I couldn’t believe I was standing in the Central Square in Warsaw, Poland, playing a guitar, singing, and preaching … all while being taped for national television. But before we go any further, let me share with you what has been going on since our last Journal.
One of the two major Pentecostal Movements held their annual day-long meeting in Stuttgart. I was privileged to be the speaker for both of their services on the theme of “The Kingdom of God”—its present mutual relationships and its future fullness of manifestation. God was very present in the meetings. Such warm-hearted people! I was also privileged to preach in several cities for the rest of the week.
I then attended a Missions Conference in Berlin. The emphasis was to reach the unreached people groups of the world and more specifically Eurasia, though not limited to it. The need to coordinate and network with other local churches and ministries was discussed. How creative the Holy Spirit is! Examples were given as to what happens when a church prays in earnest for a particular people group and the subsequent results.
The Lord continues to provide open doors of ministry to the Muslim world. The local Arab Church, pastored by a former Continental Theological Seminary student, is laboring in a very difficult field. Preaching to a packed audience at the annual Christmas banquet and children’s presentation was challenging and rewarding. Oh, and the “couscous” (Arab food) was delicious! Next week I am scheduled to preach in their newly purchased building (and enjoy some more of their Arab delicacies).
Do keep this ministry in prayer. The opposition from families, wives, husbands, and community is strong. The cost of discipleship is high for many of these precious folks. The pastor (an Egyptian) and his wife (German) are laboring faithfully and effectively. Many of the Western means of evangelism and “church growth” just would not work in this culture.
Besides the Arabs, we had the joy of preaching on a couple of occasions to the growing Spanish Church. Many of the leaders, including the present pastor (a Spirit-filled sister), came from Peru on an assignment to start a Spanish Church in the heart of Brussels. It is happening… The Lord was very present in ministering life, bringing conviction to salvation, and restoring lives. To Him be all the glory!
This past quarter, I taught an adult Sunday School class at Christian Center. The subject of the Parables is always fascinating, challenging, provocative, controversial, and practical. This was no exception. There is almost always a time of adjustment in teaching/preaching in English alone, since I am usually being interpreted.
I also had the privilege of speaking at Continental Theological Seminary. What responsive students!
Lisbon became the focal point of the Missions Convention sponsored by the main downtown church and the surrounding sister churches. The Lord was present to save, deliver, call, fill with the Spirit, and renew His call upon lives. Furthermore, many Faith Promise commitments were made. In one congregation, the commitment was over 100% of the previous year. To God be the glory!
Continue to pray for this country which is going through Church divisions and disunity. C.S. Lewis said the devil’s greatest weapon is to make ineffectual the Church’s message and ministry. I can agree.
The purpose of the European Pentecostal Theological Association (EPTA) is to unite in prayer, resources, information, and teaching of the Pentecostal distinctives throughout Europe. Over 30 schools are represented in the loosely-knit organization along with many individual members. For several days EPTA met in the Bible School in Warsaw, Poland, for discussion, prayer, worship, and fellowship. Several papers were presented dealing with distinct aspects of Pentecostalism. I am a member of the East European Committee within EPTA.
A short tour of the city of Warsaw was planned following the Conference. This is where it happened… I walked up to a group of people who were being videotaped. I had no idea what was happening. One man approached me and asked if I could play the guitar. Well, I did not lie, if playing the chords of G, D, and C is “playing the guitar”. I saw this as an opportunity. I sang three verses of Amazing Grace and preached for nearly five minutes as I was being taped for broadcast on the national television station.
The Hope for Poland is in Christ! The “Word in season and out of season” was so appropriate here. The Spirit was present, as well as the “Amen Corner” of missionaries and educators. “Give the winds a mighty voice … Jesus SAVES”!
Leaving Poland, I immediately went to Prague to begin a week of teaching at the Bible School in Kolin, the headquarters of the Pentecostal Movement in the Czech Republic. What eager students, ready to learn, grow, and follow. Knowing you have fertile ground on which to dig, plant, and water is an awesome responsibility and privilege. To reflect on God’s warning and encouragement to build His Church with gold, silver, and precious stones rather than wood, hay, and stubble is both fearful and assuring.
Pray for this country and for Slovakia. The two were once called Czechoslovakia. Because of the ethnic and political tension stirred by politicians (not the people), the churches in both countries are faced with new challenges to the unity and cooperation they demonstrated before the political split.
Due to the illness of my 92 year-old mother (she will be 93 this month), I returned to the States for a short visit. Even in her weakened condition it was a joy to see her still worshipping the Lord, reading the Word, and praying. She is more “there” than “here”. God will release her in His good time. I can see He still has a purpose for her delayed Homecoming. The Lord helped us beyond expectations relating to her care and to assistance for my sister. Do keep them in prayer. Both Carmen and I plan to attend the funeral. It may be soon.
Also, to see and fellowship with many at our District Council was a delight. I felt the spiritual tenor of the meetings was high, the message by our Superintendent on the Holy Spirit was a good, challenging word, and the messages and ministry of Bernard Johnson were used of God. I wish I could have visited with many more of you at the Council, our friends and fellow-laborers in the Kingdom. Maybe next time… I miss you, Brethren!
As the Lord leads and provides, plans for the future include a return to summer ministry in the Ukraine training pastors, leaders, and students at the newly formed Bible School. India and Bangladesh are scheduled for several weeks in the fall with ministry at a district council and several Bible schools. In the Czech Republic, we will again train future leaders in the Bible School. November is scheduled for a regional two-day pastors convention on the theme of the challenges, fullness, and joy of the Kingdom. (Please PRAY!) Also in November, we have tentative plans to go to Greece and possibly Albania for teaching and training.
Do we need prayer? Do we desire prayer? YES! It is not a cliché nor simply the right thing to say, “Pray for us”. Ministry means serving under sometimes physically adverse circumstances and always under severe spiritual adverse resistance. Your earnest and persistent prayers are needed!
Also, your faithfulness in giving provides the financial means to travel extensively in these countries. Your partnership with us is deeply appreciated! We continue to need your faithful support as God supplies and directs. He is faithful! You have been also!
Reuben II, who has been with us this year, is planning to attend the Catholic University of Leuven (an English-speaking university near Brussels) in the fall for his Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. He has been serving the church as a Royal Rangers leader and youth leader. Paul graduated from college last May and is working until he begins his master’s program. Pray for him as he makes this transition.
Nathan will be “leaving the nest” to go to Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. God granted “special miracles” in terms of acceptance and scholarships! Do pray for him as he enters this new phase in life apart from family and friends. Stephen will be in the 11th grade and is involved in church activities. Also, Reuben, Nathan, and Stephen were able to attend the MK (Missionary Kids) Retreat for the youth of Western Europe. Reuben was one of its leaders. “Awesome” and “dynamic” were some of the words used to describe the event.
We thank the Lord for Carmen’s faithfulness and devotion to the Lord and to us. She carries a heavy responsibility and schedule for the family and ministry. She writes:
Before breaking for the summer months, the Spanish Bible Study that meets in our home was going over some of the Christian principles that should govern our family relationships. What a joy to observe these women desire to know and be governed by God’s Word. Thank you for your prayers. God continues to faithfully bring revelation to those who seek Him.
Do continue to pray for her!
Personal Observations and Conclusions
Diversion. Disunity. Distraction. Differences. Destruction. Deceit. Discouragement. Doubt. Dryness. All of these words and more come to me in relation to ministry. Many of you can relate! Having pastored 14 years in one city and 1 year in another, I sense some of the same frustrations, fractures, and feelings associated with ministry.
However, though the Enemy of our soul and ministry “desires to sift us as wheat”, we have a great Intercessor, the High Priest and Advocate persuasively and passionately with outstretched hands to the Father presenting the cause of the Kingdom through us. I also hear other words in my spirit like delight, defense, dominion, drink, dig, dwell, depth, dedicate, Dayspring, and deliverance.
I DELIGHT in you, says the Lord … “I rejoice over you with singing”. I am your DEFENSE and high Tower. Do not be afraid. I have DOMINION over demons who would seek to kill, steal, and destroy you, your marriage, family, church, ministry, and, in some cases, your physical lives. Even at this moment as I write, I sense there are several of you who are despairing of even life itself and others ready to “throw in the towel” in your marriage and ministry. DRINK and DIG from the “wells of Salvation” with faith and the help and partnership of a trusted brother or sister. The Lord desires DEPTH in our lives and ministry (who we are) more than breadth of life and ministry (what we do). Know that the DAYSPRING is providing light and help. We are to DEDICATE ourselves to DWELL in the “secret places of the stairs” and in the “Tabernacle of the most High” and “wait and see the Salvation of the Lord”.
Know that you are loved, appreciated, and prayed for continuously. You are in our hearts with thanksgiving.
We covet your prayers and your friendship. Do keep in touch! We enjoy reading your letters.
Fellow-laborers and friends,
Reuben & Carmen Sequeira
Psalm 20:1-5; Eph. 6:19