Friday, February 11, 2011
Colombia & Ecuador Trip update from Saturday 2/5 through Wednesday 2/9/11
|Bernabé García Jr|
& Pastor José Álvarez
Saturday morning we awoke fairly early since we had an appointment to eat at The Bosque restaurant owned by Sister Rosa Quintero and her son Jonathan Guerrero and wife Paula Torres. We had already eaten there on Wednesday, and we had a very relaxing time there. They hung a hammock up, and after eating I took a nap.
After the nap they prepared a very light lunch to hold us until our next appointment which was with at the house of Brother Juan Carlos Villalobos and his wife Claudia. I had a wonderful time of fellowship with the family, and discovered that for Brother Juan Carlos, his church consisted of
logging in online to our home services held at Phoenix Tabernacle at http://www.phoenixtabernacle.org.
logging in online to our home services held at Phoenix Tabernacle at http://www.phoenixtabernacle.org.
Brother Juan Carlos expressed a tremendous amount of gratitude for our visit to Barrancabermeja, Santander, Colombia, South America, and especially for the sermons he had heard Thursday and Friday as he visited Brother José Álvarez's church because of our presence there.
Brother Juan has had a rough go of it, but by listening to the broadcasts he has been able to be healed of many things, and his family has been blessed. He also expressed that he had received a lot of healing during the Dedication services in Bogotá, and had some good things to say about Brother Holguin from Mexico who had preached during the services.
I also enjoyed fellowshipping with his two boys Juan and Pedro. On Friday, during service Pedro had played his guitar with his eyes glued on Tres as Tres led the worship, and towards the end of the service Tres had invited him up to the platform to play alongside him. It turns out both boys really enjoy playing chess, and I had fun playing them chess for a little bit.
Before leaving, we prayed for the house and the family, and the Lord Jesus made himself present, and began to intercede in a very personal way for the family and for some of the struggles they were having. The family was very blessed.
As after every day on this trip, we took the long drive back home (over an hour drive) to where we are being hosted. We got to sleep about 3:00 A.M. which was actually pretty good.
Sunday, February 6, 2011
Thoughts on Experiences by Brother Branham
Sunday morning we got up early... Church starts at 8:30 A.M. in Barrancabermeja... On the drive to Barrancabermeja, I listened to Experiences preached by our Prophet William Marrion Branham in Phoenix, Arizona on March 2, 1948. It was awesome! I had been feeling a little lonely lately, and Satan had been telling me that all of my labor was in vain.
In that message however, Brother Branham directs himself to “Brother García” sitting on the platform, and having to hurry with the line because Brother García (and the other local pastors) had to hurry over to his own church to have service. I know he was talking about my Grandfather Pablo García Chavez, but somehow it seemed to make a connection with me! As if I was the one Brother Branham was talking about because I was also hurrying on my way to church. Then suddenly in Brother Branham's prayer, he prayed the following:
Bless Your ministers, Lord. May they be anointed fire brands. And may there be an old fashion revival break out now down here in Phoenix, and go from church to church, from place to place until this is one place that all the nation will say, "Come to Phoenix, Arizona, for the Holy Spirit is being poured out again down there, and great signs and wonders are being done among the people." O God, Thou knowest how I love this little city. And I pray that You'll keep it, Lord. Do grant it, Lord, and send an old fashion revival.
I started having a Jubilee! I remembered the prophesy that had spoken in Phoenix Tabernacle through the Gift Room when God had said that he would send a team of ministers out of Phoenix Tabernacle as balls of fire to the entire world! I realized that Brother Branham's prayer, and the prophesy in our church was being fulfilled in our days. I felt as if God had taken the time to speak to me and to say “Keep on my son! Bring the fire!”
God Tells Me What to Speak On
The minute I walked into the church in B/Bermeja a thought came to me. I remembered being in Colorado Springs, Colorado in special meetings and Brother Floyd Patterson was speaking. I had been going through a very hard time, and actually had begun to think that I was not even a Christian, that I was just serpent seed or something like that. I was in service listening to Brother Floyd speak, and to this day I still can't remember what the title of the message was.
What I do remember was that as I sat in the audience about midway through the sermon, Brother Floyd was really preaching up a storm. Satan came to me and reminded me off all my faults, and told me how happy he was that I was his. As I listened to the enemy, the thought crossed my mind... “Oh, if only I could know that I belonged to God. If only God could speak to me and tell me that he still loves and cares for me.”
Suddenly the hairs of my neck stood up, and as I look up to see what had happened, I very distinctly heard Brother Floyd Patterson say, “AND IF I WAS GOD, I believe that I would look down and say Bernie Jr. Don't worry. I love you and you are my son. I believe that IF I WAS GOD, I would say, It will be all right in the end Bernie.”
You can imagine the impact that had on my life. I do not care what any one else might think,. I know that Brother Floyd Patterson allowed God to speak through him directly to me. May God ever keep and bless that FAITHFUL servant for all he has done for the children of God.
I knew that this memory had come for a reason, and I decided right then and there that I would preach a message entitled If I Was God. I searched for a scripture as the song service began, and settled on Psalms 88, Psalms 91:1-16. Psalms 88 because the despair that David talks about mirrored the condition of my mindset that day in Colorado Springs, and Psalms 91: 1-16 because that is what God told David to encourage him out of his despair.
The Message Delivered
As I began to minister, I immediately felt the presence of God began to take control of everything, and as I preached I sought to get myself out of the way so that God could speak to his children. I knew that God was reaching deep into the innermost parts of their souls. I could see many were being impacted by the message.
On three separate occasions God revealed to me what three different people needed to hear, and I could see the look of despair mingled with hope transform to joy and belief as I uttered the words, “And if I were God” and looking them straight in the eye I would tell them what God had revealed to me.
Truly the Holy Scripture was made plain as the WORD of GOD proved itself the same yesterday, today and forever, as it is written in Hebrews 4: 12-13:
12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
As Tres took the service and began to worship God the joy was overwhelming. With a noise the people spoke to and worshiped their God and Savior who had visited their hearts that morning. The testimonies afterwards were amazing and wonderful to hear as believer after believer shared with each other how God had spoken to them and delivered them. Everyone was anxious to speak to someone, and to let them know what God had done in their lives that morning.
With a glowing heart, the pastor Brother José Álvarez shared with me how that it seemed every word spoken had pierced him to the deepest parts and he felt that his entire life was being described. He said, “All I could do, was bow my head, lift up my hands and cry the entire sermon.” Many others also shared similar testimonies.
Sister Ceci Álvarez de Beltrán has graciously agreed to gather some of the testimonies and email them to me so that we can post them on our testimony site (accessed through the links section of this page. She has also agreed to help translate the English blogs I post into Spanish so that I can post them on the Spanish reports site (also accessed through the links section of this page).
The Rest of the Day
After service Tres and I were taken out to eat by Brother Joyner Popayán and his wife who took us to eat Chinese food and later to eat some desert at the mall. Brother Joyner is a very good chess player, and I am happy to say that he managed to beat me in a game of chess as we waited for our food to be served. He shared a little of his testimony of how much he had been blessed through the course of the services. There was a lot of joy on his face.
We then went to Sister Lily Dominguez's house for fellowship. Many brethren showed up there as they heard that we would be there for the last day. It was amazing to see, as I saw the results of the weeks work played out in front of us. People who had been at odds with each other laughing and talking together, Brother Juan Carlos talking at lengths and with great joy on his face with Pastor José Álvarez, the husband I had talked to Friday observing his joyful wife literally dance in the sidewalk outside the house as everyone rejoicingly sang over and over and Over and OVER again Hakuna Wa-kai-ta Ta Jezu.
Finally and reluctantly we started making our goodbyes around 10:30 P.M. because our flight to Bogotá was early and there was a two hour drive involved (an hour to our host house and and hour back). We arrived home at 11:59 P.M. the earliest we had been home the entire week.
Monday, February 7, 2011
Monday was the hardest day I can ever remember experiencing in all of my travels. We got up very early to the smell of ham, eggs, and pancakes! Tres handled all the packing making sure everything was ready. He had plenty of help as everyone was hovering checking to see if we needed anything or if they could help in any way.
Everything proceeded as normal, until as we started driving off, we were flagged down by Brother Marcos as we drove by his house. Sister Ceci asked if we could please stop since his wife Sister Josefina had left her house early this morning crying because she went to tell us by and we were asleep. I was mortified and exclaimed, “You should have woken us!” When we stopped, Brother Marcos reached in to shake my hands and as the emotion of our departure struck him, he burst into tears and would not let go of my hand. We expressed our love to each other, and with great sorrow, we continued our journey.
Things got harder at the airport, and my heart broke as the brothers and sisters began to cry and weep with sorrow at our departure. I was reminded of what Brother Branham had said when describing the Holy Ghost filled Branham Tabernacle when the original members would hug each other and weep in the parking lot because they would not be seeing each other until the following service! Multiply that with the knowledge that we would not be seeing each other for months and you can imagine the emotional roller coaster we went through.
Upon arriving in Bogotá we were picked up at the airport by Brother XXX the associate pastor of Brother Fabio Bernal. He took us to Sister Yenny Álvarez and Brother Eleazar Lopez Martinez's house where we were to spend the night. We showered and then were taken to Brother Fabio's house where we had a wonderful time of fellowship and a huge piece of steak. Afterwards we stopped by the Voice of God Recording office in Bogotá where we were received as kings and children of God. The office in Colombia has a lot of work, and yet they manage to get all the work done while still showing the utmost love and care with all that arrive at the office.
My congratulations to Brother Joseph Branham, and Brother Michael Wertz for the work they have done in training their office representatives to properly convey the intent and purpose of the main headquarters in Jeffersonville, IN. I can honestly say that except for the language difference and the quantity of available material I could not tell a difference between the treatment I received in Jeffersonville from the treatment I received in Bogotá Brother Fabio Bernal of course is in charge of the Bogotá office, and his assistants are AMAZINGLY prepared, loving, and attentive.
In the evening Brother Jimmy Carrero Franco and his wife Sister Esperanza picked us up and took us to eat Chinese food... (yes this is the same Sister Esperanza married to Brother Jimmy Espinoza from my previous report). Unfortunately for me, I have NO IDEA how I thought Brother Jimmy's last name was Espinoza, but apparently his in-laws have had a field day teasing him and calling him Brother Espinoza. So on my report detailing my arrival in Bogotá it was Brother Jimmy Carrero (and NOT Brother Jimmy Espinoza) and his wife Esperanza that met us at the airport along with Sister Yenny and her husband Eleazar.
Through out the day after arriving in Bogotá we received call after call from the believers in B/Bermeja. Each one calling multiple times in tears feeling the ache in their hearts and the loneliness of our absence. It was heart breaking. Sister Ceci called saying that when she walked into her house, the emptiness numbed her with sorrow as she looked at her empty room... No Bernabé Jr. No Bernie Tres...
Everyone said that they had talked with each other, and they had determined to work together in order to be able to purchase our return tickets so that we could be there in six months instead of having to wait seventeen months like they did in between my last visit there. It is truly amazing to see how much love can bind us together when God takes an active part in our interaction.
I also want to pay respects to the church in Barrancabermeja because they are the ones who purchased the tickets for Tres and I to be able to make this trip. I believe that is why God blessed them so much. They had high expectations because they had all worked together and saved and brought their offerings to make our visit there possible. Never have we been treated so lovingly, with so much care and respect and kindness as we were by the church of Barrancabermeja.
I want to make clear that this was not a trip to pay a “courtesy call” to Brother José Álvarez and the church in Barrancabermeja. This trip was a response to the cry of a people in need to Almighty God. We were not sent by a man. God sent us to Barrancabermeja, and God provided our way there through his children in Barrancabermeja. Many people might think I waste my time to visit a small church when I could be speaking in front of thousands. To that I reply, “I would travel around the entire world to speak to ONE HUNGRY SOUL that God sent me to.”
I also want to publicly thank Brother José Álvarez, Brother Dadier Beltrán, Sister Ceci Álvarez de Beltrán, and Sister Sharon Álvarez for giving me the gift of reading. It has been about three years that I have struggled to read, and they took me to an optometrist to have my eyes examined, and then purchased a pair of progressive and transition lens glasses. The work wonderfully and now I can read without having to hold the paper two inches from my eyes.
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Sister Esperanza and her brother met us at the house as we were all leaving to go to the mall and eat hamburgers! If you are ever in Colombia, you have got to eat at the restaurant called “El Corral”. The hamburgers were amongst the best I have EVER eaten in the world. We then returned home, and packed, and left to the airport for our evening flight to Ecuador.
Emotions were high again, and everyone in Bogotá was sad to see us leave, and then everyone from B/Bermeja started calling again because they knew it was the last time they would be able to talk to us without an international call.
The flight to Ecuador was uneventful, and were went through customs and picked up our luggage with no problems except for the press of the crowd due to poor designing of the baggage claim area. We were met at the airport by Brother Juan Carlos (Brother-in-law of Pastor Raul Londoño of Puyo—our contact in Ecuador) who is now living in Quito. We were taken to eat, and then started the drive to Guayaquil where we were scheduled to preach on Wednesday...
Don't ask... I had the same question... Why didn't we fly directly to Guayaquil? Well, lets chalk that one up to a lesson learned and hope we remember it next time. It was a grueling eight hour drive beginning at about midnight and ending in the morning. And yes, it WAS in the same small car I reported about last time we were in Ecuador, with the only difference that there was only Bernie Tres and Brother José Álvarez in the back with the guitar and laptop and small suitcase (last time it was Brothers Billy Garcia, Franciso Perez, and Dr. Montoya in the back with suitcases and stuff).
We were run off the road LITERALLY when two oncoming semi-trucks (one trying to pass and the other trying not to let him pass) met us on a curve. On two other occasions were were forced to the far extremity of the road for the same reasons. God was with us protecting us.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Rested almost all day trying to recover from yesterday's travel... In the evening I spoke on The Deity of Jesus Christ, and the people were extremely blessed. For a scripture I used John 1: 1-5, 14 and for my material I used pages 7-11 from the sermon preached on Christmas Day, December 25, 1949. It is amazing how many times on this trip that people walk up to me after service and tell me that it seemed as if every word I spoke was directed only to them. That they knew that God had sent me to talk directly to them... God knows that I don't know what is going on. I just speak as God leads me. I am nothing special. It always amazes me how MUCH God accomplishes with how LITTLE I can do. As my very good friend Brother Daniel Miller told me the other day on Facebook, “Yes Brother Bernie, and we have to do is show up, and God will do the rest.”