Soul harvest

Ministerio Palabra de Vida

A healer at work: Mario Murillo, right, and Pastor Cesar Minera of Ministerio Palabra de Vida.

A healer at work: Mario Murillo, right, and Pastor Cesar Minera of Ministerio Palabra de Vida.


A weekend of firsts. That’s good, right?

I’m often invited to churches by members of the congregation. For example, I was invited this week to the Reno Outpouring at John Ascuaga’s Nugget by Pastor Eric Moen. But I’ve never had a non-church-affiliated friend accompany me to church just to see what’s up. Well, my friend Dianna accompanied Hunter and I to the Word of Life Ministry service to see Mario Murillo, a noted healer, do his preaching. And it was the first time I’d seen a “healer” at work. This was also the first evangelical Christian Spanish service I’ve attended. And it was the first service where speaking in tongues was a featured part of the proceedings, although I’ve seen the practice at other places.

Not to be disrespectful, but when a service is bilingual, it’s kind of funny to watch the translator translate Spanish to English, but then be stymied with “speaking in tongues” to “speaking in tongues.” I was waiting to see if she’d go from “speaking in tongues” to English.

We started our Sunday evening with a mistake: The Reno Outpouring website,, said the service was at 6 p.m., when it was really at 7 p.m. So when you consider that the service didn’t conclude until almost 9:30 p.m., Hunter had a very long night.

But what a night. This is a pretty sensational service with rockin’ music and dance, passionate preaching and tears all around.

On the left hand of the chancel, there was a mostly women choir of eight, to stage right was a drum kit, two keyboards, a bass and an amplified acoustic guitar. There were several bouquets, a screen for scripture passages and song lyrics above, and a Lucite lectern for speakers. The music pastor or song leader Karen Macias was a ball of fire. Honestly, this was as much an “experience” as it was a service. It might be awhile before I get back here, but I do want to see Pastor César Minera speak. While he was definitely the opening act to Murillo, he interjected humor and soulfulness into the proceedings.

This little church congregation dresses better than most churches I’ve been in and really, really rocks musically. They also had a group of four women—dressed in black leotards and red or purple tutus—perform a dance like I’d never before seen in a church service. But why shouldn’t dance be a more common occurrence in church?

Murillo, who spoke in English, was introduced by Pastor Moen, and Pastor Minera provided the Spanish translation. Murillo began his sermon with a quote from Acts 14: 8, which told the story of Paul healing a crippled man.

“We need more miracles today,” said Murillo. “It will give our preaching much more authority. … We’ll be able to tell people to change their lives.”

To prepare the audience for the Holy Spirit’s healing, he told of a time in Pasadena when a drunk man, his mother and a boy who suffered from spina bifida—a disease where the vertebrae don’t fully form over the spinal cord—attended one of his services. The boy, whose legs were basically “sticks,” ended up running across the stage into Murillo’s arms. Murillo also said that now is a desperate time for the Earth, a time when miracles will be part of everyday life.

“I believe that the world has become evil,” he said. “It’s not just evil, but it’s supernaturally broken. … It’s time for bold preaching because there is desperate need.”

And with that, the healing began. It ended in tears with about 50 people at the front of the church, Murillo’s promised “harvest of souls.”

Music: Rockin’

Sermon: Thought-provoking

Fellowship: Friendly