Saturday, October 15, 2011

Oaxaca, Mexico - Days 8 & 9, Luis Palau Festival!

I had hoped to be able to minister hope and healing at the Luis Palau festival. Would it happen? The adventure continues:

Saturday, November 15 – 8:55 a.m.

I didn't get a chance to journal on Friday! The Palau festival was quite an experience. Big inflatable jumpy things for the kids, face painting, clowns, and so on. Very huge sports field area. The medical tents were set up to the right of the stage (dentistry, optometry, general practice, ear-nose-throat, osteo). It was very well organized. Folks could be seen and get their meds at the pharmacy or their glasses or whatever right there on the spot, no charge. How big a blessing is that? [Our docs and nurses and pharmacy folks were very busy both Friday and Saturday. It is so wonderful of them to give of themselves in this way!]
The waiting area.
Photo by Chris. All Rights Reserved.
Medical teams at work.
Photo by Chris. All Rights Reserved.

I had been tagged to cut hair with Renee yesterday, and I got there 2 hours later than she did, because our driver needed to go check out a wheelchair for a CP patient in “old” town – very pretty and touristy with actual street signs on the corner buildings and everything. The building colors are very bright here...lapis and teal and coral and goldenrod and rust and so forth.
Photo by Chris. All Rights Reserved.
Anyway, we arrived at the festival grounds, and I found Renee. There we were, parked in the middle of about 50 professional hairdressers! Yikes. ROFL! Business was understandably a little slow for us, though Renee gives great haircuts. I did a trim on a woman with curly hair, and I must say she looked great...and she loved it, which is way more important than me thinking she looked great. With Renee's okay, I decided to join Glen (from Vancouver) on a prayer walk. He is a rabid prayer warrior.

Next thing you know, we're chatting with a young lady who is working at a library booth, and Glen asked her if she knew Jesus. Just like that. She said, "Not yet." Not yet. What an "open door" answer! So he asked her if she'd like to. And she said yes! We prayed with her, and she was positively beaming. Later in the day, she was still beaming and gave us big hugs, and her friend took her picture with us. In the evening, Glen ran into Sol again, and she had brought a friend with her. And he introduced her to Jesus, too. Just like that. Way to go, Glen!

6:25 p.m.

Richard's group (Mike and Bill and Annie) came back from the remote villages, and Suzie asked them to come dance at the medical tent today, and they did. A crowd gathered, as you can imagine, to see the Indians from Los Estados Unidos.
Photo by Chris. All Rights Reserved.
Their regalia was a huge hit, and Mike played a beautiful prayer on the flute. 
Photo by Chris. All Rights Reserved.
Bill gave his moving testimony.
Photo by Chris. All Rights Reserved.
Richard spoke to the people about how Jesus was a tribal man, had dark hair and dark eyes, and came to save all peoples from all tribes.The Creator has created all the different peoples for a purpose, that the local indigenous peoples are the keepers of the land, and they should no longer be ashamed of their culture and the color of their skin, but they should embrace it as their identity. The Europeans came and brought religion (Christianity) to the people, but they didn't realize that it was wrong to rob them of their identity. We all know better now, don't we? Please? Jesus, the savior of all mankind, came to redeem all peoples and cultures – not to make them European...
The amazing Richard Twiss.
Photo by Chris. All Rights Reserved.
The looks on the faces of the people as Richard spoke were indescribable, as though a light had gone on in their spirits as tears shone in their eyes. It was hugely impactful and touched my heart greatly. I feel as though there is a great chasm between them and me that can only be bridged through reconciliation.
Photo by Chris. All Rights Reserved.
(The photographer in the picture is the immensely talented Carl LaCasse.)
On the way home to the YWAM base, Esau (YWAM director in Oaxaca) pulled over and stopped the van. He had heard Richard's message, and he wanted to talk to him about it. Esau said that everything Richard had said was very true for Oaxaca. He said the indigenous people are ashamed of their identity and suffer greatly at the hands of the established church, even still. Their culture, dance, and so on are considered sinful and are repressed. [That breaks my heart.]

Esau invited Richard to come back to bring his message to the villages. He said he would personally escort Richard. Esau's voice was so full of emotion at what he desires to bring to his people. I teared up. It was a God moment.

But back to the Palau festival. We were given permission to set up a “free prayer” area in our medical tent today! Amazing! Glen ministered to the men, and I prayed for the ladies, mostly. Just like home. We put up a little sign, and an astounding thing happened. People started lining up for prayer! It was one after another for hours and hours. Some came for prayer for healing for themselves and/or their children, some came for encouragement, some came for deliverance/freedom from curses or addictions. I used my (very) limited Spanish to tell them who I was, where I came from to pray for them, that I speak very little Spanish but understand a bit more, and that I would be praying in English. They were all okay with that and seemed appreciative of my hobbled efforts to communicate with them.

But here's the really cool part: The Holy Spirit helped me to really understand what they were saying, just enough to be able to pray for them. Both the ladies with pain in their backs and necks reported immediate improvement, as did those with arthritis and so forth. Woohoo! Talk about encouraging! There were so many people, it's hard to chronicle them, but they were almost universally visibly moved by the Holy Spirit, and I believe they felt loved and cared for. Praise God! That is what I came for. He made a way for me to minister help, hope, and healing to the people, even though I am not anywhere near coming close to approaching the hope of being fluent in their language. [Note: My eyes are tearing up even now as I remember this amazing moment in time!] And, actually, a few of the people I prayed with spoke broken Spanish themselves, being indigenous from the villages.

Flashback to last night (Friday) at the festival: Richard's group opened in prayer (We missed that part because of the traffic...bummer...). There was music by several Christian artists who are very popular in the area. Interesting thing, though, I haven't heard any mariachi music down here. It's all been conga-based. Obviously, since I love drums, I've enjoyed it very much!

Luis Palau spoke for about 45 minutes. There were thousands of people on the soccer field. The organizers were expecting 100,000 people to attend the festival, and I'm sure at least half that many attended just last night (with the largest crowd expected Saturday night). After Palau spoke, he invited the crowd to join him in a brief prayer. There were Palau workers interspersed throughout the crowd, wearing bright orange “amigo” vests. So, if you had prayed the prayer for salvation, or if you wanted prayer for something else, you would find the nearest “amigo.” Way more intimate and less showy than a huge altar call. I liked it.

The music started up again after we left, and we could hear it all the way over at YWAM. Right now (Saturday evening) I can hear the music as I sit here writing, so that means they have started up for tonight. Our contribution to the festival is over.

I felt good today and had lots of energy and feel as though it's been a good day. A beautiful day. A Kingdom day. Woohoo! Dios es amor. And I'm hungry. I only had time for a slice of fresh pineapple at lunch today, because people were waiting for prayer. I'm feeling really blessed. Silly me. I thought I was coming here to bless others.

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