Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Operation Bucharest -- I Feel The Rain

I need to digress somewhat with this post because I have come to understand that many more folks than our local church in Dothan are keeping up with this mission trip. Therefore I will take the next few lines to address an issue that has come up since you have been reading this blog.

I would not have you ignorant brethren concerning. . . . . whiskey. You may have noticed in some of the previous posts that I have (jokingly. . . at least I hope that is the way you are taking it) a few references to “whiskey” and the “whiskey wagon.” This attempt at dark humor is something that I picked up from the hospital. Several years ago, I worked with a physician who walked into a procedure one day prior to us beginning and spoke to the patient about getting started with his case very shortly. The patient then asked the doctor what kind of medicine that I was going to use to put him to sleep. The physician replied, “Well, Philip is going to give you a little whiskey in your IV.” The patient thought this to be quite funny.

Over the years as we ran across patients who were extremely anxious, in trying to defray some of their anxiety we would use this line. With as straight a face as possible, when they asked what we were going to use to put them to sleep we would tell them ”whiskey.”

So that has become a byline of sorts for me especially when people would ask what I recommended for them to take for pain. Prior to the missions trip, my brother told me that maybe one of the physicians that I knew might give me a little “help” for the plane trip. However, I told Mark that I would just take the whiskey on the plane.

Just so you would understand this bit of lightheartedness before I get on with the real point of what we are trying to do.

Sunday morning came way, way too early. In fact, I have discovered along with most of the rest of our bunch that this missions trip has been a marathon. We have literally packed 36 hours into 24 hour days. Our patience and kindness is ebbing but we are doing our best to make the best of the situation. Besides the lack of sleep, all of our singles have had to sleep in dorms without air conditioning. This has obviously been demanding on them also. We had a good rain the cooled things off a bit on Thursday but the rest of the week sent the mercury again back into the upper levels of the 80-90’s.

On Sunday morning, the place was pretty well packed out because the pastor of the local Assembly of God church dismissed his congregation and encouraged them to come to the missions conference. Obviously many of them came on Sunday morning because the building was with very few empty seats.

Prior to the preaching, Brother Rodenbush conducted an ordination service for two men. Brother Steve Teir (UPCI missionary) and Brother Edward Buschkoff (a Russian pastor) were both challenged by Brother Rodenbush’s remarks but were also read that charge from 2 Timothy 4:1-4 about the real emphasis of what reaching the lost is all about. The Gospel must be preached with clarity and with purpose. Brother Rodenbush also spent some time encouraging each of these men to become servants who followed through on the mission that God had called them to do.

Brother Salvatori Archidiacano, the General Superintendent of the UPCI in Italy, preached again. He preached on the importance of the harvest and injected some elements of doctrine into his preaching that would hopefully encourage the visitors to go and find out for themselves.

After the daytime service ended we all ran to the bus and loaded up again with the missionaries from Europe to go to eat at the food court in the very upscale mall in Bucharest. However, what we did not know was that the bus was on a one way journey and we had to walk from the mall back to our complex. We walked about 2 to 2 ½ miles or so and put a metro ride between each mile to break it up a bit.

We arrived back at the complex around 3:00 PM. So we arrived sweaty and with tired feet. But what we did not know was that 20 minutes after our arrival another aggravation would beset us. The power went out. There was a large wedding party occurring in one end of the complex and the demand for electricity was too much. Also there were some of our bunch who were attempting to wash clothes. Apparently the washers, dryers, and A/C units all going at the same time created the difficulty. As I was trying to fight through the sweat and all, I remembered what I had heard Brother Gordon Mallory preach years ago about every time that he got into a difficult situation on the mission filed that Brother Adams would slap him on the back and shout in his ear, “Well, Mallory, how do you like missions work?!”

I went over the lobby area of where they were holding services to attempt to get on the internet because although we were without power the complex did have it. This would be a huge time of frustration to me because the internet was very sporadic. When I would get a video about halfway uploaded (about 10 minutes) the internet would shut down and I would be back to square one. Also in attempting to uploaded pictures to Blogger I had a great deal of difficult in uploading. Later the main guy responsible for the sound told me that on Sundays the internet is Romania is terrible because “everyone” is always on it on Sundays.

There was a huge and very interesting thing that occurred on once I was able to get on the site. I received a personal e-mail from someone who wrote me in Romanian. When I found Brother Mike Patterson I showed him the message and he said that it was someone who was stating they had saw the video clips and they live in Bucharest and was desiring to know about the location of the church. This far exceeded my expectations of what effect that the video clips would do.

The Sunday night service was extremely faith-lifting and building especially to the missionaries. Toward the end of the service, Brother Mark Shutes begin to exhort and encourage all of the missionaries and you could again feel the faith level rising a little higher. After Brother Shutes finished, Brother Rodenbush gave some final words and then asked a Romanian pastor to conclude with prayer. I have no idea what he prayed but it was full of power, passion, and anointing.

So as the final notes were played out and things begin to slowly subside on the conference and our missions trip we had to say that we had saw and experienced something that every American church ought to experience. We are weary but rested! We are full but hungry for more! We know that this is not the end but merely the beginning of the rainy season for Romania and other European nations.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Operation Bucharest -- A Tipping Point

I begin by answering a few questions that have come up on the blog comments. You have no idea how much the blog comments are helping me to stay up and write all about what is going on here. So I need it for two more days. . . . please!

By the way, we are much weary in body at this point and it will be a marathon all day on Sunday. In fact, this whole trip has been a marathon. But as one of the old black ladies was quoted during the civil rights movements, “My feets is tired but my soul is at rest!” That is the way that I feel! We are supposed to have much of Sunday afternoon free but some of our gang will be trying to wash clothes and do some preliminary packing. We shall see how all of it turns out.

  • Sister Patterson -- Amazingly they took your advice without me having to tell them to go to bed. All went to bed last night and the night before very quickly after we got in.
  • Stephanie Harrelson -- I told some that you said “hi” but not all. . . I will when I get a chance. Keep praying for us.
  • Mark Harrelson -- I intend on bringing you and Stephanie and Mom and Pop with us on the next Romanian missions trip. . .
  • My Mother -- Next missions trip to Romania we are taking the whole Harrelson (Mark, Stephanie, their wild youngun’s, and you and Dad along with Teresa and our wild youngun’s) clan. You and Mark can sample the “whiskey wagon” to bolster your confidence. Me and Dad will watch the show.
  • Brendi, Kayla, Rebekah, and Renee -- Have church in your house!!!! That is the power of these video clips. I wish the whole church was here. . .
  • Rebekah -- Sister Rhonda said that she has not lost you and that you are still with her. As for the texting to Stacy, most of us don’t have phone service over here. You can try texting her on Tuesday around 4:30-5:00 PM and we should be able to get service then. But don’t count on Stacy being real diligent about getting back to you she has some old boy from Texas that she appears extremely interested in!
  • Brother Mullen -- I understand that Annette McCoy was caught in a digital picture holding not just one but two cups of coffee. So yes she has indeed found the coffee pot. I am unsure if it is a Romanian brand but she is drinking.
  • Sister Mullen -- I am glad that you have found out how to post comments! Husbands are periodically good for something (like helping their wives post comments).
  • Sister Chumney -- I think I have conquered my fear of flying. It wasn’t too bad except for the excitement at 36,000 feet Monday night over the Atlantic. The other bad part was when the pilot brought us down too quickly in Romania. It was very tough on our ears but we all have gotten over that.
  • Erick Blakey -- Your feigned interest in the crusade is curious to me. Are you interested in the crusade or one of the Dothan team members??????? Stacy said she is going to start texting you with her cell phone as soon as the plane lands in Atlanta. I think you might appreciate this video clip of Stacy explaining her expertise at the Romanian language.

Saturday morning started very early for me. I got up before a lot of our gang and went out on the patio out front and spent some very good and profitable time in prayer and thought. Last night I mentioned to Brother Charlie and Brother John Cureton that for the Romanians coming to this conference it was like us going to Because of the Times. I told them that the folks who were coming here wanted to hear from God and have a life-changing event just as we did when we went off to such events as BOTT and other things. Therefore it was crucial for God to be allowed to work through us to help others.

My hat is off to the Dothan gang. They have sang, prayed, testified, shouted, walked the streets, passed out flyers, ran errands, manned tables, greeted people as they came in, and been like all the folks that Paul saluted when he concluded Romans 16. We aren’t too well known to the world but we are very well known to the Kingdom.

A few days after Sister Rodenbush came to visit our church to help us get ready for this missions trip, I really started putting some spiritual and mental steam into what the Lord was placing in my heart to preach to the Bucharest conference. In fact I can specifically remember where I was when it began to gel. I was riding my bike up West Cook Road toward Taylor. The Lord and I have had many conversations in that little 16 mile ride over the last several years. I felt the Lord begin to drop into my spirit some thoughts about Elijah.

I have preached about Elijah several times in the last several weeks in Dothan and the thought of what he did when it was not raining has really been close to me. I suppose that God laid that thought on my heart for a reason because there are some incredible missionaries who have been pouring their souls into Europe for a number of years. Brother and Sister George Craft have been in the European region since 1972. Brother and Sister William Turner have been in missions for almost the same amount of time in Russia. Brother and Sister Alan Demos have been long term missionaries to this region for a long time also. In addition to all of these great men and women, the Rodenbushes and the Bucklands have spent many years of faithful service to God. Of course, Mike and Jill Patterson have been working in the European region since 1990.

The difficulty with this area is that they have not seen the same type of revival as Ethiopia, El Salvador, Papa New Guinea, and other places where thousands have received the Holy Ghost. Sometimes the enemy will do his very best to intimidate and discourage you to give up and quit when you are not seeing the results that you would so desire. Frustration mounts up and the devil gets his little band to playing at the party. It is sort of like Dothan hearing of the great revival reports elsewhere and the question becomes, “When shall it happen here, God?”

So this morning, I preached “The Blessing of the Dry Season.” I was a little nervous going into it because I had never worked with a translator before. But you need to know that Mike Patterson is a very brilliant man. I have been totally caught up in the translation of Brother Willoughby’s night messages. In fact when Brother Willoughby was preaching tonight, I thought how incredible that the Lord had put these two men together in this situation.

So Mike Patterson, the Lord, and me all took off about the same time and landed the same time. I like to think of myself (sometimes) as verbose and intelligent in the way that I preach. My wife tells me that the verbosity and intelligence equates more to a lot of hot air and that God often works despite my efforts. She did give me a little instruction this morning before I left which I took to heart. She told me to get the southern colloquialisms out and not to wear the folks out. I did!!!! I didn’t mention cornbread and branch water; fleas on yard dogs; hogwash; or ‘mater samiches. In fact, I only preached for about 25 minutes but I felt a powerful anointing!

After this there was good time of praise and worship around the altars as we prepared to move on to the next part of the service. By the way, there is no air conditioning in the sanctuary!!!!!! The temperature in the last couple of days has been in the mid-upper 80’s and it is very hot!

Brother Salvatori Archidiocanes who is the General Superintendent of the UPCI in Italy was the next preacher for the morning service. He preached about being able to trust God from Proverbs 3:4-7. After he finished preaching, the altars were opened up and 8 people received the Holy Ghost! One of the most terribly frustrating things with praying with these folks in the altar is the language barrier. It is difficult to encourage and instruct them to pray during the altar service. But God can work beyond our limitations and advance His Kingdom.

One of the things that the missionaries here are trying to do in Europe is bring about a sense of unity, purpose, and brotherhood among the ministers and churches. I gather that events like this occur only every other year and there is very limited fellowship among pastors and ministers. Fellowship can be a very powerful ally to a minister especially if it is the right kind. With this thought in mind, Jill Patterson had organized a banquet for all of these ministers and their wives in an effort to bring them together for a time of encouragement and fellowship. She even determined the menu and it had quite a southern flair to it.

It started with a large bowl of shredded cabbage and although I did not eat any of it all at my table said that it was good. Then I looked up and there was a huge platter of mashed potatoes making its way around the table. After this that most famous southern delicacy of all was being passed around. In fact when President Reagan came to Dothan in 1985 this is what they fed him too! Amazingly, Jill had secured some chicken and it was southern fried. I have a feeling that fried chicken and mashed potatoes can assist with furthering the Gospel and facilitating revival in Europe. It is not nearly as important as prayer and fasting but fried chicken and mashed potatoes is the caviar of preachers! I couldn’t understand all that was being said at these tables but it sounded like it was going pretty well.

Dothan needs to receive another salute again. For all the non-Dothan folks reading this blog you can disregard this section as I tell them how important that they are. Last September in Columbus, Ohio our church gave $5000 for the Bucharest Crusade. That money was used to help defray the costs of this conference. So not only have you helped us who were on the missions trip to Romania you also helped host a banquet to encourage a lot of ministers from other countries. As they introduced them, I wrote down the countries and/or states that are represented here: Serbia, Belarus, Russia, Romania, Armenia, Germany, Jordan, Ukraine, Greece, Croatia, Slovakia, Albania, Italy, Scotland, Portugal, and Czechoslovakia. If you could see the expressions of gratitude on the faces of these folks, I have a feeling that you would receive an incredible reward just from seeing them. It is difficult not to weep when you are watching it all take place. But if you never make it over to Europe to see this portion of the Kingdom of God, if you will just continue your faithfulness to God, your reward will be so very powerful. At the judgment seat of Christ you will be so very thankful that you were a part of a blue-collar, working church.

At the banquet Brother Patterson was asked to speak and he talked about Nehemiah and how important that it was for us to pick up a burden and to rebuild the walls. The walls had laid in ruin for many years before Nehemiah came along and rebuilt them. Challenges will come but we must continue to work diligently with a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other. Revival will come when we are willing to build and battle at the same time.

While this banquet was going on some of our crew decided to go to the mall and eat. Monica, Stacy, Justin, Nathan, Chad, and a Serbian named Daniel went with them. So when we get out of the banquet and started looking for them we find out that one of them (which I will leave unnamed) was the “guide.” What is scary about the “guide” is that he/she gets lost between Dothan and Cottonwood and now the “guide” is going to navigate them around Bucharest. They had to walk a few miles and make a Metro connection going and returning from the mall.

My wife was not a happy camper with this development. When they finally got back, Teresa had a little “meeting” with Justin and Nathan and I am certain that Brother John also had a little “meeting” with Monica and Stacy.

Earlier in the week, I had the opportunity to meet and speak with the gentlemen who runs the complex where we are having the conference. Dr. Ioan Ceuta (pronounced “Cheeuta”) met Brother Mike Patterson several years ago (around 1997) and introduced him to the gypsy “king.” He is a very kind gentleman and offered to allow me to use his office to work on my blog when he saw me propped up on a couple of chairs in the hallway. I was nearly finished with the blog and I declined. He and his staff have been very helpful to all of us this week.

While I was working on my blog, a fellow came up and introduced himself to me. He told me his name and I did not get it. He told me again and I still didn’t get it but I acted like I did. Later when he gave me his card and I read his name I knew why I did not get it. It was Brother Bagrat Hayrapetyan. When I get home some of our educators in our church can help me pronounce it. Anyway he whips out a flash drive and the first thing I think is notes; this fellow wants some of my notes. I will be happy to give him some notes. In fact, I love to pass out notes to preachers. However, I was crestfallen when he asked if I had any music on my computer. Then came the shocker. . . .He wanted to know if I had any “Jesus Is My Boyfriend” stuff. Wow! I have flown over 4000 miles to get here and when I get here, those 7-11 choruses (you know 7 words, 11 times). Needless to say, I did have a few on my hard-drive and so I shared those with him.

Just out of spite, I tried to get him to take some of the Southern Gospel stuff off the computer that I had. He hurt my feelings and said he wasn’t interested. I wanted to ask him if the fried chicken and mashed potatoes were good but I didn’t. What he doesn’t know is that fried chicken, mashed potatoes and Southern Gospel music goes together and that if he liked the chicken he probably would like the SG music too!

The prevailing dilemma for me is to have this two GB flash drive attached to my computer and it is about to disappear without a bit of my notes. So I asked him if he taught mid-week Bible studies and he said that he did. So I told him about the doctrinal series I did a couple of years ago and he said he wanted it. In addition to that I gave him a number of over Bible studies and sermon notes that hopefully will be beneficial to him and his church.

The pre-service began and Brother Charlie and Sister Annette were asked to speak. Brother Charlie gave a brief personal testimony and then encouraged our faith from Hebrews 11. It is still pretty amazing to me all that God has accomplished with Charlie and Patty Joyner. Sister Annette McCoy also gave an encouraging testimony with an exhortation toward reaching those who are around us and having a constant desire for revival.

During this whole service we began to sense a tipping point. There was a lot of liberty in the worship and feeling in the singing. Not just from the Dothan group but also from the other groups that sang in the evening service. Another group from Slovakia also sang. There was group of Russian sisters who sang. Another group from Romania sang and then the preaching began.

Brother Willoughby preached a very good message about David and the need to be a worshiper. As I have previously mentioned, Mike Patterson has done an excellent job with the translation. As the days have progressed it appears that Brother Willoughby has gotten very comfortable with Mike. There were parts in the message where Brother Willoughby seemed to have a running dialogue with Mike throughout the message. There were actually aspects of the message that provoked great hilarity among the Dothan crowd. Brother Mike Patterson has appeared to convey almost verbatim the same emotions and body language that Brother Willoughby has presented during the preaching.

Toward the end of the message, Brother Willoughby began to press home the point and importance of an outward expression of worship. As he begin to reach toward the conclusion, many of us from Dothan had come toward the front and 90% of the crowd (Nathan and Jeremy counted 225) were on their feet with Brother Willoughby. Then he decides to take off down the far isle. Brother Mike Patterson is directly behind him working the translation and suddenly Brother Joe Patterson who was all the way on their side (we were across the building from them) suddenly sees the need to get in behind them running. So when I saw that I just glanced over my shoulder and told the Dothan gang “Let’s go!” So off we went across the front and caught them about midway down the isle. Sort of felt like one of those victory marches in Dothan except a bit accelerated! I have always believed that expressed worship heightens what God is trying to do. As we went by the crowd, I noticed that some were entirely caught off guard by this activity but there were a few of the men that I have recognized as ministers as the conference has progressed and they got in with us too!

Shortly thereafter the altar service took off! Before the day would be completed in Bucharest, twenty-eight people would have received the Holy Ghost. It was very interesting watching the order of the altar service before it began. Brother Willoughby asked Brother Roger Buckland (FMD – Czech Republic) to come and organize the groups by language. So to the far left were the Slovakian people. In the middle were all the Romanian people and to the far right were the Russian speaking people. They were instructed to keep their headphones on so that they could understand what Brother Willoughby was asking them to do.

After they were all in place, Brother Willoughby instructed them to repent and then he spoke a word of faith over them and then asked them to lift their hands and begin to worship. Within a very short period of time those who were really reaching in worship would begin with stammering lips and the tongues followed shortly after that. You could tell when it hit because the national ministers and missionaries who could understand the language began to also sense the tipping point of momentum.

At one point when I waded off down into the mass of seekers, I had an overwhelming sense of helplessness as I looked at their poverty and very limited resources. But literally like a lightning bolt, the Lord prompted my thoughts as to what Paul told the Romans, “The Kingdom of God is not meat and drink but rather it is peace, righteousness, and joy in the Holy Ghost!” I have preached numerous times about not living for time but instead living for eternity and that is crucial to remember in these situations. Many of these people, especially the gypsies, have nothing and yet they have the most important thing. Far too many in America have all the ‘meat and drink’ that this world has to offer but beyond that little else.

There is a lady who has been very kind to our older ladies during this trip and they have noticed that several times that she has been in tears as she has listened and watched all that is going on in the conference. Last night, this lady was in the altars and although she did not get the Holy Ghost, she got quite a blessing. We hope that this is a start for her. Furthermore, I trust that the move of the Spirit is a beginning of great revival that will sweep through this region. This Bulgarian girl received the Holy Ghost.

After service we were hustled onto the bus and had the great privilege of being with the UPCI missionaries. The younger portion of our gang was quite wound up and I hope that we did not terrorize these poor folks with all the antics. Our bus took us to Pizza Hut and in route to eat, Stacy Cureton turned around and told me that I needed to preach a sermon on people “janking” others. I had to explain to Brother Craft what this meant as he was not familiar with this term.

I had the great privilege to sit on the bus with Brother George Craft of Austria. He has been a career missionary there since 1972 and he expressed to me some of the challenges that he has personally faced over the years. Later after we got back in, I spent a lot of time mulling over the thoughts that Brother Craft had left with me. Nothing great ever occurs without sacrifice.

On our way back to the conference center our bus driver drove like Jehu. He not only was driving rapidly but a couple of times, I heard him blaring on the horn. It was close to midnight and we probably had him out much later than what he wanted to be. Despite the fast and bumpy ride we made it back in one piece and have one more day to go.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Operation Bucharest -- Conference Kickoff

This is a brief bit of technical information: I thought I would tell you that I am somewhat limited with all of the video clips. They have to be less than 100 megabytes to fit on Godtube so that is the reason that they are usually less than a minute. Also the internet connection speed here is a little slower and it takes a loooooonnnnnnnggggggg time to get them uploaded. I am going to work a little harder to figure out exactly how many minutes of video that I can upload for you. I am telling you or warning you that you will want to have a room by yourself for all of the videos from today. They are incredibly powerful!!!!!!! The reason the video image is shaking in some of them was because it is extremely difficult to video and cry at the same time.

Everyone is moving very slowly today. There has been very little rest for the weary. I would guess that those who have been on prayer walks the previous two days have probably walked at least 10 miles or more.

It is easy to see some of the spiritual warfare that Sister Rodenbush mentioned in Dothan during May when she came to prepare us for the trip. Since yesterday not only is Sister Rodenbush still sick but there are additional folks who have made it for sick call. Brother Rodenbush is also sick as is Brother Patterson. I am unsure of the extent of Brother Rodenbush’s illness but Brother Patterson has gotten a good case of the flu. Fever, chills, and the other things that goes with the flu. In addition to this, Sister Bailey slipped and fell and peeled the skin off of one of her toes which she showed me. She also told me that she had a large bruise on her hip which thankfully she did not offer to show me. I took her word for it!

I discovered Brother Patterson’s ailments at 6:30 AM when Brother Charlie Joyner (Charlie and Brother Patterson are rooming together) knocked on my door and told me that he and Brother Jay were going to walk down to the FARMACIE and purchase some Tylenol and other flu remedies for Brother Patterson. It was then that I found out that Brother Patterson had been sick for most of the night.

He slept through breakfast and arrived at the morning service when Brother Steve Willoughby, missionary to Singapore, taught/preached about Spiritual Midwifery to us. Brother Patterson did not go with us on the Prayer Walk/Street Service combination today (which I thought was a great idea for him to stay in).

Prior to the pre-conference service, fire practice was once again held for the choir. Before they started, I felt a need to address our gang because I felt that the enemy is doing his very best to disrupt our efforts with sickness and other matters. We need the prayers of those who are reading this blog to continue in a strong way.

After choir practice, Brother Willoughby began his session on Spiritual Midwifery which was an excellent time of instruction about working with those praying in the altar. I was unable to take notes in this session because I was too busy trying to manage a digital camera and camcorder. However, we are going to see if we can get to the notes.

There was a strong spirit of liberty, faith, and worship that attended this session. At the end Brother Mike Patterson led us in prayer along with Brother George Craft who is a missionary although I am unsure of his field. As Brother Craft prayed, he directed us to move all throughout the building and lay hands on walls, doorways, chairs, platform, and the entire sanctuary. It was pretty incredible, as you will note on the video clips!!!

After all of the prayer, we ran to our rooms and grabbed passports, Metro tickets, bottled water, and snack things so we could hit the streets. Today instead of just prayer walking and passing out flyers we were going to conduct some street services. We also took an electronic keyboard and snare drum with us. At the first stop in front of the Metro entry it did not take long to generate some excitement. While we were setting up, there were four boys about 12 to 16 and they begin giving Justin Ward a hard time. I could not tell what they were saying but the tone of their voice and body language let me know that it could not be good. The ringleader was loud and sarcastic and would stand off about 10 feet away from our group and point, shout, and wave to all of the people who were in transit from the Metro. As one of the guys (I think either Michael Joyner or Jeremy McCoy) was setting up the snare drum, the ringleader came over and started banging his hand on the drum. I noticed that whoever that was setting up the drum was taken aback by this and Justin Ward walked over and said something sharply to the ringleader and he retreated back to his band. In the video clip, the ringleader is the little guy in the red shirt.

As they begin singing a crowd of about 30 or 35 stopped walking to hear what they were singing (Yes Lord, Yes Lord, Yes, Yes, Lord, Amen!) and Brother John Cureton and I got busy passing out flyers while we had a concentrated crowd. The most frustrating thing of all is the language barrier.

The boys who were making loud comments were caught off guard by how well the group could sing and it put a stifling effect on them. I will say that as soon as these fellows came up and started hard-timing us, I launched into the prayer mode that Sister Rodenbush had taught us in Dothan during May. She stressed to us that our prayers should not be directed at the enemy but toward the power of God. So I begin to pray for the power of the Spirit and the anointing to get on the choir. I mixed some worship in with how majestic and awesome that God is and I believe that this had some effect on the boys. I haven’t mentioned this to anyone else in the group but I have a feeling that I wasn’t the only one praying for these rascals. As we moved from this Metro entry to another bus stop, I asked Daniel Patterson what the deal was with these boys and he told me that they were gypsies.

As we moved further down the street you could sense the turn in the neighborhood toward those who fit into the category of the “have nots.” A lot of poverty surrounded us but again another crowd gathered up when they started singing. We passed out flyers in huge doses while the singing was going on.

The choir would sing at two more spots before we got on the Metro and then we would have to walk another mile or so back to the conference center. Some very interesting things happened while we were passing out flyers.

You are all well aware of my affection for books. I found a fantastic bookstore on the way to another singing point. The owner of the shop even tried to talk to me but I could not understand him and he could not understand me either. His car is his "shop." It also appears to me that he has been doing what I have been doing. . . . Reading books late at night and eating entire bags of BBQ Potato Chips and drinking Dr. Pepper.

First when someone would want to talk to us we would have to run down a translator. One lady that they found begin to talk about how that she was a Christian of another denomination and that she lived in a Middle Eastern country right in the very heart of Islam. She related that she had to be undercover with it when she was in her country but that when she traveled abroad she always tried to find a place to worship in. She told Justin Ward that she was intending on being in attendance at the conference tonight. I pray that God will fill her with the Holy Ghost.

Another lady met Teresa and began to explain to her in very limited English that her daughter was in the process of becoming a surgeon. She had already been to school for six years and was apparently about to begin her surgical residency. Teresa encouraged her to come to the conference also.

After we finished the street services we descended into the Metro tunnel. While we were punching our cards to go through, I saw a small kid dart under the turnstile and then begin digging in the trash. He had a bag that he pulled out of the garbage and blew air into it and began sniffing the bag after he filled it with air. He was apparently was sniffing something in an attempt to get high. He also had a cigarette butt over his ear that he had found somewhere and was waiting to smoke it a little later.

As he started doing this two other boys materialized around him who would turn out to be his brothers. All three of these boys ranged in age from probably 6 to 10. Justin Ward began talking to them in Romanian and we discovered that they were street kids that were gypsies. They had no parents and they only periodically would go and see their grandmother. Every thing that they get to eat and wear apparently comes from begging and stealing. Justin Ward offered to get them something to eat if they would come to the conference. However, after he bought them something at the sandwich shop they took off and haven’t been seen since. I again realized how blessed that we are to live in America!

Lunch today resembled the chicken “sandwich” that we got on the flight from Frankfurt to Bucharest. Hard bread and funny looking and tasting chicken! However, we labored through it and discovered that we were in a rush to get to church. I had a good excuse as I was blogging and the connection was terrible today so that is why yesterday’s post is short on pictures.

We were all in place pretty much by 5:45 PM. The ushers, book table attendants, musicians, and all were ready to roll. Earlier today during Brother Willoughby’s session, I noticed a booth going up in the back that had two or three booths and each booth was equipped with a mic and transmitter. The reason that this is in place is for the translators to sit in. The translators wear headphones and they all understand English. As the service carries on they translate it into different languages for those who are wearing the headsets in the congregation. Tonight there were three different translations going on. One lady was translating Russian, another Serbian, and another Slovakian (I think) and Brother Mike Patterson translated the Romanian. He did an incredible job! He and Brother Willoughby worked very well together! (The picture you see is Jeremy passing out the headphones to the people who need a different translator than Romanian.)

During the pre-service, Sister Benton from Nacogdoches, Texas, told of the church where she attends deciding to purchase Romanian Bibles both adult (probably 150 or so) and children’s Bibles (probably 35 or so) and giving them away free to the Romanians who were attending the conference. She talked of her personally undertaking the burden and planning and purchasing the Bibles to give out at the crusade. It was a very moving and powerful testimony on her part.

After Sister Benton spoke, Brother John Cureton did very well giving a testimony that required for him to work through a translator, Justin Ward. He told us tonight after the service that it was very difficult to keep your train of thought while working through the translator. As you will see, he did very well.

Then service took off and our praise team from Dothan started out with Bless That Wonderful Name (Part 2); Somebody Touched Me; and I’ve Got the Holy Ghost.

Brother Roger Buckland is the area missions supervisor and he ran the service with Brother Mike Patterson translating into Romanian.

A Serbian youth choir sang and it was very powerful!

This was followed by the Dothan choir singing prior to the preaching. They did an awesome job! It was very difficult to keep my emotions in check for much of the night.

Then Brother Willoughby preached a fantastic message about faith and miracles. Tonight I did not operate with my pen and notebook but I do remember his text coming from Mark 2. Very, very powerful!!! He also used some props with Jay Lewis, John Cureton, Michael Joyner, and Jeremy McCoy carrying him up to the roof top for his healing.

After the faith-building preaching, Brother Willoughby then opened the altars for those who needed healing. One American was healed and then a Romanian lady was healed and that broke the dam when she gave the testimony through Brother Mike. Brother Willoughby asked the ministers and the Dothan team to come to the altar steps and face the group in the altar. I am guessing that there were probably 50 or more in the altars. I shall never forget as long as I live the looks in those folks’ eyes as we stood over them awaiting Brother Willoughby to direct us to pray for them.

We stretched our arms and hands out over them and prayed. I know that all of the Dothan folks were crying and praying at the same time. Then Brother Willoughby told us to go down into the altar area and lay hands on these folks and pray for them. This again was a very, very powerful moment.

Finally, Nathan Harrelson and Jay Lewis were directed to count the people who were there tonight and they counted around 215 people.

All of your comments are greatly encouraging and have helped motivate me to write even when I have been very tired. . . . . Thanks a bunch. . . .

Friday, July 13, 2007

Operation Bucharest -- A Walk To The Palace

We are somewhat getting into the routine of things here in Romania. We are having occasional bouts with jet lag or with jet slag, whichever may be appropriate. We are both lagging and slagging in a real way.

We were up this morning at 7:10 AM thanks to our alarm clock, Jay Lewis. Brother Jay toasted his digital clock the very first day here when he tried to plug a 110 clock into a 220 outlet. It didn’t work and his toasted alarm clock stands as a very mute witness to all of this. However, not to be outdone, he told us that his “internal” clock goes off at 5:15 AM or 5:30 AM or some other ridiculously early hour and when he gets up, he is quite bright-eyed and bushy tailed. The fact of the matter is that Brother Jay and Brother Patterson sat down with me this morning at breakfast. I didn’t feel much like talking, they did! They discussed the kinds of bread, the types of omelets that folks eat, the grout on the tile, the veneer on the tile, and the types of roofing on all the houses. They discussed much, much more. I didn’t contribute much to the conversation because I don’t feel too much like talking in the mornings. However, right now it is currently 1:05 AM, I am wondering if both of them would like to talk about bread, omelets, tile grout and veneer, roofing, and this new book that I have started reading about Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger. I really feel like talking about all that stuff, I ought to go check in with them and see!

Anyway most of us labored through breakfast and then went out to the patio area where we get ready for the morning instructions for the prayer walks. This morning, Sister Rodenbush is not going to be with us, nor will Mike and Jill Patterson. I found out later in the day that Sister Rodenbush has gotten very sick and needs our prayers. In her stead, Brother and Sister Robert Kelly were sent to guide us on the prayer walk. They are the UPCI missionaries to Scotland. We again prayed to invest ourselves into the armor of God as we did yesterday. This was followed by the Disciples Prayer. After this Brother Kelly prayed that the blood of Jesus Christ would cover every aspect of our beings.

We then took off for the Metro which is very similar (at least in my mind) as the subway system of the larger cities in the U.S. We walked probably a good mile or maybe more to get to the entrance. Our group today had 24 people in it and we were a little strung out as we would be for most of the day.

The Metro is a large train that has about 10 cars on it that will hold probably 75-80 people in each car. I am not certain of the speed but it zips along pretty well and as you stand on the landing to board about six feet down there is a track that is for all practical purposes a railroad track. Prior the train coming one can feel the wind start rushing toward you that it literally will wave your hair. Then you can hear the engine rushing around the corner. It comes to a very rapid stop and is stopped for no more than 20 seconds and people rush off and leap on. You either get a seat or you may stand and hold on to the bars that are dispersed throughout the train. An electronic Romanian voice says something and off you go! If you are not hanging on when it takes off you are either likely to end up on the floor or banging into the person behind you.

While you are doing the walking it is best for you to be praying mentally with fervency to release revival. I found two things that were very helpful for me. I would pray passages of Scripture that I was familiar with (Psalm 91; 42; Ephesians 6:10-18; The Disciple’s Prayer) also I would resort to singing songs that I was familiar with (I See A Crimson Stream of Blood; Cover The Earth With Your Glory; and All Hail the Power of Jesus Name). It worked quite effectively for me for the first 20 minutes and I tried to follow this pattern for the rest of the day. I mentioned to Stacey and Monica what I was doing and they helped me for a little while with it. I also mentioned this to Jay and Rhonda Lewis. I felt like if we could all get on the same page mentally and spiritually that it might make a difference in what we were trying to do.

We rode the Metro for probably 15 minutes, changed trains once and then entered the streets into a literal mass of walking folks. We would walk probably three miles or so to the Parliament/Palace Building to pray in and around the government offices. Several people brought it to my attention today that there are no fat Romanians. We know why! They walk literally everywhere they go.

Prior to going into the Palace, a very nice young Romanian young lady named Doreena came up to Teresa and me and told us that she was a university student and was doing a project on tourism. She asked if we would answer some questions in regards to travel and all things related to travel. We took her survey and then she allowed us to take her picture with the group.

The security measures at the Palace were pretty interesting. We basically had to do that same thing that we had done in all the airports. We emptied our pockets into a bin and sent all of our bags through an X-Ray device for security clearance. Kay Patterson was the first one to be detained and after dumping the contents of her purse out, they finally let her through. While this was going, Jay Lewis sent off the alarm and a female security guard had him to stand with arms out as she “wanded” him. I thought I would take advantage of this whole situation and capture the event on camera for the world to see. I managed to get the picture but when I started putting up my camera, another security guard rushed up to me and started saying over and over, “Delete picture! Delete picture! Delete picture!” I looked at the guy and told him that I had paid to bring my camera in, in fact it cost me thirty lei (one dollar is equal to 2.22 lei) to bring my camera and camcorder in. I am not sure if he understood English but he just kept on “Delete picture! Delete picture! Delete picture!” So I pulled my new digital camera out which I do not know a lot about because I had just bought it on the Sunday before we left on Monday. So I stand there trying to figure out how to delete the picture. Periodically my carnal nature rises and it was starting to drift up a little and so I thought to myself that I would give this fellow an in-service on my new camera. It took me a good two minutes or more to very deliberately figure out how to delete the picture which I finally did.

Brother Kelly told me that he saw me about to get “busted” but he could not get across the room fast enough to tell me to put up the camera. Apparently none of the European countries want any of their security, police, or military staff to have pictures made of them. After all of this transpired, I again thought how fortunate and free that we Americans really are and we take much of it for granted.

After we toured the Palace, we went out front and prayed in a large circle for the government. We prayed that corruption would be overcome and that God would give the true Apostolic church favor in the eyes of the government.

We left the Palace and walked another two miles or so to a KFC and had lunch. We waited in line for an hour and spent 51 lei on Colonel Sanders’ secret recipe. The taste was very similar to that of the US but none of the Romanian resturants offer ice with their drinks. So we ended up drinking lukewarm Pepsi.

Jay and Rhonda Lewis, Annette McCoy, Amanda Collette, Charlie Joyner, John and Rita Cureton along with Teresa and me commandeered a large corner area of the KFC and had our meal. We all think that Brian Applefield needs to come into this place and tune it up. Brother John said that he thought that Helen Applefield might get better results than Brian! Either one of them would have been nice to see today after we spent 50 minutes waiting to order. I do admit that there was a crowd with five or six lines running and people lined up 10 deep.

After this we hit the streets again to pass out flyers. I was told that there were 10,000 (although I am unsure of this) but we spent two and a half hours passing out flyers to the masses that were continually marching up and down the streets. We passed out half of them and will get rid of the others on tomorrow during our prayer walk and street service.

We saw several of the gypsies hawking their wares. One lady had some crocheted table covers for a coffee table that she was trying to sell for 75 lei. Another young girl was trying to sell some Nike ankle socks in a bulk form (about 10 pairs or so) for whatever she could bargain for. She never told a price but she was constantly chanting out. Kay Patterson told me that she was saying, “Good socks. Good socks. Good socks.”

About 20 feet from her was another gypsy woman sitting up next to a building and begging. Her legs looked horrible. One of them was bandaged up and the other one was open to the air and had horrible erythematous (bulbous-looking blood blisters) areas from mid-calf and extending on above her knee. I told Teresa that this woman needed an angiogram and either a stent placement and/or a femoral-popliteal artery bypass graft (I guess my medical marbles will be with me always). I am guessing that if proper medical intervention is not carried out in the next three months that she will need an amputation. I did manage to discreetly get a picture of her from a distance but could not get close enough to get pics of her legs (which you probably would not want to see anyway).

At this point in the day, it was around 3:40 PM and we descended back into the Metro. We changed two trains and then walked the rest of the way back. By this time, we were carrying around a lot of lead. Lead feet and perhaps some lead in some other places also. Strangely enough, all of the “cranky, stressed, and old folks” (at least this is what Stacey Cureton called us) wanted to pass out. But the young, energetic folks (like Stacey and her cohorts) wanted to go to the mall and shop. So we figured out that we would drop into the nap zone until 7 PM and then have choir practice with Justin Ward. Not much napping was done with all the interruptions occurring! Not much rest was accomplished with all of the banging around in the halls! Finally, I gave up and got up to see what all was going on.

I found out that we were going to the mall after fire practice, I mean choir practice. So we had choir practice although I was working on my blog while they were singing. As they were singing “their” songs, I was mentally singing all of the “Jesus Is My Boyfriend” songs that I could remember. It was profitable for me and for anyone who set next to me.

After fire practice, we rushed over to the rooms and grabbed our Metro cards and left the complex about 8:20 PM. We managed to get to the mall around 9:00 PM (they closed at 10:00 PM) and it was similar in layout to the Galleria in Birmingham and Houston. Very modern and very much Americanized. Jay Lewis found a tie that he liked for 150 lei (about $65) and his wife nixed the purchase before he could even think about it. My bunch (Teresa, Justin, Nathan, and Lauren) ate at the Pizza Hut in the Food Court along with Jay and Rhonda Lewis, Amanda Collette, and Daniel Patterson. It cost us 51.10 lei (about $22) to eat a medium pepperoni pizza and five drinks.

We met in front of the Starbucks at 10:00 PM and headed to the Metro which was a good mile away. About ¾’s of the way to the Metro it started raining. So we picked up the pace a bit but when we got to our road crossing about a ¼ mile from the Metro, it started flooding. However, we had a large intersection that was probably three times as big as 231 North and the Circle in Dothan that we had to cross. We disregarded the crossing lights and started running across the crossways along with a whole bunch of other Romanians. Horns were blaring! Horns were blaring! Horns were blaring! I have not had this much fun in years!

About the time that we were entering the covered Metro station, a strange thought from a long time ago crossed my mind. When I was a kid about every 3rd or 4th Saturday my mother would take me and Mark to Opp to see my Grandmother and Grandaddy. My Granddaddy had been a farmer most all of his life and even into his later years he still had the semblance of a farm when they lived in Ino. At their house, they also had chickens. They weren’t in a fence and pretty much had the run of the yard (which was quite large) and they were always out and about somewhere. There were times that Mark and I would “chase chickens” until either the chickens gave out or they were delivered from mischief by my mother.

But this strange wayward thought crossed my mind as we were all running across the street. I remembered that when it would begin to rain that those chickens would all run (about 25) toward the shelter of the old wooden barn beside my grandparents house for a dry place. As we were running, I thought, “We are like a bunch of yard chickens running for the barn!” I found this very humorous and shared this with all of my “friends.” It was very strange to me that hardly any of them saw the same mirth in it that I did. . . Oh well, maybe tomorrow will be more spiritual.

By the way it is 2:30 AM. . . . I wonder if Brother Patterson and Jay would like to talk about bread, omelets, tile, and Romanian roofs? ? ? . . . I think I’ll go see. . . .

Until next time. . . our thoughts and prayers are with all of you in Dothan who are supporting us with your prayers. . . I shall be more serious tomorrow as the conference will begin at 7:00 PM. . . . .

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Operation Bucharest -- Our First "Official" Day

I thought that having gone to bed late that I would manage to sleep all the way through the night. I was wrong! Around 3:15 AM, I was wide-eyed and quite awake. This lasted until 3:50 AM until I crashed again. I ended up sleeping through my alarm on my watch and who knows how long we would have slept if Nathan would not have come and knocked on the door at 8:10 AM. This put us in the press mode because breakfast started at 8:00 AM and ends at 9:00 AM with the prayer walk preparation beginning at 9:00 AM.

I later found out that Annette McCoy also woke up in the middle of the night and was rustling around because she could not sleep either. Apparently Nathan Harrelson was up sleepwalking and talking sometime during the night and put on a show for the dorm that he was in.

Chad Kirkland’s luggage is still missing but Justin Ward took him, Justin Harrelson and Michael Joyner down to the Chinese market. Justin Ward and Chad purchased a suit for around $70 and a few other odds and ends that will carry him through if his luggage is not found.

The interesting thing about breakfast was the milk that is used here. It is packaged in a box that is about the same size as a macaroni/cheese box. It is not refrigerated until it is needed and the shelf life of the liquid is quite lengthy. It might sit in a cabinet for six-months before it is need. Somehow the way that the milk is processed does not require the care that milk does in the U.S.

After breakfast, Sister Rodenbush gathered up the prayer team with some instructions about praying specifically for the needs of the Romanians and the crusade that starts on Friday night. After she addressed the Dothan folks (along with some of the wives of some of missionaries, Sisters Buckland, Turner, Shutes, and others), she then directed us through a specific time of praying the armor of God into our hearts and minds (Ephesians 6:10-18). There was no doubt about being able to sense the Spirit very close to this team of pray-ers. In fact this is the very reason for our coming to Romania.

Some more very moving video that came as the prayer team was inside the apartment/church of Mike and Jill Patterson.

At this point, Brother Mike Patterson loaded Brother Patterson and me into his SFC Volvo SUV and we took off downtown. Traffic was horrible. There appeared to be very little congruity with all of the traffic and it was a dog-eat-dog concept of driving. Brother Mike told us that we should disregard his use of the horn or talking back to other drivers this was simply the Romanian way. We would have bursts of speed up to 45 mph with sudden stops, cars squeezing by us, and us squeezing by them. Horns are used frequently also. I saw a few folks who were acting like they were not real happy with the way the traffic was flowing but many of the drivers around them simply ignored their behavior. One thing that struck me was the major disparity among the vehicles. I saw a Lamborghini cruising through along with multiple BMW’s and I even saw a Maserati. But all of these high-roller vehicles were mixed in with jalopies from the ‘80’s. They smoked, putted, and rattled along as if they had just as much to be proud of as did the sports car owners.

We arrived at the Best Western where the European/Middle East missionaries were meeting to plan their year and work out the logistics on trying to spread revival. Brother Rodenbush warmly welcomed Brother Patterson and me to their meeting. The first half of the day would be extremely inspirational because we found out that these men are working tirelessly to change the face of Europe and the Middle East.

This first list of missionaries are those that we have as Partners in Missions (Dothan has a total of 64).

  • Robert Rodenbush -- Regional Field Supervisor for Europe/Middle East
  • Sim Strickland -- Greece
  • Michael Tuttle -- Netherlands/Holland
  • Mark Shutes -- Baltic States
  • Charles Stovall -- Germany/Austria
  • Alan Demos -- Germany
  • Roger Buckland -- Czech Republic
  • Arlie Enis -- Furlough Replacement
  • Michael Patterson -- Romania

This second list of missionaries were present but we do not have them as PIM’s (yet!):

  • Gary Reed -- Middle East
  • Robert Kelly -- United Kingdom (Great Britain, Ireland, & Scotland)
  • William Markham -- Portugal/Spain
  • William Turner -- Russia

When you see what these missionaries in action and what they have accomplished it makes you want to give more to their efforts. The bottom line is that every church must become the supporting team for these men and their wives. The Foreign Missions effort is bigger than a single individual or a single church. If we could ever get to the point where selflessness reigned there would be some powerful contributions to the Kingdom of God.

The part that really started running my own desire was the portion about the need for Bible school curriculum and ministerial development. This part excites me because the Foreign Missions Division needs writers who are willing to put things together for use in their regions.

We enjoyed a good time of fellowship with Brother Rodenbush at lunch. He told us several stories about some great men. He related to us how that Brother Stanley Chambers went to serve as an AIM’er after his retirement. He was in his ‘80’s when he was serving in Austria because there was no one to go to the country. He related to us about men who were visionaries in their day. A Brother Box (whom I had never heard of) spent his life for the apostolic message. V. A. Guidroz was also quite a giant of a man. He mentioned Brother George Glass with whom he had some close ties with in the early years of his ministry. Brother Rodenbush also told us that he has every boarding pass that he has ever received on his flights for overseas missions (41 years worth). When I told him about my reservations about flying (which are getting better), he told us of some of his early days when the seats would slip around on the floor and that some of the seats did not even have seatbelts.

Brother Mike Patterson then brought up a message that Brother Rodenbush preached somewhere (I can’t recall the exact location) about cedars. Brother Rodenbush gave us a brief synopsis about the power that are in cedars. Their roots are linked together. The wood gives off an odor that repels bugs and disease. He related that if the longevity of a church is going to exceed one generation then there must be “cedar” saints who give great stability to the structure of the church.

After lunch the meeting moved into the “nuts and bolts” mode where that certain committees were being put together to facilitate growth in the European/Middle Eastern zones. It was very important and I must confess that my mind begin wandering. However while my mind was wandering, Brother Patterson’s shut down. At one point in the meeting, Michael elbowed me and told me to look at Brother Patterson. I leaned forward and saw him sunk down and sleeping in his seat. Michael got up and took him upstairs to his room and Brother Patterson got in a 2 hour nap or so. I had to hang out and let my mind keep wandering. However, I had a great man of hospitality sitting to my right. Missionary Alan Demos had smuggled into Romania a stash of German chocolate. He and Michael kept shoving hunks of chocolate to my area of the table and I did not want Brother Demos to be offended by my turning down his efforts at smuggling so I obliged them and kept eating as long as they kept shoving!!!!

Around 4:45 PM, Jill came for Brother Patterson and me. I had little idea that in 45 minutes that I was about to have another first in my life. I am forty years old and have never before ridden in a taxi. Jill secured us a taxi (a swank Mercedes-Benz!!!) and we rode to the Pizza Hut to meet the Dothan gang. I told Jill that I really needed to get a picture of the taxi (which I did) since it was my “first.” The driver couldn’t understand a lick of English but his driving skills were quite excellent. He could stop on a dime, fly at about 55 mph with cars all around us (in fact so close that I could have rolled the window down and touched the car next to me), and blow his horn!!!! He could make all of these driving arrangements pretty much simultaneously.

When we were running through this deal called a roundabout things got a little hairy. The roundabout is four lanes of about 75 cars going round and round at about 75 mph and trying to turn off onto 75 different directions leading off to six different streets. This was when the horn on our taxi got to blaring. However, there was a little scooter that came blitzing through the roundabout and there was a driver about two cars in front of us that started honking like mad because the scooter rider had cut in front of him. The scooter driver promptly gave him an endearing sign of affection with that international peace sign that is used all over the world. He is riding off down the road waving his hand in the air. I started feeling more and more at home because there has been a time or two that I have seen some of the rednecks down in Rehobeth use that particular hand-wave of peace.

We had a wonderful waitress named Mariana (pronounced Mareonu with a roll in the “r”) and I am certain that her tips were well from our group. After we arrived at Pizza Hut and secured tables for the Dothan team, I fired up my computer and found a free wireless zone in Pizza Hut. I first checked my e-mail and this was what I found:

So glad to hear from you guys!!! I awoke from my sleep Tuesday Morning around 3:00 A.M. with an urgency to pray for Romania. I immediately started praying. John and I wish we were there!

We heard about Chad losing his luggage. We pray that it is located. Let Rhonda and Jay know that their kids are ok. Rebekah called Kayla to check on her. I love the picture of you and John?!?! Behave now, ya here! How is Teresa's neck? I am praying for her. Let us know if there is anything we can do.

Love and prayers,

John and Renee

Also this came in the early morning hours:

It is 1:41 A.M. Wednesday Morning. John and I are praying for you guys right now as you start your prayer walk. We pray that a mighty revival will begin in Romania.

Love and Prayers,

John and Renee

There is much to reply from the effects of John and Renee Butler’s prayers. Note that Renee was getting up in the middle of the night to pray specifically for some of these needs. I will address them in the order that Renee sent her e-mail to me:

  • 1. Chad’s luggage was found and it was sent to the hotel and is now in his possession.
  • 2. John Cureton and Philip Harrelson are behaving themselves in a very exemplary manner!
  • 3. Teresa Harrelson’s neck has not given her any major problems since we left the United States.
  • 4. I was unaware that Renee is Rhonda Lewis’ prayer partner. Rhonda had some real concerns about being underground and on the Metro subway systems because of a feeling of claustrophobia and crowds. She specifically wanted Renee to know that she has had much peace the entire time that they were prayer-walking through the subway zones.

For the life of me, I cannot understand how anyone would not want to get involved in a church that believes what we believe about the working and outflow of the Spirit! Prayer is a very powerful (although little used) weapon in the modern church.

After we returned to our rooms another little hitch was awaiting us. After we left the Pizza Hut, we were took a bus tour of some of downtown Bucharest. During this time a large thunderstorm took place and when we returned much of the power had gone out. As of midnight, we were running on half-power. This meant that all of the apartments except Teresa and I had no power. The dorms with all of the singles only had 2 of 4 rooms with power also. So I told them the Gordon Mallory story about all of the troubling times that he had during his early mission years in the Philippines that Brother Adams would slap him on the back and shout, “Well. . . . Mallory, how do you like missions work?” Then he would guffaw and Brother Mallory would think to himself, “I don’t like it too much!” The one blessing is that there is a good breeze and the temperature has dropped significantly from what it was earlier in the day.

Tomorrow we are heading for more prayer walking and pass out tracts and invitations to the conference this weekend. Again, our team salutes all that the home crowd has done for us to help us get here and for their continuing efforts in prayer for us.

Thanks for all of the comments that have been posted from the home team!!!!

A Prayer Pouring Out of Psalm 119

--> I am presently preaching through the stanzas of Psalm 119 and it has been a spiritually enriching exercise.   Toda...