When A Missionary Hears God
“I just want revival to happen in Antofagasta so that’s what I’ve been praying for,” said Lane Freeman, 40/40 Church Planter in Antofagasta. I got to sit down with him over Skype to talk about what I’ve been hearing about going on with him in “Antofa” (what we call Antofagasta for short). Arriving on the field in 2015, he has seen and felt the shifts that disappointed and frustrated the team’s movement into growth. The Antofagasta church plant team has had a very difficult time getting off the ground. With several changes in leadership and team members, the team has experience some of the hardest knocks any of Extreme’s church plants have had. And even then, despite the adversity of all that has happened, there is hope, and it is beginning to bloom. In these past few months, Lane has been seeing something new begin to happen in his ministry... the Lord began to speak to him.He explained that it all started one morning in the kitchen. He was just getting ready to leave the house to start work when something popped into his mind. He had a couple words floating in there. Park, red shirt. “‘So,’ I thought, ‘I guess I’m going to a park and looking for someone with a red shirt.’ I felt like that was what the Lord was telling me to do.” So that’s what he did! He left the house and made his way to a park that was close to their house. As he came into view of the park he saw a girl in a red checkered flannel shirt. He got excited that this was the one that he was coming to see in the park, but as he headed toward her, she jumped in a taxi and left. At first, he was disappointed, but then he felt God prompting him to go down the road further. “But, I thought, that makes no sense, she just left why would I go down this road.” He went down the road anyway, and a couple blocks down he found himself in another park. He saw a store and felt he needed to go in the store to buy something. He laughed remembering, “I really didn’t have much money at the time, so I didn’t really want to go buy something.” He did it anyway. He walked in and the person behind the counter to attend to him stood up. It was a woman and she was wearing a red shirt. “I was like... NO WAY!” said Lane. He bought some cookies and started talking to her. Then, he told her, “I just want to tell you that Jesus loves you.” She was shocked and encouraged. The conversation continued and Lane remembered that there was a kids event they were having in the area the follow week. He invited her to the event. She gave him and the missionaries permission to hang a flier in her store for the event too.
Lane said, “There was no salvation message, [but,] I guess that’s kind of how it all started. And then once that happened, I thought... alright God, that worked pretty well. So, let’s just keep doing it!”
There has been no shortage in these experiences. Lane said, “After that, I just started having long conversations with people. Like, I felt God would say “Go down to this place and there’s going to be this guy there.” And I’d say, ‘Alright, God!’ So I’d go. And then the person that fit the description would be there.”
“It hasn’t all been good though,” he continued. “I’ve had good conversations with people that just don’t end in anything, but I’ve also had just straight up rejection. Like, the other day I felt I needed to go to the south of the city to this Japanese park. I was just sitting there reading and before I looked up I got the word tan jacket, and then I look up and there is a guy walking by with a tan jacket. And I thought to myself... ‘Shut up... Okay!’ So I put the bible away and I go to talk to him. The south is a lot richer than the north of the city so this guy just straight up rejected me.”
Even as he talked about the rejection, I could tell that it didn’t bother him. Later in the conversation he shared why this rejection doesn’t really phase him. “It’s like you can’t stop praising the Lord if you see how good He is. Once you’ve tasted and seen that He is good, how can you not tell people about him? We always tell people about our favorite food or favorite football team but we talk about Jesus, people just want to get cold about it. But, you don’t stop sharing you opinion about the champions of the football and soccer world. Like, oh yeah, “Chile’s the best,” but, I got something a lot more that can completely wreck what you think.” [mic drop]
He continued on with another experience when the Lord simply gave him a sense of direction. “Just the other day I felt that I needed to go back to a place where we used to have a house of prayer. The guy who hosted it sold his business and moved to a different city. So, I thought I would go talk to the new owners. I get on the bus sit down next to this guy and just start talking to him. By the end of our conversation he’s accepted Jesus into his heart right there on the bus. We just went through the prayer and everything and shared about the word. He gave me his contact information. We’ve continued to talk since that day. So, that was just crazy. He was blown away and asked “What are you even doing going to the north?” I told him, “Well, honestly I was just praying and I felt that I needed to come up here. So, you must be the reason that I’m here.” And he was like... “Whoa, that’s so crazy!”
As I’m listening to all of these stories, I’m getting super excited. This team was experiencing disappointment after disappointment, but then, the Lord has begun to show up in these big ways! The next story he shared with me was just as incredible.
Lane had gone down to the beach and talked with a guy he met there for an hour and a half. The guy gave him his number to contact him later. But then, he got up from there and felt the Lord was prompting him to go toward the mall. He began to walk to the mall. Before he could get to the entrance he happened upon a man and his wife selling band-aids. He had hurt his arm in a work accident and was disabled. Selling bandaids was how this family was supporting itself. So, Lane bought one of their band-aids and then began to talk with them. They begin talking about God and the Bible and they both knew a little about the word. Lane made the comment that, “He’s supposed to be selling stuff this whole time but we end up talking for a whole hour.” After a while, they exchange contact information and Lane took off.
"On Sunday, I got a phone call from the wife and she was frantic. She explains that the day before (so this is three days after I met them) she had found a dead body. And she was freaking out because she was traumatized by finding a body floating in the ocean. She told me, ‘I just need you guys to come up here.’ And I could here the husband in the background say, ‘Yeah please come.’” It was 9 or 10 o’clock at night, well past dark in the southern hemisphere of the world. Lane was with Pastor Angelo at the time, and they decided they would both go.
“So, me and the Pastor go and [the address] is in the worst part of town imaginable. You can like literally feel the spiritual oppression.” He explained that the house sits up on a bit of a rise behind a graveyard. Lane had the address plugged into the GPS on his phone and they followed the directions up into this dark neighborhood. A man was sitting on the corner in the open smoking weed, and the streets were sparsely lit. When the GPS started taking them into a dark alley, they decided it wasn’t a good idea and began to go back down the hill. As they were going down, they found their contact at the bottom waiting for them. “So,” said Lane, ”he takes us back up the alley way where we weren’t going to go. We enter the house. It’s a house in the sense that they rent rooms out. So, it’s a bunch of little rooms and there’s one dark hallway and the guys has a little flashlight and for some reason he flashes it on the wall when we walk in. There’s two little voodoo dolls on the wall and then some bundles of sage. It’s literally a building full of drug addicts, so says the guy who lives there. And when you come in and out you can see it and smell it.”
The three of them walk upstairs and the man leads them to his room. As the door opens, his wife runs to the door and wraps her arms around Lane’s name exclaiming, “Oh son, son! I’m glad you’re here!” They sat down in their one room home as the woman opens up about what she saw.
She was very shaken up as she explained that they had gone down to Bañario, one of the beaches they work at. “She was laying down because her chest hurt and she looked up and she saw something.” explained Lane. “She doesn’t have very good vision so she asked her husband, ‘Is that a body?’ And he said, ‘No no it’s just a bag.’ But, then after he looked at it a while he figured out it was a body because the hands came up out of the water.” Once they realized it was a body they began to call out to people to walk by, but because they are not people of high class, everyone ignored them. Finally, somebody took notice and realized there really was a body out in the ocean. Shortly after, the authorities arrived. The word on the street is it was a suicide.
It was like this experience had opened the floodgates as she continued to share all the other things that were bothering her. She began to talk about her husband’s problem with alcohol. Lane knew that there was a problem there, but the first time they had met the man had told him that was in his past. Then, the conversation turned into marriage counseling. It was evident that there was so much happening in their lives. So, instead of delving into each problem, Pastor Angelo and Lane began to share the gospel. After Lane asked her if she wanted Jesus in her life, she said, “Yes, yes, yes! I am catholic, but I know that Mary cannot save me! Your gospel is unlike anything else I’ve ever heard. It’s just not the same as anything else!” She then reminded Lane about when he first talked to them. She said that she was taken back by the very fact that he actually talked to them. “People look at us with judgement, but you weren’t like that,” Lane explained that she shared. “You talked with us!” She was completely taken back by the love that God has for them. Lane said, “They both accepted Christ and Pastor asked them to make a pact to not drink at least for one day. So yeah, [it was amazing to see] after that encounter how God took me on that path to meet them and trade contact information. For what happened He knew what she was going to find and then all the problems that surfaced from all of that.”
Between every story, we’d giggle and explode into praise over what God was doing. Seemingly small and unimportant details were turning into deep and intimate encounters with the Lord. Lane’s smile was refreshing to see.
While we were talking, I couldn’t help but wonder, was there something that has spurred on this major change? I asked him what he thought. He said, “[This is all a result of] dedicated prayer and fasting... I think that’s what it is. I can only speak for myself. I know what I have been doing. I don’t know what everyone else has been doing. I think I wanted to see a difference for a while and got tired of not seeing anything change. The power of fasting is something that we can harness for change.”
Totally inspired by the strength of his passion for revival to go into prayer for fasting, I asked what he had learned through all of this. What has the Lord revealed to him? “I have learned a lot [through fasting and praying]. I guess a lot of it can come back to relearning the actual importance for instance of perfect love casts out fear. It’s talking about the Father’s love and it doesn’t matter what other people think of you because it’s all about His love. If they hate you it’s like ‘Oh well’. So you can’t be afraid of what people are going to say who you are. If you live in fear of that, you are going to miss out.”
There were even more stories that were shared in our conversation that you can look out for later. What is amazing and impresses me is not so much that God speaks to His children today, as much as how quickly He changes a situation when He floods it with himself. Where a few months ago, a spirit of frustration and discouragement existed, now the best way to describe the atmosphere in Antofagasta is... well... revival! Lane Freeman is a 40/40 Church Planter in the city of Antofagasta, Chile. With a passion for seeing revival, he recently has been hitting the streets to talk with those who the Lord places in front of him. He is very passionate about showing people the authenticity of the Father's love.