Peru

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The Peruvian territory was home to one of the oldest ancient cultures in the world. The Spanish Empire conquered the region in the 16th century. After achieving independence in 1821, Peru has undergone periods of political unrest and fiscal crisis as well as periods of stability and economic upswing.

Peru is, as of 2011, one of the world’s fastest-growing economies owing to the economic boom experienced during the 2000s. According to 2010 data, 31.3% of its total population is poor, including 9.8% that lives in poverty.

Steve Hopkins invited me to go with him to this nation that he has poured his heart and soul into. It was an honor to teach a conference among the Quechua’s and minister at Cathedral of Faith, the main church of Lima.

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Honduras

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Honduras is a republic in Central America. It was home to several important indigenous cultures, most notably the Maya. Much of the country was conquered by Spain which introduced its now predominant language and many of its customs in the sixteenth century. The population of Honduras exceeds eight million.

My first visit to Honduras was in 1985. I am so glad that it was not my last.

In 2012 Burt Kelly and I met up with Dean and Melissa Lowman for a conference in La Esperanza. It was extremely profitable. I was very impressed with the leadership and the follower ship of this fellowship of ministers and churches. I believe the best days for Honduras is ahead, as the Church pursues His Kingdom purposes.

Mexico

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With an estimated population of over 113 million, it is the world’s eleventh most populous country and the most populous Spanish-speaking country. After gaining independence from Spain there was a period was characterized by economic instability, the Mexican-American War and territorial cession to the United States, a civil war, two empires and a domestic dictatorship.

The latter led to the Mexican Revolution in 1910, which culminated with the 1917 Constitution and the emergence of the country’s current political system. Since 2006 the country has been in the midst of a drug war which has caused 60,000 deaths. Mexico has one of the world’s largest economies, and is considered both a regional power and middle power.

As of 2007 Mexico was the tenth most visited country in the world with 21.4 million international arrivals per year. Roman Catholicism is the main religion, with 82.7% of the population, while 9.7% (10,924,103) belong to Evangelical Chirstianity.

Chiapas and San Martin provided me a look deep inside this nation. Dale Yerton began a work in Chiapas in the early 70’s. An incredible network of churches continues to grow and win people to Jesus.

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Jamaica

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Jamaica is the 5th largest island country in the Caribbean. The indigenous people, the Taíno, called it Xaymaca in Arawakan meaning the “Land of Wood and Water” or the “Land of Springs”. Evangelicals make up nearly 20% of the population.

Vicky and I traveled to Jamaica to minister at a Pastor’s Conference in the town of Duncans, where Kemp and Carol Holden established this church in the early 70’s! We obviously enjoyed the climate, country and culture. (It was after all Jamaica!) We enjoyed making connection and establishing a relationship with Pastor Winston Gray and his wife Keryann.

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Guatemala

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Guatemala became independent from Spain in 1821. After it became an independent country in its own right, it was ruled by a series of dictators. The late 20th century saw Guatemala embroiled in a 36-year-long civil war. Following the war, Guatemala has witnessed both economic growth and successful democratic elections.

Natural disasters have a long history in this geologically active part of the world. Guatemala’s location between the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean makes it a target for hurricanes, such as Hurricane Mitch in 1998 and Hurricane Stan in October 2005, which killed more than 1,500 people.

Guatemala’s highlands lie along the Motagua Fault. This fault has been responsible for several major earthquakes in historic times, including a 7.5 magnitude tremor on February 4, 1976, which killed more than 25,000 people. Guatemala has 37 volcanoes, four of them are active: Pacaya, Santiaguito, Fuego and Tacaná. Both Fuego and Pacaya erupted in 2010.
Guatemala is a beautiful country with a beautiful people. Carlos Craft established Camino Biblico many years ago. My friend Dale Yerton, agreed to help oversee his work upon his death. Ted Flynn has also shown incredible leadership and true influence as he has served this fellowship of some 250-300 churches over the past several years. It’s a privilege to work with these two men of high integrity and vision.

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2010 2006

 

Ukraine

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It is the second largest country on the European continent, after Russia. According to a popular and well established theory, the medieval state of what is modern day Ukraine (Kievan Rus) was established in the 9th century as the first historically recorded East Slavic state. On December 30, 1922 Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic became one of the founding republics of the Soviet Union. Later, in 1945, the Ukrainian SSR became one of the founding members of the United Nations.

One 2006 survey put the number of non-religious in Ukraine at approximately 62.5% of the population. Evangelical Christians form around 2.19% of the population. Evangelical numbers have grown greatly since Ukrainian independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991.

Dale Yerton and I taught two Leadership Seminars and spoke in several churches including the large Central Assembly of God church in Kiev, Ukraine. We toured the headquarters for the Assemblies of God and met some very dedicated and precious leaders.

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Russia

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Russia is the largest country in the world, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth’s inhabited land area. Russia is also the world’s ninth most populous nation with 143 million people as of 2012. Extending across the whole of northern Asia, Russia spans nine time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms. Russia has the world’s largest reserves of mineral and energy resources and is the largest producer of oil and natural gas globally. Russia has the world’s largest forest reserves and its lakes contain approximately one-quarter of the world’s fresh water.

Russia is one of the world’s fastest growing major economies. It is one of the five recognized nuclear weapons states and possesses the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. Russia is a great power and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council

Various reports put the number of non-religious in Russia upwards of 48% of the population.

The Leadership Conference was in Yekaterinburg, just east of the Ural Mountains and just inside Siberia. One hundred men gathered for their first ever Leadership Conference! What an incredible time with some precious brothers. Ivo Ivanov, the international director of Mission Possible, brings leadership to this group of churches and ministries.

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Romania

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With the fall of the Iron Curtain and the 1989 Revolution, Romania began its transition towards democracy and a capitalist market economy. After a decade of post-revolution economic problems and living-standards decline, extensive reforms fostered economic recovery.

In the late 2000s, nearly 10% of the population was in absolute poverty and of these, 90% live in rural areas.

“I was first introduced to Romania in 2006. It is another beautiful nation, with a rich history and a special people. I’ve been there many times now and have been blessed to form some significant relationships.” Ed is working and strategizing with key leaders to advance the Kingdom of God in this special nation. In addition to church planting initiatives, he continues to conduct Leadership Conferences on a regular basis there.

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2013 2011 2009 2006

 

Bulgaria

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I’ve been to the wonderful nation of Bulgaria many times now. It has found a place deep in my heart. The spirit of the Bulgarian people is profoundly underscored by understanding some of their history.

There is a picture of our family on top of the tower/monument that stands as testimony of the spirit of the Bulgarians. In 1877, on a mountaintop, in a place called Shipka, an outnumbered, volunteer Bulgarian army, fought against the Turks for their freedom. When they ran out of ammunition they threw boulders and even hurled the bodies of their dead comrades down on their enemy. The Turks were so repulsed; they retreated, granting victory to the Bulgarians.

It is this kind of spirit that I believe still resides in many of the Bulgarians today. I believe God will use that tenacity to continue spreading the Gospel in Bulgaria!

In 2009 Matt and I were scheduled to teach a conference in Bulgaria. I just returned from Guatemala and was to be in Bulgaria in two weeks. I had been praying the funds for the conference would come in but they had not. With regret, I contacted Director, Roumen Ivanov and informed him we did not have the money to come. He said, “Brother Ed, we need this teaching. My team and I are willing to give up three months of our salaries if you will come.” I told him that wasn’t going to happen but we would make it happen. After only a couple days of calling friends of Echo, all but $800 came in so we could minister to these leaders!

It is a privilege to link arms with Director Roumen Ivanov and the incredible ministry team of “Mission Possible” to train Pastors and Church Leaders, minister in gypsy communities and plant churches in this nation.

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Fall 2014 Spring 2014 2013 Fall 2012 Spring 2012 2011 2009 2008 2006