Room 24 at Durango Prison
We traveled to Durango for a session of 24 hour prayer from Tuesday at 6pm to Wednesday at 6pm. The weekends at the prison are a time for family visits and such. We traveled by bus and left on Sunday to travel overnight from Nogales to Mazatlan. Loved Mazatlan - there is “ocean” there and plenty of fish. Pastor Antonio del Angel and his family received us and served us ceviche, shrimp salad and marlin for lunch, along with carne asada of course. What a great time we had with this family. Pastor Antonio is a young man with a worshipping heart and a powerful prophetic ministry. His pastor and his family also joined us for lunch and prayer and added more blessings to our time of sharing. We all felt right at home. Pastor Antonio is a friend of Pastor Alfredo he also has been worshiping and ministering the word at Cantico Nuevo in Nogales. God has a network of His people throughout Mexico. It’s wonderful, like riding the wave of His Presence. We spent the day with all of them, lunch, prayer, ministry, ice cream and ocean! Glory!!
Our bus left from Mazatlan Monday evening and we traveled 4 hours or so to Durango. It was evening and dark for the later part of our trip. Thankfully it was dark when we passed over the “Baluarte” bridge. I had no idea how huge it was until I saw some pictures that Pastor Alfredo showed us the next day. The bridge was built in 2012 and is an extension over the wide mountain range and through tunnels. It is a wonder of the world. Some of us would have liked to have a view, I’m kind of glad we found out later. :) Pastor Luis Balderas, our ministry partner in Durango, met us at the bus terminal and we took cabs to the Hotel Casablanca at Durango. Nice hotel, very old city - historic and wonderful to experience. Detailed architecture and historic locations abound. Next morning we had breakfast in the hotel and it was exceptional. We rented a conference room at the hotel to have a preview meeting for our ministry later that day. We ended in prayer. When we left the room we had one man waiting at the door, asking us to pray for him.
Off to the prison that evening. Checked in and welcomed by Pastor Luis and the prison pastor, Pastor Alejandro Amaya It is hard to describe how much favor we had. It was all over the place. The church is located on prison ground. The pastor is an inmate. The church was built by inmates, brick by brick to the Glory of God. That opening worship was enough to make the trip worthwhile all by itself. 350-400 men and us. Their voices rose right to heaven. Powerful. And we continued with our program of the prayer watches. Some of you have seen some pictures and videos already. Repentance, communion, worship, our river from the throne of God. :)
Some of the men had to leave during the night for security reasons, but we had about 75 leaders with us for the midnight hours. What an awesome time prayer and ministry. Those men love God and love their pastor. One of the sweetest moments was their sudden united prayer for him at about 2am. Hallelujah! Just thinking about it sends a rush through my spirit. We are all so thrilled that Jesus would choose us to be there. It’s hard to describe the thrill of watching the Holy Spirit in these men. They are passionate for Christ. Completely sold out. They have received so much from Him. We look at what they have walked through, some of their stories and are confounded. But honestly their love and passion for our Father is indescribable.
We had some shifts during the 24 hours. The inmates have jobs at different times of the day, so some had to come and go a little throughout the day. The women prisoners got to join us off and on, usually sitting on the balcony until ministry time. Did I tell you how they were good to us; they had food ready for breaks and coffee and the men served with such an open spirit. Oh and did I tell you it gets cold in Durango! Ha...as the night continued we all kept adding items to our wardrobe! :) What a picture we were. I asked the men, “when does it warm up?” “Dos!” “Dos?” “You mean 2pm?” :).
The Pastors and ministers with us worked so hard; preaching, translating, ministering, loving the men. By Saturday we were all one - “As One!” “Jesus”. Saturday was breakthrough; deliverance, healing, the Father’s blessing, forgiveness for earthly fathers and mothers. So much more. Pastor Alfredo was at his best, preaching, leading communion and translating continually. Also, we were privileged to have Pastor Juanito Noriega from Santa Ana share with us on Friday night and Saturday. His testimony is powerful and commanding. Many were touched by it. We were able to pass out Spanish language copies of Katie Souza’s book, “Expected End” donated by her ministry and also “La Practica de la Presencia de Dios” by Hermano Lawrence. We are thrilled with the outcome! We keep having “Jesus cry times” as a team and “Jesus laugh times”. Can you believe how Good our God is - He is a Good, Good Father!!!
We were privileged to have conversations with many of the men. And ministry with all of them, men and women. We covenant with them now. We will pray for them and they will pray for us.
Other than dozing off in our chairs for a second we did not rest. We finished the prayer and headed to the hotel. Some showered or slept or ate or did all of those, but we were all asleep as soon as possible because we had to be out of the hotel at 6am. We met in the lobby and found out it was snowing. According to the headlines, the first snow of its kind in 14 years. Didn’t think too much of it until we called Luis who was headed over to get us but was delayed by the weather. We waited as long as we could and headed to the bus terminal in cabs. We got there on time to find out that people had been delayed by the snow, some waiting at the terminal for 3 days. Several buses had headed out before ours, but were unable to cross that bridge. Ricardo, (our ace coordinator) had taken a cab to the bus terminal by himself with extra luggage. He witnessed to the driver about what we were doing in Durango. The driver said - listen, I suggest you re-route your tickets to Guadalajara, it’s warmer, further south, and you will not have to cross the mountains. From there you will head north to Nogales. Only problem - 9 hour bus ride from Durango to Guadalajara, and 27 hour bus ride from Guadalajara to Nogales. We were all cold and said -- yes, to the sun we go. Or was it to the “Son” we go...
Pastor Arturo Mendez at La Biblia Abierta Inglesia Christiana in Guadalajara, the pastor and friend of Pastor Leonso and a friend of Pastor Alfredo, when contacted, said he would come with a van to pick us up and bring us to the church, where they had mattresses we could use to sleep overnight and bathrooms. We had dinner in the city and the pastor and his family came with us all the way. The men went shopping at night to get us provisions for our bus ride. In the morning Pastor Arturo took some of us to the bakery for fresh “birote” bread. Our own team prepared and packaged sandwiches,(tortas) fruit and yogurt for all of us to have while traveling. What a blessing that pastor and his family were. We had a pajama party that night. In the morning, one by one, we fell into worship and had a great time of prayer with the pastor and his wife before we left. We find out later that this pastor is the leader of 50 area churches for his denomination, Biblia Abierta de Mexico. Oh how we felt revival all over Mexico. That river leading us everywhere. We are still on the bus as I write and we are great, I mean great! To God be the Glory and to the Blessing of Mexico, we Honor You God.
I want to thank our team, every one of you, who poured out your hearts this week, all over Mexico. Thank you also for the team that stayed at home, interceding for us during the whole time we were having prayer and the whole time we were traveling. Thank you to those who support us online. Also, we are eternally grateful to all of you who provided for us financially. We thank Expected End Ministries for their support and encouragement. We believe we have tapped into a wonderful move of God. We are thrilled to be part of what God is doing in Mexico and we are praying for that wave of revival to come North step by step and into Arizona and the US as we partner together for the Greatest Revival of all time!!! Can you see it?
Gracias, mi amigos, mi amores, all of our team! How wonderful to share your passion and travel with you as we love on the Mexican people. You are the most passionate of believers. We are honored to have travelled with you, shared your jokes, eaten your food, prayed together, ministered together, slept together in one big room :). We are all forever changed, not separate cultures or nations but one new expression of the Love of Jesus, for each other and everyone we come in contact with. Go home, take a shower, sleep in your bed, do your wash and pack your bag - we are on the road again! Love you much.
And in Spanish:
Gracias, mis amigos, mis amores! a todos los que fueron parte del equipo. Que maravilloso compartir la pasion que tienen por nuestro Dios y viajar juntos, veraderamente amamos a la gente mexicana. Ustedes son los creyentes mas apasionados. Fuimos honrados de poder viajar junto a ustedes, compartir sus bromas, comer su comida, orar juntos, ministrar en unidad, aun dormir todos juntos en un solo cuarto :). Realmente fuimos tocados y cambiados para siempre, nunca fuimos de diferente cultura ni pais, sino de una sola expresion del amor de Jesus hacia nosotros mismos y hacia cada una de las diferente personas que conocimos. Vayan a su casa, dense un bano, duerman en su cama, laven su ropa y empaquen de nuevo. Porque seguimos en el camino. Los amamos
I John 1:1-5
What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of Life and the life was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us-- what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write, so that our joy may be made complete. And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.
for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.