“For the vision is yet for an appointed time and it hastens to the end [fulfillment]; it will not deceive or disappoint. Though it tarry, wait [earnestly] for it, because it will surely come; it will not be behindhand on its appointed day.” Habakkuk 2:3 (Amp)
This was God’s declaration to Habakkuk when he cried, “YHVH, how long must I cry without your hearing?...I cry, but You don’t save.” Sometimes God gives a promise and then nothing appears to happen. In fact, sometimes it seems like the exact opposite occurs, which can cause questioning, doubts, and discouragement. We have taken great comfort in these words to Habakkuk because it assures us that God will ALWAYS do what He says He will do, and He is ALWAYS on time! We give praise, honor and glory to Jehovah and are excited to share the continued story about the vision for the Ministry Center.
During our recent visit to El Salvador, we were invited to a meeting with Board of Ministerio Cuervo that was led by
the President, José Elias (Chepe). Among the agenda items was a discussion regarding the Ministry name. Since the first time Ron spoke in El Salvador in early 2000, Raven Ministries has been translated into Spanish and been presented to Pastors as Ministerio Cuervo. We’ve known Pastor Gabriel since 2001 and in 2007, God laid it on his heart to take a huge step of faith to go into full time ministry (he had pastored for many years and at that time was employed as a professor in the Baptist Seminary). He founded Siervos.com, which serves Pastors by helping them develop leadership as well as influence them to build relationships with other Pastors for mutual support and encouragement. At that time there was another ministry, SOL Ministry, that served Pastors’ physical needs such as food, medicine and help with construction projects. The Director of this ministry was Chepe, whom we met through Roberto Choto when we first began living short term in El Salvador during 2003. Pastor Gabriel and Chepe approached us in February 2007 to propose that the three ministries work together, since we all have a heart for Pastors but focus on different areas. It became clear very quickly that Pastor Gabriel could represent Raven Ministries when we weren’t in the country since our mission and his dovetailed, and that he was very willing to do so. God has granted him great favor with Pastors from all denominations and all sized churches throughout the Country.
Fast forward to 2022 when we began sharing that Ministerio Cuervo is a newly approved NGO (like a 501C3 in the US) ministry in El Salvador with the vision to build a ministry center. It caused a little confusion. Ministerio Cuervo is a name that has been associated with the United States and Siervos is the ministry he founded, so most Pastors didn’t understand that anything had changed. This brought up the need to discuss the name. God gave amazing insight and wisdom through Ron that the Ministry Center Vision needs a name. In this way, we can clearly demonstrate that this Center is a Body ministry and Ministerio Cuervo, Siervos.Com and Raven Ministries U.S. are all coming alongside the vision for a ministry center.
“And Elijah…said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel lives…there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word (I Kings 17:1)…..And it came to pass after many days, that the Word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year, saying, God, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain (I Kings 18:1)…Elijah said unto Ahab, get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain.….And Elijah….cast himself down upon the earth with his face between his knees, and said to his servant, Go up now, look….There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times…at the seventh time….the servant said, behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man’s hand.” (I Kings 18:41-44)
During the past 22 years we’ve made more than 50 trips to El Salvador to serve Pastors and their families. Eighteen years ago, God gave us the vision to build a Ministry Center in El Salvador to provide a place for Pastor Couples to get away and create a complex that would augment the ministry to Pastors, as well as serve the surrounding community. For many years, the seed was in the ground but seemingly dormant. We are currently witnessing the beginning of the fulfillment! We are seeing “a little cloud the size of a man’s hand!!”
An independent board is established: In 2019, we began the process of establishing a nonprofit ministry in El Salvador. Despite lengthy governmental processes and COVID 19, Ministerio Cuervo was recognized by the Salvadoran Government officially as a non-profit in the beginning of 2021. The Board of Ministerio Cuervo is made up of 3 Pastors and 2 businessmen.
The new Board starts to receive the vision and responsibility: During a meeting with the Board in May we saw & heard an understanding take place…Ministerio Cuervo is not coming alongside Ron and Luan and their Vision. Raven Ministries US are now coming alongside Ministerio Cuervo and their Vision. Prior to that, it fell to Ron to initiate and lead the Board Meetings. In early August they held a meeting (without us) to put together final plans for our visit. throughout the 22 years, we (Ron and Luan) have set the vision and established the plan for each trip to El Salvador. This time was different: Ministerio Cuervo invited Ron and Luan, taking care of all on-the-ground expenses.
The new Board hosts sharing the Vision and begins ministering to Pastor Families: The Cuervo Board organized four small group meetings, two on the east side of the country and two on the west side, and asked Ron to continue casting the vision to key Pastor Leaders in the Country. Most of the 80 Pastors that attended (combined total of four meetings), lead, or hold key positions in Pastor groups or denominations and collectively represent over 900 Pastors/Churches. The Board also requested that Luan speak to the wives of the Pastors that attended the meeting in San Salvador, to begin to establish awareness that Ministerio Cuervo is now serving the Pastors and their families in much the same way that Raven Ministries U.S. has in the past.
Greetings in the Precious Name of Jesus! The lead trip for the Ministry Center in El Salvador was beyond our hopes. It was extremely beneficial to meet face-to-face with the Board of Ministerio Cuervo (Raven Ministries El Salvador) to expound on the Vision of Faith for the Ministry Center more fully; watching God continue to transfer the vision to these faithful men. One Board Member said “it (the Ministry Center) will be a testimony and example for Pastors in El Salvador”. Another shared, “All of us have known faith, but this is going to bring us to a new place of trusting God.”
We also held four different meetings to cast the vision with Pastors who lead and/or are influential with groups of Pastors (Link to Message Summary). A total of 23 Lead Pastors attended, representing an untold number of Pastors and Churches. At the end of each meeting, comments made, and questions asked revealed how our Faithful Father has already planted the seed for this Vision in hearts. Some asked, “how can we join?” One Pastor, representing a large denomination, indicated he will share this vision with the different boards on which he serves. Another said, “I’m privileged to be part of this.” Other questions raised were along the lines of: “where will it be? Do you need a house or is just land ok? Do you have a website about this ministry and project? All indicating reception of the idea. After one meeting, a Board member said “I saw the grace of God this morning in the meeting with the Pastors. This is the first time I’ve met most of them (the Pastors). Pastors are usually guarded. They were very open and receptive and even asked how they could be involved. This doesn’t happen.” This is miracle number 1 on our journey!
While in El Salvador, we were introduced to the director of a ministry for Retired Pastors and toured the facility. It’s located in the western side of the Country and houses Retired Pastors who need medical assistance. And on Sunday, Ron preached in two Churches on the eastern side of the country, exhorting them to allow God to expand their vision of Him. “No matter how big God is to you, in reality….He’s bigger. (His thoughts are not our thoughts, and our ways are not His ways – Isaiah 55:8-9). That God lets us call Him Father. Before you were conceived, he knew you, when you were in your mother’s womb, He formed your life. He called you for a purpose – to represent Him to a dying world.”
The pastor of the second Church where Ron preached has been asking us to visit them for several years. When we arrived, he and his wife ushered us in to his office. Seven years ago, he suffered a heart attack and during the aftermath blood pooled in his eyes and left him blind. He has to be led around by others and uses a cane, but he hasn’t lost his zeal, charisma or humor. We met him and his wife back in 2004 when we were honored to take 20 Pastor Couples from the Assembly of God Josue churches away for a day of rest. With great enthusiasm, he declared “I’ve been waiting 15 years to give you a Word from God.” He then shared multiple interrelated stories that all began in 2004. We cannot adequately convey the miraculous glory of God and how He responds to faith as eloquently as expressed by Pastor Francisco. But the short version is as follows:
In 2004 Pastor Francisco invited Ron to preach to his congregation. The community is very poor and so are the vast majority of members. They had no church building so they met in one of the rooms of a very large Catholic Church. Pastor Francisco had been given land and believed God wanted him to build a church on it. He took us to see the land. It was on the side of a mountain…no flat area anywhere! He asked us to pray and ask God to touch people’s hearts in the United States to provide the money needed. Ron prayed that God would provide the building. Sometime later, Ron felt impressed to return and tell Pastor Francisco that the God of the United States is not bigger than the God of El Salvador and that God would provide the money through El Salvador. Pastor Francisco shared that this Word from God left him very frustrated. What he heard Ron say was that the money would be provided from his Church. He and his wife thought about each member and mentally checked off one at a time…no it couldn’t be any of them. Still irritated, on one of his trips to the US he asked congregations in the various churches where he preached to support this vision. Not one penny was given. Now he was really infuriated and discouraged. He kept going to the property and praying. Pouring out his frustration with God. God gave him very specific detail about the building; where it would be positioned, where the offices would be, what the baptistry would look like, etc. He wrote it all down. He kept praying and pouring out his heart to God. One day a man from the “Mother Church” in San Salvador (so technically part of his church) came into town and said the Lord sent me here to build a church do you know where? Pastor Francisco excitedly took him to see the property. The man said, I’ll build the building, but you first have to level the land. I can’t put a building on the side of a mountain. Pastor Francisco was beside himself with joy and enthusiastically shared with his leaders that God provided the building. All they needed to do was prepare the land. He and a few of his leaders took shovels to the property and set out to “flatten the land.” They went several times, praising and praying that God would bless their labor. After several weeks, a man who occasionally came into town to see a friend who attended their Church came to Pastor Francisco looking for his friend. After Pastor Francisco explained that the friend wasn’t in town, they continued talking and he ended up sharing that God told him to build a Church along with all that had happened on the journey so far ending with the fact that God provided a man to build it as soon as they could level the land. This man, by his own admission, didn’t believe in God but after hearing Pastor Francisco’s experience said, “I believe God told you to build this Church.” The man asked to see the property. When he saw it, he said where have you been digging? After hours of hard labor, they hadn’t even made a noticeable dent! The man left and returned the next day with earth moving equipment. He “happened” to own an excavation company. Long story short, he cut out the side of the mountain, moving the dirt and rock, then compacting it to create a sufficiently large, levelled area with a 27-foot-high retaining wall.
God’s story through the building of this Church facility, doesn’t stop here. Pastor Francisco contacted the Church member from San Salvador and true to his word, he brought in a construction team to build the Church. He told Pastor Francisco, I will construct the building, but I cannot put the doors and windows in or build the offices, kitchen or baptistry. Pastor Francisco thanked him and called the people in his Church up to the property to pray over the building and seek God’s provision to complete everything that was in the drawings God had given him. Several members came up and laid hands on the building and prayed. The next day the man from San Salvador came with tears in his eyes and said, “God told me that I was supposed to build the entire building, so I am here to finish it.” His construction crew finished every detail of the Sanctuary, offices, baptistry and kitchen, including painting inside and out as well as installing windows and doors. Praise God for doing beyond ALL Pastor Francisco could ask or imagine! Our Father is Faithful, All Sufficient and oh so Good!!