Jan 2016 Europe Report
On Monday night, I returned from a 12-day trip into the nations of Belgium, Holland, and Slovakia. While I have been to each of these places previously, this trip was certainly unlike any other!
The first weekend of the trip was spent with a local pastor, Willie Smit, and his family. Willie and his wife, Esther, have three children and pastor a church in Leopoldsburg, Belgium, and also lead a Kingdom discipleship and training school in partnership with Prepare International. On that Saturday, I spent about 7 hours teaching and ministering using the course topic of “Living By Faith,” a very powerful course which provides ample opportunity to practice appropriating what’s being taught and discussed!
Teaching and preaching through an interpreter is something that is no longer much of a frustration or hindrance for me (as it was a couple of years ago). Truthfully, I find myself eagerly waiting on the Holy Spirit to speak to me in the brief moments of pause as the interpreter is translating what I have just said. While I always spend many hours preparing in advance of each of these trips, I have come to fully accept the truth that relying purely on the hours of preparation time only requires a partial measure of faith. Scripture tells us that the Father gives each of us a measure of faith, and that as we use that measure, He is faithful to honor His word and increase our faith. This particular trip, more than any of the previous 12 that I have taken to Europe, proved over and over again to be a daily practice of faith for me!
As we were wrapping up the “Living By Faith” course, I knew the Holy Spirit was leading me to exercise my faith and open up a prayer opportunity for people who needed a physical healing miracle. I was so convinced that the Lord wanted to show Himself strong in our midst through healing miracles that I even forgot to ask the local pastor if it was okay with him that we did this! There were quickly two attendees who expressed a desire to be healed from ongoing pain in their bodies. Together, we verbalized our belief in the promises of God to be true and prayed in the name of Jesus for their specific physical needs to be healed. A lady with chronic pain in her hip and back for many years was the first one to stand up. We prayed for her, and the Lord immediately delivered her from her pain! Soon after, a man shared about his ongoing painful battle with a bone spur in his heel, and as soon as we prayed, he knew he was healed also! He began jumping up and down and celebrating his freedom by saying, “I have not been able to do this in a long time!” Both of these people were at the church the following morning where I preached, and each testified publicly that they were indeed healed and pain free! In addition to these two individuals, we prayed for 3 or 4 others who expressed they experienced “significant or noticeable improvement” concerning their physical need. We even witnessed one lady’s eyes clear up immediately from intense redness and swelling!
Many in attendance at the training school and the church service had never seen anyone receive prayer for miraculous healing, much less actually witness the healings take place! Everyone seemed to be equally in awe of the tangible miracles that we had witnessed and the fact that the environment was strangely “normal” (aka “not hyper-spiritual” or weird). I am grateful to the Lord that He is alive, that He still heals today, and that He can use normal, not-so-super-spiritual people as agents of His power!
Following my weekend in Belgium, I boarded a train and met up with my good friend, Volkert Muijs and his family in Bunschoten, Netherlands. Volkert and his wife, Karoline, are both successful business people who are filled with the Spirit and the Kingdom! Shortly after my arrival was the kickoff session of a 5-week “God and Money” course they are hosting for local business people, and they had asked me to be the keynote speaker for the first session. I had a LOT of fun that night, sharing some about my various experiences in vocational ministry and full-time business. I am continually inspired and encouraged by all of the creative ways that Volkert and Karoline are being used by God to reach their community with the message of The Kingdom! Simply put, they are highly influential leaders in Holland and abroad, and I am honored to partner with them and call them friends.
I then spent a couple more days in Holland, having various planning meetings for the mission team from Betenbough Homes that I am leading to Belgium/Holland this summer (more to come on that in a later post).
The last three days of my trip were spent in the beautiful city of Bratislava, Slovakia, where I was asked to write and then facilitate a Friday-Saturday seminar on the topic of “Kingdom Excellence in the Workplace.” The host of this event was a non-profit organization called Christians in the City, led by Marek Krajci. You may recall me mentioning him in previous posts. Marek, or should I say Dr. Krajci, is a pediatric cardiologist by trade, but spends most of his time leading the Christians in the City organization (which he founded), and is currently in the middle of political campaigning as he is one of the candidates running for a position in the Bratislava City Parliament.
Christians in the City recently completed a two-year partnership program with Prepare International, which included approximately 100 participants, representing a wide range of socioeconomic classes and Christian beliefs. Upon completion of the program, however, the attendees wanted to keep meeting together throughout 2016 and shift the focus to practical applications of the Kingdom in their work environments. Since this was a topic for which PI does not have a course manual, I had the privilege of creating this one from scratch. After conducting some interviews and extensive Scriptural research, I was excited to present this topic to this group of passionate Believers from all across the city. Two hours last Friday night and then about seven hours last Saturday were spent delivering the content of this material, and I can honestly say that it may have been the most fun I’ve had in a training environment like that since I joined PI! What a unique Kingdom experience – passionate Believers, hungry for truth about how they can live out the Kingdom in their individual work environments. I am thankful for the opportunity and humbled by the overwhelmingly positive responses that I received from the participants.
Finally, I preached last Sunday morning at Breakthrough Church in Bratislava before boarding a bus to Vienna to begin my journey home. Each of these trips proves to be uniquely different, and I discover more and more of The Kingdom of God each time. I am humbled that the Lord chooses to use us to help advance His Kingdom on earth. Without your partnership, none of this is possible, so Dana and I again say thank you! It is a privilege to go to the nations on your behalf and be a part of His movement on the earth and in the lives of those who say YES to Him!
Upcoming Travel & Events:
Feb 5-6 – “Discovering the Kingdom” event hosted by PI featuring Jack & Friede Taylor. More details @ http://prepareinternational.org/pievents/
March – I will travel to Costa Rica (along with David Setser of PI) for an extended weekend training course, using the topic of “The Power of a Transformed Mind.”
June – I will lead a team of Betenbough Homes employees to Belgium & Holland for a 10-day trip.
September – Europe travel
November – Europe travel