El Salvador: Tears, Trauma, and Transformation


Fellow GTNer and Son-in-law Phil Graf, Businessman Stan Gerlach, Fire Captain Tom Vos, and I just returned from a Divine Expedition Training in El Salvador. In our Phase 1 training called “Romans as a Life Transformation and Missional Impact Map” we went out with those in our training to share what we call “The One Sentence Gospel: ‘I was lost, Jesus rescued me, and He can rescue you too.'”

I had the privilege of interacting with a university student named Carli. As I shared my story of a broken marriage (with Sharon) and the healing that resulted from my coming to faith in Christ, Carli started to cry and shared about her own broken family. Through her tears she said, “I need to become closer to God.”

My translator Roxy and I prayed with Carli and were able to give her hope. Here is a photo of us afterward (it was windy as you can see from my hair :-).

Please pray for Carli and the healing of her family. Pray too for the 20-25 people who indicated they received Christ from our two Phase 1 outreaches.


Upon returning to our hotel the second day, a young bellman, Alexander, asked if he could speak with Stan and me. He was clearly panicked and traumatized, as he told us he thought he had cancer of the mouth and had some kind of growth on his tongue. We asked if we could pray for him and did so right there in the lobby. Placing our hands over his heart, we prayed for God’s comfort, presence, peace, and healing in the name of Jesus. He thanked us profusely.

Alexander had a dentist appointment a couple days later to find out what to do next. When we came back from our second training on Monday, we checked in with him and found him to be jubilant. He told us that when he got up Monday morning the growth on his tongue was gone, and later the dentist told him he did not have cancer. He said that after we prayed for him, he had peace and a sense of the Lord’s presence and care for him. We rejoiced that God had healed him, and praised God at the good news.

Please pray for Alexander and his growth as a follower of Jesus.


Our Phase 2 training is called “Aligning Our Hearts with Father God’s Heart,” during which we deal with wounds that have been inflicted upon us and the lies, agreements, vows, and false selfs that accompany them. This is, I
think, the most emotionally powerful of our four phases of training. One ofthe exercises we do is to have participants reflect upon the wounds and sources of those wounds. Lots of tears were shed.

We then have the participants complete the phrase “Yo Soy…..” (“I am…..”), completing the phrase with the lies they have unconsciously internalized about themselves.

After this, we walk them through Scripture that points to what God thinks about us and our true identity in Christ. This is followed by another exercise in which we cross out the lie (left side of the flip chart paper), and write a new “Yo Soy…” on the right side. Here is one of the ten posters or so upon which the participants wrote:

The first entry (I am defective) was mine (our Divine Expedition team goes first). This was a lie I battled growing up. I crossed it out and wrote “Empowered through Christ.” Others replaced “ugly” (“FEO”) with “created in his image…” and “ugly” (“FEA”) with “precious.” They replaced “dumb” (“Tonto”) with “image of God”, “useless” (“Inutil”) with “capable”, “failure” (“Fracase”) with “victorious”, “abandoned” (“Abandonada”) with “loved,” and much more. The exercise (and training) was transformative!

Please pray for those who attended our training.


It is such a privilege to work as a team. The trainings are intense, demanding, and would be almost impossible to do solo. I am thankful for my Divine Expedition teammates Stan, Phil, and Tom (left) pictured below.

I am thankful for your teaming with us too.

By His power and grace,

Linus and Sharon

P.S. Next up: Ethiopia

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