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Mission Trip Bogota/Barrancabermeja (Jan – Feb 2020)

Our trip to Barrancabermeja, Colombia was blessed and highly favored by the Lord.

With almost 1000 salvations and 667 healings, the statistics hardly begin to tell the story of what miraculous things our prayers brought to Colombia. The week could be called “The Beauty I see in You.” Since this was the theme that Linda suggested to Maria for Gary’s birthday cards. But it was more than that! 
In one way, the “I” of “The Beauty I see in You” was our team. The way we called forth beauty altered the state of the hurting people, making them whole by bringing God’s love. This beauty was evident everywhere we went. At the Coliseum, Janet and Miriam saw God heal three sisters who came from far away when their father was healed the day before. And when Janet danced with a church member during worship. They made eye contact and a brief kiss on the cheek. Janet felt the Holy Spirit urge her to give the lady her favorite ring. When she went to give her the ring, the lady had already taken off her necklace to give Janet as a gift! Janet wore the necklace every day.

So many people got saved!

Gary said it best. The most important part of the service is the time to call out the lost to come to receive forgiveness of sin and the love of Jesus. Yes, many came to the Lord; they received salvation and turned their lives to God. We all joined the angels and cheered over God’s new family members. 

People came seeking the Lord, the Healer, and they encountered Him. Many were healed without the laying of hands. Gary’s mass healing declaration was followed by some who came up to proclaim their healing in front of the entire congregation. Gary also called the team to listen for words of knowledge. Again, God showed up! There was so much amazement and excitement on the people who testified of their healings. Others were healed after individual prayer. Barrancabermeja saw many people healed of arthritis, scoliosis in the spine, deaf ears, and blind eyes. Stomach pain, cysts, and lumps disappeared – Knees and back pain, heart conditions, and much more. 
Bill D. had a word of knowledge at a church service on Saturday for a blind right eye. Dawna was amazed that she was able to pray for and see inner healing and deliverance without a translator and with very little Spanish. Julian saw many healed through Holy Spirit’s joy with hardly any words. Linda was led to encourage unmarried couples to marry. 
Christina, Julian, and then Jim, Bill M, Chaelee, Jayslec, and Annie knew to call out the beauty that was in a young new mother with a blind eye, with no pupil or iris showing. They persisted over two days to lead her to forgive her brother, who blinded her eye, renounce witchcraft, and forgive God – all so her beauty could emerge. In the end, she was beaming with joy. Knowing the Father’s beautiful love, her upturned eye now straight, soon to be completely healed. 
Kristi encountered a beautiful young lady that came up for prayer who had been experiencing extreme abdominal pain for days. After praying, all the pain left. The next night she came back to the church with her mom. She gave her life to Christ, was set free from resentment towards the person who had cursed her through witchcraft. Her entire countenance changed. She was truly free! 
During worship at a church service, Annie said to Christina that she was experiencing back pain. Christina got the word “aligment” while praying for Annie’s back. As Christina prayed for her, Annie felt her bones moving in her back and neck. Later that night, Antonio, a young man in a wheelchair, was positioned in front of Christina. Julian had prayed for Antonio the night before. And although there were no noticeable changes of healing in Antonio’s body. Holy Spirit used Julian to prepare Antonio’s heart for healing and restoration. 

Antonio saw God move!

After praying for him, Antonio saw his left knee move and align completely to the other without anyone touching him! That raised his faith to believe for more. By the time the team left the church service, Antonio could raise his arms, his legs more than forty percent (something he couldn’t do at all). Antonio was beaming and smiling. His shoulders were almost aligned completely. He felt his butt bones move one at a time until his hips were aligned. He said he had fibromyalgia. After praying for his muscles to relax, his curved neck and back became straight, and the pain on this back was gone. Praise God!

The Beauty I see in You” was so evident when the pastor of the Assembly of God church told us, “I would love to be like you all.” He saw the beauty! Yet, knowing the beauty is Jesus in us, Annie lifted up the pastor and said, “You would love to be like Jesus.” 
Every time we got on the bus, there was Jim ready to lead us into prayer and prepared our hearts for prayer and intercessions. Prophetic words were answered many times over. Jayslec prophesied chains broken by breakthrough. Annie prophesied we would see slaves set free in the refuge of Jesus, our Rescuer. Some saw flames of fire on our way to the Coliseum. The consuming fire of the Holy Spirit took over the meetings. 
“The Beauty I see in You” was also the essence of ministry to the homeless and “lost sheep” we found in the park across from the hotel. For example, Julian prayed, laid hands, hugged, and danced with a mentally unstable, filthy, homeless man. Yolanda, Kristine, Karen, and Christina led one lady to the Lord, who’s knees got healed. Kristine blessed her business endeavors with words of encouragement and money. We experienced “sozo” with one another. Life, hope, and healing was evident in the park. So much so, we could hardly feel how hot it really was. 

The visit to the local prison was a place to test our vulnerability.

The process to enter the jail and coming out seem long (it was probably not!). Giving away our passports, getting stamped, being checked for weapons, and the sound of the bars closing behind us was unforgettable. While inside the prison walls, Gary and Andy asked the team to walk around and impart a blessing to as many men as we could. Annie prayed over one very specific man who was dealing with shame and guilt; the Lord truly blessed him. Jim and Yolanda went towards the back of the building to reach even the ones hiding in the corners, not wanting to have anything to do with us. Shortly after praying and laying hands, Jim shared with Yolanda that the team was leaving the premises. They decided to move on quickly towards the exit. At this point, not only the entire team left but also the prison guards. 
It was at that moment that Yolanda’s realized the doors were locked, and there were criminals surrounding her. The enemy planted a very disturbing vision in her thoughts that something terrible could happen to her. But then, “The beauty she saw in them,” the perfect love of God that casts out fear, turned her heart right back towards them. She saw their pain. She immediately made eye contact with one of the men, and in Spanish, bless him as she extended her hand to greet him. At that point, one of the men took his fist and banged on the main prison door. The prison guard opened the door and was in shock for accidentally leaving her inside. With a look of confidence and boldness, Yolanda stepped through the threshold, telling the prison guard that Jim was right behind her.
“The Beauty I see in You” was also seen in the team members ministering to each other. For two days in a row, one of the hotel rooms became the place of meeting. It all started with an invitation to have communion together; the Holy Spirit came and collided with us. It was amazing. Some of the team members gathered to give prophetic encouraging words. Dancing was recorded in one of the rooms! One special moment was when a release of prophetic words for Karen created a change of atmosphere for her and her walk with the Lord. 
That became an open door for group and individual impartations from then on. The waves of power and anointing were so tangible. Some of the team members sought after the healing and affirming prayers of Keong. On our last night, before leaving Bogota, Keong took over an area of the hotel lobby for an encounter of healing and impartation. Powerful stuff happened on our last night together.

God is so good! 

“The Beauty I see in You” was seen as the ladies shared about a visit to the throne room in polka dots dresses. We shared blow dryers, hair curlers, talked about lipstick shades and eating habits. We gave each other tips that help to keep our earthly suits in optimal conditions so we can continue to spread the Gospel and be used in the gifts of the Spirit more and more. 
We should have taken a photo of Gary’s face in amazement when some of the ladies on the team stated their age. He was amazed by how young we all looked. We made sure we imparted some of that youth back to him. Of course, Gary made sure we all knew he was only 24 years old – since he now counts backward on his birthdays. 
It was beautiful to listen to Chaelee confirmed how she struggled while packing for the trip, not knowing what to wear or what to bring. (I think most of us had that problem too!) In our last lunch together, she said how much love she felt when she was complemented in her beautiful outfits throughout the trip.
We visited three different schools. We all had an incredible experience in the first school. However, it was challenging for some of the team members as they became vulnerable with their stories of breakthrough and how with God, we are overcomers. The second school, we had to “shake the dust of our feet” and leave in peace as we went our way shortly after getting there. Only to know later that the Assistant Principal realized the mistake she had made and invited us to please come back. 
Last, but not least, the little children – were Tiffany went to school in her very young years, and her daughters now attend. Wonderful Jesus supernaturally activated our words with His love. Karen taught the school children that they were beautifully created by God. 
It was early that day that Julian woke up to a room full of polka dots. These dots then became bubbles, and the bubbles were full of joy. These bubbles appeared again later while visiting the school for very young children. Julian asked the young ones to look for the bubbles that were hanging in the air all over the classroom. As the children popped the bubbles, more and more joy was taking over the place. Some of the team members, who were not able to attend the school, had the chance to pop some bubbles in the hallway of the hotel later on. 
Breakfast on Saturday was unique as Miriam sang the song, “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, won’t you be mine.” We knew those words were coming from God to us. After lunch, Jim, Julian, Christina, and Miriam stayed behind to bless Maria. They gave words of encouragement for her next season in life. She humbly received all the prayers and words spoken. She was beaming with courage, hope, and love. 
We won’t forget when Tiffany and Misael blessed us all with Gary Oates Ministries hats or when Jayslec gifted us with beautiful bracelets and keychains. Oh! And, we added a new team member. GOMI the Iguana. He posed with all of us at the park for our team photo. That was so much fun! We must thank Julian (Misael’s cousin), for his time and hard work. He helped and accompanied all of us throughout the days of ministry in Barrancabermejas. He sure was a witness to all the things that God was doing! 

The song “Cristo Yo Te Amo” will forever be in our heart 

connected to the precious moments we had in Barrancabermeja. Priceless! The angels came to worship with us, singing along with Tiffany, who set the stage for Gary to bring the Good News and Andy to interpret the hope of glory and healing power that is found only in the Mighty God.

Bill M. and Miriam summed it up at the end of the trip, knowing that “The Beauty I see in You” is love. Miriam said, “I just want to share my new level of faith by loving all back home.” Bill M. said, “A few were open to God’s love.” No! He then said, “Everybody was open to God’s love.”

Where did that openness come from? We know it is made possible by Gary seeking and preaching the Lord’s will. Andy’s amazingly getting favor with churches, schools, and prisons. And, Maria’s talents and heart to coordinate and guidance to ensure a successful mission trip for all the team.
The “I” in “The Beauty I see in You” is God’s love in us collaborating with the King! 
By: Christina Cento and Julian Thorne 

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