MEXICO: Maybe the most radical – the David Hogan story In March 2003, Swiss church planters Bruno Bayer and Dr. Marco Gmuer returned, exhausted but impressed, from a journey to the Mexican highlands. They had been invited by David Hogan, a Texan evangelist who has worked in Mexico for almost 30 years. There are many wild rumours about him, including the claim that almost 300 people have been raised from the dead. Hogan became known in the West through a video series with Dr. Michael Brown in Pensacola.

A fiery oven for Western missionaries and pastors Hogan invites only a select handful of people to visit his missionary work near Tampico. Gmuer and Bayer learned a drastic lesson why that is: “Before our trip, Swiss prophet Erich Reber warned us that we would have to go through a fiery oven in order to strengthen our faith,” says Gmuer. “Hogan’s international guests have to pass several severe tests. He wants them to first of all feel how the Mexican Indians were treated as second- or third-class citizens for centuries by Mexico’s Spanish-speaking population and the white “Gringos” and their churches and mission agencies. The 1,000 Indians attending a conference were treated very well, but most of the international guests were ignored, had to stand in the sun for days while the Indians sat in the shade, stand for ten-hour truck journeys, were allowed only to listen and not preach, slept on hard wooden benches and were served inedible meals. They were carefully observed, to see whether they would give up or grit their teeth. Many of the foreigners gave up in the face of the adverse treatment, and went home. Those who made it through the torturous tests became a welcome insider.” Hogan and his 20-strong staff have broken with almost all Western traditions, radically adopting Indian culture and behaviour. The Indians have a hard life. Trying to reach them with a soft Christianity makes no impression. Hogan has no time for sensitive Christians or Western missionaries who start the day with a good cup of tea and quiet time on the verandah listening to a worship CD, then spend the rest of the day on unimportant appearances. “Unless you’re willing to suffer a baptism of fire, you only scratch the surface here,” says Bayer. “Hogan’s group of 20 men and women have dedicated themselves to a life of loyalty, discipline and obedience. Every one of them has seen people raised from the dead through their prayer.”

Food multiplied, healings, new churches

“There was not enough food for the 1,000 Indians who attended the 3-day annual conference. Jesus multiplied the chicken soup and bread in the conference kitchen. There was enough for all every day,” says Gmuer. “People were also healed. One woman, for whom people had prayed for 12 years, testified about her healing. She had gained her sight! Hogan and his team have planted 400 churches in the past 30 years, and trained their leaders. Two hundred new churches are planned for this year; most of them are the first and only Christian churches in the area where they are planted.”

25 raised from the dead

One of the team, Claudio, has already seen 25 people raised from the dead through his prayer (Hogan: 24). Claudio, a humble Indian, had tried three years long to kill Hogan by magic. One day, he found him on a mountain road. He fell to the ground at his feet, and cried out to the God of power and love, and has served Jesus since then. That is not easy in the Mexican highlands, because they are often persecuted and murdered. The mix of witchcraft and syncretistic Catholicism regularly turns with violence against the evangelists, many of whom were repeatedly imprisoned for their preaching. One preacher was tortured, and only released when several influential families in the city

inexplicably lost their first-born children.

Prophet announces ministry

An itinerant missionary who travelled among the many villages in the Mexican highlands had a significant influence on Hogan’s ministry; he prophesied the arrival of an evangelist called David. The missionary died the year that Hogan performed his first outreach – on horseback. Hogan was often asked his name, and immediately accepted into peoples’ houses. “Even if Hogan’s style and approach doesn’t suit everyone, we cannot ignore that his team’s ministry has enabled the

Gospel to drive deep roots into the Mexican highlands. The fruit of their work is lives radically transformed by the Gospel,” summarizes Bayer. Source: Dr. Marco Gmuer, Bruno Bayer, Caleb Gemeinde, Eggstrasse 21, 9100 Herisau, Switzerland