Author Archives: Casey M. Brewer

June 2016 Europe Report

This past weekend, I returned from a 10-day trip to Europe, along with 17 other people from Betenbough Homes. As you may recall from previous writings, one of the unique decisions the leadership of Betenbough Homes made about 10 years ago was to strategically align their employees with the work of the company’s ministry partners all over the world. Beginning in 2007, they began funding these “Vision Trips,” and for the second year in a row, on behalf of Prepare International, I was asked to plan and lead one of these trips to Europe.

We packed in quite a busy itinerary covering two countries – Belgium and The Netherlands. Upon landing in Brussels, we spent a large part of the day walking around the city of Brussels, attempting to fool our jet lag with loads of sunshine and caffeine! Obviously, Brussels has been the center of much publicity over the last 6 months with the March terrorist attacks, and the ever-popular news stories surrounding the European Union (based in Brussels).   Despite all the recent happenings there, the city seemed to be “normal” and our team enjoyed the day there, sharing quite a few new cultural experiences, including French fries with mayonnaise!

Rance & Stacy Bland

Rance & Stacy Bland

Ernst, Biblehouse Director

Ernst, Biblehouse Director

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We traveled by train from Brussels to Antwerp, Belgium, where we spent Saturday and Sunday partnering on a project with our friend Rance Bland. Rance is a Lubbock native living in Belgium for the past 4+ years with his wife, Stacy, and their young son. He oversees all of the international work of SportQuest, and has many great relational and ministry connections in Belgium. Back in January, he and I visited the Antwerp Bijbelhuis (“Biblehouse”), met its director, Ernst, and had discussed the needs that our Betenbough team could meet. As it turns out, those needs became more urgent in the week prior to our arrival. The local city inspector had delivered some not-so-good news to Ernst regarding the condition of the Bijbelhuis facility. It needed some major upgrades immediately, and Ernst was able to joyfully inform the city inspector that he had a team of Americans about to arrive who were prepared to lend a hand! And lend a hand we did! We worked feverishly and effectively for two days, insulating ceilings, installing Sheetrock, tearing down walls, building new walls, reinforcing floor joists, etc. It was a really fun couple of days participating with the Betenbough team who obviously know a thing or two about construction. Rance, Ernst and the Bijbelhuis team were in awe as we accomplished much more than they had anticipated. We didn’t finish everything that was needed, but we were able to leave the project at a point where Ernst and a team of local volunteers can successfully complete the tasks in a reasonable amount of time in order to satisfy the local inspectors’ requirements.

Betenbough guys @ Biblehouse

Betenbough guys @ Biblehouse

Some of the construction team

Some of the construction team

Antwerp Cathedral

Antwerp Cathedral

We completed our weekend in Antwerp by joining a local congregation led by a Syrian pastor who had joined us during our two days of work at the Bijbelhuis. It indeed was an eye-opening and encouraging experience to witness an Arabic-speaking church service! It was also good for us to open our hearts and minds to receive people of a much different culture. In addition to the Iraqi and Afghans in attendance, many of the attendees at the church were Syrian refugees. Despite the fact that not all of them were Believers, it gave our team a chance to meet them and gain a much different perspective and worldview. It became one of the top highlights of our entire trip!

Volkert & Karoline

Volkert & Karoline

 

The last several days of our trip were spent in central Holland. We partnered with my friend, Volkert Muijs and his wife Karoline, whom you have likely heard me mention many times before.  They are highly influential Kingdom business and ministry leaders in their country, and we worked on their behalf to serve a local business called the Eemlandhoeve, whose motto is “Peace, Inspiration, Good Eating.” The owner, whom we referred to as Farmer John, is a highly educated passionate follower of Jesus. He and his team employ many farm-to-table methods, have a popular restaurant, and have many multi-use spaces available for meetings and gatherings.

Eemlandhoeve project

Eemlandhoeve project

Eemlandhoeve project

Eemlandhoeve project

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For two days, our team served Farmer John by helping Spring-clean the property and inch them closer to their vision of being able to host camps and retreats on site. Our construction-minded guys helped prepare a shower and bathroom facility for plumbing, while others worked in their large garden, and some of us erected two large semi-permanent tents to be used for additional sleeping space.

The Eemlandhoeve was truly a place unlike any we had seen before, but all of our team agrees that we experienced their motto first-hand! We also participated in a Dutch worship service there on Wednesday night in which I was able to preach and minister. It was yet another eye-opening, cultural experience for our team to worship alongside Believers from a different country.

Bunschoten

Bunschoten

Bunschoten

Bunschoten

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We then spent a day of exploring the local community of Bunschoten, the hometown of Volkert and Karoline. Our team was able to learn more about the history of the The Netherlands and enjoy many of the local Dutch traditions. We concluded our time in Holland by spending a day and a night in Amsterdam prior to departing early last Saturday morning. While Amsterdam indeed has “earned” its widely-held reputation, we were able to successfully avoid certain parts of the city and really enjoy the beauty and culture it has to offer.

I continue to be amazed at how the Lord will use every day people to accomplish the extraordinary! This trip was a great and encouraging reminder of the truth of Ephesians 3:20, that He “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” When we say “YES” to His call, whether it is a long-term opportunity, or even a short-term, 10-day opportunity in Europe, there is no limit to what He can do through a heart submitted to His leadership. As the verse says, it is not our power working in Him, but rather His power working in us. He requires only a heart willing to say YES!

Team

Team

I am so thankful for the Betenbough team who chose to say YES to this particular opportunity, and to the Betenbough Homes company that has said YES to an overall different way of conducting business. They truly are outlet of the Kingdom, through which God is performing miracles, and pouring out His Spirit in unprecedented ways. One confirmation of this is the fact that Betenbough Homes ranked as the #53 home building company in the nation, according to the 2015 Builder 100. They continue to grow and expand, despite a difficult nationwide home building economy over the last several years. Their influence among Christian leaders also continues to grow, and I believe there absolutely is a connection tied between their influence & growth and their decision to surrender their business to the Kingdom of God! What a testimony.

As always, thank you for partnering with our family to help make trips like this possible. You are an equal partner in this adventure, and we continue to be humbled by your partnership.

Upcoming travel:

September 2016: Rich Smith and I travel to Slovakia and the Ukraine to minister in PI Training Schools

November 2016: Dana and I, along with Rick & Holly Betenbough, travel to Europe to minister in leadership conferences and PI Training Schools

 

 

April 2016 Report

Happy Monday! I hope that today and the rest of your week are filled with opportunities to pause and enjoy the moment. This morning Dana and I sent off our soon-to-be 14-year old daughter to her 8th grade retreat. It is an annual tradition for Trinity Christian School to send their 8th graders away for a few days. Their time will be spent enjoying adventurous outdoor activities, spending quality time with teachers and a select group of parents, and deepening their relationship with the Lord in times of worship with our great friend, Rich Smith.

As I hugged Harleigh good-bye this morning, my heart was FILLED with joy and anticipation for her. It was definitely one of those “pause and enjoy the moment” moments for me. She is such a beautiful young woman, and I am so proud of her!  It is true – she is growing up way too fast.  Obviously, Dana and I are also excited to hear the testimonies from her week. This particular experience holds great tradition for TCS, as many high school seniors, upon graduation, highlight their 8th grade trip as one of their top TCS memories.

As I was praying about writing this particular report, the Holy Spirit reminded me that there are two things in which I can confidently know about Harleigh’s week. First, the presence of the Lord will be readily available, and secondly, the voice of the Lord will be speaking. It is my prayer for her that she clearly recognizes both of those every day, however, if you know her at all, you can likely affirm that we shouldn’t be too concerned.  She knows her Lord!

For all of us, those same two promises apply every day – the presence of the Lord is readily available, and His voice is always speaking. In these, we can ALWAYS be confident. The only uncertain part of the equation? Our response. Is our heart in a position to recognize the promises? Are we ready and willing to obediently respond? Those are the uncertainties in the equation.

It is important that we remember that our response can be take one of two different forms: 1) we react to His voice and leading by seeking Him more deeply, and respond accordingly, or 2) we proactively seek His voice and leadership, knowing that He will respond. Either way, I believe He is pleased with our demonstrations of faith!

Tucked away in the “faith” chapter of Hebrews (ch.11), is an interesting statement about Enoch, who was miraculously taken up from the earth and into heaven. Scripture tells us that he had the testimony of pleasing God. Oh to be known as one like Enoch! The next verse is one of the most oft-quoted verses in all of Scripture: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him…” However, if we keep reading the verse, we discover an amazing promise: “…for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” What a comfort! Scripture promises us that when we diligently seek Him, the Lord rewards us! His availability and our response will lead to a reward from Him. As difficult as this may be for us to accept, this can be a breakthrough reality for those who continually come to God as a child, fully trusting Him and believing His word. It’s my prayer for my daughter this week, and it’s my sincere desire that each of us put this truth into every day practice.

 

Costa Rica update

Casey with Tony & Rossela

Casey with Tony & Rossela

Tony & Rossela

Tony & Rossela

Casey, David, & Tony

Casey, David, & Tony

Casey & David

Casey & David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two weeks ago, David Setser (of Prepare International) and I returned from a quick 4-day trip to Costa Rica. Together, we taught and ministered alongside our translator and new friend, Tony Del Rio, on the topic of “The Kingdom of God.” That particular weekend was only the second official programmed

Casey teaching

Casey teaching

gathering of students and leaders in the western Costa Rica city of Liberia. Tony and his wife, about to give birth to their first child, are on staff with YWAM Costa Rica, but have a passion to train leaders for the Kingdom in their region. David and I were able to spend several hours on Friday and most of Saturday ministering to a hungry, eager group of about 25. The presence of the Lord was strong in our midst, and it was clear that the Holy Spirit had prepared a fertile soil in their hearts! We have received many positive feedback reports from the attendees and from Tony. Thank you for praying for us and continually being a part of the sending team! Since it was my first time in Costa Rica, we took a whole day to spend with Tony and Rossela, exploring some of the beauty of their country before returning home on that Monday evening. Compared to most of my international trips, a 7-hour travel itinerary (start to finish) seems like a piece of cake! Despite the short trip, I am confident that we have made new friends in Tony and Rossela that will last a long time.

Casey & Tony teaching

Casey & Tony teaching

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upcoming Schedule

Beach sunset

Costa Rica sunset

June 2016: Ten days with a team of Betenbough Homes families in Belgium and The Netherlands, partnering with Rance & Stacy Bland of SportQuest on various outreach and service projects, as well as with our great friends, Volkert & Karoline Muijs, in Bunschoten, Netherlands.

September 2016: 12-day trip to Slovakia & Ukraine

November 2016: 12-day trip to Czech Republic & Hungary

May your week be full of pause-and-enjoy moments, and may you be always aware of the promises that our Father makes!

 

 

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!

Belgium

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!

Antwerp train station

Antwerp train station

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!

Healing testimony

Man testifying about healed bone spur

Healing Testimony

Lady testifying about healed hip & back

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

The Netherlands

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).

Slovakia

Bratislava, Slovakia

Bratislava, Slovakia

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.

Praying for Parliament candidates

Praying for Parliament candidates

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!

Church leaders in Bratislava

Church leaders in Bratislava

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

 

 

Nov 2015 Trip Report

Casey teaching

Casey teaching

The week of Thanksgiving is truly one of my two favorite holidays of the year. Combined with Christmas a month later, this season is filled with memories of family gatherings of the past, and provides a perfect opportunity for us to give thanks for the faithfulness of Jesus Christ to us through all of life’s journeys. He is much better, much bigger, and more amazing that any of us can fathom! May our hearts be full of thankfulness and always remember to tell Him how much we love Him during this season!

I returned on Monday from a 12-day trip into the nations of Slovenia & the Czech Republic in Central Europe. While I had been to both of these countries previously, this particular trip was in no way like the others!

 

Rick teaching on business

Rick teaching on business

Slovenia

My good friend, Rick Betenbough, and I began our time in the city of Nova Gorica, which lies on the border of western Slovenia and eastern Italy. We had been asked to lead a weekend conference focused on success in business. While the event was organized by a local pastor, he wanted to attract a diverse crowd of both Christians and non-Christians, so the advertised name of the event was not overtly “Christian.” A small group of locals in gathered together in conjunction with a group of about 40 who had traveled from the capital city of Ljubljana. It was immediately clear to us that there was indeed a great hunger for Truth despite the many non-Believers in our midst! I opened the conference on Friday night with a teaching on “What & When is the Kingdom of God,” and Rick took the lead for most of Saturday, sharing the testimony of the success & failures of Betenbough Homes, and providing practical tools for business leaders on how to honor God’s Kingdom and raise up high-quality leaders inside of their organizations. If it weren’t for the time restrictions that day, I think the crowd could have stayed there for many more hours receiving and digesting the transformational truths that Rick provided!

Casey & Rick with leaders

Casey & Rick with leaders

At the end of the evening, we gave an invitation to lay hands on and impart confidence and encouragement to any attendee who wanted prayer. Easily over 75% of them came forward, which led to all kinds of opportunities for the Holy Spirit to move among us – which He did in powerful ways! There was NO DOUBT that the attendees left with powerful business wisdom in-hand, and knowing that the Lord had touched their life in a tangible way!

Casey praying

Casey praying

The following morning, we drove to Ljubljana where Rick had been asked to preach at a church (a first for him). Despite his insistence that he is “not a preacher,” I had to keep reminding him of the fruit of his labor! God clearly was using his humility and authenticity to impact the lives of both Believers and non-Believers in multiple settings. As demonstrated every day throughout our time together in Europe, Rick is a daily example of how the Lord will use a humble and submitted heart to do miracles and transform the lives of His people everywhere.

 

 

Casey praying for blind lady

Casey praying for blind lady

Miracles in Nova Gorica

On Sunday night, we traveled back to Nova Gorica, where I preached at the local church led by Petr Bohm, a business-minded man, also the organizer of the weekend business event, and leader of the only non-Catholic church in the entire city. Upon providing an invitation for prayer following the Sunday evening service, we spent over an hour praying for various needs of the small congregation, which included 6-8 women who expressed a desire for physical healing. The first was a woman who was completely blind. While her sight was not restored, she experienced a scratchy feeling in her eyes while we were praying, and left encouraged that the Lord was doing something miraculous in her eyes! The next five women that we prayed for all experienced miraculous physical healing while we prayed! One woman waited in line almost an hour to testify to us that she woke up that morning to discover she had been healed of great physical pain following our prayer over her the night before at the business conference!   A non-believing (and quite angry) Catholic woman waited until the very end of the prayer time to come forward and ask us to pray for her. She, too, was in great physical pain on the left side of her body, and the power of the Lord healed her arm and hand while we prayed! Undoubtedly, she left that night knowing that Jesus Christ had touched her life!

In Venice with Petr & Rick

In Venice with Petr & Rick

Rick and I spent the next two days with Petr (including one day in nearby Venice, Italy), encouraging him, and helping him build relationship with other business people throughout his city. Even though Petr is a local pastor, his heart is full of business ideas, and he is already working to create multiple small businesses in order to expand the Kingdom of God in the marketplace!

 

 

Czech Republic

The second half of our trip was spent between the Czech cities of Prague and Jindrichuv Hradec. As I wrote in last January’s report, one of Prepare International’s longest tenured relationships is with Stanislav Bubik, a second-generation church planter in the Czech Republic. Rick Betenbough and I spent portions of two days with Stanislav in and around Prague. We had the surprise opportunity to travel to a suburb of Prague and visit with an up-and-coming homebuilding company, whose leaders have a great passion for the Kingdom of God! We spent several hours with this team that included some time of worship and prayer. Discovering a business with a Kingdom focus in Eastern Europe is definitely a rare find, and one worthy of our ongoing prayer efforts!

Jindrichuv Hradec, Czech

Jindrichuv Hradec, Czech

We then traveled to the southern part of Czech to the town of Jindrichuv Hradec, where Rick and I taught and ministered in the church-planting school led by our friend Stanislav. Our weekend topic was “Principles of Leadership,” another topic for which Rick is full of wisdom and experience! Approximately 30 men and women gathered together for a Friday night and all day Saturday training. I taught on some general principles of leadership in the Kingdom, and Rick again shared powerful truths and practical application from his many years of leading Betenbough Homes. The Lord’s presence was strong among us! Rick and I concluded our leadership course by joining Stanislav and laying hands on each attendee and praying over them. The Holy Spirit moved in powerful ways as we prayed and the worship team led us in singing. Three or four people in the room began to ask questions about a beautiful female singing voice they all heard, but it was later determined that the voice they heard was not that of anyone present in the room! It appears as though the voice of an angel was heard among us! What a joy it was to realize this!

Casey preaching

Casey preaching

Last Sunday was our last full day in the Czech Republic, and we awoke to snow falling outside! I preached at the local church in Jindrichuv Hradec, and we shared lunch together in the home of the local pastor. Both he and his wife are involved in small business in their city in addition to the work of the church, however, I would ask you to join us in praying for this couple and their marriage. They were extremely honest with us about some of the struggles they are facing in their family, work, and ministry.   Their names are Radim & Adela. They are parents to three children, including one special needs daughter. Thank you for interceding for them! Following our time with this family, we headed back to Prague in preparation for our early flight the next morning back to Lubbock.

As I have said so many times before, we are forever grateful for your partnership with us. You make it possible for us, and we are honored to represent you in Lubbock and in many nations throughout the earth! Thank you again, as I said at the beginning of this report, may our hearts be full of thankfulness and always remember to tell Him how much we love Him during this season!

Together,

Casey Brewer & family

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague, Czech Republic

Sept. 2015 Europe Report

Last week I returned from a 12-day ministry trip into the European nations of Macedonia, Belgium, and The Netherlands. If you’ve been a regular follower of these posts, you may be noticing by now that those three particular countries seem to be the most frequented places that I visit. While that was not necessarily the plan in the beginning, the complex scheduling structure of P.I. has inevitably created two sort of “go to” regions for me that include Macedonia in southern Europe, and Belgium & Holland in the northern/western part of Europe. I believe I have visited each of those regions at least a ½ dozen times in the last 2+ years!

What made this last trip unique from many of the previous trips, however, was that I had the privilege of taking a great friend with me! Chris Berry has been a friend for about 10 years, and he and his wife, Tiffany, both work at Betenbough Homes here in Lubbock. In addition to his friendship, their family is an ongoing partner with Prepare International in many ways. Their family was one of several from Betenbough Homes that traveled to Austria with P.I. in 2013 for the special Family Camp event that we hosted that summer. It was then that both Chris and I met many of the international leaders with whom P.I. ministers among the 10-12 European nations. This most recent trip provided an opportunity for Chris to reconnect with some of these leaders, as well as minister alongside me as we taught and ministered in several locations.

Casey & Chris in Skopje, Macedonia

Casey & Chris in Skopje, Macedonia

Macedonia

Our time began in Macedonia’s capital city of Skopje, a city of approximately 700,000 people, including almost 100,000 in the world’s largest concentrated center of Roma Gypsy people. In connection with church planters Sasha and Marija Vuletic, we taught on Friday night and Saturday morning in their discipleship school on the topic of “Principles of Leadership.” Immediately following the conclusion of our Saturday sessions, we hopped on a bus for a 3-4 hour ride to the southwestern edge of Macedonia near the borders of Albania and Greece to the beautiful city of Ohrid. It is here that P.I. has a longtime friend and pastor named Pali who is planning to start a ministry training and discipleship school in 2016. Chris and I went there so that I could meet him and be available to serve his ministry there for a couple of days. We attended a church that he is currently leading, and also attended an African church that he helps oversee. One of the highlights of the entire 12-day trip took place that Sunday morning, as we were able to witness the baptism of young girl named Ivana who had recently committed her life to Christ – against the wishes of her Orthodox family. Her family was not present at the baptism, but we were a part of the cloud of witnesses as she joyfully entered the waters of Lake Ohrid and publicly professed her faith!

Baptism site - Lake Ohrid

Baptism site – Lake Ohrid

 

 

Casey, Chris, Ivana

Casey, Chris, Ivana

 

We returned to Skopje for a day spent with Sasha, Marija, and their family before departing for The Netherlands.

Casey &Pali in Ohrid

Casey &Pali in Ohrid

Chris & Marija

Chris & Marija

 

The Netherlands

We arrived mid-week into Holland to be with our friends Volkert & Karoline and their family. Volkert owns a successful fish-selling business, and his wife works in corporate risk management. They share a love of God’s Kingdom and are active in numerous ministry circles throughout Holland. While there, Chris and I attended a significant gathering of several different area ministries. Following weeks of prayer and relationship building among the different group’s leaders, this particular night was the first formal gathering of all the groups together. I cannot stress enough how significant this night was! Chris and I were in awe as 30 people came together across denominational lines to passionately worship and pray together! Volkert was overjoyed with gratitude for what the Lord is doing in his region of The Netherlands! I was asked to share something with the group, and as the Lord often “encourages” me to do, I knew when I arrived that what I had prepared was NOT the message He wanted me to deliver. It was one of what now has become many opportunities for me to stand up and trust the Holy Spirit to lead me moment by moment in the moment. The presence of the Lord was obvious, and the Lord will undoubtedly continue to use this gathering of Believers in mighty ways!

Ministering in Holland

Ministering in Holland

Chris and I spent the next day with Volkert and were able to see his business in full swing, and we even ate our fair share of good fish!  Additionally, Volkert took us to a large vacant building on an abandoned property in his hometown. He and some of the other Christian leaders in the area have already begun negotiations to purchase this property and convert the space into a Dream Center for The Netherlands! The three of us walked around the property and prayed for the favor of the Lord to shine mightily on their group. We boldly asked the Lord to remove any obstacles in the way of this group coming together and obtaining the property! This project could become one of the most significant Kingdom works throughout their country!

Casey & Chris eating raw herring

Casey & Chris eating raw herring

 

 

 

Chris praying over Dream Center site

Chris praying over Dream Center site

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Belgium

Chris sharing on Faith in Gent

Chris sharing on Faith in Gent

At the conclusion of our short time in Holland, we traveled to Gent, Belgium, and spent a couple of days with our friends, Robin and Kathlien and their family. Robin and his team of leaders are prayerfully working toward building a new discipleship training school in their city. Chris and I spent Saturday morning with this team, sharing on the topic of “Living By Faith.” I shared briefly that morning, but one of the true highlights of the entire 12-day trip was listening to Chris share the story of faith and testimony of their long journey of international adoption. After three years of paperwork, multiple trips, and lots of money, he and Tiffany were able to bring home their daughter, Kira, from Russia five years ago this month! Their journey is filled with many miracles and a testimony of faith that is powerful beyond words! While Prepare International has a “Living By Faith” course manual, nothing conveys the message of faith like personal testimony of miracles and supernatural personal provision. What an inspiration Chris and Tiffany are!

Preaching in Gent

Preaching in Gent

The following day, I was given the opportunity to preach at a church in Gent. Yet again, the message I had prepared before the trip was not the message the Lord wanted me to preach! The night before, it became clear to me that the Lord had other plans. I obediently shared a message with this church on the topic of our role in the Kingdom, and the six lessons we must learn and embrace about the part we are called to play. I was so blessed by the many people who shared with me following the service. It became clear that this particular message was a “word in due season” for so many! Thank You, Lord!

Our last night in Europe was spent with our friends, Peter and Laura, in Brussels. We were able to meet their newest child, Judah, and spend some time praying together. It was a great night together!

Peter, Laura, & Baby Judah

Peter, Laura, & Baby Judah

As usual, the return home was sweet, and my heart is full of gratitude for the part each of you plays in our family’s journey. Thank you for your prayer support and your financial partnership. We could not do this without you!

 

 

 

 

Up Next

In mid-November, I will travel to Slovenia and the Czech Republic. I will be joined on this trip by my good friend, Rick Betenbough. I am already getting excited as I anticipate the testimony of what the Lord is going to do!

 

 

 

 

 

August Macedonia Report

Last Friday night, Dana and I returned to Lubbock after a 10-day trip to Europe along with 15 other people connected with Betenbough Homes. As part of a unique Kingdom business approach, Betenbough Homes strategically selects multiple international and domestic mission trips each year from which their employees can choose to participate. This group that Dana and I were privileged to lead had prayerfully selected this particular Europe trip as their company mission trip of choice for this year! Needless to say, we were humbled and blessed to travel and minister alongside them.

Marriage Retreat

Upon landing in Skopje, Macedonia, on July 30, we all piled into multiple passenger vans and drove almost 4 hours up into the mountains of eastern Macedonia to a beautiful hotel resort where, the following day, we welcomed 10 Macedonian married couples who had been specifically invited by our friends Sasha & Marija Vuletic (church planters and leaders of a discipleship training school).   Over the course of the next two days, we spent many hours together, sharing meals and worshipping, as well as experiencing some powerful time of testimony and impartation. Dana and I, along with other couples from Betenbough took turns sharing about our marriage – the struggles, victories, and miracles. We were humbled by how encouraged the Macedonian couples were (most of whom were older than our team), and shocked when they revealed how surprised they were to learn that American marriages are NOT perfect! For many of our American team, it was the first time they had even shared about their marriages publicly. For the rest, it was definitely the first time to do so in a foreign context.

Driving in Macedonia

Driving in Macedonia

Kelly & Jennifer sharing

Kelly & Jennifer sharing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two of the most powerful testimonies came on the last morning of the retreat. One of the Betenbough team members was actually a single woman who shared her story of waiting on God to bring her the soul mate she desires. Having experienced the divorce of her parents during her teenage years, she reminded us all of how powerful the love of the Lord is, and how faithful He is to give us all a new and fresh start in the midst of pain and difficulty. Her testimony led into powerful time of ministry as we laid hands on and prayed over the Macedonian couples.

One of our other team members, a married woman whose husband was unable to travel with us on the trip, shared about some of her struggles and victories of being married to man who does not seek the Lord as she does. This emotional story led into a time of each couple praying together, recommitting their marriage to the Lord. For some of the Macedonians, it was the first time they had ever prayed together!

Praying together

Praying together

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At one point during the weekend, one of our team members, a photography business owner in Midland, took photos of each couple. We ended the retreat by surprising the couples and presenting them with a framed photo of themselves. We had NO IDEA how big of a blessing this would be! One of the couples (married for over 50 years) doesn’t even have a photograph of themselves together! For another couple, the only photograph they have of themselves together is a picture of their entire wedding party! I will never forget the looks on their faces and the joy that erupted when we began handing out the framed photos! What a great reminder for us to never overlook the small things.

Macedonian couple

Macedonian couple

Fence-building in the Gypsy community

Following our time in the eastern mountains, we returned to the blistering heat of Skopje and spend parts of two days helping complete the fence project that had begun months earlier when I led a Trinity School team there. As you may recall from earlier reports that I have posted, Sasha and Marija have been cultivating relationships in the highly populated Gypsy community of Skopje for many years. By beginning a basic feeding and education program for young Gypsy children, they have been able to use the Bible as the key educational tool and share the love of Jesus with the kids. For many of these children, it is the only consistent source of nutrition and love they receive. The buildings used for feeding and education are separated by an open field and had been in need of a protective fence. The TCS team (back in March) helped make and pour the concrete footing for the fence, and then this Betenbough team helped complete the project by aiding local welders and erecting the tall metal fence. This particular fence project did not take near as long as anticipated, so we creatively found some additional work we could do that just so happened to involve burning a field of weeds! (Yes, intentionally. Yes, highly dangerous. And yes, quite fun!) In addition to the fence project, we also had the privilege of being a part of the church service in Skopje for the church planted last year by Sasha and Marija.

Fence building

Fence building

 

 

 

 

 

Fence painting

Fence painting

Kids working

Kids working

Yard with weeds

Yard with weeds

Yard with NO WEEDS!

Yard with NO WEEDS!

Team

Team

Team

Team

School property

School property

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During our time in Skopje when we were not working at the Gypsy school, our team had time to explore the food, culture, and shopping of Macedonia, and we spent some time praying together high atop a mountain overlooking the city. I don’t know what it is about Macedonia in particular, but for many of our team, it definitely got its “hooks” in their hearts. I have talked to at least a couple of them since our return, and they have said that although they can’t fully explain it, something is happening in their hearts for the Kingdom! One team member said to me, “God is moving in my heart for the church around the world!” To see people’s hearts awakened to the Kingdom impact they can make around the world music to MY ears!   I sincerely wish every Believer could have the opportunity to travel and experience the Kingdom of God that is alive and active in other cultures of the world. His Kingdom is alive and its King is greater and more powerful than any of us have ever imagined!

Sasha & Marija

Sasha & Marija

Millennium Cross

Millennium Cross

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greece and Germany

We ended our time in Macedonia by having a day of fun at an “Aqua Park” prior to traveling a long 5 ½ hours by vans across much of northern Greece in order to catch our flight out of Thessaloniki. We had the fun opportunity to spend a short night in Munich, Germany, before beginning the rest of our journey home.

Upcoming Travel

The fall months will take me back to Europe two more times. In mid-September, Chris Berry (of Betenbough Homes) and I will be traveling to Macedonia to lead a weekend on the topic of “Principles of Leadership” in the discipleship school there. We will then travel to Holland for a night of teaching/ministry, and then on to Belgium, where we will teach and minister on the topic of “Living by Faith.”

In mid-November, Rick Betenbough and I will be leading a weekend conference in Slovenia on the topic of Kingdom Business before traveling on to the Czech Republic to teach and minister and another one of the discipleship schools.

As always, Dana and I are incredibly blessed by your partnership and are privileged to represent you in the work of the Kingdom!

 

 

 

 

Summer 2015

 

July 4th & our Country

Happy 4th of July week!  However you choose to celebrate over the next few days, I hope that you stop and give thanks to the Lord for the great country in which we live.  While I do enjoy traveling abroad, it is always music to my ears to hear “Welcome back to the United States” from the Immigration/Passport officer upon my return from an international trip.

I certainly love fireworks and consider myself to be patriotic, but I’ll also admit that my patriotism has been shaken over the last couple of weeks.  Jack Taylor, the spiritual father of P.I., often says, “Everything that can be shaken will be shaken.  Anything that is not on the solid ground of the Kingdom will fall.”  Undoubtedly, there are many things shaking and falling in our country.  What will NEVER fall, however, is the Kingdom of Heaven, and the “secret” of which so many are unaware is that the Kingdom is available to us today!  Those of us who have been saved by Jesus Christ do not have to wait until we arrive at the gates of eternity to begin operating in the realm of God’s Kingdom.  Jesus proclaimed to the world upon the launch of His public ministry that the Kingdom was here, and it didn’t suddenly disappear when He ascended into Heaven!  He gave the keys to the Kingdom (and thus, the authority of God) to His disciples, and they and millions since have been able to use them to continue in the work of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.  This is our right as sons and daughters as well!

When it comes to our country and the political climate that we are currently experiencing, I am as big an advocate as anybody of utilizing our right to vote and fighting for what’s right.  Let’s keep that up, but we must never lose sight of the fact that without the Kingdom as our motivation and its power as our force, our fight is merely against flesh and blood.  With God’s Word as our ultimate authority, however, and the Kingdom as our foundation, we are to fight a realm that is beyond what we see in the natural – powers that are not mere flesh and blood!  Our world will continue to be shaken, there’s no doubt about that.   My hope and prayer for all of us is that we will be faithful to employ the power of the Kingdom in every area in which our influence lies.  There is great hope and power in the Lord Jesus!  It is never too late!  We have much work to do, though, to demonstrate that LOVE indeed did WIN… but not because of the Supreme Court’s ruling against Biblical marriage.  Love won on the Cross and in the Resurrection, and still wins every day against the powers of sin and darkness in the lives of those who accept His sacrifice, receive His love, and choose to follow Him.  May we be filled with assurance of His love, and confidently stand on the truth of His Word and the foundation of His Kingdom!

 

Brew Crew

In about 7 weeks, all three of our kids will be full-time students at Trinity Christian School (grades 8, 3, 1).  Dana & I have had many conversations through the years about what our lives will look like when the kids are in school every day.  Well… here we go!  The kids aren’t the only members of the Brew Crew who will be at TCS every day, however.  Dana is currently working part-time there, but when the fall semester begins, she will officially transition to the full-time Director of Admissions & Communications for TCS!  This opportunity is a blessing for our family, and for those who know Dana very well, it is a mutual blessing as she seems tailor-made for this exact role.

 

Prepare International

While it has been about 3 months since I last traveled for Prepare International, the travel pace is about to pick up!  I will have the chance to be a part of Homefront Church in Arlington, Texas, on Sunday, July 12.  This great church is pastored by long-time friends of ours, Keith & Jennifer Watson.

Dana & I then depart on July 29 for Macedonia, along with 17 people from Betenbough Homes.  We will be ministering to 12 Macedonian families at a marriage retreat in the beautiful mountains east of the capital city of Skopje.  We will also be spending a couple of days on a work project at the preschool in the Gypsy community of Skopje, of which you’ve likely heard me mention before.  We will aim to complete the fence project that the Trinity School team began in March.  Additionally, we will be leading a Sunday church service in Skopje, as well as enjoying a couple of days of sightseeing.  We will conclude our trip by spending one night in the ancient city of Thessaloniki, Greece!

I will only be home about 6 weeks before I depart again for Europe in mid-September, and then again in mid-November to teach and minister alongside Prepare International partners in several different countries.

For any of you men… I am already looking ahead for potential travel partners beginning in January 2016.  I would love to have you come along!  Let me know if you’re interested.

As always, thanks for standing alongside us in this!  You truly are are partners.  Enjoy your week and the holiday weekend ahead!

~Casey

 

 

 

 

Macedonia & Israel Update

I returned on Monday from 8 days spent in Macedonia, followed by 10 days spent in Israel. Needless to say, there was quite an emotional welcome home reception from my family!

Macedonia:

For the second year in a row, I had the opportunity to lead a team of students and adults from Trinity Christian School to Macedonia. As part of the Trinity’s “Missions Week,” 10 high school students chose Macedonia from approximately 8 other mission trip opportunities. While our time there was relatively short, we were able to accomplish quite a bit together while serving Sasha & Marija Vuletic and their family’s church-planting & discipleship ministry.  We helped lead the Sunday service for a church led by Sasha & Marija in Macedonia’s capital city of Skopje, and were also a central part of a Tuesday evening youth service for another congregation in the city. In both services, two of Trinity’s students publicly shared a testimony and teaching, and the whole group shared their 6-word cardboard testimony, which Marija Vuletic had already translated for us into Macedonian.

Group at Hostel

Group at Hostel

Group with gypsy kids

Group with gypsy kids

Our primary task while there was to serve the ministry of a preschool located inside Sutka, the Roma gypsy community of Macedonia, which happens to be the largest concentrated population of gypsies in the world.  We worked alongside two local concrete contractors for the better part of three days to transport over 140 wheelbarrows full of gravel and sand, and then mix and pour endless batches of concrete. This will serve as the high base of a tall fence that will help protect the preschool from continued vandalism. For those students who weren’t hauling and mixing concrete, there was plenty of trash to be gathered and local gypsy kids to love on! Even though we had delays due to rain and supply shortages, we were able to reflect upon the fact that the Lord used those delays to create several hours of uninterrupted play time with some of the gypsy kids who had remembered many of our team members from our time there last year. This proved to be a special time for our team, and left many of them with deep emotional connections to the kids there.

Pouring concrete

Pouring concrete

140 wheelbarrows of gravel!

140 wheelbarrows of gravel!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were hoping to end our time together on our last day by praying over Skopje from high atop the mountain that is host to the Millennium Cross (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Cross), however as you can see from the picture below, blizzard-like conditions prevented us from spending much time up there!

Blizzard!

Blizzard!

Millennium Cross

Millennium Cross

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A 4:30 am flight escorted us out of Skopje and to Vienna. From there the Trinity team continued toward Lubbock, and I boarded a flight to Tel Aviv, Israel…

Israel:

I joined up with Randy Boyd, Jack & Friede Taylor, and 8 of Prepare International’s top European leaders for 9 days of journey and discovery throughout Israel with the help of Messianic Jewish tour guides. Unfortunately, there is NO possible way to briefly summarize the experiences that I encountered in the time we had there. I am considering hosting an evening to share stories and pictures to try and convey some of the revelation that I had while there. If you’re interested in attending something like that, please let me know!

The 12 "touring disciples"

The 12 “touring disciples”

What I can do is share a couple of highlight moments. The first came when our group traveled to far northern Israel to the site of Caesarea Philippi, as referenced in Matthew 16:13-20. In those days, Caesarea Philippi was widely known as the epicenter of pagan worship, and included some unimaginable sexual rituals which included the use of goats. Many false gods were worshipped there, and the culture was obviously incredibly vile. Because of the evil nature of that place, Jewish men were forbidden to enter the gates of that city. However, as we discovered while we toured this ancient place, there is a place in the distance that provides a clear view of the gates (caves) of Hades, the king of the underworld, the god of death and the dead. It was in view of that cave upon that rock that Jesus and Peter had a history-altering exchange. We read in John 1:42, the moment the two of them meet for the first time, He said, “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas, which is translated ‘A stone.’” Jesus already called Peter a stone, and now on the outskirts of Caesarea Philippi, we have the exchange recorded in Matthew 16:18 – “…you are Peter (translated “a fragment of a rock”) and upon this rock, I will build My church, and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it.” Are you seeing the significance? Jesus was referring to Himself as the Rock, while looking at the rock foundation of the pagan worship capital of the world, and reminds Peter of his “smallness,” while also prophesying to him that he would become a central figure in the establishment of His church – His place of worship! Essentially, it was at this site that Jesus both declared war on the enemy AND simultaneously declared victory while also prophetically telling us that He will use seemingly insignificant humans to advance His victory! Wow. Just wow.

Caesarea Philippi

Caesarea Philippi

Gates of Hades

Gates of Hades

Another great experience was when we visited the site widely believed to hold the very tomb in which Jesus was laid. Much of the tomb is still completely intact and has been preserved throughout all of the attack and defeat that the city of Jerusalem has faced. “He is risen” says it all!

The empty tomb!

The empty tomb!

Other highlights include the three days we spent in and around the Sea of Galilee. It was here that Jesus made His home in Capernaum, near where He delivered the Sermon on the Mount, and this area served as the base for the majority of the miracles that He performed. I was overwhelmed at the thought that those same waters held boats in which Jesus often traveled, as well as the feet of Jesus when He walked upon them! It was a breath-taking moment as we rode on a boat across the sea, singing praise and worship together!

Capernaum

Capernaum

On the Sea of Galilee

On the Sea of Galilee

Mt of Beatitudes

Mt of Beatitudes

Sea of Galilee

Sea of Galilee

Our time spent in Tel Megiddo, Jerusalem, the Mt. of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane, En Gedi, Masada, the Jordan River, and the Dead Sea hold many great revelations as well, but I cannot even begin to convey them all. I sincerely hope to return to Israel (and take some of you!) to experience more of the history and the living presence of the risen Lord Jesus! This trip definitely falls into the category of a game-changer. Fear and finances aside, I firmly believe that every Christian believer should experience Israel first-hand. It provides such unexpected revelation and context to our faith. The physical battles that are raging around Israel are undoubtedly significant and will continue until that Final Day in which Jesus will return. I strongly want to encourage you to put Israel on your list of must-sees. There is more than meets the eye awaiting you!

En Gedi

En Gedi

Jesus' path from Caiaphas' house to the Garden and back once under arrest

Jesus’ path from Caiaphas’ house to the Garden and back once under arrest

Pools of Bethesda

Pools of Bethesda

Jerusalem Temple & Mt of Olives

Jerusalem Temple & Mt of Olives

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garden of Gethsemane

Garden of Gethsemane

I have to admit that I went to Israel, eagerly hoping to have some sort of radical encounter with the presence of the Lord at one of these ancient and holy sites.  It sure would make for a great story to tell!  While the touring was indeed memorable and life-changing, my “moment” didn’t arrive at one of the sites.  That particular moment surprised me during a time of worship at one of the Messianic Jewish congregations that we attended.  I simply sat down near the back of the room with a cup of coffee, and suddenly I felt the strong presence of the Holy Spirit coming upon me!  For the next 30 or 45 minutes I was overwhelmed at what He was speaking directly to me while the congregation was in worship.  I really felt like He was saying to me, “Stop looking so hard for Me in all of these places.  You don’t have to search that far because I am with you always.  I live inside of you!  You always have Me!”  That message, while simple, was exactly what I needed.  It is easy to forget how near He is to us.  Galatians 4 tells us that if we have received Him as Lord, He has already placed the Spirit of His Son inside of us!  He has promised that we will find Him if we seek Him with our whole heart, but the beauty of that is revealed in the fact that He is making His home in our hearts!  What a gentle, yet powerful reminder.  He is so good!

As always, thanks for standing with us and alongside us. We thank God for you!

~Casey

 

 

Jan 2015 Europe Report

I returned last week from my first trip of 2015 into Europe. Thanks to the massive snowstorm (that wasn’t) along the east coast, my arrival into Lubbock was delayed a day, but it made the coming home all that much sweeter!

Bratislava, Slovakia

I began this trip by spending a jam-packed 48 hours in Bratislava. For the second time in just a few short months, I was blessed with the opportunity to teach and minister in the discipleship training school there led by Marek Krajci, the part-time pediatric cardiologist and founder of Bratislava’s Christians in the City. The presence of the Lord was incredibly strong in our midst as approximately 80 students representing over 20 local church congregations were in attendance as we spent Friday night and most of Saturday on the topic of “Secret Life With Christ.” This course presents the need and call for elevated prayer and worship in our lives, and then targets the transformational tools of intercession and how to combat the enemy’s attack on our prayer life. In addition, we spent time learning and practicing the power of God’s word, as well as how to approach devotional and themed Bible study. Stirring in my spirit the entire weekend were the lyrics of a song by Jesus Culture entitled “Come Away.” in which the Father is singing over us,

Come away with Me, come away with Me. It’s never too late. It’s not too late. It’s not too late for you. I have a plan for you, I have a plan for you. It’s gonna be wild, it’s gonna be great, it’s gonna be full of Me. Open up your heart and let Me in.

I love the Father’s admonition here, assuring us that our pursuit of Him WILL BE wild, great, and full of Him! The corporate prayer, intercession, and personal ministry time throughout my time in Bratislava was immeasurable! God is doing a great work there!

On Sunday, I was given the opportunity to preach and minister in a local church in Bratislava. Throughout the days leading up to this particular Sunday, the Lord had been revealing some exciting things from Scripture to me about the essential ingredients to establishing a generational Kingdom legacy. The Holy Spirit helped me craft a message and then faithfully transferred this excitement in my heart through the translator and into the hearts of the people in that church!

Czech Republic

Following my Sunday in Bratislava, I was able to travel with friends of Prepare International from Slovakia to Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic, a city of approximately 100,000 people located in northern Czech. It is there that our friends, Lukas and Dita Targosz, live.  I was in Hradec Kralove for just over two days, spending relationship-building time with Lukas, the lead pastor of Element Church (http://www.element.cx/en_index.php), along with several key leaders in his church.

Hradec Kralove, Czech

Hradec Kralove, Czech

Following my time in Hradec Kralove, I traveled by train to Prague and spent a couple of days touring and sightseeing this historic and beautiful city (the site of the original Mission: Impossible movie… the famous bridge is captured in one of the pictures below). While there, I re-connected with a key European leader for Prepare International, a man by the name of Stanislav. He is the leader of the church-planting school in the Czech Republic, from which he has been directly responsible for almost 30 brand new church plants over the last 20 years! His father was the founder of the underground Pentecostal church movement in Czech during the communist years, and also spent some time in prison due to his relentless organization of Christians during those tense years. Needless to say, Stanislav carries the Kingdom legacy in his veins and is whole-heartedly committed to seeing many more churches planted in Czech! The work of Prepare International there is in direct connection to the church-planting school he leads, which was where I spent my second weekend on this trip teaching and ministering, using the topic of “Discipleship and Spiritual Fathering.” Through the work of a translator and the help of the Holy Spirit, I spent several hours in the city of Strakonice with approximately 30 eager and hungry students, representing a wide range of ages, focusing on this topic. This course presents the clear need for spiritual fathers & mothers to accept their calling and the importance of devoting one’s life to both being a disciple and discipling others. Perhaps the most important segment of this course is focused on Scripturally addressing the “orphan spirit,” a trait that a vast majority of people, including born-again Christians, exhibit in their lives. What a joyous event it is when people truly receive freedom from the truth in Galatians 4:6-7, “…God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’ Therefore, you are no longer a slave (or orphan), but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”

Charles Bridge, Prague

Charles Bridge, Prague

Church-planter, Stanislav

Church-planter, Stanislav

Mission: Impossible scene

Mission: Impossible scene

On Sunday of last weekend, I traveled to Jindrihuv Hradec, Czech to preach and minister in one of the church plants overseen by the aforementioned Stanislav. I was confidently prepared for a message that morning, but once the service began, it was clear that the Spirit was leading me in a different direction. With little time to prepare, I was “privileged” to stand before approximately 30 people and deliver a Kingdom-focused salvation message to many ears who had never heard this Good News before. I found myself using the pause for translation as my time to listen to the Spirit’s leading as to what I needed to say next! It was a humbling, yet exciting 30 minutes! At the conclusion of my message, the pastor invited the congregation to respond by receiving the work of Jesus. All in all, we prayed for 4-5 to receive Christ for the first time, for 3 or 4 others who needed a physical healing miracle, and for a couple more who simply wanted more of His Spirit. The pastor later excitedly told me that about half of the attendees that morning were either first-time guests, or had not been there in years. Considering it was a cold, snowy morning, he considered that a miracle in and of itself, and was looking forward to building upon what the Lord did that morning among us.

Jindrihuv Hradec church

Jindrihuv Hradec church

Preaching at JH church

Preaching at JH church

I departed Jindrihuv Hradec, and again spent my final night in Prague before the snow-filled trip home concluded.

Thank you to all of you who continue to pray with us and for us, and stand with us as partners in this great adventure. May the Lord bless each of you with an increased awareness of His presence this week!

– Casey

 

Upcoming travel schedule:

March 6-13: Trinity Christian School mission trip to Macedonia

March 13-22: Prepare International’s Pastors Connection trip to Israel

 

 

Nov 2014 Europe Report

I returned on Monday night from my recent trip to Europe. While none of the cities I visited were new places for me, quite a bit of the material that I was teaching was new to me. It was the heaviest teaching & ministry load that I have experienced in my time with Prepare International, but it was also a beautiful demonstration by that Father showing Himself strong on my behalf!

Belgium

I began my time in the Flemish Region of northern Belgium in the city of Ghent. My assignment there was twofold: 1) Teach and minister on the topic of “Principles of Leadership,” and 2) Facilitate the graduation ceremony of 6 students from the 3-year P.I. Training School.   These students have completed the necessary requirements and were “commissioned” as Kingdom leaders in their city! Two of the graduates, a husband-wife team, will be joining the current leadership team of the Ghent school (Robin Dhave and his wife, Kathlien) to form a new P.I. school, beginning in September of 2015. Belgium, perhaps more so than any other country I’ve visited in Europe, is desperate for passionate, educated leaders who can take a stand in their nation to see the Gospel taught and true disciples made.

On Sunday of my first weekend, I had the privilege of preaching and ministering in a church in Sint-Truiden, a city in the Limburg Region of Belgium. This church is led by Conley & Madelaine Annandale, who also lead a P.I. Training School in the Limburg Region. The Lord has been revealing a lot to me regarding the power of His presence in and around my life. I strongly felt His leading to preach in the church on that very topic – His presence. I desperately want to be like King David, a man who passionately “stewarded” the presence of God in such a way that miracles and the Kingdom was advanced, so that became a focal point in my message. I was thankful that He indeed showed Himself strong in our midst, and many came forward to receive ministry and prayer. Conley & Madelaine, in addition to leading the Limburg school and pastoring a church, are about to launch a brand new school in Sint-Truiden in January of 2015, with plans to launch another school in a border city in January of 2016. By the time that one begins, there will be a total of 5 discipleship and training schools in Belgium!

The Netherlands

I traveled by train on Monday to Utrecht province of Holland, to the town of Bunschoten, where Volkert & Karoline Muijs (pronounced “mouse”) live with their family. As I have written before, Volkert owns a successful business and his wife is a corporate business consultant. Together they are a passionate Kingdom couple with vision to see the Kingdom overtake The Netherlands! Volkert currently leads two separate training schools in Holland, one in the town of Lisse, and one near his hometown, in the city of Amersfoort. I was tasked with teaching on “Making Disciples and Spiritual Fathering” in the Lisse school on Monday night, and “Holy Spirit and Gifts” on Tuesday night in the Amersfoort school. The content of the discipleship teaching was more inspirational in nature, calling for men and women to rise up and take their place as spiritual fathers and mothers in their city. By simply acknowledging the promises of salvation, each person has a story to tell, and thus, has the ability to begin discipling others! It was an exciting time together! In the Holy Spirit course, the sessions I taught were focused on explaining two of the types of gifts, the “motivational gifts” (those that excite us and come natural to us), and the “ministry gifts” (those that are given by God for serving the Body of Christ), as described by Paul in Ephesians 4 and 1 Corinthians 12. These two sessions, combined with the third session on “manifestation gifts” (those that come as a result of the work of the Holy Spirit’s power), provide a clear and thorough explanation of how God has chosen to use His children to advance the Gospel. To see the “lights” of understanding come on in the lives of the students, as well as the release of the Holy Spirit begin to emerge makes the travel and jet lag all worth it!

Macedonia

Following my time in Holland, I traveled to Southern Europe to the nation of Macedonia, where I spent three days alongside our partners Sasha & Maria Vuletic, planning and preparing for the two teams I will be leading there in 2015. We traveled MANY miles together across Macedonia and Greece in those three days! I am excited to share with you in a future post about the plans we have for these teams!

I wrapped up my time in Macedonia ministering in the Skopje school, led by Sasha & Maria, on the topic of “New Testament Themes.” As I was teaching, I could sense the power of the Holy Spirit in a tangible way as I taught on the Biblical truths of Justification, Adoption, Sanctification, and the New Covenant. In a nation so hungry for spiritual truth, it is overwhelming to witness the Father bring healing and freedom to His children! I sincerely wish ALL of you could witness the power of these times together!

Back to Belgium

I spent my final night back in Belgium before returning to Lubbock.   Peter Parthoens and his wife, Laura, live just outside of Brussels and have been a part of the leadership of the Ghent school for 7 years. Beginning later in 2015, they will be a part of leading a brand new discipleship school launched in the EU capital city of Brussels! We spent several hours together praying, dreaming, and discussing the new school and its enormous potential! God is indeed doing great things in Belgium, the target of years and years of specific prayer for revival. It is coming!

Thank you

Dana & I are so thankful for you and your partnership with us. We simply could not do this without you. As the Scripture clearly shows us, the Heavenly rewards are equal for the “goers” and the “senders.” Thank you for making a decision to join us as we seek to fulfill the Great Commission and continually say YES to His calling! May you have a blessed Thanksgiving!

 

Casey & Sasha

Casey & Sasha

Casey & Volkert

Casey & Volkert

Ghent graduates

Ghent graduates

Lisse school

Lisse school

Macedonia

Macedonia

Peter Parthoens & Laura

Peter Parthoens & Laura

Vuletic Family

Vuletic Family

Casey & Robin

Casey & Robin