Marooned in Bolivia
I first came to Toronto in April of 2002 to attend regular service meetings; there were no conferences going on. I had come with my cousin to check out this “Toronto Blessing” I kept hearing about. We both wanted to know if the revival was still going on or if it had been waning in recent years.
"Wherever we went, we both agreed, we wanted the presence of the Lord."
We had been weighing whether to go to Pensacola, Florida or Toronto. Wherever we went, we both agreed, we wanted the presence of the Lord. So we decided to come to Toronto and hopefully catch whatever this “blessing” was. We went through many prayer lines. Like two greedy eager beavers, we kept coming back for more just like Melinda Fish had encouraged us to do during the services. But after four days of receiving prayer from many prayer ministers and having been through many lines, I had yet to receive this “more” of whatever it was the Lord was giving and that many people all around us were receiving. I was starting to get a little desperate.
Positioning Myself for Blessing
Before I had gone to Toronto, I had been positioning myself for renewal by spending hours with the Lord each day in the study of His Word and in much prayer and fasting. So when I had not yet received and had to watch so many others getting “blasted” in the Holy Spirit, I got a little spiritually jealous.
"The only thing I had ever caught before was fish and colds."
Finally, on the fifth day, I heard the Holy Spirit say, “Robert, if you can’t receive while others are praying for you, go and catch”. Now this was a novel idea. The only thing I had ever caught before was fish and colds. So I said, “Ok Lord, if that’s what you want me to do, that’s what I’ll do.” So I volunteered to catch for what appeared to be a seasoned veteran.
Boy, did I catch it! I not only caught for the people who were receiving prayer, but I caught the “backwash” of the prayers that others weren’t receiving. For the next three nights I could not sleep at all as wave after wave of His Presence passed through my body like electricity. I was fearful that if I went to sleep, it would all just stop. I wasn’t going to miss out on a thing, so I just said, as I was taught by Melinda, “Keep coming, Holy Spirit;” and so for the next three days I just soaked it all in.
By the third day I was so drunk that I thought I’d have to crawl on my hands and knees just to get to the restroom. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as getting drunk in the Holy Spirit. Like Melinda, I had been a good “Babdist”. I didn’t know any better. Oh the joy that began to well up within me! I became as giddy as a little kid at a birthday party. Papa had come home, and He was the life of the party!
Since that experience in Toronto, I have been forever changed. I became even hungrier for more of the Holy Spirit. When you’ve been eating the crumbs off the King’s dining table for years and finally wake up one day to realize that there has been a chair waiting for you at the King’s table with your name on it; and you could have been dining all the time with the King at His banqueting table, you don’t want to go back to the crumbs anymore. I have been spoiled forever. I will never go back to the way things were.
BIRTHING A MINISTRY
So I went back to Toronto the following month for the Father Loves You Conference and got totally blasted again. I can’t even put into words what the Lord did for me there. The Holy Spirit woke me up the day before I left at about 2:30 A.M. to say these words to me:
“The war is not over. You must press forward to receive the complete victory that you must have. There is a price to be paid for living in the Spirit. When the new creation comes, it brings birth pains, as if birthing a new man. The pain is the result of dying to oneself. But the new life to be birthed will bring great joy and much relief. You must be prepared to press forward to deliver what I am about to birth in you”.
I had sensations passing through my body as if I were on a roller coaster ride, the kind of sensations of rising and falling again that bring that momentary feeling of euphoria in one’s belly. My stomach was literally twisting in delight. The only words that I can use to describe the sensations are “holy anticipation.”
It was as if the Holy Spirit knew that something good was about to be born in me and all of this incredible joy began to well up inside of me like a fountain. And these sensations persisted even when I was at the airport. I knew something good was awaiting me in Toronto.
When I got to Toronto, I found myself in Holy Spirit travail for three days. I was bent over like a woman moaning and groaning and about to give birth to a baby. A lot of the women thought this was quite comical, and my travail seemed to release Holy Spirit laughter wherever I went because I could not stop. However, there was nothing funny about my plight to me. I was at work. I was birthing something. I was hot and sweaty, yelling my vocal cords off and bent over in pain every time I turned around.
"I proceeded to get hungrier and hungrier still for the things of God."
This was only the beginning of what the Lord did for me at the Father Loves You Conference. It wasn’t until I got back to the States and read my prophetic word that I realized that while I was in Toronto, the Lord had just fulfilled the word he had given me. Something had indeed been born in me.
I proceeded to get hungrier and hungrier still for the things of God. So I went to the Catch the Fire conference in Dallas, TX that same month and also went to the Leaders School of Ministry for a whole month that coming July of 2002. Since then I’ve been to three schools and many other conferences. But here is the meat that I wanted to share with you. The Lord had spoken to me in 2003 that I had four more years to go before my release into the ministry. Knowing that my time was getting short, I began to ask the Lord what He wanted me to do in preparation for this release. In late February of 2004 the Lord took me into a vision. Later on that afternoon, I asked the Lord where He had taken me in this vision and what He wanted me to know. The Lord told me that it was Bolivia, and He dropped one word into my spirit. He said “Maroon."
“Maroon?” I responded. I know what the color maroon is, or what it means to be marooned on an island, but what does that have to do with Bolivia? On the Internet, I discovered that this was a people group living in Bolivia and other countries. They were called “maroons” because they were Africans who had been enslaved by the slave traders and who had either won their freedom from or who had escaped from the slave traders. This confirmation excited me, and I began to research this people group and pray for them and the Bolivian people as the Lord would bring them to mind. Then in late 2005 the Holy Spirit spoke to me about spying out the land in Bolivia.
I said, “But Lord, I don’t know of anyone in Bolivia. I don’t even have a single contact”. The Lord responded, “When you go to the school of ministry in Toronto in January of 2006, I will establish the connections and will provide the network.” And so I went.
When I got to TACF I began to scout around asking whether there were any Partners or Friends in Harvest Churches there, but there were none. One day as I was having lunch with a number of School of Ministry students, I met a gal who had a friend who had worked in Bolivia for a while. She offered to email her about it. When I got back to Denver, there was an email from her with a contact. It was a pastor that she had worked with while in Bolivia who also happened to be the national overseer of the Church of God there.
I emailed him, telling him how the Lord had called me to preach the gospel in Bolivia by a vision. He proceeded to set me up with preaching engagements throughout the country, although I was a complete unknown entity without any practical evangelistic experience and had not, until that time, had any practical healing ministry experience. And not once until two weeks before I left for Bolivia did he ask for any references or resumes. The Lord was setting it up.
THE AMAZING FRUIT
When I went to Bolivia this past January preaching the gospel message of the Kingdom of God, the power of God fell. Signs, wonders, and miracles followed the preaching of the Word. There were many first time conversions and also rededications and too many healings and miracles to count. Tumors were disappearing; ears were opening; sight was restored!
The most awe-inspiring moments were seeing little children being slain in the Spirit. Four and five-year-olds were falling to the ground in the power of the Holy Spirit and were weeping with many tears. When the adults saw this display of the power of God, those who had been resisting the Holy Spirit began to come forward for salvation. It was obvious to them that God was in their midst.
I was also invited to preach at the national convention of pastors with the Church of God. While I was there, the overseers to the entire continent of South America as well as the overseers of Russia and Ecuador were in the meeting. When I got back from my trip, I had email invitations from the overseers in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile, Peru, and Columbia asking me to come to their countries for evangelistic crusades as well as invitations to Russia and return trips to Bolivia.
"The doors of ministry have opened wide."
We are now making preparations to go to Uruguay, Bolivia, Peru, and Columbia this coming December and January. We have been asked to hold crusades in each of these countries as well as preach at three to four national conventions of pastors in both Uruguay and Columbia. The Lord is also opening up the doors to minister in India and Pakistan.
The doors of ministry have opened wide. I have not pounded through any doors on my own. The Lord is good and is faithful to fulfill all of His promises if we will be patient and wait upon Him.
I can’t help but remember the words that Ivan and Isabel Allum spoke over me at the Leaders School in 2002. They said that I was “called to the nations.” Patricia Bootsma also prophesied over me in 2006 saying, “to the nations, to the nations, to the nations...signs, wonders, and miracles, signs, wonders, and miracles, signs, wonders, and miracles”. Thank you, Father, and thank you all at TACF. You have revolutionized my life and enabled me to walk into my destiny in Christ Jesus. God bless you all.