We were blessed to attend a conference in Ciudad Juarez last week. The conference, a regional ‘Transform Our World’ event led by Ed Silvoso of Harvest Evangelism, brought in transformation leaders, intercessors, and countless testimonies of what God is doing! God is taking a city once ruled by drug cartels and is beginning to turn things around – restoring hope to a people who all but forgot what hope is. Here is a testimony of God’s grace and His leading in Juarez…
“The Lord then led him (Ciudad Juarez pastor Poncho Murguia) to another desperate act, a 21 day fast, which in itself wasn’t particularly challenging. The real challenge was in the Lord’s instruction that the fast be carried out publicly. God clearly instructed him to pitch a tent in the central plaza in front of City Hall where he would pray and dwell for the entire 21 days. Eventually the local newspaper sent a reporter to inquire about this peculiar arrangement and Poncho explained to him in simple terms what he was doing and why. Fascinated by this strange man, the newspaper began reporting daily from Poncho’s tent, initially from a somewhat condescending perspective. But Poncho realized that God had created an opportunity for him to share with the city what the Lord was speaking to him. As the fast continued, the reporters where touched by the spiritual reality behind what he was doing. His daily reports became required reading for the news headlines in Juarez. Before long it was apparent that Poncho was not a lone voice in the desert. Inspired by his testimonies, believers from across the city began streaming to the tent in front of City Hall to join Poncho in discerning God’s heart for their city. By the time the fast was over, four thousand people were coming out regularly to worship and pray alongside him.
“That was when things began to happen. Ciudad Juarez Mayor Hector Murguia Lardizabal, a former skeptic of the evangelical community, began to warm to the idea of working together to improve their city. That people would fast and pray without a particular legislative agenda in the wings was a refreshing discovery for him. The mayor has since become a great supporter of the Church and offers a succinct appraisal of the process he saw evolving: "Following Christ generates the desire for helping people in pain... people who suffer from hunger, people who lack shelter. If all society participated in the same way as the church Pastor Poncho Murguia leads, we would have a very different society."
“As Poncho walked in obedience to the seemingly foolish things the Lord directed him to do, the Lord came through each step of the way. This encouraged Poncho to trust completely in the Lord and obey the direction of the Holy Spirit no matter how ridiculous it seemed. He needed this training for the next assignment which was by far the most difficult of all. One day about two years ago, the mayor approached Poncho about working together to reform the local prison. This was no small matter because the prison was the hub for the extensive drug trade in the city, controlled by very powerful and ruthless drug cartels. Corruption was rife: 92% of the inmates were drug addicts and the supply chain involved not just prisoners, but guards and administration. Furthermore, Poncho was a most unlikely candidate for the assignment since he had no prison background and had never ministered in a prison before. The mayor approached him because nothing else had worked and he knew the power of God, which was so evident in Poncho’s life and ministry, was the only hope. Poncho could now see the Lord’s leading in his life and the reason for the seeds he had sown in his heart at Olmos Prison so many years before, so with fear and trembling he accepted the mayor’s proposal.
“For three months they secretly developed plans to purge the prison. Then on the determined date, at midnight, a force of seven hundred police officers was authorized to take control of the prison. The prison was locked down with absolutely nothing and no one going in or out for 30 days. All the guards were given mandatory drug tests and 80% of them were fired. They were replaced with Christian guards who had been trained in the principles of transformation a la Olmos Prison. Then, for 30 days, in complete isolation, they led the entire prison population through drug withdrawals.”
God is good! When we put all we are on the line for all He is, we will never come up short. We must be willing to follow His will – not matter how far out of our comfort He leads. He knows what He is doing. If we will truly trust all that He is – He will transform us and then He will transform our cities and our nations!
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