Saturday, June 27, 2015

Ministry Update: Sweden (Part 2)

We’ve continued to minister in Europe and will be sharing music and testimonies this weekend at Tubestation Church in Cornwall, England. Tubestation is an outreach to the surf and beach community in Cornwall so a good fit for our background.  Also we’ll be ministering in France  shortly, starting off at an evangelistic outreach which has featured the surfing aspect of our background as a way of attraction.  In light of the terrorist attacks that just took place we appreciate your prayers for continued protection and provision as we travel.

We’ve been a bit behind with a lack of Internet, so here is a further update from our ministry in Scandinavia, in the country of Sweden.  After ministering on the east coast in Småland we were ministering in the south in the region of Skane, in the city of Hässleholm, and then after that in the city of Varberg on the West Coast.

We did a meeting first for the leaders of New Life Church in Hässleholm where we did some teaching and then prayed over them. The Lord came over them in power, some who were overcome by the Spirit ended up on the floor.  One of the men touched said he had not experienced a move of God like that in many, many, years. He was greatly rejoicing to see the Lord pour out His Spirit like this after such a long time. 

Hanging out after a meeting
with friends from Hässleholm, Sweden.
We saw the Lord continue to move as we ministered in some of the home groups during the week where we taught and activated them towards the “priesthood of all believers” and practicing the gifts of the Spirit and praying for one another. It was a blessed time in Hässleholm as we had a great time of fellowship with the pastor Daniel and his family, and with the people at the church there, while enjoying many great meals including a traditional Swedish meal of roasted pork with lingonberries, caramelized onions and pickled cucumbers.  We got to share a lot of Holy Ghost stories as well as teach in some intimate setting, and experienced the Lord empowering His people.

Checking out a car at the American Car Festival
where we did an evangelistic outreach with Biker Church in Sweden.
We also did an outreach with a group called “Biker Church” at an event held by “The American Car Club of Sweden.”  This type of event is really popular here: classic American muscle cars where everywhere, along with people dressing in Rockabilly style. We did some music and helped share where we could (many spoke only Swedish there at this particular event) and gave out Bibles.  We also had a divine appointment with a guy that spoke good English and after sharing with him for some time we ended up praying with him as he opened his heart to receive Jesus. We were quite stoked, as people getting saved in Sweden isn’t all that much of a common thing.

Preaching and ministering at New Life Church in Sweden.

We had a powerful meeting at New Life Church on Sweden’s Mother's Day.  God did so much—some highlights follow: We shared about Lonnie Frisbee and the outpouring that happened on Mother's Day years back at what would become the Vineyard Movement.  God showed up in power and poured out His presence for us on “Swedish Mother's Day.” Many were filled and empowered as the Holy Spirit poured out His power, some were brought to the floor as God filled them. There was a teenager named Noah who was filled powerfully as tears streamed down his face, as were others.  I had a word for a shoulder condition while a woman named Daisy was actually already overcome by the Spirit and on the floor and healed of a frozen shoulder by the time she got up.  The worship leader had a powerful encounter with God and was touched deeply by the Lord’s presence as waves of the Lord’s presence came over her as we prayed for her. As we came to a seeming close the Spirit of God suddenly broke out again,  the Holy Spirit just kept things going as He filled a twelve year old boy with His power for the first time in his life and came upon his father who just kept shaking under God’s power.  One of the workers of the church was knocked to the ground and couldn't stop laughing as God released His joy over him, the fruit of the Spirit made manifest! It was an awesome renewing time in God’s presence and power and we were told by some that it was just what they needed living in such a secularized humanistic country in Europe.  It is always awesome when the Lord moves, but even more so in such spiritually challenging places.

We then ministered in the city of Varberg on the West Coast in a Pentecostal church.  We felt led to give a message on evangelism and reaching out to the lost. The pastor shared afterwards that he had just began a program to train people for evangelism and reaching out to the lost so the timing was clearly from the Holy Spirit. 

Taking in the sights with our friend Christopher in Varberg,
where we had a powerful meeting at the Pentecostal church.
The Lord empowered many with the Holy Spirit and was releasing a burden for the lost.  A woman began praying in Spanish quite strongly, it happened that Mercedes talked to her afterwards and we found out she didn't speak Spanish…she was suddenly speaking in tongues in Spanish, which of course was quite a sign and wonder.  With Sweden being one of the most secularized and humanistic countries in Europe it is all the more awesome to see the light shine in the darkness.

Please pray for this evangelistic outreach
coming up in France.

                 How We Connected With the Pastor in Hässleholm

One time, some years back, as we were coming into Sweden, where we’d be staying at a friend’s house, something happened with coordinating our arrival.  Instead of finding our old friends there, we instead arrived to a locked up empty house. A little error on the schedule, so we figured our hosts would probably be back in a few hours, and so we looked for something to do and found that the garage was open (one of those old kind that was separated from the house out in the yard), and decided to go in there to hang out.
We were just tooling around – so to speak—and killing time, when an old phone on a work bench in there rang.  I picked it up and said hello and I got a Swedish voice back. 
It turned out to be a friend of our hosts named Daniel on the phone, who we had not met before, so I talked with Daniel on the garage phone for a bit.
We communicated as best we could, his English was still developing, and we set up a time to come and have dinner with him and his wife.
I was just telling him we we're locked out of Steve’s house at the moment and maybe he could come by, when he suddenly said, “See you when you come for dinner,” and hung up. 
“I guess he didn't catch that,” I thought as I laid the phone down.

Meanwhile our friends showed up and found us hanging out in the garage. 

“So how long you been here?” Steve asked.

“Oh, a while but it didn’t feel like that long because your friend Daniel called while we were hanging out in the garage and I talked with him a bit,” I told him. 

“Called?  Called where?” our friend Steve asked. (This was before the ubiquitous cell phone took over all of our lives, if you can remember such a time some years back.)

“Right here in the garage on this old phone.” I replied.

“What? Are you sure?”  Steve said.

“Yeah, it was that phone,” I said.

 “Hey dude, that garage phone doesn’t work at all, it isn’t even hooked up.”
“What? Are you sure?” I replied.

Steve went in and grabbed the line and showed us.  It just went over to an old transponder thing but the transponder wasn't connected to a line out or anything else. “See, look, it is dead, no dial tone, nothing. I am not able to dial out or receive anything in, it is dead.” 

“Wow! That is crazy!” I said.  “That is miraculous, a definite sign and wonder!”

Well, after a bit of musing on what kind of wild miraculous goings on were happening, we eventually made it to dinner with Daniel and his wife Camilla.
It turned out to be a very supernatural dinner itself. After enjoying some wonderful fondue, which you would expect to find more in Switzerland than Sweden, we ended up having some prophetic words over Daniel about his call into ministry.  The Spirit of God fell on him and us in power as we prayed for him and then prayed together. Daniel has been in ministry many years now since that time, and that time was a confirmation of God’s direction and purposes for him.
We have ministered with him and his family and church many times down in the south of Sweden as well as having some wild miraculous encounters too.

So, as we ate dinner with him that first time, Daniel asked, “Why didn’t you tell me you were out-locked?”

“What is out-locked?” I said.  Then it hit me.  “Oh why didn’t I tell you that we were locked out?” I exclaimed after figuring out what he was trying to say. “Well you hung up before I could fully explain,” I said.  “Then the phone didn’t work after that. I tried calling back but it wouldn’t work.” I explained what Steve had told me about that garage phone not being connected and we were both blown away at such a supernatural connection.        

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Ministry in Smålland, Sweden and Icelandic Miracles

We’ve been in Scandinavia recently ministering in different places in Sweden and Norway.  We are now finally getting a chance to send out some updates as we've been staying pretty busy. We'll update about various regions we've been to separately, as a lot has been happening. 

While ministering in Sweden, in the region of Småland in Gamleby, the Lord started things off with a very powerful divine appointment which was followed by another of the same the next day, along with doing a number of different meetings.

Young people from Sweden who were empowered by the Holy Spirit

Right as we were preparing to do our first meeting in Sweden, we met through our friends, a young sailor who just recently came to Christ. We were able to spend some time with him, which led to sharing some Scriptures and then prophetic words for him, and then the Holy Spirit began to fall upon him in a powerful way just as we were talking to him. We began to pray for him and the Lord filled him with the Holy Spirit for the first time in his life in a very, very, significant way as he lifted his hands and tears streamed down his face. He said to us afterwards that he’d never experienced something so real and powerful before!  We encouraged him also to pray for others with us right then as we continued to minister. He began to get words for them right in that moment and they were really touched through what he shared. It was a powerful time in the Holy Spirit, with a spontaneous, naturally-supernatural time of filling and discipling happening.

The Lord continued the same theme in the meeting we did that night that was held in a little “boat and tackle barn” overlooking the sea. Not a bad place, Jesus was born in a barn, as was the Pentecostal revival. The Holy Spirit was powerfully equipping people, and in the same meeting later, teaching them to pray for others.  One young woman was very shy and just sitting in her seat but I had her get up and had her pray for a lady who was beginning to speak in tongues. The Lord poured out as she stepped out and gave her some words.  Then the one who’d been praying in tongues began to pray for the young lady in return and they both got powerfully touched and encouraged.  We could see "the priesthood of all believers" which had been our message, being activated! 

We had another divine appointment when our friends’ son returned home from college the next day, and as we ate lunch together, he had a powerful encounter with the Holy Spirit while we shared some Holy Ghost stories with him.  The power of God fell as we were sharing and the glory of God began to come over him and fill him, visible signs were evident of God filling his heart as tears filled his eyes. We then prayed for him as the Lord powerfully ministered to him and his mom. That night he helped us minister in a youth meeting that by God’s hand spontaneously came together, and he helped us by sharing what he experienced and praying for others, giving away what he received earlier that day.

Old friends out on the water in Sweden

We had two young ladies receive the Lord at the youth meeting.  One of the young ladies’ mother came to another church meeting we were doing the next night to tell us how overjoyed she was as she had been praying for her daughter to get saved for a long time!  The mother, as well as her daughter, were powerfully empowered by the Holy Spirit as we prayed for them both that night, as were many youth in both meetings. Those who came had not really been around the move of the Holy Spirit much before, in fact they were very shy in the beginning.  However, God’s presence came over them and began to fill them, and they began to receive and were learning to pray for one another, which once it got flowing continued late, late, into the evening. Once they were introduced and experienced the power of the Lord, they didn't want to stop. In fact we got to bed way after 2:00 a.m.

Young people, including Patrick, praying for one another in the Spirit, long into the night.
We were blessed to see these two young ladies get saved, as well as many others get filled with the Holy Spirit and then pray for each other with hugs and tears. Many others  got filled with God’s Spirit in both meetings and stepped out to pray for one another.  This is significant for Sweden and this area.

The last meeting we did in this area went late, late, into the evening and the young people from the night before showed up with an extra friend and joined in getting empowered more and then kept on praying for each other into the night—they had been so shy in the beginning at the first meeting that they would barely get up out of their seats when we started—by the end though they were exuberantly ministering to one another and kept praying for one another way after the meeting was long over . Many others were powerfully filled and renewed as the Holy Spirit poured out Pentecostal power on “Pentecost Weekend” at this traditional mission church.

We had another divine appointment when leaving the area of Gamleby with a man who gave us a ride to the train station.  We found out that he had gotten saved and radically filled with the Holy Spirit when Lonnie Frisbee came to minister in Sweden back during the Jesus People Revival many years back; he is actively serving the Lord and walking in the Spirit today.  We shared similar experiences, both of us having been baptized in the Holy Ghost for hours when we first got filled through Lonnie’s ministry back in the day.  We were also blessed to see quite a number of the people we ministered to get significantly impacted by God’s power and filled with the Spirit and it was a blessed time!

Worshipping out on the water, the youth group went out for a sail first before the meeting we did with them

Getting into Scandinavia

Getting into Scandinavia isn't cheap so while trying to save money we ended up embarking on an adventure in our travels to our ministry destination as we found an incredible deal going in via Iceland. So we had an opportunity to visit this island nation on the way to where we would be ministering.

Welcome to Iceland

We found out pretty fast a few things about Iceland:

The name fits it as it is really, really, cold.  It has some of the coldest weather we have ever experienced anywhere! Our hands would burn like they were getting frostbite anytime we’d take them out of our pockets when outside.  I've never been in weather that makes you that cold, that fast.  When the cold north winds blow you are transformed into an instant icicle.

It is not a cheap! Being a remote island where a lot of stuff must be shipped in, makes it expensive. Maybe higher than even Norway in prices, so that makes it pretty up there. 

In a cave in Iceland where a water fall and snow come through a hole in the top

Miracles of Provision and Protection

So with the high food prices we were living off boiled hot dogs made on a little Bunsen burner in the tight little hostel in Iceland we were staying in, which of course isn't all that exciting for food but does keep you alive.

So, while walking back to the hostel in starving mode one afternoon, we were passing a harbor area with a bunch of restaurants, and I found myself praying, “Oh Lord, I've had enough hot dogs, we could use a food miracle right about now.” 

Right after I caught myself praying that odd little prayer, I was thinking, “Well, that was unusual.”

While I was thinking that, I just happened to take an unexpected turn between some buildings and ran into some people setting up an awning with tables and a grill.  I inquired what they would be charging for their food, hoping to find some kind of deal.  Instead, they said it was a special Spring Festival, one they just happen to do for only two hours once a year! They said all the food in all the restaurants in the harbor was going to be free for the next two hours.  What???

Wow, what timing! I was stunned! I was thinking, "I just barely mumbled some funny little prayer, and this just happens right after? Wow."

I had just prayed that odd little prayer without thinking much about it a moment ago and we walk right into a situation of unique provision. The Bible says, “God works in us to will and to purpose.” (Php 2:13) The Holy Spirit can lead us to pray a certain way so that we realize that what happened, once fulfilled, wasn't just some random thing but a gift from above, divinely led into.

Well, we ended having lobster soup with huge chunks of lobster, as well as other dishes with salmon, lamb, mussels, cod, and some good old hamburgers; there were hot dogs available too but I’d had more than enough of those.

We ate until we couldn't eat anymore and went back to the little hovel or hostel or whatever you call those little places where there is so little space you keep bumping into yourself.

So we lied down on our little cot-like thing and fell into a food coma and slept the night away.  A nice feeling when you’ve been cold and hungry. 

It was a great blessing at just the right time, as I’d had all the boiled hot dogs I cared to have, and Mercedes had been thinking how nice it would be to try some different foods there in Iceland. 

More Miracles

Thingvellir, Iceland, beautiful scenery and a historic spot where
1000 years of Christianity were celebrated at the turn of the millenium.
Iceland is indeed a spectacular place with many rivers everywhere, amazing waterfalls, glaciers and wild geological sights.  It is also the best place in the world to see the actual rift between the tectonic continental plates too.

It was all awesome scenery along the way while making our way to our destination to minister except...

Except for getting stuck in a full-on unpredicted snow blizzard while driving on top of a glacial mountain in the middle of the night. Storms can come up there very, very, fast and can be totally unexpected.

I seriously thought we might spin out and end up off the side of the mountain as we couldn't see five feet in front of us.  I’ve been in some nasty blizzards in the Colorado Rockies and the Sierra Nevada Mountains and this was no joke. I was getting disoriented in the blinding sideways falling snow. I had no options but to keep moving slowly forward and try to get through it in a tiny car not hardly suitable for a normal road, much less an Icelandic blizzard!  Snow piled up on the road quickly as well as on the side of us and there was a steep cliff and no place to pull off nor stop.

We all started praying in tongues very loudly while calling on the Lord as things got so bad we couldn't see at all. We prayed and called out for God’s help and suddenly the violent storm just stopped and cleared up. Wow! We were praising God and thankful for another miracle!!! Hallelujah Prisar Gud!! (Praise God)

Extra Note

Iceland celebrated 1000 years of Christianity at the turn of the millennium, which was cool learning about this, especially in the knowledge of how some other European countries have actually celebrated recently how to chant and do yoga on a bed of plastic nails. It is cool when you see, in our day, appreciation for the blessings brought over the centuries through the Gospel.