Changing Lives at the Beach of Esmeraldas

On my recent mission trip in December 2018, we crossed the Andes to go to Esmeraldas which is a coastal city in the northwestern part of Ecuador. We had a day off, so we went to a breakfast restaurant at the beach, and as I saw the water, I thought to myself, “today we should go fishing”. As I look up, a guy walks in, and I ask him if he knows somebody who would take us out on the ocean, and 30 minutes later we were already ready to go fishing in the Pacific Ocean.

I live what you can call a “predestined lifestyle”, I believe that my steps are ordained by God, that “we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good deeds that we should walk in” (Ephesians 2.10).

We went through the waves across the reef and cast out the lines in more calm water, waiting for the fishes to bite. It was an awesome experience. We spend the whole day fishing, and when we came back in the evening, I asked the fishermen if they could prepare a fire so we could BBQ the fishes on the beach. I paid for the party and the fishermen brought their families, and right there, as we were eating, we had the opportunity to share the gospel and lead the fishermen to Christ.

Revival Among the Fishermen

We had revival, right there on the beach. What we experienced there was more authentic than a regular church meeting, it was so beautiful to see these men receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour, and the same night we prayed with them to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”, so that was what we did, right there with the fishermen on the beach.

I will never forget these fishermen and their stories. As we were sitting around the fire, we were connected in a special way. Even after we left, I kept praying for these people. One of the men had seven kids, his wife had left him, and he was the sole provider of his family. They were very poor, they were trying hard to make a living, but they did not have the resources. They needed a bigger boat in order to get a bigger catch out on the deep ocean, they paddled in a canoe so they could not cross the reef and take them to the deep waters where we had been fishing during the day.

Two New Boats Can Change the Lives of Many

I want to start a project in Esmeraldas, right there on the beach. I believe this connection was God-given, and I already have talked to one of my attorney friends in Ecuador to set up a fishing consortium so we can invest in this community and buy bigger boats.

Where I go, I will bring the gospel. Luke 4.18. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.

What is good news to the poor? Is it not that they shall not be poor anymore? Let us preach the gospel, not only in Words but also in action. Our little can help a lot. For 6,000 dollars we can buy two boats and two engines for the fishermen in Esmeraldas. Several families can fish on each boat, with fish comes money and school for the kids and even more open hearts for Christ.

Your Kingdom Come!

I want to see the Kingdom of God manifested on that beach in Esmeralda, Equador. I remember many years ago when I first brought the gospel to the Eskimos in North West Greenland, immediately after having received Christ they started to catch more fish and animals and they were so successful in hunting together that more hunters started to ask if they could go out hunting with them. That village is still developing til this day. I believe the same thing can happen on the beaches of Esmeralda. If you want to partner with us in this project, click on this link. May God bless you for your prayers and support! https://evangelistministries.international/contact/donations/

In Memory of “Come Clean”

“Come Clean” was the street name of this man who died a few days ago behind a garbage dumpster alone, just across the street from Powerhouse Church. This is the picture of his memorial. A photo, a few plastic flowers, some candles, two booklets, and a white teddy bear on the spot where he was found.

“Come Clean” was one of the homeless people in our community. He used to come to our church all the time, for Community Day or during the Wednesday Dinner. Now we won’t see him anymore. He is no longer around. It is really sad. I talked to him last month and now he is gone.

I went to see his memorial yesterday together with one of his friends, and as we were going down the street, we did a Facebook live recording to give you an impression of what kind of area we are in. We are in a dark place, and God has put us here to shine his light!

In a few days “Come Clean” will be forgotten and another memorial will be raised for somebody else on the trail. Orange Blossom Trail, OBT, devours people and destroys families, only Jesus Christ is the answer.

Do you realize that all these people dying for nothing were kids once? Think about it, they were playing around, going to school, and they all had dreams – until some adult stole it away from them, they were abused before they started using, and as they grew up they suffered the consequences of iniquity and sin.

His Last Message on Video

One of the young guys from our church made a video with “Come Clean” recently. At this point, he thought he still had plenty of time left on this earth. He was free of cocaine, but not free of alcohol. This is what he said, not knowing that this would be his last message to us on OBT https://www.facebook.com/C.Hedegaard/videos/10217329688412424/

Are you ready to meet your Maker? Only one thing is sure in life and that is that we all will be leaving at one point. I wish we all be ready. I know where I am going. I have dedicated my life to give and to live a life worth dying for. I want to live life to the fullest, with Christ, in obedience to Him, as if each day was the last.

This is the live video that I made from the memorial of “Come Clean” https://www.facebook.com/C.Hedegaard/videos/10217326384969840/

“Come Clean” was a beautiful man, and I hope that one day I will see him again. In Powerhouse Church he is not forgotten. “Come clean, or don’t come at all”, that is what he used to say. God knows his heart, He knows every outspoken prayer, He even knows his last words and how he died …

Don’t You Ever Give Up Hope

This Christmas it has been seven years since we first came to America and started feeding the homeless people on Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando, Florida. Every Wednesday and Sunday after church, but also a lot in between. Even before the church was established, our family has served tens of thousands of people, and if somebody asks me if it has been worth it, I will always say “yes”.

Honestly, I don’t think about it, I just do it. If I start to think too deeply about what we are doing I might start to lose courage. Orange Blossom Trail needs a lot of change, and we all know that it’s not the food, that will change the community. It is Jesus Christ. My focus is so strong on Jesus Christ and the vision that I refuse to look back and faith in him keeps me alive and strong in all the daily problems.

I have many pastor friends now in America and sometimes I have to pinch myself in the arm when I hear about their problems, how I wish I sometimes could swab problems with them. Just last week alone, two of the people that come to our church regularly have died out in the street, but still, I am convinced that I am graced to do this job.

There is a Reason, Pastor!

Let me give you three fresh testimonies that kept me going this past week:

In our church we have this homeless man that I have fed for seven years, he always sticks to himself, he has a long beard and white wild hair, and not so long ago he told me why. “There is a reason, pastor. I want people to think that I am crazy so that they will stay away from me”, he explained. “I am not crazy, but I am so hurt by people, I just want to sit on an island alone and die”, he said. This man has been expelled many times because he has been drunk and aggressive, but last year he detoxed himself off one bottle of vodka a day and has been sober for a long time. Now he has decided to follow Jesus, and Sunday he was in our service for the first time ever and got baptized in front of everybody. Even I was astonished to see him take that turn. For many years it seemed like nothing was happening but now, all of a sudden, he is changing big time.

My Other Sheep

One of my other “sheep” have been coming to our Community Cafe for a long time. They are always around, and they are always high and drunk. They live in a different world of substance abuse and we have had many problems with one of them in particular. No matter what I say, they will never listen, so I must admit that I kind of wrote them off, still knowing that “nothing is impossible with God”.

This week I saw the impossible. I was outside the Community Cafe talking to one of the guys, and when I came into the building everybody was real quiet. I had to look twice when I saw my “case impossible” speak in front of everybody. “So many people have died out here, but this church has saved my life”, he said. “This is our street, and we must stand together to change our community. We can do it. If they could change me, you can change as well. But it takes faith in God and faith in the church”, he said.

I was stunned. This man has threatened me and my family and my volunteers over and over again. Recently we gave him the “last chance”, he has been asked to leave the facility several times, but now I am happy that we had faith, patience, and longsuffering enough to love him through. Now he is pulling people into the church.

We Saved his Life …

My last “case impossible” is a young man that I don’t remember “not high”. A few months ago he told me that he was starting in school, A young man that I do not remember “not high” on drugs told me a few months ago that he was starting to go to school. I took the time to talk to him but it looked like the word was just going in through one ear and out of the other. I also prayed with him, and next time I saw him around he was sitting down, talking to another young drug addict about Jesus Christ. “You know me from the streets”, he said, “but I have changed, ever since pastor prayed for me and I started listening to him, my life has changed. I am going back to school. This pastor saved my life!” he said.

I almost fell off my chair, I had not seen that one coming and I realized right there that our word is like a living seed. We must preach whether people like it or not. We must not stop speaking about Jesus Christ. The word is alive and has mighty power to save.

When I came home Friday I was still in awe. Two of the most impossible cases were testifying in front of other people that I had saved their lives and I did not even know it. The third “impossible” guy was baptized on his first Sunday in church. Wauv, I never get tired of serving Jesus Christ.

Happy New Years from all of us here in Orlando. We walk by faith, not by sight. Faith is the substance of things hoped for. Don’t ever give up hope!

When Tumors And Cancer Disappear

In my last blog “Living With Christ is a Blast” I wrote about the adventures in the Amazon Jungle in Ecuador, how we flew into the tribes in small planes and how we drove over the Andes Mountains on motorcycles, swimming in waterfalls, white river rafting etc.

This time I want to share with you the biggest adventure of them all and the reason why we went there in the first place. I did not come for the jungle experience, I came for the “Jesus Experience”, to see Jesus touch peoples lives in the Puyo region.

First time I came to Puyo was in June 2018, and after two days of crusade, I felt there was more for me to do. That’s why I talked to the pastor in the region, and that is why we set up another crusade with four revival meetings at the beginning of December 2018.

The first night we preached in the host church in Puyo, the jungle capital of Ecuador. The pastors are Carlos and Alicia Marchan, they are wonderful people and very respected for their work in the region. When they came there was nothing. Today they have started many churches and led many people to Christ, and it is amazing to see how the church has developed and grown with the city.

It was a really good start, many people were baptized with the Holy Spirit, so we were all fired up and ready for the big meetings the following days in the downtown sports center. The next day it was raining all day which I had not expected. Only a few people were there at the beginning of the meeting, but after an hour they were there by the hundreds, including my tour guide and several of his friends, and when I called for salvation many people gave their lives to Christ.

Instant Miracles of Healing

My preaching did not take a long time at all, so we started ministering to the sick and oppressed. I will try to give you some of the highlights:

A teacher and her teenage daughter, she was completely blind on one eye and had severe pain in one side of her face. The daughter started crying when she realized that her mother’s eye had been restored and to my surprise, she started reading out loud the banner behind me on the stage, even the sentence in small print that I could not even see myself.

A woman with a severe infection in her stomach, it was so bad that she could not even urinate and had a lot of pain. We prayed for her and I told her to go the restroom and pee and when she came back her face was all lit up and she whispered in my ear that as she went to the restroom all the puss and infection had come right out of her and she was healed.

It just kept going and going on for so long. So many testimonies. Now I knew that the second crusade night in Puyo would be great. Again it was raining cats and dogs all day, even worse than the first day, we could not even go out of the hotel. The rain was so heavy that I thought people would not be able to come. But people kept coming. They said there were over 500 the second night, which was a personal miracle to me with all that rain.

After the sermon, I asked people with tumors to come to the front for prayers and one by one they testified how God healed them there on the spot from tumors and growths. When people saw and heard this, their faith exploded and soon many people poured out from the isles to give their lives to Christ and to receive healing and deliverance.

The Power of God Hit the Place

A woman with throat cancer came forth. I had talked to her before the meeting and she said she had no faith. I told her that I did not agree since she had already demonstrated her faith by coming to the meeting. And when she finally came for prayer I told her how she had now demonstrated her faith in Jesus twice in a day. First by coming to the meeting and second by coming for prayer. I asked her friend to lay her hands on her and immediately she started to swallow, which she could not do. She asked for water and after drinking a whole bottle she asked for food and then another bottle of water, she could eat and swallow without any problems. A miracle happened right there before our eyes.

I remember another lady with a huge tumor under her breast, it was as big as a cup. As we prayed for her to be healed the thing disappeared right before our very eyes. We all started crying, everybody on the team experienced the power of Jesus Christ that night. It was like an explosion. This evening many more got saved. It was so powerful. I could not sleep when I came back to the hotel.

Sunday morning I preached again in the church and again we saw several people getting baptized, healed and set free from demons of witchcraft. This was my last meeting, supposedly the end of the trip, but I have the feeling that I am not finished. It seems like we are just getting started on a whole new chapter, an outpour of the Holy Spirit in Ecuador spreading to other countries in South America as well.

Living With Christ is A Blast

As a traveling preacher, I always take time to go around to see places and enjoy God’s creation. So far I have visited more than 70 nations. I know preachers who go from airport to hotel, to church and back without seeing anything of the country or the state they go to, but that is not my story. Taking time off, meeting new people inside and outside the church and keeping my program for adventure keeps me original and fresh, on fire but not burned out. I have been doing this since I started fulltime ministry in 1996.

This year I have been two times in the Amazon Jungle in Ecuador to preach the gospel. First time I went with a group of pastors, and as I checked into my hotel, I decided to go fishing. It turned out that the owner of the hotel had a brother who was an expert in jungle trips. We spent the afternoon fishing, and his wife cooked the fish for us in the evening. This was before the crusade, and I was overwhelmed with joy when I saw the tour guide at the meeting, standing in front of the platform, giving his life to Christ later at the crusade!

The second time, I went with my youngest son, a Danish pastor and a ministry friend from Texas. We came two days before the meetings so we could have time for adventure.  The tour guide picked us up in the airport, and we spend the first day in the jungle with him, visiting remote villages, fishing, eating fresh fish, swimming in waterfalls and river rafting on the Postaza River. While we were doing this, another tour guide ended up giving his life to Christ! This was priceless, such a blessing, both for me and for the team. 

The next day, a lawyer whom I had met on my first trip came to see us. He was flying in a little two-seater ultralight plane together with another new missionary friend of mine. They flew us into the deep jungle to visit and to preach to the villagers. I used to fly my own plane years ago, so they allowed me to fly on the way back and land the plane. How cool was that! I felt so rich, knowing that we could not have paid that day with money, this was the blessings of God!

The crusade in Puyo was powerful. We had heavy rain because of the season, but still, 3-500 people showed up during the evening meetings. I was interviewed by radio and television, we ran a Facebook campaign to advertise for the event, and many people got saved, healed, filled with the Holy Spirit and set free. For me this is the ultimate adventure, nothing thrills me more than witnessing God touching peoples lives.

After the meetings I went with my son and the lawyer across the Andes, which are the biggest chain of mountains in South America. We were riding motorcycles, and the lawyer followed in his pickup truck as a backup in case something should happen. At one point I could not see the car in front of me because we were driving so high in the mountains, actually, we were driving through the clouds, through heavy rain showers, for 10 hours till we finally made it to a hotel surrounded by natural hot volcanic baths. We were frozen to the bone so we stayed in those hot baths for a long time!

Next day we started the descend to Esmeraldas on Ecuador’s Pacific Coast, I found out that the lawyers family own an apartment there right next to the beach. It was dark when we arrived, we were so tired, but waking up early the next morning was worth the drive. The ocean with its big waves was speaking to us about Gods greatness. “Let’s go fishing”, I said, and right there at the table in the breakfast restaurant, we found a young guy who knew a fisherman who would take us out on the ocean. Within a few minutes, we were sitting in his boat, miles off the coast with lines and hooks and bait catching lots of fish. God must have been smiling to us because the fish kept biting and biting.

On the way back I asked the fisherman if he knew how to grill the fish. We made a fire on the beach, and I invited him and his whole family to come and join the party. He had seven children and no wife, was poor and sweet and hardworking and that night was again priceless around the fire with the wonderful man and his children and friends. As we were eating, my lawyer friend started telling his testimony of how Jesus had grabbed him when he was at his lowest. We were all touched, and late that night around the fire the fishermen and their children gave their lives to Christ. Some of them got baptized in the Holy Spirit right there on the beach and spoke in new tongues.

That night we walked back to the apartment on the beach with the big waves rolling in, thanking God for his goodness and kindness. Tired and satisfied we returned to the airport the next day, meeting up with the rest of the team who had been preaching in different churches. We boarded the plane at midnight, and landed at 5 o’clock in the morning, picking up a rental car that brought us back home, just in time for my son’s wedding the following day.

Some people think that Christians are boring and that all they do is pray and go to church. I must say that is such a wrong presumption. My life is never boring. Life with Christ is a blast.

10 Years Blind and Homeless

A few days ago I was contacted by a Danish man on Facebook. He said that he had been in my meetings in Denmark many years ago and that he wanted to help me help people. He said “Christian Hedegaard, you are a man of God, we need you in our country. Why have you moved to America?”

I told him, that God had given me a call to help the poor people in Orlando and to build Him a church where his presence reigns and from where people will go to the whole world with the gospel.

I don’t care where I live, seriously Karen and I could live among the Eskimos in Greenland or among tribes in the Amazon jungle and be fulfilled in Gods calling, but I know that I know that I know we are in the right place right now, and there is no amount of money or position that can persuade me to leave. We are in Gods plan for our lives in this season, and it is very satisfactory. We are so hungry to see Gods plan for Powerhouse Church being fulfilled.

For the second time, the man wrote to me and asked how he could help me with the work. My answer was simple. “Money and prayers are much needed since we are feeding homeless people. We are in a very dangerous area and the needs here are endless”, I said.

I honestly thought that this man wanted to help us since he was the one contacting me, so I was very surprised when I got his reply. “ Why should I  give you anything, who do you think you are to ask me for money?”, he said, suggesting that I should go back to Denmark and help people there instead of being here in Orlando, Florida, where God has called me to be.

I  really don’t need “friends” like that, so I deleted him on Facebook, even though I couldn’t help thinking about his response.

Earlier this year a 59-year-old blind man came to our church. He had been blind and homeless for 10 years, and over the next few months, we got to know him very well. We found out that he had a severe cataract and that a simple surgery could give him his eyesight back.

Over the next months, I encouraged him to believe God for a miracle surgery. I taught him about Jesus Christ who gives blind their sight back and set captives free. One day a businessman visited our church and told Thomas that he would sponsor the surgery.  This was good news!

Not only did he get his physical eyesight restored to him, but God has also opened his spiritual eyes. He has seen Jesus as his Lord and Savior, like the one that cares for him and loves him so much, that he send a man he never met before to donate money for the surgery.

Now  Thomas can truly see. He stayed with us during the time of surgery, and my youngest son Noah followed him all the way, as he made this documentary. Thomas had no insurance, but somebody else paid the price. Jesus paid the price for all of us, and our job is to give what we have. It’s more blessed to give than to receive, Jesus says. With your little, you can help us do much. https://evangelistministries.international/contact/donations/