Epicenter of the Third Great AwakeningGeorge Shamblin
The hemisphere that birthed the First Great Awakening and the Second Great Awakening is overdue for a Third. Could it be this time that the epicenter of the Third Great Awakening comes from a Latino country? I guess we’ll have to wait and see. What I can tell you is: keep your eye on Latin America; something very special is brewing around there.
“You’ll know it when you see it.” That same principle holds true of revival. A few Spring Breaks ago, my wife, Jill, and I led a team of 30 college students on a mission trip to Cuba with Reel-Life International.
Starting at the airport in Havana before exiting the terminal, Jill and I independently kept feeling this nagging sense that we were on the verge of some happening, something monumental or far beyond ourselves, but we didn’t know what it was. We loaded the buses the following day and headed for Henequen, a small town about 40 kilometers from Havana. We didn’t realize it then, but that nagging sense we felt at the airport was 40 minutes ahead.
Shortly after arriving in Henequen, Jill’s team split off to do door-to-door evangelism; her group consisted of two college students, a translator, and a local house church member named Claudia. Claudia hoped that these Americans might succeed in leading her daughter-in-law Marcia to Christ. After exchanging pleasantries, one of the students asked a simple question, “Are you a Christian?” “No,” came Marcia’s straightforward reply. This speaks to the refreshing directness when witnessing in Cuba, where a “no” is self-evident, and a “yes” presupposes the cost has already been counted in making such a profession.
I need to tread lightly here, but conversions aren’t always looked upon favorably globally. If a person were to trade in their high-up official standing to follow a humble Galilean, it wouldn’t sit well with others: a job, livelihood, or well-being could be at stake. But let’s face it; such costs are also rising rapidly here at home.
When asked if she would be open to hearing the Gospel, Marcia was gracious, saying they could share if they like, but even though she appreciated the good influence Christianity had on her family and community, she had no personal interest in becoming a follower herself. Undeterred, Jill talked about Jesus and His message for the next 30 minutes. Marcia never gave any buying signs that she was open to the faith.
Seemingly out of nowhere, the humbly decorated living room was transformed into a house of worship. The Holy Spirit’s presence thickened, so much so you could “cut it with a knife,” all observed. Marcia’s demeanor had changed; where life did not exist seconds earlier, light and life appeared in her eyes. Spiritual strongholds were collapsing all around. Then came what Jill could only describe as a “distinct moment”—the exact point Marcia transitioned from being unreceptive to the Gospel to receptive. Again, when revival is coming, “you’ll know it when you see it.” Well, Jill saw it and had the discernment to pause and extend a three-word invitation, “Are you ready?”
Marcia did not need Jill to clarify what she meant by “are you ready?” Marcia knew; they all knew what answering in the affirmative, “yes, I’m ready,” implied. It signified that she had been prepped and primed for such a time as this. Marcia’s station in life was much more than low-hanging fruit; it was more like produce so ripe all you have to do is rattle the tree trunk, lightly, then sit back and watch souls drop into the waiting hands of the Father. Marcia’s “yes, I am ready” response was heaven-altering. Please know such solemn displays of surrender do alter heaven, actually, as in cause and effect. “There will be rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents.” Lk. 15:7
While tears may not be a sure indicator of the heart, they can be a good indicator. It’s tears that mark revivals above all other emotions. Could the tears Jill’s team shared and shed that day or the floods of them I’m observing throughout Latin America be the signal of something incredible? The epicenter of the Third Great Awakening? I guess we’ll have to wait and see. What I can tell you is: keep your eye on Latin America; something very special is brewing around there.