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.

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