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Dawna DeSilva, a member of Bethel Church, began Sozo Ministry there after adding "tool sets" from Dr. Ed Smith of Theophostic Prayer Ministry and from scientist Aiko Hormann of Aiko Hormann Ministries.
Within a year, churches from around the globe had received training from DeSilva and the IBSO.
Today, 80 percent of the world's countries employ Sozo Ministry in some form, though not all are attached to the official network website (bethelsozo.org), due to concerns about security in nations that are hostile to Christianity or refuse to affiliate for church-related reasons.
Eight years ago, the IBSO began to target the United Kingdom for training; four years ago, the emphasis was in Australia and New Zealand, according to DeSilva. There's now a growing network in Germany and Switzerland and smaller ones in Canada, South Africa and Asia, she says. A basic Sozo training DVD was completed in the Mandarin language in 2014.
"Our regional directors and Bethel missions teams have taken (Sozo) around the world on so many trips that it's impossible to say all of where we are.
"All I know is that God rocks and he loves setting captives free and renewing his children's minds," DeSilva says.
From her UK base in 2010, England's then regional Sozo director Faith Haupt labored to spread the ministry's influence into Africa with help from international groups The River Flows and Pro Health International, a missions group, with which she traveled to Nigeria that year to do medical interventions.
There were long lines of people in need of attention for physical conditions; and, seemingly, there was little Haupt could do without medical skills. "I told the Lord I didn't come here to sit in a little tent, and that I was going to pray for people using my Sozo training.
"As I would be praying for people, I would see emotional wounds that were so deep that I was only scratching the surface of their pain," says Haupt, who knows people affected today by radical Boko Haram's captivity of Nigerian girls, some of whom are Christians in need of Sozo Ministry.
Unfortunately, doors for further Sozo training in Nigeria remain closed, despite the need for its more gentle, incisive ministry over deliverance that seeks to literally shake demons out of people.
Now back in the states as director of the The River Flows/U.S., Haupt carried Sozo Ministry tools in 2013 to India, where she worked directly with Dalits and alongside a pastor, his wife and their 600-member network of churches that are motivated to reach the "untouchables."
"The women who are Dalits have a triple whammy – they are women, "untouchables" and Christians in a Hindu culture," says Haupt, who personally performed a Sozo with the Indian pastor's wife. "She still tells the testimony of her receiving Sozo Ministry, and how it changed her countenance and those of others who've had one."
Currently, a translation of basic Sozo Ministry curriculum into the Telugu language is underway so that more Christian leaders can reach India and, specifically, the Dalits with the saving, healing, delivering, restoring power of God, says Haupt.
She acknowledges that teaching the Triune nature of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit is difficult in a culture that believes in many "gods." But Sozo's emphasis on training people to communicate with a God who daily listens to and speaks with his creation simplifies the task.
In the Rocky Mountain region of the ISBO which includes six western states, charismatic Pastor Bill Kline has trained Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Catholic, Reformed and non-denominational church leaders in Sozo Ministry since 2010.
A pastor at a revival-style church, Kline says over 3,000 Sozo sessions have been conducted at Resurrection Fellowship in Loveland, Colo., where he is on staff and serves as regional director of the California-based ministry.
There's a two-week waiting list of people who want to have a personal Soto session, and Reztoration Sozo Ministry as it's called conducts on average 18 to 20 per week, or two to three over a five-day period.
Kline, another Spanish-speaking pastor and six others trained in Sozo Ministry traveled to Paraguay to teach the Whites and their church leaders basic tools for meeting physical, spiritual and emotional needs in their congregation, as well as in the hospital and prison populations in April 2014.
In Colorado, Kline personally offered Sozo Ministry to a Catholic deacon on the day that Pope Francis was installed as leader of the worldwide church.
The charismatic pastor says he wasn't surprised when, a few months later, Pope Francis addressed a Fort Worth, Texas congregation, asking his "fellow brothers and sisters to pray for him." The Texas pastor, Kenneth Copeland, led an international delegation of Christians in praying for and blessing Pope Francis in a video that's posted on YouTube.
In Utah, where Mormonism is a prevalent, Kline is training at least one Assembly of God Church in Sozo Ministry, which both pastors believe they will someday use with members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. With Utah and Colorado, other states in the Rocky Mountain ISBO network include South Dakota, western Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming.
Utah Pastor Mark Gering says he's excited about what how the Lord intends to use Sozo Ministry at Christian Life AG Church when it launches. The goal there, as in other places where Sozo Ministry is present, is to normalize the practice of holding two-way, Holy Spirit-led conversations with a God who loves to communicate with his creation.
First-time students like Gering report that they've had direct conversations with God, and that he listened and responded to their questions.
A typical Sozo team consists of a leader and a helper (who primarily provides prayer support for the entire session). There is no counseling during the ministry time, but team members remain sensitive to the needs of people receiving a Sozo and encourage them to set their own agendas for conversations.
"I do agree with Pastor Bill (Kline) that Sozo Ministry will be a great tool to reach LDS people," says Gering.
"I think that this will be a challenge to them in some respects, considering how they (Mormons) view the Godhead. But once people start connecting with God through this ministry their theology will be transformed.
"Once we launch, we believe that word-of-mouth and changed lives will lead LDS people to be open to receiving this ministry.
"I anticipate great testimonies coming out of this culture," Gering said.
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