Revive me, O LORD, according to your word. Ps. 119:107b (NKJV)
A REVIVAL IN LATIN AMERICA: Pastor Gary Carter has taught in many SRL sites in different countries. In one of his mission trips to Bolivia, the pastors there gave him a tour through the Andes. They pointed at different towns where Reformed churches were thriving. Pastor Gary asked for the names of the pastors. He discovered that all of them were his students from the SRL Medellín campus. Such is the case in many other countries. Pastor Carter wrote:
In about 1980 I began to read the history of revivals. I started with Whitefield, Edwards, and Brainerd; then I tapped into accounts that are inexhaustible, because our Savior himself is inexhaustible. I questioned over the years if I would ever see this in my life. The desire for it was, in a sense, a revival in my own heart. When I began to go to South America for SRL, I met the young men God was raising up to preach Reformed doctrine, and seeing the vibrant congregations, I knew that God was giving them hungry hearers of the Word. I felt God had given me the privilege to taste and see that He was doing a reviving work through His word with SRL in His hands. I will be 70 years old next year and I feel God is giving us a measure of what Simeon in the temple felt when he said, “My eyes have seen your salvation!” Those who have gone and taught and seen these things, I believe, will have the witness in themselves.
VENEZUELAN PROJECT: Eight years ago, the first SRL Reformed Conference was held in Caracas, bringing the dawn of the Reformation in Venezuela. SRL trained many Venezuelan pastors in Medellín. On their return, along with other pastors, they produced a Reformation explosion there. The red dots indicate the Reformation presence in Venezuela. The multiplication of churches and revival in that country is so great that now we need to strengthen the SRL sites by investing $15,000.00 per year. This small investment will provide support for three well-trained Venezuelan missionary professors who, under the leadership of Pastor Joscar Chirinos, will travel through many towns and cities giving Reformed lectures and promoting seminary education. It also will pay the rent where the main SRL center will operate, and pay for equipment, books, materials, and transportation for the missionaries. Some trips through narrow roads take up to 24 hours.
We are looking for Kingdom investors who will take on this project for a few years until it is firmly established. Please take advantage of this opportunity to expand God’s Kingdom in such an impoverished country, but spiritually rich. See this link that shows the growth of a Venezuelan church that began with a few people meeting on a piece of land: https://bit.ly/ibrgs2023
A REVIVAL TOOL: At the heart of SRL is the large group of volunteer professors who donate one week a year to teach at any of the sites from the USA, through Central America, to Chile and Argentina. When they see this magnificent revival, professors commit to several weeks a year. Among them is Dr. Sugel Michelén, Pastor of IBSJ church in the Dominican Republic. We thank God for his life and his ministry. I believe that he has visited all the countries in LATAM. He has taught for many years at SRL and has participated in most of the 14 SRL Reformed Conferences. Within a month from our last conference in Medellín (July 2023), Dr. Michelén attracted over 80,000 YouTube views. His conferences in different countries attract thousands of attendees, and many more thousands who follow him virtually. After an intensive presentation schedule in Medellín, Dr. Michelén traveled to Buenos Aires, Córdoba, and Paraguay, teaching expository preaching and promoting the Doctrines of Grace. Now he is on his way to Spain. Whatever nation I visited, I always found pastors listening to him through tv, radio, and other media channels. He is, perhaps, the reformer with the greatest audience in the Spanish-speaking world.
For these reasons, when we speak of revival, we must mention the tremendous work that, by God’s grace, this 21st century reformer has done in LATAM, USA, and Europe. He is a great tool in the hands of God as this revival goes on. Our profound gratitude to Pastor Michelén and his dear wife, Gloria. He is a precious gift from God to SRL and to the church. Please hold this reformer up in prayer.
PERSECUTION: Pastor Germán Díaz ministers in the city of Neiva, Colombia. His father was one of the richest men of the city, and influential with the bishop, governor, senators, mayor, and businesses. When Germán was converted under the Doctrines of Grace, he became an avid Bible and theological student, and began an evangelization mission among the poor. That was a disgrace to his Roman Catholic father and family because high class society does not mingle with the poor. Worst yet, Germán became a Protestant, which was an insult to the Roman Catholics who looked down upon Protestantism, a religion of the ignorant poor and uneducated pastors. Germán’s father spoke to the bishop, seeking a solution to such embarrassment. The solution: the bishop would meet with Germán and present a document permitting him to teach as his representative, i.e., teaching Roman Catholic curriculum only. Germán attended the meeting with the bishop. He thanked his “excellency” but told him that he only would teach the Gospel from the Bible alone. The angry bishop threatened him with excommunication. Germán respectfully responded, “You cannot excommunicate me.” The bishop screamed, “Why not? Don’t you know that I am the bishop?” Germán answered, “Yes, your excellency, but I am not a Catholic.” The bishop snatched the permit from his hands. He gathered all the high government officials and Germán’s father and agreed to excommunicate Germán during a high solemn mass where Germán’s father would publicly shun and disown his son.
From that Sunday on, Germán encountered many obstacles prior to being able to establish a Reformed church in the heart of the City of Neiva. Poor and hated by many—especially by Roman Catholics—he planted a Reformed Church, but for 10 years he was forced to move his congregation from place to place to place, as rental locations were spitefully cancelled. However, when I and Dr. Bruce McDowell, a pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church (Philadelphia), visited Germán three months before the church was scheduled to vacate another location, he told us that there was a piece of land for sale, but no bank would give him a loan and the interest rate was 36%. We examined the property which was in a central location. The price was $50,000.00. We called several friends in the US to see if they were interested in lending the money at 6% annual interest, then we prayed for a good part of the night. In the morning, an investor was ready to lend the money with SRL as the guarantor. At breakfast, we gave the news to Pastor Díaz. He thought we were kidding. Then he turned his back to us, kneeled with his face on the floor and prayed: Dear Abba, why did you put me in such misery for 10 years? I thank you for providing a solution. I love you, Papito. I love you. Grant us success. It is Your church after all. Thank you for sending these brothers at the right time. I love you, Papito. At this time, we were also on the floor praying with him and crying like babies, thanking our Heavenly Abba. (Papito).
The land was purchased immediately. All the members of the church worked day and night to erect the building, and within three months, they completed the task, utilizing materials that were rejected and thrown away at other construction sites. The floor became a mosaic of tiles discarded from the tile factories for which Neiva is known. During the clearing of the land, a church member survived a coral snake bite and, by contrast, on a particular Sunday, a dove landed on the roof of the baptistry as 38 new members were baptized. The SOLAS of the Reformation and TULIP were displayed on the entrance walls. While singing hymns through the streets of Neiva, members and friends carried their chairs in procession to the new location. It was Christmastime when the first service began in the new festively lit sanctuary. Strains of Noche de Paz, Silent Night, sung by Mimi, were enjoyed even by many neighbors residing around the church. Within six years, the church faithfully paid the mortgage to the lender. God gave salvation to Pastor Germán’s father and he died as a Christian in the arms of Pastor Díaz. The testament of disinheritance was never changed because the government insisted that his father became mentally incapacitated.
Today, a Presbyterian Church in Cartagena needs a loan of $50,000.00 to purchase a piece of land to build on; and in Santiago, Chile, where land is more expensive, a church needs a loan of $150,000.00. As the Lord wills, both churches will follow the example of Pastor Germán Díaz of Neiva. Please pray and consider this opportunity to help.
Dr. Noè S. Acosta