The Lessons of Paraguay

By   •   June 7, 2005

Paraguay might seem to be an unlikely place for revival.

The South American country has a reputation for corruption, chaos and even political assassinations. Even the past president’s daughter was taken hostage, tortured and eventually killed.

But revival comes from God, and He pours it out where He wishes. The Bible says, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit” (John 3:8, NIV).

It’s obvious that the Holy Spirit is moving in South America, stirring revival and awakening hearts. The Festival we held in the capital city of Asunción in May was one of the most powerful we have ever seen. The national stadium was so full that they had to close the gates and direct people to an overflow area. President Nicanor Duarte Frutos, an evangelical Christian, not only participated in the Crusade but also invited me to share the Gospel at a Cabinet meeting.

As I watched God move so powerfully, I realized how His Spirit had directed our steps from the beginning. God’s timing is perfect. “Wait on the Lord,” the Bible tells us over and over. We were invited to preach in Paraguay a few years ago, but circumstances indicated that the time wasn’t yet right. God was still preparing the way. This spring, however, the time was right.

Prayer can move mountains. More than 5,500 faithful Christian women, many joined by their husbands and children, took personal responsibility to pray for the city of Asunción, block by block. God answered their prayers. “If you believe, you will receive whatever things you ask for in prayer” (Matthew 21:22, NIV).

Evangelism brings unity. More than 700 churches participated in the Festival, uniting many denominations in the singular purpose of sharing the Gospel. In His prayer for us, Jesus said, “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:23, NIV).

A Crusade is far bigger than a stadium. It’s part of a process that can take years for preparation and follow-up. In Paraguay, we used satellite TV to show the Crusade in 10 distant locations, reaching tens of thousands who could not come to the stadium.

Most important, the Crusade came about a year and a half after the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association presented the My Hope program on national TV in Paraguay. This was the first time we have coordinated My Hope so closely with a Crusade–and it won’t be the last.

In My Hope, we trained 10,000 families to share their faith with neighbors whom they invited to watch our programs. More than 30,000 made decisions for Jesus Christ. For the Crusade in May, we trained more than 9,600 counselors, and more than 25,600 people responded to the invitation to come forward. In a country of 6 million people, that’s an extraordinary impact. Only God could have accomplished it. To Him be the glory!

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