My mind is flooded with mixed emotions at this time—from elation to sadness … rapturous joy to painful solemnity! You see, waiting in the lounge on my flight out of Sofia, Bulgaria back to Belgium, I experienced and witnessed the presence of God in many lives. Also, while we were here for 9 days teaching and preaching, war with all its frightening and devastating power was unleashed to a nation controlled by a belligerently crazed man drunk with power, blind with deception, and driven by delusions of immortality.
Even in this, I am somewhat impressed with the thought that this all has to do with “end times”—the nation of Israel, and the beginning of the end; i.e. the rising of the AntiChrist, the one world government (linked with the world-wide explosion of the “New Age Movement”), and the shaking loose of the kingdoms of men and the shaking loose of the stones to prepare the release of the eternal Stone cut out without hands! So much for my ramblings on world events … I’m still not sure about the timetable in my prophetic time charts!
Pentecostal pastors and leaders from 82 of the 86 national churches were represented in a week of teaching on a variety of subjects chosen by the leader of the national movement. Our team rotated the teaching and preaching both in the day classes and the preaching services. The days were full—from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Needless to say, we were all tired but exuberant as we saw God use the teaching to strengthen and teach the brethren, and the preaching to bring men and women to encounter the living Christ. Many were saved and filled with the Spirit, and several were healed. We “had church” as southerners would say. Most evenings were jammed with people—no aisles, just wall-to-wall people!
I flew to the opposite side of the country where we preached both services on Sunday. The place was packed, literally! Many stood for hours hearing the Word and responding to the Spirit. Again, God confirmed His Word with manifested power to save, heal, deliver, and fill with His Spirit. What simplicity and effervescence of faith, and hunger for God and His Word! Challenging! Infectious!
ICI materials are being translated, developed, and printed to help these wonderful people. I arrived home January 21st tired but rejoicing in God’s goodness and manifested presence. The wonderful counry of Bulgaria has now taken up residence in my heart!
After Christmas I visited our Director at the Elim ICI office in England. Our whole family spent a few days in England, thanks in part to a house provided for us. We brought Paul, our second son, to the airport for his return to Westmont College.
November was another special time of ministry. The whole of the national Pentecostal movement (about 2,000 believers), several Pentecostals not officially associated with the national movement, and some non-Pentecostal pastors and leaders were present for a Spiritual Leadership School of nearly 20 hours of teaching. They had asked me to teach on subjects dealing with practical pastoral theology.
They were surprised by my transparency about some of the topics. I myself was shocked. God used it, however, to open them up and share their hearts! I was deeply touched by these gracious people—a little reserved in their expression, but a deep and loving people. I preached in the evenings, and our time there climaxed with a Sunday service. The Lord was present to confirm His Word. We give Him all the glory! Again, my crowded heart was filled with warm people from a cold country.
God visited this Body of precious believers for several days with preaching and teaching from the Word of God. The newly appointed pastor has a heart for God and a desire to see God revealed in and through the Church. What hospitality, openness, and responsiveness.
I received a letter from the pastor which says in part:
“The experience of your time with our congregation still lingers on with us and the congregation. The members of the Church picked up your lessons and it produced results. The last prayer meeting was attended by 31 members; we feel the trembling of a new wave of the Holy Spirit. … We have, upon your good advice, invested much time in leaders and in sharing our vision with them. … We also started listening to the tapes of your lessons and we are working through them. There are many subjects in the lessons for preaching and further study …”
I also had the joy of preaching at the Bible School of Holland. God was present! This occasion was rare—Carmen was able to go along! We spent the rest of the day with its president, who opened his heart and his home to us. What blessedness! I don’t know who is benefiting more from these God-directed encounters!
Project 91 was given as a vision from the Lord to reach the 430,000 homes of Brussels with the Gospel. The leaders made a decision to use ICI’s Great Questions of Life as their Gospel tract. For nearly a year now, plans have been made to reach every level of society: children, youth, homeless, street people, churches, etc. Teams will be coming from Europe and America to help with this endeavor. (Any volunteers?) I have been involved in the prayer and intercession group that meets regularly and spoke at their city-wide prayer service.
We close with these words from the Scripture. “Arise, shine; for thy Light has come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee … life up thine eyes around about, and see …” (Isaiah 60:1-4).
You continue to bless us with your prayers, support, letters, phone calls, and your love!! We are deeply grateful and humbled by your trust in us, your servants for Jesus’ sake. Thank you!