A parishioner of St Hilda’s, Kilmakee, is to travel to Bolivia in March with a team from Divine Healing Ministries.
Eric Lewis will be on a team led by the Director of the interdenominational Divine Healing Ministries, Brother David Jardine, which will be hosted in the city of La Paz by Pastor Hendrik Hoere, a Dutchman who has done great work in South America over the last 30 years.
The team, including Eric, have all previously visited Cali in Colombia where Pastor Hendrik was based until recently, but this will be a first time in Bolivia for many of the members.
There will be a commissioning service in St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast, on March 9, and the team will leave for London on March 10, flying on to La Paz the following day.
David Jardine is hoping for a gentle start to two weeks of healing ministry, as La Paz is 12,000 feet above sea level, and he is anticipating that, at the age of 72, it would be wise to take some time to acclimatise to the altitude!
“We have a busy schedule but will take it easy to start with,” David said. “When you are surrounded by prayer you get through things much more easily than people will ever believe. There will be a volume of prayer surrounding us and that is a quality that people who are not people of faith do not understand.”
David paid tribute to Pastor Hendrik, describing him as ‘one of the greatest men produced by the church in the 20th century.’
“He is such a humble man and I know the sacrifices he and his wife made when they went to Colombia at a time when a civil war was raging,” David said.
The relationship between the two is long established, and Pastor Hendrik visits Northern Ireland every year.
“We travel to South America to support the work he does in very poor communities,” David said.
In Bolivia the team will carry out a ministry of healing in churches in La Paz and in the town of Potosi. “We will be teaching on how God still heals today. There are a lot of churches wanting to open their doors to us,” David added.
He said that despite the challenges of travel, climate, different food and the altitude – Potosi is even higher than La Paz at 13,420 feet above sea level – he had the confidence God would look after the team.
“I thank God that I have the fitness to be able to do this sort of thing,” David said. “We are only going for two weeks, which puts into perspective the commitment of people who go to live in difficult conditions in places like Africa and other countries to carry out mission work.
“What we are doing is very simple. I have great respect for those missionaries who have gone to places to work for a lifetime.”
David added that the people in the churches the team will visit in Bolivia will be hungry for the ministry of healing.
Eric Lewis has been on many trips with Divine Healing Ministries in the last 25 years, including Nigeria, the Arctic, Jamaica, Brooklyn and Manhattan, and Colombia.
“I feel in spirit that although I have been to many countries all over the world this visit to Bolivia will be special,” said Eric.
“More than 80 per cent of the population are American Indian and they strongly believe in the Mother Earth type of spirits, so this will be quite a challenge. The people there are very anxious that we visit with the healing ministry, and that is a great encouragement to me. I am looking forward to talking to them about the Holy Spirit.”
As he prepares for this next visit to South America, Eric said it would not be a holiday. “We do not go to these places as tourists,” he said. “We go into working class areas to bring our ministry of healing to the poorer people in the community.”
Speaker at the commissioning service in St Anne’s Cathedral on Monday March 9 at 8pm will be the Very Rev Raymond Ferguson of the South American Missionary Society (SAMS). West Church, Bangor, Music Group will lead the worship.
Personal prayer for healing and anointing with oil will be offered at this service, and all are welcome.