Power of prayer: Pastor Kevin Ortiz

LAGOS, NIGERIA — Pastor Kevin Ortiz rode two blocks away from his hotel to the church where he was scheduled to preach the word of the Bible.

On his way, he traveled through narrow, one-way streets filled with people selling fruit under umbrellas on sidewalks.

Men and even children walked the streets carrying ripe bananas for sale while men on motorcycles and in small street cars added to the street traffic’s daily bustle during an ordinary day in Lagos.

Ortiz, 43, is lead pastor at Faith Pleases God Church in Harlingen. Dressed in a suit and tie, he was on his way to the World of Faith Ministries Church where he would participate in the Fabulous Outpouring of the Spirit over the weekend.

He had a handkerchief in hand to wipe the sweat off his brow as he delivered his first service in Nigeria standing in front of more then 50 people in a small church. He read from Mathew chapter eight, which speaks of God being present when three or more have gathered.

With smiles on their faces and Bibles in their hands, the congregation raised their arms in the air and said hallelujah and amen and clapped with joy.

“I am just a vessel; I’m just a cup, and the only thing that I can give is to those who are thirsty, but the Lord has filled this cup up. Amen,” Ortiz said to the congregation before he began to preach.

He is on a month-long crusade for Jesus in Africa teaching how living for God is easy. Living for yourself is difficult and preaching the glory of God is here in Nigeria, he said.

“The churches are full with hungry people for God,” Ortiz said through FaceBook messenger. “God is moving in Nigeria.”

Ortiz quickly adjusted to the 100-degree temperature, non-air conditioned churches and a time zone six hours ahead of his regular schedule in the Valley.

He is preaching in local churches in Nigeria until Feb. 13. Then he will head to Uganda where he will be preaching in the outskirts of Kampala and then hosting a mass crusade Feb. 24-26 in Nairobi.

He is also filming his ministry and has teamed up with Alejandro de Hoyos, an Emmy-winning film producer, who will be documenting the crusade that is expected to be seen by millions.

He said on the first day during fellowship with friends in Lagos, a man at the hotel asked that he bless him and pray for him.

“He fell on his knees as we prayed over him,” Ortiz said.

He said he has been praying over men, women and children in Africa with healing power of prayer and the word of God.

“Many received instant healing,” Ortiz said. “One man came for healing from pain in his shoulder.”

Ortiz said the man had been in an accident many years ago and his shoulder did not heal.

After prayer, nothing changed. The pain was still there.

“I told him to keep believing as he went to his seat. Later, another man came up needing healing from the same problem. After prayer he was instantly healed from shoulder pain. I told him to go pray for the other man. He was instantly healed as well.”

Ortiz has been travelling to Africa and other continents for the past five years.

This is his first trip to Nigeria.

“It has been exciting. People have been blessed and many have committed their lives to serve Jesus,” Ortiz said. “This will be my third trip to Uganda, fifth time to Kenya, and I have also preached in Tanzania and South Africa.”

He said he is not afraid of being so far away from home because he believes God has sent him so people can hear and to spread the word of God with them.

“God has blessed me with nations because He has found me to be faithful,” Ortiz said. “I am honored to serve Him. I am very blessed.”