Just this past Saturday my apartment (Carina, Gesine, and I) finally had a morning together, the first in about a month, where we could talk and spend a few hours together. In the midst of preparing breakfast with Carina God asked me to ask him if there was anyone he wanted us to invite over to join us for breakfast. I relayed this to Carina and without hesitation both of us asked God as we continued to cook. Carina got the name of a friend of ours, Nicole, who has been sick for about two years now. We called her up and she said, “Oh this is too funny. just a few moments ago I told God that he can plan my day for me. So then I will be over n a few moments.” Though the three of us were really looking forward to some apartment time with each other we realized that if God asked this of us then it was for a good reason. As the food was ready Nicole arrived. Warm greetings spread through the room and instantly I could tell that this breakfast was just for her. She instantly told us with shocking joy, “I tell you why this is so funny. Since I have been sick I ave been secluded from people. most of the time I just did not want to be around people because I did not have the energy for them. But just last week I prayed, well actually it wasn’t even a prayer, it was more of a thought I had ‘It would be nice to be around people again’. Every day since someone has come over to visit me, or I would run into someone on the street who told me God told them to visit me. Then some friends of mine who I haven’t even spoke with in a while contacted me and we hung out. Everyday I spent time with someone. Then, as if that was not enough, one friend came over yesterday and had coffee with me and felt like God told her to pray for my appetite. For about a month I have not had an appetite. After she prayed form me I began wanting to eat. So it’s funny to me that you invited me over for breakfast.” The three of us girls look at each other with big grins and then I tell her about God speaking to us to invite her over. “I love how God romances me. It’s nice.” she responded.
Nicole used to be very active with YWAM here in Herrnhut, but since she got sick she had stop because she no longer had the physical strength. I do not see her to often, but once in a while I see her come to the evening worship sessions at the local church. It was fulfilling to see the joy this breakfast brought to Nicole.
Nicole is on the left.
“Hi sweetie!” Sandra greets me with a big grin.
The first time I saw her was this past July in the Jesus Haus (the local church I attend). I was dancing in worship at the 100 hours of continuous prayer and worship when I saw through the corner of my eyes a woman watching me. Her gaze never left me, even when she used her walker and left for a few minutes, she came back sat down and continued watching. As I danced, I remember saying to God, “I wonder what her story is God. She seems like a sweet lady.”
During the next two weeks I kept seeing her at the evening worship times at the Jesus Haus, but it wasn’t until I started going to Shabbat (weekly Friday community dinner at the church) that I began talking with her. Sandra is a sweet and loving lady from Berlin. She sat across the table from me and started the conversation, in German. At this point my German was very poor, but nonetheless I tried my best to engage in the conversation. After a few minutes I was relieved to hear her speak some english. I laughed because then we started speaking half german and half english to each other. This was the begging of a beautiful relationship.
For the past three months I have been spending several hours a week with Sandra. One evening we were sitting on the steps outside the the church in courtyard and watching the sun set. Neither of us said much. We just sat there and enjoyed the company of each other. Then Sandra began to tell me, with tears in her eyes, “Sometimes it is really hard for me to sing songs about healing…. I know God heals and he is able. I know he loves me…. I just don’t understand why I am not healed after all the prayers for healing…” She continued to explain to me that she is thirty- two years old and has MS. All I could do was hold her and allow her to cry in my arms. She apologized for crying only for me to tell her, “There is nothing wrong with crying. You do not need to apologize for that.” Then we just continued to sit there for a while longer.
Sandra does not open up much, but recently she has been telling me about her family and we have began to pray together. Sandra always greets me with a hug, and if I am gone for a few days she lets me know how much she missed me. To this day we still sit beside each other at Shabbat and go on walks.
I love Sandra.
An invitation was extended to our team to enter the Parliament of Finland, to pray for a few politicians. On Wednesday, May 29th we were welcomed into the Parliament where we were taken into the meeting room of one of the 200 politicians there. This gentleman, who is part of the Christian Democratic Party containing six members, set aside an hour to be with us. When we walked into the meeting room, we were welcomed to coffee, grapes, and donuts (apparently it is very Finnish to have grapes with your coffee). The first ten minutes the gentleman spoke briefly about his life growing up and the role of the Christian Democratic Party. The next forty-five minutes were open to us interviewing him regarding any topic. The questions ranged from his beliefs, challenges he faces, how he involves God in decision making, to the overall vision for Finland.
Having the forty-five minutes to interview him, and his honest answers in return, changed my heart towards my own politicians. It sparked more interest in me to actually pray for my politicians and support them more. Right before our time ended our group of twenty-three gathered around the politician and his secretaries for prayer. As we prayed for them God showed us how much he is working through this group and how he is proud of their faithfulness and dedication. Our day inside Parliament ended with a lovely tour.
There we were, our team broke into small groups of three, praying together as we walked down the streets of Helskini. Two German girls and I were in the red-light district (where most of the brothels are) for two and a half hours. As we began the evening of prayer we passed a particular bar where there was a woman standing outside smoking a cigarette. The further we walked away the more I got this impression, or feeling, to go to her and pray for her. I told the two Germans and we made our way back, circling the block. By the time we returned the lady was gone, but one of the Germans thought we should go inside and see if she worked there. So in we went.
Two people were sitting at the bar, there was a different lady working behind the counter, and us. Without seeing the lady we Continue reading
First, here is some background information:
Last year while I was a student in the prayer school, the same one I now staff, two German girls and I decided that we would like to live together in the future, and so we began to pray for an apartment. The one thing I asked God particularly for was a square kitchen (because in this town the kitchens are typically small rectangles where only one person at a time has room to move in) with a beautiful kitchen window view. After eight months of talking and praying an apartment opened up. Carina, one of the German girls, was the only one who saw the apartment in January. She sent me and Gesine, the other German girl, an email describing the apartment and some of the house keeping details. The renters at the time were moving out April 1st and needed to find people to take it by the end of January. While they were looking for people we were the third in line to look at the place. The first two people decided not to take it because they felt like God told them not to. Then Carina saw the apartment and immediately felt like God said, “This place is for you.” Filled with joy she wrote us the email I mentioned earlier. As I read her email I felt peace about the apartment and prayed for God’s will to be done, if something else would come up. I was still in America at the time and was totally trusting God. I mean, who moves into an apartment without first checking it out?
Two weeks before we moved Continue reading
Sweden ruled her for 600 years, and Russia for 100 years, it was not until 1917 that Finland received its independence from Russia. This is one of the many things we have learned about Finland since arriving on May 9th. In our first week of being here we had lectures on intercessory prayer throughout the city. Our guest speaker took us to different key locations around Helsinki (the Lutheran Cathedral, the Fortress of Suomenlinna, a path in the woods, etc.) for lectures, which were also followed by prayer for the city/Finland.
The students were encouraged, and challenged, as our speaker told some of his stories on how God has used him in the past 35 years through consistent prayer, faithfulness, and just loving Him back. Meanwhile, I had a small group meeting with some of the girls in the school. Each staff member has a small group of four different girls from the school. During this small group time the girls and I talked about what they have learned so far, what God is teaching them, the many questions they have, and the challenges they are faced with. It was exciting for me because I was able to accurately answer some of the questions, give them a ‘homework’ assignment, pray with them, encourage them, and began looking into a mini bible-study we can do as a group of five. The girls are from Belgium, Germany, Canada, and America (me). This diversity brings a good mix of understanding and thinking to the group.
During the first week of April, Katie and I (a girl I work with) traveled to Bulgaria for a week long missions trip. The trips focus was to encourage, pray for, and help in practical ways a team of long term missionaries who are there. On the first day we cleaned the grounds of the facility and also spring cleaned the inside of the building. This was a good way to get to know the team members and hear their heart for Bulgaria.
On the second day we went to a nearby gypsy village and played with the kids. (Gypsies are the outcasts of Europe, like how the lepers are outcasts of India. Society wants nothing to do with them.) After playing all day and loving on the kids, we went to the Christian church in their village. There were more than 200 people there (not including the children)! After the intense worship service followed by the message, the pastor asked our team go up front and pray for anyone who wanted prayer. So here there we were