nation Transformed

God is moving in Honduras. At an evangelistic event this past week in the state of Intibucá, our team witnessed an unprecedented openness to the Gospel among political, educational, and church leaders. 

We visited the chief of police in Esperanza and prayed for him. He was so moved, he invited us to return the next morning to speak to the police in the city. Fifty policemen stood at attention as I preached and we prayed with many of them to receive salvation. The local fire department helped set up the platform for our festival. Teachers and city administrators attended our leadership conference. The wives of two different mayors came to our women’s conference. A congressman attended our youth event.

The governor of the state of Intibucá attended our leadership conference and the festival. As the evangelistic event drew to a close, the governor came to the platform, knelt down on his knees, and cried out to God. He publically repented for the sins of the people and asked God to bless his state.

Eighteen months ago, I participated in a nationwide event in Honduras called “One Nation, One Day.” It was inspired by Isaiah 66:8, “Can a nation be saved in a day? Can a country be brought forth in a moment?” Eighteen evangelists joined together to conduct eighteen Jesus festivals in the capital of every state in Honduras. Over 2,000 missionaries flooded the nation to demonstrate the love of God in tangible ways through medical brigades and food distribution. The outreach was featured on the front-page of every newspaper in Honduras as the nation turned toward God. I gave away 520,000 books to people who prayed with our team to receive salvation. The fruit of this amazing outreach continues today.

For example, the city of San Pedro Sula has been known as “the murder capital of the world” for the past several years. The city has been plagued by drug and gang related violence. Since the recent invasion of missionaries, the military in Honduras claims that crime in the city has gone down by 60%. Suicide dropped by 15%. According to the FAO, extreme poverty in Honduras has dropped by 3.4%. In the past few months, several notorious drug dealers in Honduras have been apprehended and sent to the United States to face trial. Corrupt politicians have been thrown into jail.

Previously the teachers of Honduras have frequently gone on strike. But last year, all the schools in Honduras completed the entire school year without any teachers going on strike. This is the first time in twenty-five years that school children in Honduras have received a full two hundred days of education.

Two years ago, I visited Honduras and witnessed serious crimes. I saw an SUV riddled with bullet holes with blood on the front seat. A church usher, who worked as a taxi driver, was murdered the night before I preached at his church. But, on this trip, the streets felt safe and the nation was peaceful. While there is much that needs to be done, the nation is headed in the right direction. 

The church has been unified and pastors from different denominations are working together. Last Sunday, I preached for Misael Argeñal, the pastor of La Cosecha, the largest church in Honduras. He says, “For many years the pastors of Honduras have prayed for our nation. We are so happy to see the nation of Honduras turn toward God.”

Last year, Honduras voted in an election. The two main candidates included Juan Orlando Hernández, a man who looks favorably upon the church, and a socialistic candidate who is aligned with Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro. In past years, elections in Honduras have produced violence and great disharmony but this time, the election process was peaceful and United Nations observers certified the results. The socialistic candidate received 28.8% of the vote but lost to the man who loves God.

On October 25, 2104, Juan Orlando Hernández, the president of Honduras and his wife knelt down publicly and prayed for the nation. This is the first time in history that a president of Honduras has humbled himself before the nation and cried out for God’s blessing to be upon his people. For over two hundred years, the United States of America has experienced prosperity because of the prayers of our first president George Washington who frequently declared days of fasting and prayer for the entire nation. In the same way, the prayers of the president of Honduras will bring the favor and blessing of God upon his nation.

When asked about the impact of the “One Nation, One Day” outreach, the president of Honduras stated, “First of all, it was a spectacular day for Honduras. I assure you there has never been a moment in history with so much passion and unity for a single purpose. It was a blessing for Honduras. It was like an awakening. From that point forward the spirit of the Honduran people has changed. Before that, everything was negative. Now people are more enthusiastic, more motivated. I’m also thankful to God because after the elections the investors that did not want to invest before started visiting the banks. They are investing in this country. I also feel there are more police and operators of justice and more commitment to have integrity…We are seeing many people from other nations come to invest because they see Honduras has changed. That for me is the fruit of something that was cultivated on that day.”

Can a nation be changed in a day? The evidence in Honduras suggests that the answer is a resounding, “Yes!”