Tuesday in Bishkek – Day 9

This is my third day back in the city of Bishkek, the capital city of Kyrgyzstan. I arrived here on Wednesday morning and after a brief sleep and a lunch with 12 local pastors I travelled to the city of Karakol – a 6 hour drive in the mountains. There I ministered from supper Wednesday through to Saturday night at 8:00p when I headed back here to Bishkek to begin ministering for 4 days.

Sunday I was honoured to share me testimony at a large local church limited in what I could share because it was a rented facility and thus officials could be in attendance watching what I was doing and saying. Later that day I met at length with elders from that church listening and learning about their experiences and the life of their church.

Monday the rest of my team caught up with me having ministered on Sunday in the city of Karakol, staying overnight, and then doing the 6 hour drive to the capital to join me. We spent some time in fellowship and then ministered in the evening at a public service held in their own building and so we had freedom to do whatever the Spirit led me to do.

Today we are having a quiet start so we have a bit of time to read our Bible and pray and then filter through all that has happened and all that we have experienced. Then some meetings with local leaders from several churches before an evening service in the same church as Sunday and last night. There will be about 100 in attendance and we are free to teach on anything we feel led to teach on. The general theme is the supernatural church and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It will be fun I am sure…remembering that services here are three to five hours in length. So, we will be tired by the end of the day.

It will be good to have time to sort through and filter all that is happening. Several times already I have been asked what I see and think about the church here in this nation. I have sensed, experienced, and seen much that is good and alive. But, there is also much that is not of God but is of man. There is a great deal that is religious and causing death and not releasing the life of God in His people. So, in the quiet of the mornings I hope to do more than sort and filter – I want to make a list of the things I have sensed that I can leave with the senior leaders of the churches we have been working in. This will take many hours over the next few days but it is why we come. It will help the churches we have worked with to know what the next steps are that they need to plan to take.

Of course, it is my hope that I will be able to build long-term relationships with some of the leaders and thus help them between visits through Skype, instant messaging, and emails. There is much work to do, things to dismantle, foundations to pour, and a church to see built in this great nation. A great place for apostles to work and I am ready to do just that – invest time and effort as well as resources into this struggling national church that the Lord is resurrecting and rebuilding from the sub-foundation upwards.

Please continue to pray for the church in this nation of Kyrgyzstan and my ministry here now and into the future.

Monday – the Second of the Trip

It is Monday and I am having a time to myself for a few hours after a busy weekend. I arrived back in the city of Bishkek after 1:30a on Sunday morning following a busy Saturday in the city of Karakol. It is a 6 hour drive between the two. After a few hours of sleep I was up and preparing for the morning service. The apartment I am staying in is unoccupied and very dusty (and empty) but I am content to have a place that is quiet and that allows me a decent place to sleep.

This morning I am preaching at a lunch-time service in a rented public building so must obey the rules in case authorities are there listening. The leaders earlier last week at a lunch meeting asked me to give my testimony as it is allowed for a person to share his life story publicly. So, that is what I am going to do. Your prayers for this large service would be greatly appreciated. Then after the service time with the leaders (they don’t have a pastor) and then I will be joined later in the day by the rest of the team who remained in the city of Karakol to do two services on the Sunday. This splitting up the team was a last minute arrangement and so it has been a bit of a scramble to make sure everyone receives quality ministry. So, as a result I will be working with an interpreter I have yet to meet.

The rest of Monday will be a time with local pastors for fellowship, a meal together and a lot of questions and answers. In many ways the Church in this nation has recently left a controlled religious system (born again) and launched out with freedom of the Spirit. So, I really believe the Lord brought this ministry here to offer them help and guidance as they take their first steps into this freedom. Right now it is as if they have left a very structured system and are walking into a vacuum. It is neat to be here answering their questions and giving them guidance. And, to see that much of the painful things I have been through over 40+ years of ministry are now a blessing to these people and can enable them to move forward without making all the mistakes that I have made. I believe this ministry is here by divine destiny.

Monday evening is a public service in their own building (same church as I was at on Sunday in a rented facility) and so because we are in their building I am free to move in the gifts of the Spirit and speak more about the Lord than I was yesterday. I am looking forward to ministering with them tonight.

Thank you for praying for this apostolic trip and for all that you do for this ministry. Every one of you is a vital part of this ministry and I am so thankful to the Lord for each and every one of you. Thanks for praying for the services today in the two cities and for safe travel for my team as they drive the mountain roads to join me here.

An end note: Every year the main leaders and pastors from Central Asia come together in the nation of Turkey for a six day meeting called the Central Asia Conference. Here the discuss the state of the church in Central Asia and how to more effectively evangelize. It is by invitation only. I was invited to attend last year and due to the financial costs I was unable to go. I have again been invited and would like to go to the conference which is being held in the beginning of March. If you feel led by the Lord to contribute financially to this event (cost is approximately $3,200.00) you can do so on the main web site of this ministry through Pay Pal.

Sunday in Kyrgyzstan

It is Sunday in Kyrgyzstan and after a very busy three days in the city of Karakol working with the leaders of the Church of Jesus in that city. Yes, that is its actual name. This local church has gone through many troubled years, lost a lot of its people, and have learned many valuable lessons – what to do and what not to do. Now they are looking to move forward into a bright future and have asked this ministry to help them understand how to do just this. I made a small contribution to their first step forward. But, arrangements are made to keep in touch, to continue to help them, and to visit again in 2013…

After a busy Saturday working with this local church I grabbed a ride back to the city of Bishkek where I began ministering on Wednesday when I arrived in the country. It was a six hour ride and. Arrived at 2:00a, grabbed a few hours of sleep, and will begin ministering at noon today (Sunday). Is service is held in a rented building and so the rules change. When I am in a building owned by a church such as was the case in the last few days I was free to preach the Gospel and to guide and direct the church. Here I have been asked to share my testimony because it is okay with the government to share what has happened in a person’s life. There is a list of things I should not say and others that I must not say. So, because it is a rented, public building there will likely be officials there listening to what I say. Your prayers are appreciated.

In the later afternoon and evening I will will be meeting with leaders and fellowship ping, sharing, and answering questions. Always a good time but also somewhat tiring. Then later in the evening the rest of my team will join me as they remained in Karakol to do the two Sunday services. It will be a late night but we will still need to plan the details of what is happening on the Monday.

Please pray for the services in both cities (Karakol and Beshkek) and for safe travel for team members. Pray for the power and presence of God to be evident in the services and for miracles,signs and wonders to be seen and experienced.

I appreciate your continued support in prayer and in your finances. Thank you for believing in what I have been called to accomplish in His ministry in the nations of the former Soviet Union.

The picture is of a typical meal of rice and meat, pickled tomatoes, and bread along with comport (a homemade fruit drink with fruit still in the juice). Dessert with coffee or green tea includes candy and chocolate which is placed in the mouth and then you melt it with the hot tea or coffee. Meals are a minimum of several hours and includes much talking and laughing.

Friday in Central Asia – Day Five of Trip

Welcome to Central Asia. This is one of the very modern bathrooms here in this part of the world. This is the joint (male and female) bathrooms in a very fancy, top-of-the-line restaurant in the capital city here. Bathrooms are not places to find quiet or to do some reading as they often are in North America. It is simply in and out.

It is Friday here – and Thursday in North America. On our Thursday here I spent from 8:00a to 1:00p talking with a young apostle and an older pastor about the church in the nation of Kyrgyzstan and what it is they are seeing as the need of the church here. And, then I narrowed the focus to what it is they would like the team we have here to accomplish in the evening service (5:00p to whenever it ends)… It was a good morning coming to know the hearts of the two leaders and some of their amazing story of their walk with the Lord.

I am just catching up on my life and almost overcoming the feeling of jet lag that accompanies 2 days of flights and 12 time zones… And, of course, that is a little harder for someone like me who does not sleep when in motion. So, almost good but still pushing a bit to stay focused and alert in the meetings with these leaders. I also learned some more of the details of what is coming over the next few days as almost everything they sent as an agenda and as topics simply are not doable. So, we are walking our way through it one day at a time so that I can give them my best and what they really need to see and hear.

The service went well… The building was cold and got colder as the night went on. I was teaching 37 leaders on the Church that Jesus is building – the supernatural church. Then there was a time of prophecy over a number of people. Later, after service, there was three hours + of fellowship with three leaders where many questions were asked and much sharing and learning went on. These private afer service meetings are always very productive both in transmitting information but more importantly in building relationships. It was a good night.

Today I will be meeting with a number of leaders form the local church here and then after supper begin a five session “school” for the church leaders and members … Running through to 8:00p on Saturday night when I then am driven back down and through the mountains to the city of Bishkek for a Sunday service in a rented public building – which means the presence of government officials. So, there are limits to what I can do and say…I will be watched! Such is the state of the church here in this nations

I appreciate your prayers for today and the next few days as we continue to make tremendous inroads into the ministry the Lord has opened here for Ralph Howe Ministries. You are a valuable part of this outreach and apostolic ministry trip.

Saturday in Kyrgyzstan

Today we have a full day of ministry. The event today is a one day school and is open to all the regular church members and not just the leadership as has been the case so far. Because today is not a regular work day they are expecting a vast increase in numbers and we are looking forward to digging our teeth in to a full day of teaching and prophetic ministry.

The first night of public meetings was a bit of a plough and so I was tired at the end of the evening. Of course, we were new to the people and they to us, the building was cold and getting colder, and so we simply walked by faith and did what the Lord directed us to do. The leaders were pleased with what was accomplished for the Lord and for the leaders who were present. (Picture: Miroslav my administrator and interpreter and myself teaching at the night service – the building was cold so we all kept our winter coats on…)

On Friday I met with some of the leadership team in the afternoon for coffee and an opportunity to fellowship and to come to know each other… the lead pastor asked that all prophetic ministry be done publicly in the services so I did not prophesy over any of the leadership in the afternoon meeting. The evening meeting saw a lot of the prophetic and people being blessed by receiving a Word of the Lord.

Tonight – at 8:00p after a very full day I am being driven back to Bishkek (6 hour ride if the roads are good weather-wise) for a service on Sunday at a church… I met two of the leaders at the first event I went to on Wednesday and they invited me to come and minister. The other team members will remain here and join me on Monday…

Your prayers for the people of Kyrgyzstan and my work here for the Lord are really important and we all ask that you pray for the people, the leaders, and the team members working hard for the Lord ad His Kingdom in this harvest field. Remember, you are a vital part of this ministry the Lord has given to me.

Thursday in Kyrgyzstan

It is Thursday morning here … mid-evening Wednesday in central parts of North America. First decent sleep since leaving home Monday noonish. Yesterday we had a great meal in a typical restaurant in the city of Bishkek with about a dozen pastors. It was simply an opportunity for them to come to know me a bit. Some I will be working with during my stay, others will be coming to the leadership days next week in Bishkek. It was a good time, good food, and great Christian fellowship. Of course, lots of questions and answers and sharing…

I then had a six hour drive along good highways and some that could not in your wildest imagination be called a road. The paved part was right alongside some beautiful mountains – the other side of the mountains is China. Yes, I am that close as this is classified as Central Asia. Then through the mountains on the other side to the city of Karakol where I will be working till Saturday night before returning to Bishkek. This is a change in plans as I was to be here until Monday night – but the team is being split up with two staying here as I return to minister in the church lead by the two men in the meal picture – two of three elders who lead the church. The church does not have a pastor.

Today, a bit of sightseeing while I answer questions – and ask questions. I need to come to know some of the details of this local church before starting public meetings this evening. How public they are is up for question – it simply means the members of the church are welcome to attend. With me during the day will be the pastor (whose home the team is staying in) and the original pastor who founded the church and now works as an apostle (coming into this country from Russia where he is again church planting). So, I will find out a great deal as we walk, coffee, and drive around this city of 70,000 well up in the mountains of this nation.

Your prayers for all the team members as we begin public ministry and continue to encourage pastors and leaders during the rest of time are greatly appreciated. Blessing on you and please know that God’s Kingdom is growing, expanding, and very healthy spiritually – but in need of such direction and correction as Jesus builds His Church. That which man has build is being destroyed and the true Church of Jesus Christ is being built worldwide.

It Is Wednesday in Karakul

It is Wednesday morning and I am in the city of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (population – a million). I left Regina and my home at 1:30p on Monday and arrived here at 3:30a on Wednesday morning. Thanks for your prayers for safe travel and great connections. Everything went smoothly and I arrived safely. I was meet by a national who pastors in a small city 400 Km from here and Denis, a man I met and prophesied over in Yekenterinburg, Russia over a year ago who travels back into his former nation to help the local churches he relates to. Within an hour I was in an empty apartment and trying to sleep.

It is now 10:30a and after 4 hours sleep – moving across 12 time zones does things to your bodily functions and mixes up day and night, breakfast and supper – I have had a shower and shave and feel 60% human again. The bathroom facilities are less than primitive but the water was hot (there was no cold) so it was good. I am sitting in an empty apartment (no food – and NO COFFEE) waiting to be picked up for 400 Km drive to meet another pastor. The two men who picked me up at the airport will be taking me after a lunch with almost a dozen local pastors. In the next city I will begin to minister on Thursday. I was to stay there until Monday but now I am scheduled elsewhere for the Sunday… “Blessed are the flexible”

So, tonight I will be in the city of Karakul – a city of about 70,000 people. I rerun to Bishkek on Sunday and minister there until Thursday when I drive into the nation of Kazakhstan. The crossing may not be that easy as these two nations are at a bit of a tight spot in their relationship right now.

I am tired but safe. I am hungry but we are heading to a local restaurant to sample some of the local food. I will still be hungry afterwards depending on what they serve. Usually I am good but some of the tasty airplane food did not sit right during the trip. So, I am going to be a little more careful with what I eat today to mea sure I am able to minister tomorrow.

I am typing this looking out a window of a totally empty kitchen on the 7th floor of a cement block the Soviets call an apartment building. They sure built ugly (and cold). As I look out there are some gorgeous mountains just a short distance away. I have taken several pictures through the (dirty) window and hopefully I can connect one of them to the blog. It seems like it is a beautiful nation geographically. The people have already proven themselves to be hospital and loving.

Thanks for your interest in this trip – your prayers and your financial support. The “blog” will be more like ancient history by the time it is posted as I don’t have internet connection here and hope we will in the city of Karakul when I arrive and settle in tonight (Wednesday evening here – Wednesday morning there as there is a 12 hour time difference).

Please continue to pray – born again believers are persecuted in this nation and people like me are flying under the radar and doing what we can to encourage the believers here in Kyrgyzstan.

The Biblical Signs of an Apostle – Part Nine

The fruit in the ministry of an apostle is both obvious as well as abundant…

Paul states in 1 Corinthians 9:2 “If I am an apostle to others, yet doubtless I am to you. For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.” In other words, the proof of his call to the ministry of an apostle is the fruit that can be seen in his ministry – in this case, people who have heard the Gospel and become disciples of the Lord. Fruit is one of the major ways we can judge a person’s ministry no matter what their calling is. And, if there is good fruit then there are good roots – the minister will be truly “rooted and grounded in love” as well as teaching sound doctrines.

Some of the fruit in an apostle’s ministry will include:

1> People coming to the Lord with godly sorrow and repentance becoming true converts who then are hungry to be discipled and trained in the faith.

2> The establishment of churches that are full of the presence and power of the Lord and that begin immediately to win the lost and plan to multiply themselves by planting other churches while still young in the Lord themselves. Disciples begetting disciples and churches planting churches.

3> The establishment of powerful training centers and schools where saints can be properly equipped and trained for ministry as believers and those who are called to the five-fold ministry can also be fathered and mentored.

4> The reproduction and development of spiritual children who are relating personally to the apostle so that there is a father-son relationship. These young men, when ready and sent, will serve the Lord faithfully and successfully. The reproduction of spiritual children is a seal of an apostleship.

5> They teach fresh revelation that edifies the Church. Apostles receive a lot of revelation from God, and because of this, it is important to record and distribute it by written means – books, e-books, and the internet. As well, apostles write training manuals and teaching material and make it available for others to use after teaching it and testing in the local church. They are prolific writers.

6> The mature apostle has experience in all of the five-fold ministry offices. To exercise a valid apostolic ministry the apostle’s training will allow them to experience the ministry of pastor, teacher, evangelist, and prophet. As part of their calling is to train these 4 of the five-fold ministers they must experience these ministries firsthand as they are being trained and equipped to be apostolic. All men who are true apostles today and operating within their apostolic call and ministry are men who started their service in one of the other Ephesians 4:11 ministries and has experienced all four at one time or another.

These are a few of the basic traits of someone who is a mature apostle and who has been released by the local church to minister. These and other basic results are is much demand as the ministry of the apostle gains recognition over a season of time and his teachings and revelations prove to be true and beneficial to the Church.

Today, many call themselves apostles but they have no fruit or evidence in any of these areas to support their claim. Jesus said we would recognize them by their fruit!

The Biblical Signs of an Apostle – Part Eight

We are looking at the biblical signs of a true, authentic apostle – a man who is truly called and commissioned by the Lord and send as the gift of apostle to His Church. The sign I want to look at this time is that “apostles proclaim and demonstrate the Word of God with miracles, healings, signs, and wonders.

And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:4-5)

The Word and the work of the Holy Spirit’s power go together. The Spirit confirms the preaching of God’s Word to declare that the message is true and that Jesus is alive and reigning as Lord and Savior. Wherever an apostle shares the true Gospel of the Kingdom of God, the Word is confirmed with miracles, healings, prophecy, the expulsion of demons, the raising of the dead and more.

The powerful manifestation of the Spirit and of the power of God is evident in the life and ministry of an apostle. The reason is that without the demonstration of God’s power, people’s faith would only be based on human knowledge and wisdom. This is not what God wants nor does it align with the mission to edify because without signs, the apostle cannot build the Kingdom in God’s people.

Without miracles, signs and wonders the Gospel is only partially proclaimed
– the job is only half done. Paul states in Romans 15:18-19…”For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience – by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God – so that…I have fully proclaimed the Gospel.”

So, as those called to be apostles move out as pioneers to plant the Gospel and to enable a proper foundation to be laid for a local expression of the Church in places where the Gospel of the Kingdom has never been heard, they do so with the Word and with miracles, signs and wonders confirming that Word and confirming their apostolic ministry as authentic and true.