‘God had warned me in a dream …’
On the frontline in Colombia
In April this year, the Colombian Caribbean Langham/Escualitas preachers and facilitators met in Cartagena for a Level 4 Seminar and Graduation.
Some of the pastors and leaders who attended are experienced preachers. But roughly half are lay leaders with little formal training. They work in the main cities of the Colombian Caribbean coastal region – Barranquilla, Cartagena, Monteria, Sincelejo, Santa Marta, Valledupar and San Marcos – in church ministries linked with a number of evangelical denominations.
The Preaching Seminar was due to start on Friday morning. Several participants hoped to book into their hotel on Thursday afternoon.
‘However’, writes Dionisio Orjuela, ‘God had warned me in a dream, and I decided not to stay at this hotel on Thursday, but wait until Friday morning for the start of the event.’
He shared his misgivings with others. It saved them from great trouble.
For at 3 p.m. on Thursday afternoon a fire broke out in the hotel and completely destroyed the building! Fortunately no persons were injured.
By 4 p.m. the hotel manager contacted Dionisio to say that they would no longer be able to offer any hospitality to the group.
Cartagena is a tourist destination. There was little hope of finding suitable accommodation at a reasonable price on such short notice for a group of 57! Dionisio shared the situation with his supporters.
They prayed fervently for God to intervene.
The outcome: not only did they find suitable accommodation that very same afternoon, with all the facilities needed, but it also turned out cheaper for the participants!
The seminar launched on a wave of thankful praise to God!
In Columbia many churches lack unity and relevance to the political and socio-economic challenges local people face. The Caribbean region in particular has a significant number of Afro-Colombian believers. Their church organization, liturgy and activities are often coloured by local folklore. And prosperity theology and the apostolic movement have widespread influence.
As a result participants come to the preaching seminars hungry and thirsty to learn about biblical exposition. In their own words:
‘I have learned to cultivate a relationship within the biblical text …’
‘I received a confirmation from God about my calling to preach the word of God … now I got practical tools to teach adults …’
‘I was challenged to cultivate the “double gold” of praying and preaching … I am so grateful to Langham to invest in my formation as a faithful, relevant and clear preacher …’
In addition, participants are encouraged, and given the tools, to share what they have received. Many will start escuelitas (preacher groups) in their own places.
‘I take with me the commitment to multiply what I have received …’
Langham Preaching is giving these pastors more clarity and confidence to study the whole Bible and to preach it. They are on the frontline. And churches are growing:
‘When I started this training, I received a church group with 20 people. Now, we are 90.’
From Dionisio Orjuela, the Langham Preaching Regional Coordinator for Central America