Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I said, "Lord, Send Me!" And… Oh! He Did!

Last Saturday evening I was invited to minister at a church on the outskirts of Buenos Aires where I have preached many times over the years.  They were hosting a Sectional World Missions emphasis with the theme “Concentrating on the Vision of our Mission.”     
Samuel Andrade, an Argentine missionary who served for years with his wife and family in Cabo Verde, off the coast of Africa has for seven years now been teaching “Missions” courses at our River Platte Bible Institute (IBRP) while working for our Argentine World Missions Department preparing new potential missionaries for all fields.  Missionaries Brad and Rhonda Walz and their team have developed a national World Missions program in Argentina second to none!  Every Argentine youth or adult who senses a possible call to world missions and who is recommended by their pastor, can start out very early with serious mentoring in a group called “Potential Missionaries.”  Their preparation includes strict requirements, including Bible School.  And they are offered a wide variety of ways to fulfill them.  Rev. Andrade teaches an annual full course called “School of Missionary Formation” at IBRP.  All this and more is offered long before actual missionary appointment which is followed by boot-camp.  Last Saturday afternoon Rev. Andrade challenged and encouraged us with a very well prepared workshop from 6 PM to 8 PM.  At the close of his presentation everyone knew how to respond positively to our Master’s order to “go”. 

Then after a short break and a time of worship I was introduced as the evening speaker.  I first called all the little kids up front, as I always do.  I let them pet Perfume “one at a time” but they all reached out at once.  Aren’t they cute?!  Felipe sang about a “missionary” who did not want to be a missionary… namely Mr. Reverend Jonah… and how the Lord God had to persuade him to go, because God loved even those evil people in Nineveh enough to give them a chance to repent and be saved.  “The Lord is… longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)  Even Nineveh!  

Then I gathered the little children at my feet and talked to them seriously about surrendering to God’s perfect plan for their lives and we all prayed for them.  At the close of the service several of those kids were on their knees along with youth and adults dedicating their lives to the Lord.  I was especially impressed with one little boy, maybe 11 years old, (not pictured) who trembled as he knelt, with his face almost touching the floor as he made his dedication and remained long after others had risen.  

Somehow that scene reminded me of a little lad in 1963 in one of our itinerary services in a small town in northern California.  He stayed a long time on his knees up front.  Years later he told me that God called him that night to be a missionary.  He and his wife have now served for many years in three different countries.  I met with them for dinner only two weeks ago.  They are now preparing to learn a new language and will go to a potentially dangerous area of the world with the Assemblies of God “Live Dead”… dedicated to pay the supreme sacrifice of their lives if necessary to share the love of Christ with the “unreached.”
 And now as I looked at this trembling boy, I thought, “Who knows what God may do with that child’s life wholly dedicated to His will?” 

Sunday morning I ministered at the central Pentecostal Holiness Church in the heart of Buenos Aires.  I have known Pastor David Passuelo for many years, but never preached in his church.  He, his wife and both his parents have been effective ministers of the Gospel.  David has a long standing radio ministry with an audience of many thousands.  He recorded an interview with Frances and me back in the 90s.  Last night he reminded me of that interview and said that he has broadcast it over and over during these many years.

David’s wife took charge of Felipe’s suitcase.  

I en-couraged everyone to not only hear my voice, but to listen for that still, small voice of the Holy Spirit deep inside.  Again He was obviously dealing with grown men and women and youth of all ages as they filled the altars giving their all to Jesus. 

I said, “Lord, send me!”  And… Oh!  He did! 


Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Show, The Word and the Call

Last night I was privileged to minister at Legacy Community Church in Los Gatos with Pastors Chris and Dawn Annas.  It was Wednesday and they brought the young ones in.  

Perfume captured the attention as the most daring kids petted her.    

I "volunteered" Dawn, the pastor's wife, to hold the suitcase.  Perfume kept trying to escape so now her tail is disappearing as I slide her down into the "basement" of the suitcase.

Felipe did a Bible story as usual.  He uses his "magination" and always gets a few details wrong, so I have to correct him.  But the message comes through... I hope.

Most kids laugh, this littlest guy just stares in "wonder". 

Some adults were going "bananas!"

Felipe always resists reentry into his case.  

After the message I called for all those willing to "GO" if the Lord should call them. 

Who Knows what God may do with these young lives?

It was all over except: The twins wanted to know how Felipe talks.  So...

I showed them.  I just got out Spock, the Sock, and made him talk.

You may have guessed by now that we all had a delightful time... and several kids and adults responded to a possible missionary call.

Praise God for tender hearts!

This is my final week in the USA.  Next Monday, September 22, I leave for Argentina and plan to minister there until Christmas time.  

Thank you for your prayers on my behalf.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Yesterday in Colfax, California

You are lookin' at the genuine old west.  Frances and I and our three little boys served as senior pastors here from 1960 to 1963.  

Main Street hasn't changed much.  Colfax is an old railroad town. 

The main railroad from Sacramento over the Sierra Nevada Mountains runs right through the heart of town.  Here comes one now, starting to climb from Colfax's elevation of 2,400 feet to 7,000 feet above sea-level heading for Nevada.  That's the old Colfax Hotel hiding behind a tree just across the tracks. 

Pastor Don Hall invited me and all previous pastors to attend their 75th Anniversary of the Colfax Assembly of God this past weekend!

Saturday was an outdoor event between Main Street and the railroad tracks.  The Colfax Assembly did it up big! There were inflated jump-houses and many other attractions for youth and children.  

There was lots of music.  The youth of the church did some drama. This was "The Bird in a Cage" skit.  Powerful message!

This little rising star volunteered a song, but, too bad, with a fake mike.  Her name is Brookie.

I did a little thing with Perfume and Felipe for the kids in the bright sun of late afternoon... 
and preached for the youth and adults that could handle the sun in their face.

Then I invited Jim McIntire to share.  Jim knew me as his pastor when he was a teenager, but just gave his life to Jesus only 3 months ago on Father's Day.  He drove 1,300 miles each way from South Dakota in his 20 year old Buick which he calls, "The Sponge", just for this occasion and to be able to share his new-found joy in Jesus!  His face and testimony just radiate the joy of Jesus!  See his conversion story by clicking on my June blog: http://ralphhiatt.blogspot.com/2014/06/jim-my-kid-in-spearfish-sd.html

Pastor Don Hall also gave his testimony of being saved as a teenager already involved in a life of crime and drugs.  He has worked for many years with Teen Challenge.  In the 70s he even visited us in Argentina helping us to set up our Teen Challenge rehab program there.

Sunday started at 10 to 11:30 with a well prepared program of worship, drama, a video from national superintendent Dr. George Wood and several powerful testimonies.  We enjoyed a dinner at 12 noon followed by a final closing ceremony.  

One of the highlights for me was to see Ricky Kauffman.  He had driven up from Sacramento for this Sunday event.  I rushed to give him a hug.  Later during a break in the service, Ricky told me that he kept looking at the door on the left side of the platform.  So when we had a break we stood in front of that door for a picture.  What is so special about that door?  

Ricky, son of the Chevrolet dealer in town, was 17 years old and sitting in the back of the church one Sunday night with two of his friends, Morris and Wes.  I had been praying for Ricky since visiting the Sheriff's office and being shown a card file with his name on it... over a year earlier.  Right in a serious moment of the altar call that night one of the boys cracked a joke and all three burst out laughing out-loud.  They immediately ran out and we all heard Ricky's car screeching away.  I think everyone in the church rushed to the altar to pray for those boys.  After about 40 minutes, I was seated at the piano playing softly while others were still praying.  Suddenly Morris came in and came straight to me at the piano.  He said, "Pastor, Ricky is out in his car and he wants to get saved right now."  I answered, "Tell him to come in."  

When I saw him I realized that he was trembling and took him into my tiny office behind that door.  I asked him to kneel down at a chair.  I don't know how long we prayed that night, but Ricky's desperate prayer was heard in heaven.  I knew it because his face showed it. He did not know about his change of countenance, but he knew he was saved.  We talked a while.  In the meantime the sanctuary had been vacated.  Only Morris and Wes were left, sitting near the back.  When the new Ricky stepped outside that door onto the platform... as I recall, both the boys in the back saw the notable difference on Ricky's face and were so shocked they stood up.  I said, "I think God wants to make it three tonight instead of one."  Both of them joined us kneeling at the altar.  I don't know where Wes and Morris are today.  But Ricky, like many of us, has had his struggles, but he knows what happened behind that door.  And today I understand his children and grandchildren are all serving the Lord!  Praise God!

Donny Walker, standing with me, was a little boy who had suffered a crippling disease as a small child.  He came to church with his sisters.  (2 of them were with him yesterday.) He testified how we prayed for him and how astounded the doctors were at God's miracle.  He projected pictures of him with his clumsy metal brace from the hip down on his formerly underdeveloped left leg.  The doctors removed the brace and found both legs the same length!  He has spent much of his life traveling throughout many countries preaching and witnessing God perform marvelous miracles of healing! 

Pastor Hall honored me with a beautiful certificate and gift.  Near where my feet are standing is where I knelt at the altar when God called me to Argentina over 50 years ago.  I'll be back in Argentina, Lord willing, September 23 ministering until Christmas time.  Oh!  How good God is!

Frances and I served the second pastors of Colfax AG church.  The first pastor, Brother Haddock, has long since gone on to glory. There have been other pastors that could not be reached, but the former pastors that were at this celebration: (left to right) interim pastors Paula and Ken Geer, Patti and Don Hall, Julie and Stan Koon (behind) and myself.