Arna Village – A Second Glorious Day!

This is our second day in Arna Village. A village here is much larger than what we would call a ‘village’ back in my home country of Canada. Much larger. We had terrific meetings yesterday. God ministered to the many people who are attending – we are full house. But, being close to one another is not a problem as we are all believers and the fellowship during breaks and at meal times is sweet and focused on Jesus. It is as if we actually enjoy being with one another – because we do.

Working here is fun – because we are not having to push things onto people. They are hungry and thirsting for more of God and His Word. They are wanting to know what it is He is wanting them to do next. So, they all come with their journals and Bibles and take notes throughout the teachings – not wanting to miss anything the Lord is saying to the Church or to them personally. They are so excited to hear from the Lord – from their Bibles and from the prophetic gifting and ministry times – that they literally suck the anointing right out of us thus making our task a lot easier.

The worship is fantastic. I mean over and above great! These people long to worship their Lord and Savior. They stand throughout worship honoring the God they know and serve. They sing from the bottom of their hearts and souls and use their whole body to do so. Everyone is engaged – no one is distracted. Powerful time each time we start a service with worship.

It is exciting to be here ministering. This is not a “big name” ministry. We don’t charge them so much a service or a day for our ministry. We simply come hoping they will do their best to cover the travel costs and most times this is not the case. We are a “small name” ministry and we are willing – because the Lord told us to do so – to go wherever a door opens and simply trust God to meet the needs. And, it is amazing and wonderful to watch how He literally does so. In these smaller locations they never see the big name ministries. So, when someone like our ministry and the team appears and freely ministers they pack out each and every building we use – and draw the material right out of our hearts. A teacher’s delight. An apostle’s dream!

Thank you for continuing to pray. Tomorrow we move on to the City of Kapchagai. Again, a new location for us. We are still a little in the dark about what is expected of us when we arrive or even how many services we will be expected to minister at. But, we are going in faith and believing God will reveal Himself in fresh and new ways and guide and direct our steps and our teachings. We are believing that the transformation we have seen in each location and in the lives of the people will continue unabated as we approach the middle of our second week of this apostolic trip. More tomorrow.

Arna Village, Kazakhstan – Day One

No, I have not gone off the deep end. This special coat and hat are part of the original national dress of those after whom this country was named – Kazakhs. They now make up only a very small percentage of the total population but they are proud of their heritage and gave me this “costume” of their original dress last year as a thank you for my work among them.

When this nation was taken over by the Soviet Union and became part of the U.S.S.R. people were moved out to other nations and many from other nations were brought here to settle and to work. This happened in all the nations taken over by the Communists. This means that they literally lost their national identity and became simply a portion of the bigger picture – the Russian empire. Add to this the trend all nations are seeing – people from others nations migrating – and you see people from most of the nations in Eastern Europe and Asia. The church we are working in is predominatly Korean. However, as we walk through the streets of the main cities like Almaty and Astana you can see people from a multitude of nations. But, interestingly enough, they are working as a nation at forging a new multi-national national identity.

This is our sixth day of ministry and I have been on the road for 8 days now. When on my own ministering I would be very tired by now as the weight of every meeting and all ministry rests on my shoulders during those trips. But here we have three mature ministers on the team and so we are able to have some times when we don’t minister. In fact, I even get to sit with the people and listen to the teaching of God’s Word and be refreshed and learn. Oh, I know I have heard most of this material before and constantly read books in the areas we are teaching – but there is always something the Holy Spirit can show you if you have a “student attitude” and I do.

On trips like this you go through stages of “tiredness.” The stages could be labeled -jet lag – rested, tired, weary, worn out, exhausted. With the team ministering and thus a more “relaxed” pace with regard to teaching – although I am in every meeting, every appointment, and minister at all prophetic times – I am doing really well. I would say that I am in the “tired” stage verging on “weary.” That is a great spot to be in because we are half way through the trip and so will continue to have the spiritual, emotional, physical, relastional and mental strength to continue to offer quality ministry right through to the last day.

We are in Arna Village in a Korean based church. This is our first time visiting this location and so everything is new and different – except God. We are here today (Monday) and tomorrow. Our topic is “The Prophetic” and so I am excited as this is one of my favorite things to teach about. It is so ‘now’ and so powerful and life-changing.

Your prayers are greatly appreciated. Please continue to pray for each day as you wake in the morning (remembering we are 12 hours ahead of your time if you live in central Canada). Would you also be so good as to pray as you go to bed – because midnight there is noon here the next day and we will be ministering as you sleep. On Thursday we are in a Korean Seminary for the day ministering to students, staff and pastors … would you please focus on this event as well in your prayers as this can influence many churches and the next generation of churches as we speak to their future leaders. Greatly appreciated.

A Day In the Life Of An Apostolic Team

Pictured to the left is Pastor Olga who leads the wonderful church that we are working with right now. We are on our second and last day here with these great folks. Not only have the majority of her people come to all the services – but believers from other churches in the town have also heard about what is happening and have joined us. As well, leaders from other churches in the same network or denomination are also in attendance. We are more than full house as it is a smallish building (see yesterday’s blog and picture).

Again today we are ministering on how to hear the voice of God. This is very basic to all aspects of life for the believer – personal guidance, Bible reading, prayer, prophecy… But, it is even more urgent and important here in this nation where the government and the state religion are against born again believers and where born again believers must be careful and discrete, guided by the Holy Spirit at all times. Powerful teaching and ministry time yesterday as we began this topic – the same is expected today. God is faithful.

Each day we get up early and spend time alone with the Lord. This is not always easy when you have three men living in close quarters as well as having to coordinate the use of the shower and bathroom – not to mention preparing breakfast and cleaning up afterwards. So, most mornings I am first up and first into the bathroom so as to then have my quiet time afterwards while the other team members shower and shave and dress. Breakfast is often (alright – always) a business meeting as we discuss the day we are about to start and the plans for who teaches, how we are ministering, the direction we feel things need to go and anything else the Lord may have laid on our hearts. Each day ends with a time around the same table as we discuss the day’s events and plant the seeds for the next day’s work. So, the morning meeting is really a follow-up of the debriefing meeting the night before.

The day is certainly full to overflowing. Meals are aways shared with those who attend – either everyone or just the leadership and those they invite. Just across the parking lot from the church building there is a small house also owned by the congregation. Limited in size it basically consists of a small kitchen and one larger room where we can sit, relax and eat. So here we eat with just the immediate leadership team. Of course, conversations always center on Jesus and what He is doing in their lives and our lives. Good felolowship as we eat lunch and supper together. I do try to have a few minutes after each meal (or before) to walk down the dirt roads (avoiding the garbage) and simply relax and unwind a bit. Otherwise the days can get long and seriously intense. There is more to life than ministering.

Tomorrow we move on to Arna Village. Someone will get us there as we have never been there before and literally have no idea where it is. We will be working with a local church there – again a Korean Presbyteran Church – for two days speaking on prophecy. These teachings, as far as we can sense right now, will build upon the ones we are doing here on how to hear God. Hearing God is, of course, essential if you want to prophesy – and you should “earnestly desire” (covet) to prophesy according to Paul’s letter to the Corinthians.

Again, your continued prayer support would be greatly appreciated.

Pastor Olga, by the way, has a box of Kazakhstan chocolate in her hands – and no you can’t have any. It is the best in the world and worth fighting over!!

The Town of Burundai, Kazakhstan

We are in the town of Burundai ministering at a Korean Presbyteran Church. The picture is of the building. It seats about 50 people comfortably. It is packed with twice that number for these two days of meetings (Saturday and Sunday). The pastor is a wonderful lady (picture tomorrow) to whom we gave a prophetic word a year ago at the three day school where we first met her. She was blown away by the word (we ran her testimony in our e-newsletter) as it spoke to things she has been dreaming of and praying about for thirty years. In our first trip we also prophesied over her mother (without knowing who she was) and her testimony is that her prophetic word gave her hope and saved her life.

It is good to be back and see some of the same faces – people we quickly grew to love last year while with them. As well, so many new faces as the church has been growing and news of our visit and what happened last year when we were here has spread quickly. Of course, we cannot do any advertising but the grapevine does very well in letting other believers know what is happening, when and where. We are expecting God to once again bless His people and speak to their past, present and future releasing life, liberty and freedom. He will, of course, impart gifts and release callings and ministries as He is so gracious to do in each and every location where we minister.

Our topic for both days is “Hearing the Voice of God” and so we will be teaching basic listening skills. This was also the topic for one day at the leadership school. However, because they share DVDs and digital sound recordings from location to location – we will be teaching entirely new material while in this second location. There is so much that we could teach as we help believers to hear the voice of their Savior and to open their spiritual ears (and eyes) so that they can see, hear and touch Jesus (1 John 1:1-4).

As I reviewed my teachings before coming I realized how many times I have taught on this subject (five different series over the past decade) and I have many other teachings I have written but have yet to teach or record and make available to people. Maybe this is the time. I brought everything I have (thank God for computers – especially laptops) and I am open to whichever direction the Holy Spirit leads. However, we have prepared certain teachings to lead with as team members discussed their material together ahead of time and decided which areas each one would try and cover. Of course, once we get the flow started the Spirit can move us in numerous directions – that’s the exciting part of ministering.

We are just at the start of our two weeks of ministering. And, we are now over jet lag. So, we are in the prime of the trip – awake, alert, and on top of things. These are the best days. And, with three of us on the team – treaching, ministering, and leading … not as tiring as when I travel alone and everything rests on my shoulders. So, a bit of an easier pace for me – and I do enjoy working with the team. Great men of God!

Your continued prayers are greatly appreciated. We are believing God to transform lives and change people and churches (and dare we believe – nations) forever. Thanks.

Fellowship Is Sweet and Powerful

Day three and the last day of the school we have been holding here in a former baptist university that no longer can obtain a needed government license to continue operating. In the picture – the actual room we are using as we train 50 leaders from various backgrounds and denominations. An excited group who are eager to learn and to grow in the Lord first and in their ministry skills secondly. Of course, building relationships is also an important part of the time we are sharing together – relationships with one another as well as with us.

Relationships are very important for Eastern European believers as many of them are living and worshipping in nations whose governments are not in favor of their beliefs or their churches. They do much behind closed doors, out of public view, and without the knowledge of those in authority. So, when they are able to come together with other believers the fellowship is very important to them and not taken for granted as it often is in the west. As well, they truly are sharing fellowship as the conversation is almost always centered on the Lord Jesus and what the Holy Spirit is doing today in their lives, families, churches and nation. They are seriously in love with and excited about what God is doing in them and through them in the lives of others.

In the Bible there are numerous “one another” verses … they believe all of them. Love one another; bear one another’s burdens, encourage one another, pray for one another… and on and on the list could go. They practice them all, all of the time. They truly understand that fellowship must be centered around the Lordship of Jesus and they know that their personal walk with the Lord is what draws them together and binds them together so that they can care for one another. Being part of their fellowship is an exciting happening often centered in eating and sharing food together – with strong coffee or green tea available afterwards to continue the fellowship long after the particular meal is over.

You may be thinking that they can have these extended periods of fellowship and value them so highly because their pace of life is less hectic than ours in North America. Not true. You may think that they are underemployed or simply don’t work as many hours as we do. That too is not true. You may believe that you live with more stress than they do and so need more time just to chill than they do. Also a total justification for a lack of true fellowship among western believers. They are as busy, as stressed, as involved and as tired as all of us. They simply value time with each other and with the Lord in the midst of their fellowship that they make it a top priority in their daily and weekly lives. They have all the same issues and desires that we have – and all the same distractions. And, on top of that they often work harder and longer for less money – but fellowship and being with other believers is top of their priority list.

They have much to teach us … we have much to learn and to adjust.

We appreciate your daily prayers – as this school ends we are heading for the town of Burundai to work for two days with a sizable Korean congregation (Presbyterian) whose pastor we prophesied over a year ago and who has been steadily building a relationship with us ever since. This is our second visit to this church.

The Ministry of Hugging

Our first “full” day of ministering – second day of the three day school for leaders. We arrived in Kazakhstan in the early morning after two full days of travel so yesterday, day one of the school, did not start until after lunch. It was a powerful day none-the-less and God touched lives in some spectacular ways – new insights, new information, transformation, people released into their future through prophetic words. Amazing – simply amazing.

Today we are expecting to build upon yesterday. Today I will be speaking first on The Supernatural Church. Then the other Canadian on the team, Bob MacDonald, will be teaching the other 4 sessions on The Gifts of the Holy Spirit. This will be a practical, hands-on workshop as we equip the leaders to actually do the work of God in a supernatural manner … In the world we work with today anything less than the supernatural will no longer cut it. No one is impressed with words or personal manifestations only – they want to see words and deeds – as Paul states in his writing – they want to see a “demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (1 Corinthians 2:4).

Normally when I call someone out of the congregation to prophesy over them – the demonstration of the Holy Spirit – I simply speak to their past and present situatiopns (Word of Knowledge) and to their future posibilities (Word of Wisdom). However, once-in-a-while, the Holy Spirit directs me to simply hug them. It is usually a younger male. Often that is all I do for the first few minutes that they are up front (see picture). And, most times, they weep and moan from deep within their spirit. Sometimes as I hug them tight and hard I am directed to tell them some simple truths about how much God loves them, that He is proud of them, that they are special to Him, and He is pleased to call them His son.

Usually when it all over – and I feel a serious release to stop hugging – I am then free to prophecy about their potential and the possibilities that the Lord is inviting them to be a part of in the months and years to come. And, they are free to hear, receive and believe in what their prophetic word reveals.

Most of these young men have an “orphan spirit” as they either did not know their father or their father was abusive physically, sexually, mentally, or emotionally. This hugging frees them from that spirit and brings healing and deliverance without words and really without any public display of what is actually taking place. I expect that the Lord will use me this way during this three day school once again. Amazing ministry – the ministry of hugging – which brings about serious supernatural results as only our loving God can do.

Please continue to pray for the 50 leaders now in their second full day of a three day school – that this would be more than a time of equipping … that they would be refreshed, encouraged, stirred up, and supernaturally changed forever – never to be the same again. Thanks, as well, for praying for our team members – Miroslav, Bob, and myself as well as those we are training to be a part of our growing team here in Eastern Europe (apostles and prophets in training).

We Arrived – We Have Begun Ministering

We are in a “retreat center” today ministering to 50 leaders from various churches and backgrounds. This is really not a retreat center – it is a former baptist bible school or seminary that no longer was able to maintain its license to operate as a school in this nation. So, now people like us can rent it for training sessions. We live on campus behind closed iron fences and eat and teach in the same building in which we live. I get my exercise by walking from one end of the building to the other and up the stairs to the next floor for my morning shower as well as by walking around the grounds whenever we have a break. We are here for three days.

We arrived at 12:30 this morning from Frankfurt, Germany after travelling for two days and it was past 2:00 in the morning by the time we cleared customs, found our bags, drove into the city, found where we were staying and settled in a bit. It was a good time – tired though we were – as we were greeted by our third team member who flew in on a separate flight from Kiev, Ukraine. So, we are a bit slow today and thankful that we did not have to start teaching until 2:00p and could have a slower morning and a quiet lunch. We will minister in three sessions today and then fall into bed as we attempt to overcome jet lag as quickly as possible (12 time zones).

Our topics here for this three day seminar are:
Day One – Hearing God When He Speaks
Day Two – The Supernatural and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Day Three – The Church of 2020 (The Apostolic Model)

Of course, we are hoping to see some of the same people who attended our first three day school here last year at this time. As well, it will be good to come to know others whom we have not met before. Some who will be in attendance are the leaders of the churches where we will be ministering later in the next two weeks of meetings.

Our setting is not as informal as the picture above (an actual retreat center where we held meetings last year) but more of a classroom with a podium and a whitecoard to work with. Each leader will have a separate desk and a place to spread out their journals and bibles … as well, we will be able to record (video and audio) all the sessions as well as the prophetic ministry. We will, of course, take copies of the videos with us and package them for resale at cost to others through our Russian language web site. Teachnology is wonderful and we are learning to use it more and more for the glory of God thanks to some terrific help – my administrators both here in Eastern Europe (and his helpers) and in North America.

Your prayers for these three days and this group of 50 leaders would be greatly appreciated. Pray that we would see more and more of God’s power manifested as we pray, teach and minister prophetically. Could you pray even now as you finish reading this brief report. Thanks – greatly appreciated.

Not As It Should Be

By this time I should be 6 miles in the air flying over Britain on my way to Frankfurt, Germany. Instead I am 6 floors up in a Calgary hotel due to a flight that did not leave on time and another one that could not wait 20 minutes for a good number of passengers who were hoping it would. The result – one long wait in the airport to finally board a flight almost three hours late – and another long wait in another line in another airport to get rebooked on flights tomorrow heading where I should have been going tonight. Add to that a meal allowance for the meals I will need to eat -grossly inadequate which shows the airline that granted them as the late flight was their fault – is definitely out of touch with the cost of a basic meal … even if you were eating at McDonalds which I was not.

Reading a good book – however, that means I will need to buy another one as it will be finished long before I board Tuesday evening to do what I should have been doing tonight. And, with my team member from Canada already gone, I will have ten hours on the first flight, 3 hours in an airport and 7 hours on the next flight to read. With him already almost there by this time tomorrow the discussions and planning will have to wait for another time. Hopefully will find a good book to read at one of the many bookstores in the Calgary airport. I have to check out by noon – and the flight is not until 5:30 so will have lots of time to browse and decide.

Oh, yes – the book. It’s called The Irresistible Revolution written by an urban monk and it is an amazing book. It is not only speaking to my heart – it is putting words to feelings and thoughts that I have had for a long time. More blogs on these thoughts and feelings in the new year. I store up ideas and thoughts months in advance. In fact, there are almost 300 ideas stored in the “drafts” section of the blog structure waiting for my return visit to expand on them more fully. So, these will join the line-up and juggle for position regarding publication.

Please be in prayer for my team members – one Canadian and one Ukrainian – they have both made their connections. They will have to do the first full day of ministry short-handed and I was due to teach half of the day and lead the prophetic ministry in the other half … Pray that God give them strength, boldness and fresh ideas because they have not gone planning to substitute for me … and they will have little time after joining up in Almaty Vody, Kazakhstan to plan or discuss these last minute changes. Prayers are greatly appreciated.

While praying – please continue to pray for me as I have had three great conversations in the airports and on the one flight I did manage to take today … opportunities to share the Gospel. I love how God plans and organizes these things for me. Amazing. Fun. Exciting. I even went down after supper – those sitting near me in the restaurant were drunk and so I didn’t venture into their area to witness – so I went to find the pool and sauna as a sauna is a great place to share Jesus with people. Regretfully the one man who was in the sauna was just leaving and the pool was empty as was the hot tub. So, I simply road up and down in the elevator a few times and managed a few short conversations before calling it a night and heading to my room to read. It is 30 below here in Calgary so I ruled out going for a walk even though there is both a McDonalds and a DQ near by – which, by the way, are great places to witness to people.

Thanks for listening – remember to pray.

An Apostolic Trip Requires…

As you read this (Tuesday) I will still be in the air flying. I will be half way to Kazakhstan having left Regina mid-afternoon yesterday. I will arrive in Frankfurt, Germany later this morning, have a coffee at McDonalds and board the next flight to Almaty, Kazakhstan. We arrive there at 12:30 in the morning tomorrow (Wednesday). Eighteen hours of flying – the rest in airports waiting and moving between flights. By the time we arrive we have been through countless security checks, pat downs, full-body scans and several custom agencies checking our passports and visitor’s visa.

Planning for these trips starts well in advance of actually flying and ministering. Over ten months ago we began the negotiations for this current trip. In April we met with the leaders who invited us when they attended a function we were holding in Ukraine. Then began their planning and organizing. Among the things they/we needed to work through:
1> Which local churches would be involved in the two weeks of ministry
2> The team members that I would be bringing with me (clearning schedules-matching gifts to ministry needs)
3> The location for each day of ministry and the host pastors
4> A place to stay in each location that will house three men and give them some privacy, a place to meet, a shower – hopefully with hot water, and a place to sleep and have breakfast.
5> Topics for each location of ministry (each day) and the number of people who will be in each ministry opportunity.
6> Sorting through vast amounts of material stored in computers and filing cabinets to find teachings for each situation – and write the teachings that need to be researched and written
7> Meeting with team members to divide up the teaching opportunities so that everyone teaches in the area of their strengths
8> Obtaining of documents that needed to be filled in – applying for a visitor visa to allow us to enter the country and stay there legally for the 16 days.
9> Raising the funds to pay the costs of going to Kazakhstan ($2200.00 basic transportations costs per person). Pay loss for the time missed here in Canada where we earn a living not included – just written off as another opportunity cost.
10> Prayer focused on the different locations, various teachings, people going to be in attendance, protection, favor with man and God….
11> Final details nailed down (accomplished in Minneapolis airport on way home from apostolic roundtable with other Canadian team mmber).
12> Packing, purchasing extra clothes as needed (no laundry facilities), more extra clothes in case of travel interruptions, books to read while traveling, perscription medicines for the two weeks plus a few days in case coming home is delayed … the list goes on and on
13> Dealing politely with those who write asking to come with us as team members – almost 100% of whom do not fit the basic requirements for membership on the apostolic team (see “Team Requirements” on my main web site
14> And numerous other small details that need to be nailed down …

Each trip is a major undertaking which must be accomplished while still doing all the normal things we do for a living and maintaining our regular family life, exercise routine, and other ministry responsibilities.

Why do we do this? Because God said “go into all the world…” and we want to be obedient to that command.

Why do we do it? Take a look at the picture above… people are hungry for more of God. This picture was taken on our last trip … it is after midnight at a local church service where we had been ministering since 5:00p

During this trip your prayers would be greatly appreciated. These trips are very trying on team members – physically, mentally, spiritually and relationally.

Up, Up and Away – But Not In a Balloon

This couple are now living in Toronto and ministering in a Rusian speaking congregation. It was their home in Kazakhstan that a group of us invaded for a double fish BBQ last November on our first visit to that nation (see yesterday’s blog). Here we were prophesying over them in their home church in Almaty City, Kazakhstan on a Sunday.

Today I am in the air – well really, I am in a plane and it is in the air. Well, truthfully – I will be in three planes in the next 36 hours and in four different airports as I wind my way half way around the world – 12 time zones – to Kazakhstan. That’s right – when it is 10:00 in the morning in western Canada it is 10:00 in the evening in Kazakhstan. Midnight is midday.

I board a plane in Regina at 2:40 in the afternoon and fly to Calgary – 1 hour and 45 minutes in the plane
There I wait almost three hours for my next flight meeting up with one team member in Calgary’s airport and drinking coffee (Tim Horton’s) while we wait. Planning and talking about the trip and the ministry, of course.
We board a flight to Frankfurt, Germany at 5:35p and arrive the next day in Frankfurt at 11:15 in the morning – total time on the plane – 10 hours and 20 minutes
We have an hour and 30 minutes to find the next gate and a cup of McDonald’s coffee -no Tim Horton’s 🙁 and we are up, up and away once again
We board the flight – Frankfurt, Germany to Almaty, Kazakhstan at 12:55 in the afternoon and arrive in Almaty at 12:25 the next morning – time on the plane – 7 hours
As we step out in Almaty it will be early morning on the Wenesday – we will have left mid-afternoon on the Monday. For me – no sleep during that time. At the airport we will meet up with our third team member who is coming in on a different flight from Ukraine.
We will then be driven to wherever we are staying, shower and sleep… as we need to be ready to minister by mid-morning. That will require some preparation time in the early morning as well as showering, shaving and getting organized for the few days we will be there before moving on to another location and another ministry or church.

Once again – please pray. Travelling internationally is not fun – airports and airplanes are not exciting after the first time. Were they really exciting the first time? No, don’t think so. They are essential but not glorious or glamorous, simply necessary.

Please pray – we have much we want to accomplish on this trip and many lives we would like to see impacted by the Word and the power of God.

Please pray – that we will be kept safe while travelling – and while ministering. International flights are not alwys safe – and Kazakhstan is not a safe place for believers to minister and preach.