El Salvador

July 28, 2016

 To God be the Glory

He (Abraham) staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory (putting a spotlight on by praising, honoring and drawing attention) to God.  Romans 4:20

God spoke to Ron in July of 2014, while we were in Egypt, and said “I want you to have a Retreat for 100 Pastor Couples in El Salvador.”     Wow!  What an incredible adventure it has been!  The word that came to Ron was “lavished” –bestow something in generous or extravagant (lacking restraint in spending money or using resources) amounts.  Our Father lavishes us with His love!  Saying “yes” to Jesus gave us a front row seat as He poured out His love on the Pastors’ Wives that came to the retreat.  We recognize that we really don’t have a clue as to all that He did as well as lack the words to adequately describe what we did see Him do over the past six months.  We pray that as you read the following highlights the Holy Spirit will reveal the “love of Christ, which surpasses knowledge, that you might be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:19

Mary broke the alabaster box to demonstrate the value she placed upon Jesus, showing how much she loved and respected Him.  The precious ointment cost nearly a year’s wages for a laborer.  Judas voiced what others may have thought – what a waste, how many poor people could have been fed?  Jesus loves it when we give without restraint to express our love because it’s when we act most like Him.

Our Father creates the environment, sets the table and invites us to the banquet.  We choose whether to come and enjoy.  These Pastors and Wives accepted the invitation, entered into what God was calling them to and gave Him all the glory.  Witnessing it filled us with such a holy awe that it took our breath away at times and left us speechless (which says a whole lot all by itselfJ).

He created the perfect environment physically and spiritually:

The retreat location was stunningly beautiful and peaceful and the entire group had incredible favor with the resort staff. The food was flavorful and abundant.  The ideal setting to let the cares of everyday life drift away for a time.  But, even better, our Father cultivated the environment spiritually.  While working with the resort during the planning phase in February, the representative made a decision to follow Jesus.  You can’t start in a more excellent way!  God made it clear early on that the retreat was to be focused on the Pastors’ wives so Ron made the invitation to the wives rather than the Pastors.  This planted the seed that seemed to germinate into a sense throughout the 3 days that YHVH RÓI “The God Who Sees” was present among us; that He wanted them to know that He has seen their sacrifices and their hearts.  From the time the Pastor Couples arrived for check-in to the closing of our time with communion, joy and contentment was so evident on their faces and they responded with a profound, sweet, unified worship to God.

 

Worshiping our GodWorshiping our God

Praise to Him from whom ALL blessings flow!Praise to Him from whom ALL blessings flow!

 

 

He provided miraculously:

The cost of the retreat (not counting $10,000 for the four trips to plan and prepare for it) was over $30,000.  For some this isn’t a lot of money.  For Raven Ministries, it was impossible to “come up with” that amount of money!  So, we knew….ONLY GOD.  We committed to this retreat in February while making plans with the resort representative, Roberto (the man who chose to follow Jesus in the process).  Ron told Roberto that Raven had $2,100, which had been given for the retreat, and didn’t have a sufficient credit limit to pay for the remainder.  He explained that we would put it on our personal credit card because we knew the Lord would provide it (this was BEFORE he said yes to Jesus).  He was stunned that we would consider doing this.  He told us that normally the deposit requirement is 50% but he would take 25%.  So, Ron paid $7,600 with our credit card.  We went home full of faith…and trepidation.  We have never put that much on our credit card at one time!  We were to return to El Salvador in 3 weeks and pay another 25% at that time.  Shortly before we returned to El Salvador and prior to incurring interest God provided the 7,600 to pay off our credit card.  We were anxious to meet with Roberto to tell him.  When we met to make the second payment and told him that God had provided the first payment before our credit card came due, He was amazed.  He said this has “increased my faith!”  Again, we returned home.  This time for 2 weeks.  And, sure enough, before…..the day before…..we returned to El Salvador God provided the money to pay off the second 7,600 charge on our credit card.  This time when we met with Roberto, he was overjoyed.  He was so excited that God had provided a second time and that we were there to pay the remaining balance.  He said “many large companies with lots of money won’t pay before their event is over and even afterward we have trouble collecting the money.  This is such an example to my company.”  At this point, he knew that God would provide the rest.  The Pastor Couples and churches paid nearly $6,000 and we put the remaining $9,500 on our credit card.  And, once again, before the credit card was due God supplied!  He not only provided every penny, He did it in a way that brought Him all the glory, strengthened the faith of a new believer and gave a good testimony to the company management.  This was one incredible adventure (an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity)!  Praise God He took us with Him!!Pastors getting communion elements to share with their wivesPastors getting communion elements to share with their wives

 

Sharing CommunionSharing Communion

 Lavish Love Stirs a Response:

In our January newsletter we said, “The Father continues to draw His Body together and we believe this is a critical time to nurture an environment for the Pastors Raven Ministries has been serving for the past 15 years in El Salvador to develop relationships with each other across denominations.”  However, this wasn’t the direct focus of the retreat.  We brought the entire group together 3 times for an hour and a half each time.  At the opening session, Ron mentioned there were Pastors from 12? Different denominations attending.  He mentioned it again when we had communion together.  After we dismissed more than one Pastor came to him and said the retreat had caused them to realize the need for and beauty of coming together across denominations, and felt led to pursue how they could be used to make that happen.  To God be the Glory!  Great things He hath done!!!

We Exalt You, YHVHWe Exalt You, YHVH

 

 

Pastors and Wives ArrivingPastors and Wives Arriving
Pastor Gabriel & Berali Aguilar - Founders & Directors of Siervos.comPastor Gabriel & Berali Aguilar - Founders & Directors of Siervos.com Chepe & Adriana Elias - Directors of SOL MinistriesChepe & Adriana Elias - Directors of SOL Ministries

He gave gifts:

Each Pastor’s wife was given a gift that was prepared and prayed over by Pastors’ wives in Oroville to represent washing their feet, blessing their identity and purpose.   The gifts were given in honor of Sister Angela Crook, a Pastor’s wife in Oroville who went home to be with Jesus November 2015, who was truly a “Mother in Israel.”  The gift itself and who prepared it together with the honoring of Sister Angela prepared the women’s hearts to receive this gift from their heavenly Father as an expression of His absolute adoration and joy over them.  And, God gave gifts we hadn’t even thought of or planned on: A Pastor friend of ours who is also a talented photographer provided an awesome photo of his that so vividly depicts the seeming futility and isolation we experience at times during our walk with the LORD overlaid with Proverbs 3:5-6 (Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths).  He gave us permission to make 100 copies so each Pastor Couple could be given one.  Another friend gave several necklaces with a cross, and another purses and lotions.  Since there weren’t enough for each Pastor’s wife to have one of these gifts we raffled them along with 10 framed copies of the photograph.  The raffle heightened the sense of fun and anticipation that enveloped the entire three days.  And to top it all off, one of the Pastor’s wives invited all of the ladies who wished to attend a “spiritual hand spa.”  More than 80 of the 97 women came.  Their faces and comments conveyed that they connected with God through each other in the depths of their spirit in ways that only eternity will reveal.

Gift given in honor of Sister Angela CrookGift given in honor of Sister Angela Crook  Pastor Gabriel presenting one of the framed photos taken by Pastor RickPastor Gabriel presenting one of the framed photos taken by Pastor Rick
Necklace donated for raffleNecklace donated for raffle Sister Pati presenting lotions donated for raffleSister Pati presenting lotions donated for raffle
Sister Berali presenting purses donated for raffleSister Berali presenting purses donated for raffle Sister Gloria preparing for "Spiritual Hand Spa"Sister Gloria preparing for "Spiritual Hand Spa"
Sister Adriana ministering during "Spiritual Spa"Sister Adriana ministering during "Spiritual Spa" Wives connecting with God and each other during "Spa"Wives connecting with God and each other during "Spa"

 

.