SPECIAL REPORT: INTERNATIONAL RHEMA
During prayer meetings that Kenneth E. Hagin held in the early '80s, he often told the congregation to pray for the country the Lord had laid on their hearts. For John Romick, a 1984 RBTC grad, that "country" was South America. And during his two years at Rhema, he laid a foundation of prayer for what he is doing today.
Although South America was on John's heart, his path to the southern hemisphere was by way of Guatemala. After graduating from Rhema, John committed to work for four years at Living Water Teaching mission. It was there in Guatemala that John found Alba, his soul mate and the woman who would stand by his side and undergird him as they together fulfilled God's plan for South America. And it was in Guatemala that the Lord said to John, "Bogotá, Colombia."
After fulfilling his commitment to the mission, John and Alba headed to Bogotá, where they started a Bible school. In 2000 the school, Centro de Entrenamiento Bíblico de Colombia (CEBCO), joined the Rhema network, which today includes 159 campuses in 45 nations. Rhema CEBCO continues as a preparatory school for Rhema Colombia.
People from all walks of life have attended Rhema Colombia. One group that is dear to John's heart is pastors. "The five-fold ministers are the ones who will change a city, change a country," says John. "We've had hundreds of pastors come to Rhema Colombia over the years. These guys already have churches. They're already ministering and preaching every week. They get fired up about the Gospel—power, victory, faith, and the authority of the believer—and they go out and put it to work."
One such minister is Pastor Ernesto Aleman. When he came to Rhema Colombia, he was pastoring a small church. At Rhema he got hold of the faith message and who he is in Christ. As he began sharing these newfound truths with his congregation, his church experienced explosive growth and had to move to a larger building. Instead of reaching a few, he's reaching thousands with the Gospel!
Training the Children
Not long after starting Rhema Colombia, John and Alba sensed the Lord dealing with them about training children and preteens in the knowledge and power of God's Word. As a result, CEBCO Niños was born in 2003. Children ages 7 through 12 meet every other Saturday for four hours. They are taught faith, the believer's authority, and other such subjects on a kid's level. Since the school began, around 600 children have graduated.
Rhema CEBCO picks up where CEBCO Niños leaves off. The Rhema CEBCO extension school program grounds teenagers and adults in the foundational truths of the Word of God and better prepares them to attend Rhema Colombia. To date there are 19 Rhema CEBCO campuses throughout Colombia, with two more campuses opening soon. Many children who have graduated from CEBCO Niños look forward to going to Rhema CEBCO. Students as young as 14 have enrolled in the school, and many graduates have then filtered into Rhema Colombia.
"So many of our young people go through the whole thing—[CEBCO Niños, Rhema CEBCO, and Rhema Colombia]" says Alba. "They're the ones who are so on fire for God."
"They've planted churches, evangelized, held crusades, and gone into the prisons," adds John. "There are all kinds of ministries planted by them. It's hard to keep track of everything that is going on with so many graduates. They're solid—in faith, integrity, and holiness. It seems as if when they grab hold of the Word, they just embrace it and it becomes their life. They just go forth for God."
The importance of Rhema's international campuses is clearly seen in the opening of Rhema Cuba. Although it is easier today for Americans to travel to Cuba, many restrictions are still in place. Colombians, however, are able to travel freely to Cuba.
After graduating, some Rhema Colombia alumni began going into Cuba on missions trips and made contacts with Cuban pastors. In January 2011, these graduates, along with John, held a leadership seminar in Havana. The gathering spiked interest in a Rhema campus opening in Cuba.
John then brought Angel Sosa, a Cuban pastor, to Bogotá to attend Rhema Colombia. Pastor Sosa graduated in December 2011 and returned to his nation to serve as an instructor and the Rhema Cuba campus coordinator. He did the legwork to start the school, which opened in February 2012.
"I believe Rhema Cuba is a key for the revival of Cuba," says John. "Communism has devastated that country for 60 years. We believe the school will be key to changing the history of Cuba."
Rhema Cuba opened with 110 students. However, nearly 70 applicants were turned away because they couldn't cram any more people into the space. Morning and evening classes are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Forty percent of Rhema Cuba's students are pastors from various denominations.
The students are grabbing hold of what they are being taught with great passion. In one class, the subject was the Holy Spirit. At the beginning of the course, only 20 students spoke in tongues. But that didn't last long. Soon, everyone was filled with the Spirit and speaking in their heavenly language. Once outside the class, the pastors enrolled in Rhema Cuba immediately began sharing with their congregations the importance of being filled with the Spirit and speaking in tongues!
Go Ye . . .
John and Alba are committed to training solid ministers and laypeople in the truths of God's Word. And Rhema Colombia graduates are committed to taking the Gospel throughout Colombia and around the world. Over 300 churches in Colombia are now pastored by graduates. And what a difference they are making in the nation!
A real spiritual awakening has swept across Colombia. People everywhere are open to the Gospel, and miracles, signs, and wonders are commonplace. The lost are turning to the Lord, and church growth throughout the nation has been phenomenal. The Romicks and Rhema Colombia grads are keenly aware of the need to preach the Gospel to all men before the Lord returns. And they are doing everything possible to hasten His coming.
» Rhema Colombia has three campuses: Bogotá, Girardot, and Havana, Cuba.
» Since the school's inception, 986 students have graduated.
» In 2009, Rhema Colombia dedicated a new four-story building that houses the Bible school, Rhema Bible Church Colombia, and—on the top floor—a community center.
» Through the Romicks' book publishing house, 48 Faith Library Publications titles have been translated into Spanish. Over one million books have been distributed throughout Latin America.
» People from Peru, Brazil, Switzerland, Germany, and Venezuela have graduated from Rhema Colombia.
» For Rhema Colombia students to be history changers
» For a radio station
» For a Colombian harvest of souls won to the Kingdom of God
To learn mor about John and Alba Romick and their ministry, go to www.MisionColombia.org.