A Fresh Spiritual Rain is Coming to Uruguay
March 9, 2009 - Uruguay is in the midst of a severe drought, with rainfall in some areas at a three-decade low, which has prompted emergency measures to limit usage and aid farmers.
by Daniel Valencia, Decision magazine
The drought is reminiscent of the long-standing spiritual thirst of people in this strongly secular South American nation.
But in the midst of spiritual drought, the church in Uruguay is experiencing an evangelistic revival that has many Christians looking forward to a great harvest of souls through the upcoming Festival of Hope with Franklin Graham—March 19-21, 2009 in Montevideo.
Many Christians might assume that a spiritual awakening would be unlikely in Uruguay—one of the most secular and atheistic nations in the Americas.
But this is not the case. Uruguay has one of the world’s highest rates of depression, loneliness and suicides, and many of its people admit that they need hope. They have begun to realize that a secular worldview holds no real solutions to their problems.
Recently a woman was sitting on a bench in a park in downtown Montevideo during her lunch hour. She was staring intently, straight ahead, when some people conducting a survey asked her what her hope was. She answered, “My hope is that my son will stop using ‘rock’ (a deadly form of cocaine that often causes people to steal in order to feed their addiction).
“My son,” said the woman—whose face reflected a mother’s desperation—“has stolen money from me. He has sold articles from our house. I have nothing left. But my hope is that he will stop using drugs.”
By the time she finished speaking, her cheeks were wet with tears falling from eyes that held a blank stare, yet showed the need to hold on to the belief that there is hope for her life and for her son’s life.
“This is what the Festival of Hope is all about—reaching these people who realize their need for spiritual help,” said Galo Vasquez, director of Latin American Ministries for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. “Jesus Himself said, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners’ (Mark 2:17, NIV). Those are the people we want to reach with the Gospel.”
Watch a video from the My Hope project in Uruguay:
For many Christians, the current evangelistic awakening began last August, when the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association held a National Congress on Evangelism that served as the beginning of the training and mobilization for the Franklin Graham Festival in Montevideo, Uruguay’s capital.
More than 1,200 pastors and leaders committed themselves to revitalizing the church’s passion for evangelism, and now 560 churches are registered to participate in the Festival.
Members of these churches have been trained and have begun to pray for their relatives, neighbors and friends through the Festival’s Operation Andrew strategy.
To date, more than 11,000 people have filled out prayer cards, listing the names of more than 80,000 people they are praying for and will invite to the Festival. Dozens have already received Christ and are now attending local churches.
Through the churches, thousands have been mobilized to serve as counselors; thousands of women have been trained to go block by block throughout Montevideo to invite each household to the Festival; thousands of youth have been trained to saturate the city with Festival invitations; and Christians are praying for the preparations and the harvest that will be reaped as a result of the event.
Christian leaders agree that this is God’s time for this drought-ridden nation. “God is working in Uruguay,” said Alejandro Wojnarowicz, senior pastor of El Rebaño Church and well-known throughout Uruguay. “God is working through thousands of Christians immersed in the Holy Spirit who desire to see relatives, friends, neighbors, government leaders, business people, workers, youth, children and elderly people transformed and who are pouring out their love and compassion for those who will be saved.”
READ OTHER ARTICLES ABOUT URUGUAY:
A Well of Living Water in Uruguay »
Finding Christ in the Midst of Crisis »
Uruguayan Evangelists Encouraged by Conference »
Filling the Emptiness »
Daniel Valencia is the Mexico director for VELA (Vision for the Evangelization of Latin America) and the producer for the My Hope project in Latin America.