God touched many lives through outstanding demonstrations of His healing power during a recent Charis Bible College (CBC) mission trip to Ecuador. Under the direction of Dr. Delron and Peggy Shirley and missionary to Central America, Mickey Cartagena, the CBC students learned that flexibility and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit are of utmost importance when on the mission field.
After nearly twenty-four hours of travel, the CBC team arrived at their hotel in Ecuador at four in the morning. Due to their travel schedule the team had planned to enjoy a slowly-paced first day. They visited a local botanical garden where they jumped into ministry mode and gave an impromptu presentation of a Gospel-centered skit to a group of senior citizens, also visiting the garden. Soon, what could be described as a revival meeting broke out as nearly every senior citizen was prayed for by the CBC team members. Many instant healings were witnessed including the restoration of hearing and vision. "The schedule that I had prepared was one that would give the students many opportunities for ministry and fellowship with the people of Ecuador, but the student's enthusiasm and fervor created even more opportunities," said Mickey, the trip coordinator.
The experience with the senior citizen group set the tone for the rest of the trip as the team ministered in various cities including Machala, Huaquillas, Puerto Bolivar, Salinas and Pasaje. The students served as the hands and feet of Jesus, and continued to witness the healing power of God at work everywhere they went. Long lines of people, hungry for a touch from God, formed at each service.
People came forward for salvation, baptism in the Holy Spirit, and especially for healing during the meetings. In addition to the many physical ailments that were healed, there were numerous emotional healings and deliverances. "The team wore buttons that said, 'Jesus valora tu vida,' meaning 'Jesus values your life.' This message flowed forth from the students' testimonies, their teachings, their mannerism, their actions, and from their hearts to each and every person they came in contact with, and it was life changing for many," said Mickey.
One woman named Martha grieved the loss of her mother, father and brother. Martha also harbored feelings of anger because she thought her sister had wanted her brother to die so that she would receive more inheritance. These emotional burdens made Martha easy prey for demonic oppression. As she came forward for prayer, the demon which was tormenting her began to manifest and put Martha into a trance-like state. CBC students took authority over the spirit, and Martha became conscious again. The team then prayed with her to be able to forgive her sister, and to receive emotional healing. It was impossible to miss the huge smile of freedom on Martha’s face following prayer.
Another woman, Tiffany, had been suffering from epileptic seizures for eighteen years, often suffering as many as five per day. Her mother and sister brought her to one of the CBC meetings held in a high school auditorium in the town of Pasaje. While at the meeting Tiffany had a seizure. Her mother explained that being in large crowds triggered her seizures. The students, and other local believers spent an hour praying over her, but she never regained consciousness. Even though her family knew the crowds could trigger her to have another severe seizure, the family brought Tiffany back for another meeting in Machala. When they arrived a group of students met Tiffany and her family outside the church, and her mother reported that Tiffany had only experienced one mild seizure that day, which was a significant improvement. Since Tiffany was alert, the team could easily minister to her. Since the family was not completely sure of whether or not they were truly born-again, the prayer team prayed with Tiffany’s family for salvation first. The team then continued ministering to Tiffany for healing and deliverance. After a short time, Tiffany announced she wanted to go inside the church. Since she was able to go into the crowded church without experiencing a seizure, the team took it as evidence that she had received her healing.
During the last night at the church in Marchala, fifteen-year-old Yaniel came forward for prayer. He was completely deaf. As prayer began and the healing power of God was released upon him, Yaniel fell to the floor grasping his head in tremendous pain. Eventually, he was able to explain to his mother why he was in pain. Yaniel’s mother told the CBC students that he was hearing for the first time and the unfamiliar sensation was overwhelming due to the complete silence he had experienced for fifteen years.
As people were touched by the power of God, they couldn’t help but share their testimonies, and the excitement became contagious and irresistible. Entire families received salvation and baptism in the Holy Spirit. One man, after being filled with the Holy Spirit shared that he could feel, “fire inside his heart.”
The entire mission trip was truly a healing journey. In addition to the many lives that were touched, healed and delivered throughout the trip, the CBC team also left Spanish translations of many of Andrew’s books behind; these are sure to continue to bless the people of Ecuador.