Fasting, Prayer & Spiritual Warfare
Note by Bishops Michael and Stephanie Relfe, webmasters of this site: It is in the nature of some people to get a little over-optimistic when they achieve things, so you cannot take all the assumptions in this DVD as fact. For example, while much was achieved in Cali, Columbia, it is still not a “safe city”.
However, the people who have derided this DVD are in error as well. For example, some have claimed that spiritual warfare is not even in the bible. That is ridiculous. There are 98 verses about casting out demons, such as;
“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” Mark 16: 17-18.
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12
Satanists are smart and well funded. Therefore, they have taken over many Christian churches, and removed all reference to many things spiritual, especially deliverance. Mentioning deliverance will get you thrown out of most Christian churches. Must churches now are a business, they are there to collect money. Talking about evil spirits is bad for business, and bad for Satanism.
We were told by an American Christian minister who has visited South America that the evil spirits that power Freemasonry and voodoo in South America are extremely powerful, much more powerful that in the USA. People have died some horrific deaths due to black magic.
We assume that part of the reason for the extra power of the dark side in South America is due to the ancient practices of human sacrifice practiced by the Aztecs and Mayans, as well as Catholicism, which usually adopts the local customs. Catholicism in America looks much more civilized than Catholicism in places where voodoo runs rampant.
With so much organized evil in the world, it not surprising that there have been people working to downplay the achievements of the four communities shown in the Transformations DVD. What is surprising is that they managed to achieve as much as they did. Watch the DVD and see for yourself.
While the video focuses on the words “fasting and prayer”, what is extremely important is to listen out for the words that tell you that spiritual warfare was also done. We believe that this was crucial to making the fasting and prayer so successful.
By George Otis Jr.
Narrator: Transformation is a potent word, a powerful concept. But what does it mean in relation to a society? Can the spiritual DNA of a community really be altered? If so, what kind of features does this new blueprint produce? In this program we will attempt to answer these, and other important questions.
We will visit several communities whose streets and institutions have lately been rattled by the power of the Holy Spirit. We will examine both the causes and the effects of this most impressive phenomena.
To take us on this journey, we join noted investigative journalist George Otis Jr., a man who spent years reading signposts on the road to community transformation.
George Otis Jr.: “Community transformation is a concept that many Christians struggle with. But where does this tentativeness come from? My own observation is that it comes largely from the limitations of our own life experience.
If you ask believers if they have experienced spiritual revival, most will say ‘yes’. Ask if they are convinced that large-scale church growth can happen, and they will invariably site specific examples.
But what almost no one has experienced, at least in the Western world, is a profound and pervasive transformation of their community. And as a result, we are inclined to think it is unattainable.
But is this a valid assumption? I’d like you to journey with me to four communities that have been dramatically altered by the power of the Holy Spirit. Four communities that offer a shining example of what can happen when God comes to town.
Woman’s voice: “It was well known as the drug capital of the world, and along with that, all the violence and corruption. Sin of every kind you can imagine. The violence was getting worse. The church was really feeling the pressure of what was going on.”
Marci MacMillan: “So here in the Amazon, which is the Columbia Amazon, Brazilian Amazon, and Peruvian Amazon, this is where many of the cocaine laboratories are.”
Narrator: “Marcie and Randi MacMillian are veteran ministers who have lived in Cali more than twenty years. At least ten of them have been lived in the shadow of the city’s infamous drug lords. They have seen the devastating effects of the cartels ruthless control, and they have seen it, right in their own backyard.
When illicit drug money began pouring into Cali in the 1980s, the cocaine lords moved into the MacMillan’s upscale neighborhood, buying up entire blocks of luxurious haciendas.
Otis: Hey Randy, this is an unbelievable place here, over to the right. This wall looks like it’s 20 – 25 feet high. Who lived here?
Randy MacMillan: The Orejuela Rodriquez family, which are heads of the Cali cartel. During that period of their control over the country and cocaine and exportation involving, they said, over 500 million a month.
Randy MacMillan: Was what they were doing every month, just on a regular month…
Otis: That’s unbelievable.
Randy MacMillan: Yes, without anything special. And during that time security and walls were everything for them. Paranoia, fear.
Narrator: For years, Columbia was the biggest exporter of cocaine, sending upwards of 1,000 tons a year to the United States and Europe. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency called the Cali cartel the largest, richest and best organized criminal organization in history, with billions of dollars at their disposal. Their reach was pervasive, especially in Cali itself.
Marcy MacMillan: They really controlled the whole socio-economic situation, the political situation, and even the religious.
Roosevelt Muriel, President, Pastor’s Association: It was terrible. At that time, drug trafficking in Cali was one of the most powerful in the world.
People would die easily. If you were riding around in a car, and their was a confrontation, it was a miracle if you or the driver weren’t killed. And people walked around full of fear. I personally saw five people killed in Cali.
Adrienna Vivas, Television News Anchor: There were many journalists who were killed for denouncing what the mafia was doing in Columbia, importing political decisions for the country were manipulated by drug trafficking money. Influencing all aspects of society. It touched everything, absolutely everything.
Randy MacMillan: This is just one of 1,200 properties that they had in Cali.
Narrator: To freely walk the streets that once held so much terror is testimony to the remarkable changes that have come to Cali. But where did it all begin?
This story, like all transformation accounts, is rooted in the heart of intercessors, men and women who had “ears to hear” what God was saying.
Ruth Ruibal: God spoke to us that we should come to Cali.
Narrator: Ruth Ruibal and her husband Juleo came to Cali in 1978. They were dismayed at the utter darkness that had settled over the city.
But Juleo was convinced that if the people of God would join together and pray, the enemy’s grip would be broken. There was just one problem. No one wanted to do this.
Ruth Ruibal: There wasn’t really unity among the churches. You did your thing and I say “God, Bless you your brother, and have a wonderful time in your church, but this is my church, and this is what I do.”
Roosevelt Muriel, President, Pastor’s Association: The pastor’s association used to consist of nothing more than a box of files. Every pastor was working separately on his own. No one would join together.
Narrator: Following a disagreement, Juleo pulled out of the already weak Pastors’ Association, but then he realized that he was contributing to the disunity.
Ruth Ruibal: God spoke to him, and told him, “You don’t have the right to be offended, and you have to forgive.” And he took that message and he realized, he said, “If I am going to reflect Jesus, I cannot be offended in any way.”
Narrator: Juleo went back to the pastors, and begged their forgiveness. They could not afford to walk in disunity, not when their city faced such overwhelming challenges.
Ruth Ruibal: We started realizing, well, what hope do we have? We have all these international organizations plus all the Columbian authorities against the Cali cartel, and nothing ever happens.
Marcy MacMillan: Being concerned for this, we started praying and interceding and asking the Lord to show us how to pray and that’s how He took us to understand our spiritual roots.
Narrator: To gain God’s perspective on their city, local churches began to examine the spiritual dynamics in their immediate neighborhoods.
Marcy MacMillan: One of the things we would do, Randy would give out maps of the city and the government has it divided into different areas, zones, and within those zones there are many neighborhoods.
So, we would divide the church up into those zones. And according to the neighborhood where they lived, they had to bring back information of all of the problems that they saw, that were occurring, that were reoccurring – very strong problems – within their area.
Narrator: One troubling discovery was the city’s deep involvement with the occult. Even the macho drug lords were active clients of mediums and spiritual guides.
Marcy MacMillan: … had very strong roots of occultic practices, and that was mixed in with the religious leadership, and that gave them power, aside from the power that they had with their money.
Narrator: As they began to address specific strongholds over the city, Cali’s pastors felt God leading them to assemble their people for an evening of joint worship and prayer.
Roosevelt Muriel: At the beginning, the problem was people saying, “It won’t work. The people might not come.” And many opposed it. But we had leaders who dared to do things. They dared to understand that it was God’s will.
Ruth Ruibal: In ’95 we had our first all-night prayer meeting. And they prayed against principalities and powers. They prayed for unity. They believed in God to see him move in the churches.
Roosevelt Muriel: The mayor at that time got on the platform, prayed for Cali, and said, “Cali belongs to Jesus Christ.” And with those words, when the Christians heard them from the city authority, that was a confirmation of what the Holy Spirit was doing in the city.
Narrator: 48 hours after the event, the daily newspaper headlined “No Homicides”. For the first time in as long as anyone could remember, Cali had gone an entire weekend without a single murder. A newsworthy event, in a city was used to seeing upwards of 15 killings per day.
Marcy MacMillan: After these major prayer events, united prayer events, were going on, that was when we started seeing the results.
Ruth Ruibal: And ten days later the first drug lord fell. And God was changing the city.
Narrator: Encouraged by the spiritual momentum generated by the first all-night prayer vigil, church leaders decided to rent the largest venue in the city, the 55,000 seat Soccer Stadium.
Their faith was amply rewarded when more than 60,000 believers showed up to pray and worship, across denominational lines.
During the summer of 1995 the Columbian government declared all-out war against the druglords. 6,500 elite commandos were dispatched to Cali, with explicit orders to round up the cartels ringleaders.
Ruth Ruibal: There were seven top drug lords. Six had fallen in those nine months when we really started praying together.
Juleo Ruibal: The whole spiritual atmosphere of the city of Cali has changed.
Narrator: While Juleo was encouraged by God’s handiwork, he faced opposition in his own backyard. A neighbor angry over disputed property rights threatened to kill him.
Ruth Ruibal: So Juleo said I am going to fast and pray until I know what’s happening. So he was fasting and on the third day God spoke to him, and he said, “He will do you great damage. But from what he does, the revival in Cali will spread forth.”
Juleo Ruibal: I want to tell you people, this is a very dangerous thing we are doing here tonight.
Ruth Ruibal: He had a meeting with the Pastors’ Association, the Board.
Roosevelt Muriel: I was waiting for him with the other pastors at two o’clock that afternoon.
Girl: (Tearfully) He told us to drop him off.
Woman: The chauffer kept saying, “No, let me take you to the door. Let me wait with you.”
Girl: But he said, no “Just leave me here, I can walk.”
Man: He got out. He started walking towards the church.
Ruth Ruibal: Two hitmen were waiting in ambush for him.
(Sounds of two gun shots)
Girl: That was the last time I saw him (crying).
Roosevelt Muriel: I got a call, and they said, “They just killed Juleo.”
And I said, “Nah, how can they kill a pastor?” So I went to the place, thinking he was just hurt.
But when I got there, he was lying on his side like a baby.
Juleo, the noisy one, the active one, the man who just never sat still, there he was lying like a baby.
Ruth Ruibal: When they first told me about it…it’s…you’re in shock…you can’t believe it really happened.
And as I arrived, his body was still on the street. There was a pool of blood by his head, where he had been shot.
The verse that came to me just by the Spirit of God was, “Precious in the eyes of the Lord are the death of the saints.”
And as I just stepped out, and sat next to his body, I knew I was on holy ground.
And I just said, “Lord, I know that you know everything in our hearts, but this I have to say, It is well with my soul. This is what you wanted, and it is well with my soul.””
Narrator: In shock and struggling to understand God’s purposes in this tragedy, hundreds of Christians gathered at Juleo’s funeral, including many pastors who had not even been speaking to each other.
Ruth Ruibal: And all the pastors came forward and we embraced each other, and we made a covenant of unity, saying that we would not let things get between us.
Narrator: Today, this covenant of unity extends to some 200 pastors and serves as the backbone of the city’s high profile prayer vigils.
George Otis Jr.: It has led to an absolute transformation in this city. Corruption has been reduced dramatically. The cocaine drug cartels have been shattered in this city.
There are about 60,000 people and they have come here to spend the entire night praying that God would continue the marvelous work he has been doing in this city for 36 consecutive months.
Narrator: While thousands of exuberant worshippers lit up the inside of the stadium, staff security was forced to turn away an additional 15,000 participants at the gate. Undaunted, the late comers formed an impromptu praise march that circled the stadium for hours.
Rev. Colin Crawford, Columbian House of Representatives: What you are seeing here today in this stadium is a miracle. You know that some years ago it would have been impossible for Evangelicals to gather like this, but God is raising up his church.
Rev. Colin Crawford, Columbian House of Representatives: And in the name of Jesus, this is what is happening today in Columbia.
Otis.: This is something that pastors and intercessors in the United States, in Europe, all over the world need to witness. This is what God is doing in our day.
Narrator: As the kingdom of God has descended upon Cali, many prominent citizens have come into relationship with Christ. Rafael Araujo Gamez is Columbia’s leading sports commentator. For years he has broadcast championship soccer matches from the stadium.
Rafael Araujo Gamez, Sports Commentator: I am here today because six months ago I came to know Jesus, and accepted him as my savior. I have been worshipping him and praising him ever since.
George Otis Jr.: How does the excitement of what is going on in (?) compared to the soccer matches?
Rafael Araujo Gamez: There is no comparison. With the soccer games it’s just a lot of yelling and screaming. Here you enjoy it from the heart.
George Otis Jr.: Are you a pretty happy man in the last six months?
Rafael Araujo Gamez: Yes. Very different. I have been changed. I am joyful. It’s a different life.
Narrator: Mario Jinete is a prominent attorney and motivational speaker, whose radio program is heard through Latin America. After searching for peace in various new age and self help organizations, he finally came home to Christ.
Mario Jinete: From that moment on I started to find a real peace inside of me. I definitely believe that even though I’m a spiritual baby, the answer is here inside the bible.
I feel that I lost 41 years of my life, but I know now that God has a plan for me.
Narrator: Mario’s new passion is to learn the ways of God and serve him through the media.
Mario Jinete: I understand that God is saying to me, “It’s not the way you want it, it’s the way that I want it.”
And I say, “Yes, so be it, Lord. It’s what you want. But use me. I want to serve you.”
Ruth Ruibal: For the unsaved people, all of a sudden they are coming to the place, and saying, what have we got here? Where are we going? What hope is there? There’s corruption here. There’s fraud there. Every place they look comes to a dead end.
And all of a sudden they say, “There’s got to be an answer. There’s got to be an answer” And you combine that with a church that says, “There is an answer. There is an answer” And you’ve got an explosion coming.
Narrator: Even city officials acknowledge the positive effects of the Gospel.
Marcy MacMillan: The government officials were saying to the president of the Pastor’s Association, “Hey, listen, we need more of you guys in the government. We need honest people like you guys.
And the mayor said, “I can’t charge you for using the stadium because you are doing us a favor.” So now they are looking at the church like …we are bringing something positive.
Narrator: When local churches wanted to offer a spiritual alternative to Cali’s traditional fair, a ten day affair usually accompanied by drunken debauchery, city officials agreed.
Not only would they give the Christians rent-free use of the 22,000 seat velodrome, they would also pay for the advertising, sound support and security. This new openness to the Gospel is affecting all levels of society.
Gustavo Jaramillo Mora, Businessman / Politician: Nowadays it is no longer viewed as strange to have the Lord in our daily lives.
Upper class people are accepting that Jesus is a need in their lives, and they don’t view it as something ridiculous. Because before they thought it was a joke, that it was the worst thing that you could bring up in a conversation.
Nowadays, you can speak about God and everybody will respect it and is interested.
Narrator: Explosive church growth is happening all over the city, across denominational lines. Ask pastors to define their strategy, and they say, “We don’t have time to plan. We are too busy pulling the nets into the boat.” And the numbers are growing. One church hosts more than 35,000 people.
Hazem Hamada: They can’t all fit in at once. So what they do on Sunday, they have seven services. They have one at 7.00 in the morning, one at 9.00, 11.00, one at 1.00 pm, at 3.00, at 5.00 and at 7.00 at night. It has really been an explosion, especially in this church.
George Otis Jr.: And is this happening in some other churches in the city as well?
Hazem Hamada: It’s happening in other churches. Almost every church in Cali is growing.
There’s a hunger for God everywhere. I mean, you can see it in the buses, on the streets, you can talk to anybody, anywhere you go.
Narrator: Church leaders believe this spiritual hunger is a direct result of their unity and fervent prayer. It is a process that continues with repentance and reconciliation, sweeping away barriers to evangelism.
Adrienna Vivas, Television News Anchor: I believe that now the church is very united, and that it is not just these problems that have made the people draw closer to God. But it is God himself moving in the city.
Hector Torres, Hispanic International Ministries: It is interesting that the Lord picked the city of Cali. A city that was controlled and manipulated by illegal monies, by drug lords, by corruption. That would be the most unlikely city that you would pick.
And yet, God picked the city of Cali. And I believe that God did that purposefully to show the entire world and the leadership of the cities of this world, that God can transform a community, if the community repents.
Narrator: The revival Juleo prophesied before his death has begun. As his family celebrates the church’s new found unity, and the throngs of people coming eagerly to Christ, they are comforted and honored to have played a part.
Ruth Ruibal: And we realize that God had entrusted to us the greatest thing that anybody could ever do, and that is give the very closest as a martyr for Jesus Christ, and we realize that put a big responsibility on us as well. To exalt his name in this, because we knew that God was doing something great.
Abby & Sarah Ruibal: With his death, it encouraged us to want to do the same, to lay down our lives for the Lord, and not just die for him, but to live for him, that can be harder than dying for him.
George Otis Jr.: Do you feel that some of that vision that your father had is living on through you?
Abby & Sarah Ruibal: Yes. It’s very much a part of us.
Ruth Ruibal: Juleo used to say, “I am immortal until I have done everything God has for me to do.”
If you were to ask Juleo, if you could talk to him now, and say, “Was it worth it?”, he would say “Yes, because that was where his heart was.
(Unidentified man): What everyone thought was impossible, what everyone thought was totally, virtually, humanly impossible, I bear witness before God and you this evening that nothing is impossible for God. Nothing is impossible for God.
George Otis Jr.: I think God is doing something new, not only in the city of Cali, not only in the nation of Columbia, but all across the face of the earth today. If this is what the church has to look forward to in the years ahead, I want to be a part of it.
Male voice: Kiambu was a town which had a very bad history. In fact, it had the worst history in our country. For murder, rape, violence, it was well known. This town was not growing. The chances were not good. Because of the bad reputation of the town, nobody wanted to come.
Narrator: By the late 1980s, this distressed suburb of Nairobi had become one of the most dangerous and depressive places in Kenya.
Bars and elicit stills outnumbered churches and grocery stores. Fueled by a river of alcohol Kiambu’s crime rate rose to the worst in the nation. Nobody, especially women, dared venture out after dark. Civil servants routinely paid bribes to avoid assignments in Kiambu.
Despite years of efforts in this town of 65,000, no church had ever been able to grow beyond a few dozen members. As one weary pastor put it, “We preach the gospel here, but the people don’t get saved.”
Thomas Muthee: The Lord spoke to me and my wife, about 1988, and told us to come to Kiambu and to plant a church.
Narrator: Itinerant ministers Thomas and Margaret Muthee weren’t exactly thrilled when God called them to the town of Kiambu. They knew church planning in this notorious ministry graveyard would not be easy. In fact, ministry colleagues in Nairobi thought the whole idea was crazy, and they didn’t hesitate to say so.
But the Muthees realized that to be successful they would need to identify and confront the source of Kiambu’s spiritual oppression.
Thomas Muthee: We find in the bible, a saying in Ephesians 6:12, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against powers, principalities.”
So our problem was not the people in the town. Our problem was, what were they doing to the people? What is keeping them the way they are?
Narrator: For six months the Muthee’s committed themselves to fervent prayer and diligent research.
Thomas Muthee: So we asked God, “What is the root cause?” We prayed. We fasted. The Lord showed us a spirit of witchcraft resting over the place.
Narrator: They discovered that many of the things going on in Kiambu were linked to a powerful woman named Mamma Jane.
Although she pretended to be a Christian and even called her divination house “Emmanuel Clinic”, her business was pure witchcraft. Mamma Jane’s clientele included the town’s top business and political leaders, who came to have their fortunes told.
Realizing that Kiambu was in the grip of powerful, evil forces, the Muthees began to press in to God.
Thomas Muthee: And at the end of six months we got an assurance in our spirit that the spiritual power had been broken.
Narrator: Seizing this window of opportunity, Thomas conducted his first outdoor crusade. By the end of the first week, more than 200 people had committed their hearts to Christ.
Soon, healings and conversions were common place. When the municipal hall could no longer accommodate the crowds, Thomas moved his congregation into the basement of a nearby grocery store. Filled with round-the-clock intercession, it was promptly dubbed “The Prayer Cave”.
Distressed by these developments, Mamma Jane began to counter-attack in targeted witchcraft. A thick oppression descended upon prayer and worship services. It remained until elders discovered Mamma Jane’s handiwork outside the church.
Realizing they were dealing with demonic influences, the believers took authority over the situation.
Thomas Muthee: Just raised up our hands one morning, and we prayed that she get saved or leave town.
Narrator: Within days, Mamma Jane was stripped of her power. Within weeks she packed up and left town.
Thomas Muthee: Once this power of witchcraft, the principality that was over Kiambu was broken. Then the presence of God started to hover around the town.
Narrator: The entire atmosphere changed. Where once people used to be afraid to go out at night, Kiambu now enjoys one of the lowest crime rates in the country. Local bars have been closed, and remodeled into churches.
Thomas Muthee: The town has flourished. We have seen actual change, and with the presence of God there comes other changes. Favors. Prosperity. That’s what we are seeing today.
Narrator: Now that Kiambu has a good name, people from Nairobi are flocking to get houses there. The population is up by 30%.
There has also been a dramatic increase in the number of conversions. The Kiambu Prayer Cave, otherwise known as the Word of Faith Church, has expanded to more than 5,000 members; not bad in a town where congregations used to average only 30-40 people.
Thomas Muthee: We are seeing God do great things in this town. We are seeing lives changed; Criminals coming to Jesus, prostitutes, (?), all kinds of people coming to Jesus.
Narrator: As Thomas is quick to point out, the recipe for continued success must also include prayer.
Thomas Muthee: Prayer is communicating with God. It’s not simple. It’s talking to God, who has the power to change situations. Now there’s so much prayer in this place that helps us to not only maintain what we are doing, but also to gain more ground.
Narrator: Each day more than 400 intercessors gather to pray. The routine begins at 6am. They call it their morning glory. This is supplemented by Friday night prayer vigils and Wednesday evening gatherings called “Operation Prayer Storm”.
Thomas Muthee: Prayer generates a power. In that (?) is extraordinary, is the power that transforms. I have seen it transform this city. If God can do it in Kiambu, he can do it anywhere in the world.
Man: This town was in serious trouble.
Man: Lots of Satanism, witchcraft, we had burnings in the valley, Maharishi Mahesh yogi, TM Transcendental Meditation facilities, Church of Scientology. We discovered that we were the methamphetamine manufacturing capital of the west coast.
Man: There was a spirit of competition that reigned and ruled, with not just the churches, but at the head of those churches, within the pastors.
Narrator: For years this sleepy retirement community near the San Jacinto Mountains was known as a pastors’ graveyard. People came to the valley to live out a life of ease, and they wanted to be left alone. But underneath this laidback lifestyle there lurked a dark side.
Bob Becket, Pastor, The Dwelling Place Church: The community’s problems had an underlying spiritual basis to them. The valley is very seated in cultic and occultic activity.
Narrator: Cults weren’t the only problem. Neighborhood youth gangs had played the Hemet suburb of San Jacinto for decades. Pastor Gordon Houston Assembly of God church sits on the very street that’s home to the notorious First Street Gang.
Gordon Houston, Pastor, San Jacinto Assembly of God: There are children whose dads and grandfathers were a part of the First Street Gang, and so this is something that has perpetuated itself throughout the generations literally.
Narrator: The danger was so great around the First Street area the police refused to go there without substantial backup.
Gordon Houston: We got a phone call the middle of the night, it was about two or three o’clock in the morning…
Narrator: Gordon experienced first hand the gang’s destructive nature when his church was vandalized one night.
Gordon Houston: and at the base on the inside there was this large pool of blood, I mean it was massive, and that was when the police told us who it was who had broken this window.
It was one of the family members of the home right across the street who was the central part of the gang structure here in San Jacinto.
Narrator: It turns out the Hemet Valley was also a major drug center. At least nine methamphetamine labs operated out of the area, each benefiting from the dry climate, remote location and friendly law enforcement.
Sonny, Former Meth Drug Cooker: I actually had law enforcement officers transport methamphetamine for me, and they are in their police cars!
Narrator: Sonny often cooked up enough meth in a given month to supply more than a million people. Much of the deadly powder was trucked out of town disguised as forms of sheet rock.
Hemet’s spiritual turnaround did not come easily. Neither the Beckets nor the Houstons were early valley enthusiasts.
Bob Beckett: I never really wanted to be there. I mean, we are out there in the middle of nowhere, 18 miles from the closed freeway, in a valley. My wife and I, Susan and I, had our emotional bags packed all the time, waiting for the day when God would somehow call us out of this valley.
Narrator: The Houstons did not even unpack their bags when they arrived in town.
Gordon Houston: We had our little baby, our little 6 month old baby, and a Pinto run about with no air conditioning and vinyl seats, and we drove down the street, and we looked at the church, and we said, “No thank you.”
Bob Beckett: God began to speak to my wife and I and said, “Would you spend the rest of your life in this valley, for Me? And God could not have asked a worse question of me. Would I spend the rest my life in a valley I didn’t love, I didn’t care for, I didn’t want to be part of?
Gordon Houston: And God said, No, I’ve got a plan, I’ve got a plan, if you will make a commitment to this place.
Narrator: The Becketts silenced the voices urging them to live Hemet, by purchasing a cemetery plot on the edge of town.
Bob Becket: And I said, unless Jesus comes back, this is my land, I’m starting. My commitment is right here.
Narrator: Filled with a new passion for his community, Becket joined several men for a night of prayer and fasting in a nearby mountain cabin. It proved to be a powerful experience.
Bob Becket: We new we had touched something in the realm of the spirit that would be very significant for our valley. It was at our point that things started to escalate spiritually.
Narrator: Researchers started to feed intercessors fresh information plaguing the community.
Bob Becket: The intercessors in our church have been able to use spiritual mapping to help them focus on issues. If you don’t know what the problem is, you can’t evaluate it.
Gordon Houston: Spiritual mapping brings us to a place of knowledge and information. If I have a base of issues that I know are strongholds within my city, then God has the ability to speak something into my heart to say, “Gather the intercessors, and go after this, now.”
Narrator: Soon, a chorus of informed intercession was yielding impressive results. Cult membership, once a serious threat, has sunked to less than 3/10 of 1% of the population. The Church of $cientology is still present, but many other groups are long gone.
The Transcendental Meditation training center was literally burned out. Shortly after believers prayed for its removal, a brush fire started in the mountains on the west side of the valley. It burned only the TM facility, and did not touch either of the buildings on either side.
Gangs are another success story.
Officer Brady Hill, San Jacinto Police Dept: When I started here, guys working graveyard or swing shift, we could camp out on Main Street where the bars are, and just go from one fight to the other, taking people to jail all night long. And now that doesn’t happen anywhere like it used to.
Narrator: Not long ago, a leader of the First Street Gang burst down the center aisle of Gordon Houston’s church, during a morning worship service.
Gordon Houston: I’m standing up preaching, and here comes this gang member, and tattooed up, and he’s walking right to the platform with some pretty intense force, and I didn’t know what’s going on, and so I kept on preaching until he got really close, and he just stopped and he looked up at me and he said, “I want to get saved, right now.”
Narrator: Soon, all the inhabitants of the notorious First Street Gang House were converted, and one of their first outward acts was to remove graffiti from vandalized church walls.
Gordon Houston: And we prayed, asking God to allow the opportunity to see their family come to the Lord, to see their children get out of drugs and get saved, and God did it, the entire family, all the children, everybody came to know the Lord, they got out of the drug activity and the gang activity.
Sonny: And it’s really changing, it’s really amazing to see the change.
Narrator: According to Sonny, Hemet’s drug trade has dropped by as much as 75%. He gives much of the credit to intercessors.
Sonny: They took a multi-million dollar drug corporation, and made it run with its tail between its legs.
Narrator: Sonny himself was apprehended by the Holy Spirit, en route to commit a murder.
Driving to meet his intended victim, he felt something take control of the steering wheel.
He wound up in the parking lot of Bob Beckett’s dwelling place church.
Sonny: I got out of the car, and I had a pistol laying on the seat, covered up with a blanket, with a silencer on it. And I think, “God, what am I doing?” And I end up walking into a prayer meeting. And it was all over from that moment on.
Narrator: That was the beginning of Sonny’s journey home, a journey he says was brought about through prayer.
Sonny: If God can do that for me, he can do that for anyone, because I was out there, and this town has got a lot of people in it, praying.
Narrator: Drug dealers and gang members aren’t the only ones getting saved in the Hemet Valley. Church attendance now stands at about 14%, double what it was just 10 years ago.
Song: We lift up a shout! A victory shout! For we’ve overcome by the blood Of the Lamb and the word of our mouth.
(Webmaster’s comment: We overcome by the Word of the Lord, not of our mouths.
Contemporary Christian music does not have the right energy/frequencies. Satanism controls most music companies, and encrypts the wrong energy into the music).
Now we have a professing mayor, a professing police chief, professing fire chief, professing city manager, down through the ranks.
Debbie Cornett, San Jacinto Mayor: Lately everybody’s conversation to me has been “I don’t know how you do it. How do you do it?”
Because the attack is great. I feel God called me to this, and he hasn’t told me to quit yet, or he hasn’t shut the door. Instead I see him opening doors, to more churches, more people, more Christians, to really bring them together and say, “You know, you want Christians in leadership, so now you have them, now you have to support them.
And the only way you can support them is through prayer.”
Narrator: Becket estimates that about 30% of local law enforcement and an exceptional number of high school teachers, coaches and principals are now believers. In fact, for the past several years, nearly 85% of all school district staff candidates have been Christians.
Gordon Houston: You name it, God has just turned the school system around, and to the point where we used to be one of the laughing stock school districts, where nobody wanted to send their child to the San Jacinto school district.
Now our students have some of the highest academic ratings and one of the lowest dropout ratings in all of the Western United States.
Waldo Burford, San Jacinto Highschool Principal: In school, and all parts of the community, it has become a place where everybody works together, and it’s a spiritual place, and we’ve taken on the battles of the dark side and drawn the line and said that we are going to reclaim the community. That’s what we are about, all working together.
Narrator: And the churches in the valley are no longer squabbling, but are coming together in unity.
Bob Becket: Now we are becoming as churches a wall of living stones. Now churches aren’t competing. They’re swapping pulpits with one another. We have Baptist and Pentecostal pulpits, and vice versa, and Lutherans with Episcopalians and it’s changed the life of the church. It’s begun to build a fabric instead of loose yarn.
Narrator: Recently, several dozen Hemet area churches cosponsored a convoy of hope, where thousands of residents received free food, clothing and medical exams. They also got a good dose of God’s love.
Gordon Houston: It’s probably one of the greatest things to hit our valley in recent years. This is what Church is all about. It’s not about sitting inside of the four walls of our building, it’s about going in and touching the lives of people, where they are.
Narrator: Attracted to this pro-active love, more than 300 people gave their hearts to Christ.
Bob Becket: This has been so phenomenal. I’ve just been blown away by the number of people who have come, who have responded. This is something that couldn’t be done with just one church. It took us all, to be able to do this.
Gordon Houston: I’m not just going to be held accountable for how I treated my church. I’m going to be held accountable for how did I pastor my city. And now the atmosphere in our city has completely turned.
Bob Becket: We recognize that it’s building people. It’s not building a church. This is not a church growth issue, this is a Kingdom growth issue.
Bob Becket: Hemet is not a perfect town, and probably never will be. But Hemet is definitely in the process of transformation. Transformation is taking place. It is not the same community it was in the past.
Man: Almolonga was an extremely poor village.
George Otis: This was a community in total poverty and alcohol addiction.
Man: Violence, ignorance, witchcraft, the occult, idol worshipping.
George Otis: A few kilometers we will be entering the town of Almolonga. The city’s 20,000+ inhabitants have made a conscious choice to severe the continuum with ancestral spirit worship.
As a consequence, Almolonga is today one of the cleanest, most prosperous towns in all of Guatemala. It’s a city of churches.
Narrator: Many site Almolonga as an world class example of community transformation. It may very well be. As many as 8 out of 10 residents now consider themselves born-again Christians.
But it hasn’t always been like this. Just 20 years ago, Almolonga was a dark and dangerous place.
Harold Caballeros, Pastor El Shaddai Church: ? from poverty, violence, ignorance and besides that, alcohol was the main problem.
If you were to go to Almolonga 20 years ago in the morning, 7 am, and walk the streets of Almolonga, you would have encountered many, many, many just lying on the street, because they were totally drunk.
Donato Santiago, Almolonga Police Chief: We had many jails because there were so many problems.
Narrator: Chief of Police, Donato Santiogo, recalls that people were always fighting. Officials built four jails, but even they could not contain the problem. Overflow prisoners were routinely bussed to a nearby city. Domestic violence was especially pronounced.
Mell Winger, Missionary, Discipleship Trainer: I talked to a woman who said that her husband would, if he didn’t like the meal, that she would be beaten and kicked out of the home.
Narrator: Pastor Mariano Riscajache, one of the key leaders of Almolonga’s spiritual turn around, has similar memories.
Mariano Riscajache, Pastor, El Cavario Church: I was raised in misery. My father sometimes drank for 40-50 straight days. We never had a big meal, only a little tortilla with a small glass of coffee. My parents spent what little money they had on alcohol.
Narrator: In an effort to ease their suffering, many townspeople made pacts with folk deities, like Paschal Bylon (spelling?), the Lord of Death, and Moshimon (spelling?), a powerful patron saint.
Harold Caballeros: Moshimon, he was the most important idol (can’t hear these 2 words).When the Spaniards came to (?), thirty years ago, they found that indigenous people, they were willing to negotiate certain things.
There was one thing they were not willing to do any deal about. That was Moshimon, that was too important an idol for them.
Narrator: This syncretism created a powerful stronghold. Although Moshimon took on the form of a wooden mannequin, the spirit behind the idol held tenacious power over the people of Almolonga.
Mariano Riscajache: It’s just a wooden mask, but it’s very powerful, a terrible stronghold that binds people.
Narrator: During these dark days, the gospel did not fair well. Outside evangelists were commonly chased away with sticks or rocks, while small, local house churches were also stoned. Evangelical Christians were a despised minority.
On one occasion, six men shoved a gun barrel down Mariano’s throat. As they began to pull the trigger, he silently petitioned the Lord for protection.
When the hammer fell, nothing happened.
Narrator: Delivered from death, Pastor Riscajache called his small flock into prayer. It was time to break the strangle hold of violence, superstition and poverty. As the intercessors lifted their petitions Heavenward, they were filled with a supernatural faith.
Mariano Riscajache: We told the Lord it is not possible that we could be so insignificant, when your Word says we are heads, and not tails. We kept fasting three or four days a week. And every Saturday we held a prayer vigil, and that was what I think opened the door.
Harold Caballeros: People started to believe. Men started to save and come to church. It was tremendous, a tremendous blessing.
Man: And then after many signs and wonders started taking place, and a lot of mass deliverance from demonic oppression. Churches started growing.
Narrator: One dramatic healing involved a woman named Theresa. A botched medical procedure had led to the onset of gangrene. Her internal organs were literally rotting.
Theresa: I was in a lot of pain, so much that I couldn’t walk. My whole body was paralyzed, and I couldn’t even eat or talk.
Man: She was very sick, and her condition got worse with every passing day. There was nothing we could do, so we decided to arrange her funeral, because there was no hope for her.
Woman: The house was filled with family members and neighbors had gathered outside. Everyone thought she was dying. The smell of death was everywhere.
Mariano Riscajache: They called me to arrange the funeral, and on the way there the Lord told me to pray for her. So I just went up to her bed and said, “In the name of Jesus Christ, get up.” And she rose up instantly, with no sickness in her body.
Theresa: I felt a warmth and I saw a bright light above me. Then I opened my eyes and I saw the pastor. I rejoice before the Lord for my healing, and I give thanks to God for my life.
Woman: After they saw the miracle, my mother and all of my brothers and sisters were converted.
Narrator: With such dramatic testimonies, hundreds began giving their hearts to Christ.
Mell Winger: When people saw that the gospel started changing lives, they started taking note. People started becoming more and more attracted to the gospel, because they saw the transformation in individual lives.
Narrator: Now there are more than two dozen evangelical churches in Almalonga, a town of just 19,000. Mariano Riscajache’s El Cavario Church seats 1,200 and is nearly always packed.
But the Holy Spirit’s presence is not measured by church growth alone. A walk through Almolonga’s bustling commercial district reveals the impact of the revival social transformation. Streets and buildings are named after biblical places. If foreigners see this display of public faith extraordinary, Mariano sees it as perfectly natural.
Mariano Riscajache: How can you say you love God if you don’t show it? Didn’t Paul say “I am not ashamed of the gospel.”?
Narrator: Where once Almalonga was peppered with bars or cantinas, 36 in all, now there are only 3. And as the drinking stopped, so did the violence.
For 20 years the town’s crime rate has declined steadily. In 1994 the last of Almolonga’s 4 jails closed. The remodeled building is now called the Hall of Honor. For Police Chief Santiago, these are the good times.
George Otis Jr.: You don’t have any jails in town now?
Donato Santiago: No, nothing.
George Otis Jr.: Because you don’t need them?
Donato Santiago: No, because there’s no people in trouble…. Not like before.
Narrator: Even the town’s agricultural base has come to life. For years, crop yields around Almolonga suffered from a combination of arid land and poor work habits. But as the people have turned to God, they have seen a remarkable transformation of their land.
Harold Caballeros: Almolonga became a fertile valley. It is so fertile, the land is so good, they produce the best vegetables, they get as many as three harvests a year. They sell their vegetables to Guatemala, South of Mexico and Salvadore.
Narrator: Before the spiritual turn around, growers were exporting four truckloads of produce a month. Now, they leave town 40 times a week! Nick-named, “America’s Vegetable Garden”, Almolonga’s produce is of Biblical proportions.
Harold Caballeros: You have to see them to believe it. Beets are 4 ½ pounds, a carrot is this size, it is unbelievable!
Narrator: Intrigued by the dimensions of these vegetables, and the town’s 1,000% increase in agricultural productivity, researchers from the U.S. and other foreign countries have come to Almolonga to learn their secret. But the answer is not what they expected.
Man: The wisdom that God gave the farmers of Almalonga produced a better crop than the scientific methods yielded, and the farmers constantly give the glory to the Lord for producing the bountiful harvest.
Farmer: Before when we harvested the radish, it would take up to 60 days. But when God came in to town it took only 40, and now quite often it takes only 25 days to harvest.
You can see a parallel between the people’s faith and improving soil. At the same time that people started believing in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, the vegetables started growing. Once people were set free, they started working. Once they began to work, they became financial. They started working the land better, and the land started producing better.
Narrator: Farmers pay cash for large Mercedes trucks, and then emblazon them with Christian phrases.
Harold Caballeros: It is wonderful. In eight years, the result of the Gospel transformed the community.
Narrator: Idolatry and superstition have fled, leaving behind a people dedicated to fervent worship and honest labor. Traditional stoicism has given way to heart felt exuberance.
Harold Caballeros: What you have is 20 Protestant churches, very active, very militant and very involved in praise and worship, deliverance and so on and so forth.
Narrator: Despite their success, believers in Almolonga have no intention of letting up. Many fast three times a week, and continue to assault the forces of darkness through prayer and evangelism. As neighboring towns celebrate the Day of the Dead, the people of Almolonga turn out in mass to celebrate the Living God.
The Town’s born-again Mayor welcomed a crowd of almost 15,000 into the Market Square. They gathered to pray for a continued expansion of the Gospel, in their valley and around the world.
Harold Caballeros: The price we pray for this is holiness and consecration. Prayer and fasting gives us victories over principalities. It wasn’t a theological preparation. It was simply throwing ourselves to the Lord.
Mell Winger: I think in many cases when we talk about community transformation we have a battle with unbelief. Is our God and the Gospel powerful enough to truly impact our community? Almolonga teaches us this.
You had a community given to idolatry, witchcraft, alcoholism, disruptive families and now you have a community transformed. And that is a good picture to us, that, yes, God can do it there, and He can do it in my community.
Donato Santiago: God has lifted us, and we need to take advantage of this opportunity. We are a generation that God is going to use in the transformation, not only of our community, but the whole world.
Mell Winger: It is a beautiful spectacle to go and see the effect of the Gospel, because you actually can actually see it. And that’s what we want for our communities, for our cities and for our nations.
George Otis Jr.: For the last hour we have followed the road to community transformation through neighborhoods on three continents, and along the way our eyes have feasted on the handiwork of God in individual lives and entire social structures. And not one of these stories has been an aberration, rather they are reflections of divine intent. They are the way things are supposed to be.
Our journey has taught us that there are steps that we can and should be taking to position our communities for a visitation of the Holy Spirit. These include asking God to increase our appetite for the things that attract his presence, most notably unity and holiness and faith and humility.
At the same time we must cultivate a crop of persevering leaders, whose collective vision for the community is watered by informed, sustained intercession. What God has done in Cali, Kiambu, Hemet and Almolonga is indeed glorious, but it’s only a hint of the story that is now breaking across the face of the earth.
Titles: Mizorum, India….
Sao Paulo, Brazil….
Umuofai Village, Nigeria …
Sibereo-American – Arctic…
Selakau Villages, Malaysia…
Vitoria da Conquista, Brazil…
Beruit of Kampala, Uganda…
San Nicolas, Argentina.
Song: We lift up a shout! A victory shout! For we’ve overcome by the blood Of the Lamb and the word of our mouth. We’ve declared war! In the Name Of the Lord! We’ve laid down our lives That the triumph of Christ May resound in the earth!
We lift up a shout! A victory shout! For we’ve overcome by the blood Of the Lamb and the word of our mouth. We’ve declared war! In the Name Of the Lord! We’ve laid down our lives That the triumph of Christ May resound in the earth!
We’ve laid down our lives That the triumph of Christ May resound in the earth!