Acts 3:1-10 (ESV)
3 Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.2 And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. 3 Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. 4 And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” 5 And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” 7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.8 And leaping up, he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
El Paují is a hillside community in Caracas, Venezuela. I first visited there over 20 years ago when ChildHope President Mary Mahon was building our first ChildHope school in Venezuela. I only had one sermon in Spanish, so I preached that on Sunday. But there was more than one service on Sunday, so I had to preach several more times with an interpreter. By the end of all the services I was exhausted and thirsty. I just wanted to sit down and have a drink of water. But Pastor Alexis Mora decided we needed to finish the day with a healing service.
We continued until I was even more exhausted when a final person came forward for payer. She was single mom who brought her 4 year old daughter. As I heard the story surrounding this little girl’s illness, I was overwhelmed. This young mom, along with her husband, had adopted this little girl. Not long before our encounter, her husband died suddenly. Here she was alone, with a desperately ill daughter with an incurable auto-immune deficiency disease. I prayed as fervently as I have ever prayed for healing in my life.
I went home to the USA but a week later received a fax from Venezuela. The fax contained two medical tests: one taken before the prayer for healing and one from after that prayer. The comparison of the two tests indicated that the little girl’s disease was completely gone. In one moment, the Jesus of Pentecost had restored the health of a little girl and the hope of a single mom whose life had known so much loss and tragedy.
About the same time, there was a little boy who began attending the ChildHope School in El Paují. He was sponsored by a young family from Iowa. Another miracle occurred in the life of little Alex that may not have been as spectacular as the healing of the little girl, but still displays the power of Pentecost. Born into poverty, Alex had a fragile future except for the fact that he was receiving a life transforming Christian education. Because of the ministry of the El Paují school Alex received “a chance to dream.” He dreamed of one day becoming a medical doctor. Fast forward 20 years and little Alex of El Paují is now Dr. Alex MD! He now provides free medical care to those in communities like the one he grew up in.
The past 20 years have not been kind to the nation of Venezuela. Political realties have made life quite miserable for this once thriving nation. But human tragedy is not a barrier to the power of Pentecost. Whether it is a miraculous healing of a body or a miraculous transformation of a child’s very outlook on life, the Spirit of God transcends human misery and evil to bring healing and hope. Whether it is the Gate Beautiful in Acts 3 or El Paují school in the 21st century, the Good News is that the power of the resurrected Lord is still saying, Rise, get up and walk!
Vice President, ChildHope
Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.