El Salvador 2013

… but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
Dear family, I want to send you greetings both from my family (Ethel, Zion and John Elias) and our family from the church Ministerio Canaan in El Salvador. We love you and your prayers and efforts to advance the Kingdom of God are well appreciated, here in Bolivia and El Salvador. As you know my older brother Jamin, our friend Travis Kiker and I met up in El Salvador on February 14th with a mission to bring water to the thirsty. And those thirsty people are very appreciative both to those who went and those who sent them. Thank you for your collaboration. The following is a testimony of what God was doing from my perspective. I hope you enjoy it and are inspired to allow God to use you as He pleases. Sincerely Luke Vandergriff

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday
Luke flies from Cochabamba to Santa Cruz.

Leave Santa Cruz and arrive in El Salvador to meet Jamin and Travis. Minister at church in San Rafael Cedros (SRC) Ministering at SRC in the evening.

Ministering at a youth meeting in Soyapango at the Church Headquarters of Ministerio Canaan.

Ministering at youth meeting at SRC

Take Jamin, Travis and Carlos to the City to meet Living Waters Ministry. Preach at SRC.

Leave the lights on and lock the keys in the truck. Prayer meeting at SRC.

A brother opens the truck door and charges the battery. Children’s ministry at SRC.

House to house visits. Attend service at the Church Headquarters.

Meet Jamin, Travis and Carlos for lunch on the beach. Ministering in prayer vigil at SRC

Jamin and Travis fly home to USA. Luke flies to Panama.

Introduction This outreach was conceived by a divine appointment. Carlos Garcia, native of El Salvador, got a job with two brick masons full of the Holy Ghost. My father Henry Vandergriff and my brother Jamin lead him to Jesus Christ. The ties between them grew strong, so much that when Carlos finally went home to his family, they promised to go and visit. And so we did in February of 2012.

This time Jamin wanted to go back with a new focus. He had contacted Living Waters. This ministry drills wells for poor communities all throughout Central America. So the initial objective of this trip was to meet up with this group in El Salvador, help them drill a well on the Guatemalan/Salvadoran border and learn from them about drilling wells. However, since we had contacts from the previous year and we wanted to strengthen those relationships, Jamin and Travis decided to show up a few days early to hang out with the church Ministerio Canaan in San Rafael Cedros (SRC). That is how I got to tag along, they needed an interpreter. Yet they didn’t need me the rest of the week while they were digging the well, so I decided to stay in SRC to strengthen the relationship with the pastors Atilio and Santos Ceron and serve them however I could.

Digging the spiritual well first Praise God we all made it to El Salvador on-time and met up with Carlos Garcia who took us back to his house in San Rafael Cedros, around 1 ½ hours from the airport. Later that night we had the opportunity to minister at the church Carlos and his family attends, the same place we ministered at in 2012. After their normal time of praise and worship, it was our turn to lead another two songs. Jamin was on the guitar and lead vocals, Travis on the doumbek (Mid-Eastern hand drum) and I was tinkering with my flutes and whistles. The presence of God was already there due to the previous time of song, but it just seemed to thicken and get heavy as we played and allowed the Spirit to flow. Then Jamin began to minister the word and I interpreted. He directed the people to the source of living water and later called the thirsty ones up front to take a drink. We then got off stage and were able to pray for a few. Praying for one lady, I discerned anxiety and worry and began to speak peace over her. Then came some thoughts which I decided to throw out there and see if they were from God. I told her she was worried about her son who might be around 17 years old. She just nodded her head and continued to pour out her grief as I spoke and then told her not to worry that God was taking care of everything. Later she told me that she was worried about her son who was having painful back problems. I told her to bring him to the next meeting so we could pray for him. Well, he showed up, but I didn’t get to pray because God had already healed him. Oh, he was probably in his 40s. I was a little off on the age.

Ministering at the Headquarters Pastor Atilio Ceron from SRC had requested that we minister at a youth meeting at the Ministerio Canaan Headquarters in the city of Soyapango. Over 500 kids were bussed in from all over San Salvador. The meeting started with their youth band that did a great job leading praise. Then we proceeded in a similar fashion as the night before. The kids seemed to immediately connect with the songs we played. Between songs Travis read Psalm 24 and called everyone down front to open the gates and lift their heads to receive the King of Glory while we continued to play and give glory and honor to the only one who deserves it. When I felt it was time, I had

everyone go back to their seats and I spoke to them about grace, the power of God to overcome sin. After service we went with the youth pastors to a little restaurant to get to know each other a little better. We had a good time.

Coming back to the Father Saturday afternoon we met the Pastor at the church in San Rafael Cedros and from there we walked around town inviting people to church. Later was the youth meeting, however I think all ages were represented. This time it was Travis’ turn to speak. He talked about not hiding from God and having confidence in that He loves us and wants to have a relationship with us. It was one of the funnest sermons I’ve ever interpreted, full of acting, expression and movement.

Off to dig a real well Sunday morning we went into the city to drop Jamin, Travis and Carlos off with the Living Water team. From there they would be heading up to the Guatemalan/Salvadoran border to help drill a well for a very poor community. Here both the Guatemalans and the Salvadorans would benefit from the water. From there we raced back in Carlos’ pickup truck to the meeting in San Rafael Cedros. That afternoon I spoke on turning water into wine, a message I’ve only openly shared once at Lamb’s Christian Center and with a few friends as I felt lead. This time I felt from the Lord to put a different emphasis in the message. The message had two main objectives, to teach the people how to learn God’s symbolic language and that obedience to the Holy Spirit is a key to abundant life.

Monday, it had to be Monday The next morning I took Ruth, Carlos’ wife, to the market to buy a few items. On the way back, as is my custom, I turned the headlights on to make sure that I am visible. Later that evening we had to go to the prayer meeting, but the truck wouldn’t start. The battery was dead. We tried push starting it but just couldn’t get enough speed. So I locked it up and off we went to the meeting in public transportation (a truck with rails in the back to hold on to, and you’d better hold on). I was impressed to see that over half of the Sunday crowd showed up to pray and really prayed. Pastor Atilio then exhorted us a little about the importance of prayer and it was time to go. We asked another brother to take us home in his truck and help us get Carlos’ truck started. To our dismay, I had locked the only set of keys inside the truck. Thank God, a faithful member of the church had a bit of experience in opening car doors and came to our rescue in the morning. He also took the battery to have it charged.

Tables for children’s church Before leaving, Travis had donated some money to help with the children’s church project. With part of that money we went to the city to buy plastic tables for the kids to sit at and be able to color and do other types of crafts. We used them that very night. I also had the chance to share my testimony with the kids.

Let faith arise Wednesday morning we went to visit a few people. We stopped to see one brother who had not attended church for several months. He openly confessed that he was backslidden and needed to get right with God but could never find the strength to get up. He also told us about a man who lived next to the church that he was very angry with, and didn’t want to go to church for fear that he would see him and lose his temper. For him, being a former gang member, losing his temper meant getting out is 22 rifle. The pastor and I exhorted him, encouraged him and ministered to him in prayer and prophetic word. Praise be to God who leads us into triumph, he showed up at church on Friday night for the first time in months.

The Great Commission I was asked to speak about the Great Commission on Thursday night. So we opened up to Matthew 28 and spoke about “going” or not waiting for it to just happen; “making disciples” of Jesus and not just members or converts; “baptizing” in the sense that the believer should experience the death (repentance) and resurrection of Jesus (overcoming life in the Spirit); “teaching” not do’s and don’t’s, rather training them to obey God; and that Jesus who is “with you always” has “all power… in heaven and earth” to back us up. I concluded by giving the pastors a sickle I’d bought in Bolivia. The sickle represented the power to reap the harvest and fulfill the Great Commission. I then invited those who were committed to standing with the pastors and to fulfilling the mission Jesus had commissioned us. The pastors then helped me pray for those who came forward.

Seaside Testimonies Friday the pastors and I made a 1 hour 45 minute trip down to the coast to meet up with Jamin, Travis, Carlos and the Living Water team for lunch. They shared some great stories. This trio ministered to Salvadorans, Guatemalans and Gringos from start to finish. They had several opportunities to pray with the locals and demonstrate the Gospel to them. The people from Living Water said they had never had anyone minister with such anointing on any other trip. And of course the well was dug and a hand pump system was put in. Living Water was quite impressed with Carlos, and there is the possibility of bringing him on staff for both well maintenance and ministerial follow up. We are praying that this will come through.

Night Life Jamin and Travis continued on with the team to the hotel and Carlos came back with us to San Rafael Cedros for the prayer vigil. The congregation came together at 8 pm and had times of praise and prayer until it was

time for me to speak at 11:00 that night, or 1 in the morning in Bolivia. We were all tired and yawning but the Lord granted us energy to hear His word. The message was simple, God prefers obedience over sacrifice. After the word, we had a few refreshments and it was time to say good-bye.

Conclusion The mission was successful. We all felt very good about what the Lord accomplished on this ten day trip. There are many other little stories and testimonies to tell. If Jamin, Travis and I were to compile our stories, we could write a small book. It is obvious that God is making connections and unifying His Church. He is pouring out the water of His Spirit, quenching our thirst and preparing us for the new wine. I got to see Jamin and Travis one last time at the airport. They went home to be with their families, and I started my three day journey back home, not knowing that the most surprising events were still about to occur. To be continued…
Ministerio Canaan in San Rafael Cedros

Church Headquarters

Pastors Atilio and Santos Ceron

Living Waters Team