“As He went to Jerusalem, He passed through Samaria and Galilee” (Luke 17:11). Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem yet took opportunity to be available to people along the way. He is teaching us this “as you go” principle. He sends us each day for a specific purpose, and if we listen for Him while going about our day/week/trip/ministry we will encounter some very amazing happenings along the way. We went to El Salvador as a response to an invitation to speak and knew we should take the opportunity to progress plans for a PK Reunion. And, as usual Pastor Gabriel scheduled lunches, coffees, meetings and Church services to fill our time. Through the years, we’ve experienced our Father leading us to opportunities to be made useful for His purposes through the schedule Pastor Gabriel establishes. And this trip was no different. As we review the time spent with Pastor Couples, once again we see the Father fulfilling His purpose for Raven Ministries “as we went.”
The primary purpose of Raven Ministries is two-fold: First, to seek out Pastors (Stewards, Overseers, Missionaries, Leaders) who are no longer serving as Spiritual Leaders and remind them that the “giftings and callings of God are without repentance” (Romans 11:29). And secondly, to attack the enemy who is seeking to destroy Spiritual Leadership by encouraging Leaders in their relationship with God, their spouse and family, and the Body. We are always filled with wonder and delight when we see how the Holy Spirit orchestrates our steps throughout every trip to cross our paths with the Spiritual Leaders He wants to encourage with a Word in season.
During the 10 days in El Salvador, we were honored to connect with two MIAs (Leaders who no longer serve), one we met for the first time and the other we served with years ago. What a privilege to share the Truth and Love of God with them, knowing that His timing is always right. We know first-hand that our Father is always waiting to see us coming back, have compassion on us, run to us, kiss us and receive us back as His child. It doesn’t take away the consequences of our choices and we can’t get back what we lost. But He is able to redeem every situation and relationship as well as restore us in our gifts and callings. What amazing Grace!
We also spent time with 6 different Pastor Couples just to catch up and encourage each other in the Lord. We celebrated birthdays with three of the wives and one couple’s anniversary. It is crazy how in the midst of “doing life together,” God shows up and meets needs we weren’t even aware of. Though each couple is facing different challenges, on each occasion we were reminded of our Father’s delight in encouraging His Stewards as well as how ruthless and relentless the enemy is in trying to discourage. It is good to affirm the good our Father is doing through His Children and listen to their hearts to encourage them in the battle.
We were invited to El Salvador to participate in celebrating the 10th Anniversary of a Church in San Salvador – El Gibor (God is Strength). We took the opportunity to also explore and listen to what God might say regarding the PK Reunion He laid on our hearts. Our Father confirmed the assignment in a most amazing way! The details would take too long to recount, so here is a quick synopsis of what happened on the last leg of our flight to El Salvador. God orchestrated our steps to sit next to a young man who had moved with his parents from El Salvador to the US when he was a child. He grew up (of all places) in the home of a Pastor! Our conversation made the 3-hour flight seem like only minutes. Listening to his passion for Jesus, relationship, restoration of family and the Church encouraged us that Jesus is in pursuit of those He called into ministry but have fallen away. Our conversation not only confirmed that the PK Reunion was God’s desire, but also reminded us of the Father’s heart for the purpose, calling and anointing of Raven Ministries.
Pastor Gabriel introduced us to the Pastors of El Gibor, Eduardo and Jessica, five years ago and the Lord knit our hearts together in Him from the first time we met. What a blessing for us! Jesus flowing through this Pastor Couple has created an atmosphere of worship & intimacy with God and each other, that flows out of their family relationship into their congregation and creates the environment for Life. Never before have we experienced worship in such a powerful way, and yet it felt like just a taste of the goodness of God which left us craving more. A large percentage of their congregation participated in leading worship, with leaders rotating in and out of the team as we moved from song to song. It was truly synchronized worship, led by the Holy Spirit. Everything was focused on Jesus without interruption. It brought to mind the Psalms of assent that the children of Israel sang as they climbed the mountain to Zion: beginning with a focus on the problems we are entrenched in as a people, moving to a conscious change of focus on what the LORD has done, leading to “how blessed it is for brethren to dwell in unity,” and finally to “Behold, bless the LORD” as the congregation comes to the throne room and into the Presence of the King! We were so touched by the Holy Spirit, it was hard for Ron to speak. From this place “in the Throne Room,” the Father proclaimed through Ron that the Chief Cornerstone of the Church is Jesus. He reminded us we have been chosen not because we are perfect but are made perfect by Jesus because we were chosen. We have to stop focusing on the “stuff” that separates us and intentionally focus on the One who unites us, allowing Him to shake all that can be shaken until all that remains is that which can’t be shaken....Jesus.