The story of the spiritual transformation of the city of Almolonga, Guatemala is unparalleled in the annals of recent church history. Perched at approximately 14,000 feet above sea level, this was a 'barren' city steeped in poverty, where alcoholism was the conventional pastime. Men were unruly, drunken, wife-beaters, living only for the next drink. Even though farming was the primary means of sustenance, the ground hardly yielded enough crop for the local families to feed.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Then someone had an idea that God could change a city through His love and power. This local preacher began to preach the Gospel, highlighting above everything else, the love of a God who could heal, forgive and restore. This small 'shanty town' built of corrugated metal shacks and wood, populated by 36 bars, and a large jail to house the unruly wife-beaters, suddenly began to pay attention. The story of their transformation was so captivating and inspiring, that George Otis Jnr. did a magnificent video production titled "Transformations" which featured, Kiambu, Kenya; Cali, Columbia; Hemet, California and Almolonga, Guatemala.
As hearts were healed, marriages restored, and alcoholism cured supernaturally, the number of bars went from 36 to 3. When we visited a few days ago, we were informed that there are no bars in Almolonga. There is no jail or prison (it has been converted to a community center) and they are now affectionately known as "America's Vegetable Garden." By their own admission, the crop they produce is supernatural since they are farming the same soil as previously, and are not doing anything differently. They produce carrots the size of your forearm, and their farms look like gardens laid almost vertically into the sides of the mountains. Everyone is prosperous in Almolonga. We observed, wide-eyed, as everyone seems to smile as they go about their business. There are churches on every corner, banks every few doors down, and even a Western Union.
Their corrugated shacks have been replaced by block buildings (still being built, as you can tell by the photos), and they purchase their Mercedes Benz delivery trucks with cash from their bumper harvests. How dare anyone suggest that God cannot transform a city through prayer, love, and faithful service. Behold: Almolonga, Guatemala!!! I'll tell you more tomorrow. Enjoy the photos.