Cali, Colombia Update, March 12, 2010
God is Still Working in Cali
By Ruth Ruibal
I have been asked in different ways what is happening in Cali after the Transformations video produced in 1999. One person asked me when the height of the move of God was. I find it hard to answer, since most people from the outside would measure the move of God by the tens of thousands attending our all-night prayer vigil in the stadium. However, perhaps because I live here, I see it differently.
First, let me share what most people are interested in:
* Yes, we still meet in the stadium for all-night prayer on Thursday during Easter week and tens of thousands still attend. These meetings are glorious. We sense the presence of God as we seek His face for our city. There are signs, miracles and healings that take place as well. Many people are satisfied with that answer, but for me it goes much deeper than what is seen so easily with the eye.
* We are no longer ruled or plagued by the drug cartel. Although Colombia continues to produce and export drugs, it is no longer through the Cali cartel, but from other areas of the country. We enjoy using the national highways freely, no longer “kidnapped” within the city limits. Homicides and other violent crimes have decreased.
* The number of believers and churches has grown. It is now estimated that 15% of the population are Christians. This is a really large growth from the less than 1% reported when I first came to Cali in 1968! And numerically it is even more impressive when we see that the general population has more than doubled! The church is considered an important part and voice in society. In fact, during the last three years the two last weeks of October are set aside for Christian art and music with the city government giving free venues.
* For that last four years we have had a fine Christian city councilman who has been known for his honesty, love for the city, and good works - especially for marginal people groups. He has also defended the churches on many occasions and opened doors with the President of Colombia.
* We have been able to obtain scholarships for pastors to study theology and Bible. In the Third World it is common for people to come to the Lord and feel a call to ministry. Frequently, they rent a garage, start services, and have a church. However, these leaders rarely have the Biblical training that is necessary to lead the people in the balanced way of the Lord. So far, almost 100 pastors have received Bible training.
Perhaps these are more outstanding items for those who want to know if God is still moving here. However, for me there are many more factors that are difficult to measure. One area is that of the deepened unity among the pastors, though it is difficult to measure unity. It would be like someone entering a home wanting to see love amongst its members. Love in itself is not seen, but if one stays long enough the results of love will be seen.
Every month the pastors meet under a slogan “ministered to minister; nourished to nourish.” Each month we can sense the move of the Lord in almost a tangible way. The Lord is certainly working in our midst and we are expecting great things in days to come. Perhaps this seems not as spectacular as tens of thousands in a stadium, but I see it like a marriage. Not every day is a honeymoon, nor should it be; some days are just facing problems together and strengthening and deepening the ties between the couple. And we can sense the deepening of the unity we are living out amongst the pastors of the city as we work together, solving difficult situations in prayer and with godly wisdom. I wouldn’t change it for anything.
And surely there are many other indicators of God’s presence in Cali. However, this does not mean that we “have arrived” or that we are satisfied. There is much more that the Lord yet wants to do in our city.