Originally published in Charisma
Nayib Bukele, 37, who was elected president of El Salvador in February is the youngest president ever elected in the nation, he had little political experience before the election and was a successful businessman who had no desire to run for president.
But his unlikely path to the presidency was marked by a series of prophetic words indicating that God had singled him out for the highest office in his nation, Bukele told a conference of pastors, business and local leaders this week.
He spoke at the conference the day after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited the El Salvador presidential palace, and the two announced joint efforts by their countries to confront drug trafficking, reduce pressures on immigration and pursue joint economic development.
Instead of highlighting the successful state visit, Bukele shared a personal testimony. He spoke about his Palestinian heritage and how he came to find purpose in Christianity. He was a successful businessman by the age of 29, making more money than he ever dreamed. He had no desire to be a politician but did serve as a mayor to give back to his community.
Last year, Bukele was approached by a group of pastors who told him they had received a spiritual message that he should run for president. His response was as you might expect: “No way; you’ve got to be kidding.”
Later, another group approached him with the same prophecy. He thought it odd, but this time took note. As the deadline for making a decision about running for president neared, he was approached a third time. These pastors were certain they were correct in their message to him. They asked him to prayerfully consider a run. When they pressed him for an answer, they told him they would respectfully accept his decision. He again told them no.
Bukele struggled with his final decision. Soon thereafter, another pastor who he did not know advised him not to “fall into the fourth place”. When asked what he meant, the pastor said it was missing God’s call on your life. Bukele then decided to reconsider and filed for the office of president.
In the opening days of the campaign, Bukele fell into disagreement with his political party. They threatened to kick him out of the party, which would eliminate his position on the ballot. He stood his ground, and the party expelled him.
In his testimony to the audience, he said he asked God: “Why would You lead me to this point if You wanted me to run? Why did You allow this to happen?” He paused and then referenced the fact that God did not answer him.
But a stranger turned up at the campaign headquarters and explained that Bukele could still get on the ballot with 50 000 citizens’ signatures on a petition. He had no idea how to obtain them. The stranger said, “We’ll take care of it.”
Forty-eight hours later, 200 000 people had signed a petition for his candidacy. When advised of this, the campaign manager thought they had said 20 000 because even that seemed like an unrealistic number.
Bukele won the general election with 53% of the vote, trouncing all party candidates at one time. No individual had won the presidency in that country since 1972 without a major party endorsement. On the night of the election, he was still surprised at the results. In discussions with his spiritual leaders, he was asked, what makes you think God needs a political party?
Since his election, Bukele has instituted more reforms than all presidents of the previous 49 years combined. For instance, he swept all prisons of cell phones so inmates could not direct illegal activity outside of the prison walls.
Sharing later with a smaller group, he said: “It’s important to put government in the hands of God. Pray for wisdom, and run government God’s way.”
Bukele now enjoys 80% approval ratings. He is following a new trend, from Kiev to Guatemala City to Washington, DC, where citizens have sought non-career politicians for a new hope for their nations’ futures. He is taking full responsibility for all of the national problems plaguing El Salvador, including lost population from migration to the United States. President Bukele is believing in the possible.