Well we had some good news recently. Kim’s most recent scan showed that her treatment is working as the doctors had hoped and the cancer has not grown at all in the last six months. This is the best expected outcome of the therapy although our confession is still that the cancer will die and leave her body a ‘cancer free zone’. In herself she is doing a lot better and her energy levels are improving enabling her to take on many of her usual roles once more. We even managed to get away for a few days holiday in the sun despite some of the huge quotes we received for travel insurance at several thousand of pounds for a week! Finally found one company who would cover Kim for under a couple of hundred.
I was able to make a trip to Kiev in the Ukraine with two friends, Slava and Dave, to speak at a small leaders’ conference. It was great to spend time with this hungry group of leaders and their families. The conference centre was about two hours outside of Kiev in the Ukrainian countryside. Once we left the main roads some of the pot holes were enormous and some roads were more pot holes than roads. They have a saying in the Ukraine that when the snow melts the roads do as well which seemed very true. The little Ukrainian car we were traveling in was about the size of a Ford Fiesta and was packed solid with five adults and two children plus all our luggage and a guitar. Not surprisingly this lead to an interesting journey on these roads although I did manage to sleep for much of it which was a blessing in so many ways.
At the conference Slava ministered on prayer, Dave spoke on small groups and fatherhood as a model for ministry. I had been asked to speak on different ministry styles, what is evangelism and developing a strategy for evangelism. It was amazing how these diverse subjects gelled together and brought a unified whole. The conference finished with a time of prophecy and ministry to the leaders and there wives.
Afterwards the pastor’s wife commented on how it was such a blessing to see different ministry gifts functioning together in unity and so equipping those attending through word and deed. Of course, this is what Ephesians 4 tells us the ministries are there for!There was also time to relax with and share with the guys on a more social level as we went for a Ukrainian sauna together. Returning to Kiev on Saturday afternoon there were just five of us in the car so it was a far more comfortable journey. That evening we were taken to a traditional Ukrainian buffet which was great. I dined on Chicken Kiev in Kiev, the best I have ever tasted. Sunday was a very busy day. In the morning, we ministered in the network’s main church in Kiev. Slava preached and we all ministered to people who responded to words of knowledge. Legs grew, a lady no longer needed her walking stick and left the meeting with it tucked under her arm. Many testified to God’s healing touch. We had a short break for a drink and cake then we were back on the road out into the countryside to a village church plant about two hours outside of Kiev.
The moment we arrived I could tell this was something special. Although it appeared quite traditional with all the ladies wearing head scarves there was a hunger for more of God in this village despite persecution from the Orthodox church and priest. After a short time of worship during which we all really sensed the presence of God, Slava and Dave shared testimony and brought words of encouragement. I then preached on lifting up your eyes to see where God is working and doing whatever He commands you to do. As I finished I sensed God was already at work and asked if anyone had experienced healing during the word. A number testified that they had and almost everyone else wanted a touch from God. In such a small room with so many responding the only way to get to everyone was to set up a prayer tunnel at the door with everyone passing through it as they went into another room. Wow! God moved greatly as more people were healed, filled with the Spirit and set free from oppression. As we were closing the formal part of the meeting three people gave their lives to Jesus. One told us, ‘it’s my first time here but I just love being in this atmosphere. I want what you have’. The meeting carried on for another hour informally with people excitedly sharing what God had done for them while others encouraged by their testimonies sought to be ministered to.
The evening finished with a wonderful meal in a house close by with all local produce on the table. What a privilege it was to minister there. I’m expecting great things to continue in this village. Please pray for them. Since returning home we have had many testimonies of all that God did during this trip. One young man who had tried to hang himself just a few days before we ministered in his village got saved after the meeting and it’s been reported to us that he has been transformed and now has hope for his future and has become very positive in his outlook on life. Praise God!
Together with evangelists from around Europe
I was invited to attend an event for evangelists from all over Europe that was held in Zagreb Croatia. It was great to spend a few days with men and women of a similar heart and spirit and hear of all that God is doing throughout Europe. As we shared with one another it was soon clear that God is working in Europe and raising up ministers to go into the ripe fields across all this continent. I even met another evangelist who had a tent with seating capacity for two thousand people who is seeking to reach the nations of Europe. I also met an old friend Juan who fifteen years ago moved from Germany back to his own nation of Spain to plant a church. In that time it has grown from four people to two thousand five hundred and is still growing, praise God! Father is still committed to doing great things for those who will lift up their eyes and see where He is working.
Fifth Mission School in Bulgaria
It was my pleasure to travel to Bulgaria at the beginning of April to minister at our fifth mission school in corporation with “A Time For Harvest” run by Sofi Pranczk, a Bulgarian evangelist. This year we had students from Belarus, Estonia as well as Bulgaria and drew on evangelists from throughout Europe to teach in the school. It was great to spend time with these believers both young and older who where truly hungry to learn how to minister and lead people into a relationship with Christ. The school has both theory and practical elements to it. The week I was there I taught them in the classroom from 9am – 1pm three sessions each morning and in the afternoons and evenings they went out into the community to put into practice the things they were learning. This ranged from on the street witnessing to visiting in an old folks home to visiting a children’s home as well as ministering in churches. The course finishes with a mission event which this year was a tent festival in Bulgaria. Previous students are now pastoring churches, heading up evangelistic efforts in their home churches and actively involved in evangelism in their nations.
While in Bulgaria I took the opportunity to travel each afternoon to meet with pastors that I’ve had regular input into over the last few years and minister in their churches. Most days this meant a four hour round trip returning to the school in Sofia between twelve midnight and one in the morning. It was wonderful to spend time with them and hear all that God has been doing in them and through them. This winter has been partially difficult as it was the worst winter weather for sixteen years with temperatures -20c and below. This always puts a strain on the resources of the very poor with heating costs going up steeply leaving less for food etc. The mixture of poor nutrition and extreme cold also leads to health problems so it’s a double whammy. Yet with all this going on their faith stands strong.
Another challenge for this nation is the mass exodus of those under forty years of age to other European nations looking for a better life. When I first went to Bulgaria it had a population of about nine point five million people. Now that stands somewhere around six point five million and is still dropping. This can have devastating effects on some communities as villages are left with only old people in them and some communities are now mostly made up of women and children as many men work abroad only returning for a few weeks a year. Please pray for this nation.
I would like to thank you for taking the time to read this news update and everyone for your support in so many ways and ask that you continue to pray for us and all the situations that we are involved with. May God bless you in all that you do.