14 December 2010

Faithful Men Ministries' Retreat & Comissioning / Switzerland

Last week I attended a Faithful Men Ministries' Retreat and Commissioning in Switzerland. The retreat was held in the Alps at Pizol, Switzerland. The commissioning was held at Pastor Desmond Frey's, Power House Church in Zurich. Over 50 men attended the retreat which was held in just one more beautiful part of Switzerland. The retreat location was half way up the mountain overlooking the Rhein River and the tiny country of Liechtenstein.

Men came from all over the globe to attend the meeting. Countries represented were Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Romania, Moldova, Finland, South Africa and from Latin America, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru. We had men from Jacksonville and Miami, Florida. We were also blessed by a group of Scottish men who came and honored us by wearing their clan kilts during the commissioning ceremony.

The weekend was great. Hearing the various messages brought by men of God from literally all over the world was incredible. The overall theme centered around a real push for men to step-up to become spiritual fathers and sons. Men of all generations need to connect to be able to strengthen our families, our countries and to build the Kingdom of God here on earth.





(About the location or the placement of the pics. Sorry, I just don't have much control over it here with Blogspot. It works okay when you have a lot of text to mix with the pics but if not, it's just a limitation of the program.)












A special thanks to the ladies from Power House Church that prepared all the food for the three days we were up on the mountain. Hauling all that food and stuff up by cable cars, plus our own luggage was quite an adventure. 

Blessings,
Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe and Asia

Additional Info:
Desmond Frey / Power House Church
Jack King / Faithful Men Ministry / America
Clinton Etheridge / Faithful Men Ministry / South Africa
Pizol, Switzerland   

16 November 2010

Random Act of Praise & Worship

Someone just sent me one of the most incredible things to watch on YouTube.
They call it a "Random Act of Culture" put on by the Opera Company of Philadelphia. What it really is a "Random Act of Praise & Worship".

This will put you in the holiday spirit. 

The details can be found here: Macy's Hallelujah Chorus



Even though the times are tough we still have much to be thankful for.

Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving. 

Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe & Asia

27 October 2010

A Proud Father Story

Yesterday my youngest son William was in a Winter Haven, Florida 7-11 Store, getting a soda. A local police officer was also getting a soda when some guy, apparently mentally unstable and without notice or provocation, jumped the police officer near my son. The attacker was able to land repeated blows to the officer's head as they got into a scuffle.

My son saw, assessed the situation and realized that the officer was having problems getting control of the attacker as he repeated hit the police officer’s head.

William, is currently a crewman on the Coast Guard Search and Rescue helicopters. Prior to his assignment at USCG Air Station Clearwater, he received extensive drug interdiction and ship boarding training when he first served on the USCG Cutter Alert in Astoria, Oregon.

My son utilized these skills to help the police officer get control of the attacker. As the attack continued, William came around the attacker's back and got control his arms to help prevent or limit the attacker’s ability to keep punching the police officer.

Shortly, another police officer ran in the 7-11 store from outside. The second officer was able to Taser the attacker as all three men wrestled with the attacker.

Of course I am very proud of my son for coming to the immediate aid of the Winter Haven Officer. He had to make an instant choice of either getting involved or not. William did get involved without thought of his personal safety even as others in the store did not.

Anytime - Anywhere
Not only do I feel strongly about my son’s actions but his action also reflects the heart and purpose of the U.S. Coast Guard. The tremendous training, skills, and confidence the Coast Guard instills in its young men and women  reflects their selfless desire to aid and assist beyond what is “expected” of them.

I truly believe that the Coast Guard helped give my son the confidence and the skills to step in and help out in this possibly life saving situation. Yes, this mission was not at sea or in the air but it accurately reflects the Coast Guards Air Station Clearwater Mission statement: “Anytime  — Anywhere” .

William’s actions also reflect a new generation of young men and women, in all branches of the military, who are the hope of America's future.

Thank you Lord for watching out and protecting everyone. Thank God and thank those who put their lives "on-the-line" everyday for our protection here and abroad.

Blessings,
Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe and Asia

Larry's Email

25 October 2010

Time of Refreshing & Gutenstein Summit Meeting

C3 Geneva / Geneva, Switzerland
This month has been incredibly busy starting off with a short visit with my friends Narii and Nicole Dauphin and their children. They pastor a C3 Church in Geneva, Switzerland. It has been three years since I have been there. Their church is growing at a steady rate and having an impact on Geneva. God's got great things planned for them.

Time of Refreshing (TOR) / Leysin, Switzerland
TOR is a three day meeting of mostly American missionaries in the Swiss village of Leysin. Held the first week in September, it is located right in the middle of the French speaking part of Swiss Alps. The surrounding mountains are beautiful. It reflects all of God's creative ability.

This invitation only meeting has been a blessing to American missionaries for over twenty years. Bill and Imogene Kaiser have led these meetings the entire time. The Kaiser's raise money in America to make this conference totally free for the attendees. All the missionaries have to do is show up. It is blessing to renew old friendships and make new friends every year.

Fellowship of European International Churches / Gutenstein, Austria
With one week in between the Switzerland trip and I was off to the FEIC Pastor's Summit meeting in mountains of Gutenstein, Austria. These meetings bring together Assembly of God pastors that have International churches located throughout Europe. International churches cater to multi-cultural ethic groups utilizing the same facility but in their own language and service.

Pastors from different parts of the U.S. came to share on organization, strategy in reaching the lost, the next generation and praise and worship. Since the group was small, about sixty total, it gave us all a chance to interact and connect with everyone.  

The beauty of nature surroundings both the TOR and FEIC Summit meeting are always incredible. The Fall colors were in full force especially at Gutenstein. Someday I'm going to have enough time to just shoot pics of the entire area to share with you. In the mean time, you get the idea here with the ones I've posted.

You may remember last year we got hit with an early snow storm. It dropped about eight inches over two days. There was a real concern for being able to get off the mountain top. When I woke up Thursday morning, guess what? Yes, it was snowing wet, gloppy snow flakes. It motivated me to pack the car fast, grab some tea and get off the mountain especially since I didn't have snow tires on my car.

As it turned out, the snow storm was centered on the very top of the mountain. Thirty minutes drive later I was out of the snow and in a bright shinning sun reflecting the incredible Fall colors. Oh well, better safe than sorry especially up on those mountainside roads.

Europe Advance / Church Planters Roundtable
Thursday, I'm driving to Braunschweig, Germany, near the north central part of Germany for another Church Planters Roundtable. This is the fourth roundtable we've held this year. It looks like a smaller group will be attending but it's not about the numbers is it. It's about planting seed.

First Europe Advance Church Plant
Last Sunday, we celebrated our first Europe Advance church plant in Frieburg, Germany. It looks like it was very successful for the area. They had over one hundred people attend the first service. We're believing that this is the first of many to come throughout Europe.

Blessings,

Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe and Asia

More Info
C3 Geneva Church
Fellowship of European International Churches 
Watermark Church Freiburg

13 October 2010

Upcoming Church Planter's Roundtable

Europe Advance is putting on another Church Planter's Roundtable in Braunschweig, Germany on 28-29 October.

Pastor Greg Surratt from Seacoast Church, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina will be our guest trainer for this roundtable.

If you would like to know more about how to plant a church, attending the seminar will provide you with some great info.

You can download a CPR brochure with all the details here: http://bit.ly/d6XeUK

Or you can check out the Europe Advance website here: www.europeadvance.org

Please send your registration information to either cpr@europeadvance.org or to me: l.blakeslee@europeadvance.org


Looking forward to seeing you in Braunschweig.


Blessings,
Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee


More Info:
Europe Advance
Church Planter's Roundtable Brochure

30 September 2010

Finland Meetings Report / September 2010

Helsinki Metro Area 
The quickest way to describe my meetings in Finland last week was FANTASTIC!  Thursday night ended up to be a men's meeting in a town outside of Helsinki. Saturday was a men's retreat at a nearby church camp near Helsinki. The Sunday service was a combined meeting of a larger 300+ church in their facility with a smaller church. And finally a Monday evening meeting with a local Full Gospel Business Men's meeting in Espoo.

The bottom line was the Holy Spirit showed up and ministered in each meeting. The Finnish people were touched with God's love. Besides the public meetings, I had a number of opportunities to pray for individuals both after the meetings and other locations.
   
Estonia Day Trip
Tuesday, I took a day trip on a two hour ferry ride from Helsinki, Finland to Tallinn, Estonia to have lunch with an Estonian pastor I had met during the Baltic trip in May with Paul Cole. My friend drove up from the city of Parnu about two hours away.Over lunch, we talked about my heart to minister to men and parents about their children. Pastor Janno was very interested in this topic. After lunch, he drove me downtown to the Estonian Pentecostal Christian Church Headquarters. He wanted to introduce me to the bishop in charge of the Estonia's Pentecostal churches. Bishop Lilleorg delayed a start of a meeting so he could spend some time with me. I also met the bishop's brother who pastors the downtown church. Both were interested in this new ministry approach to men. They asked for an audio copy of my sermon that they could listen to and get a deeper understanding of this topic. We'll see what the future brings with Estonia.

Joint Men's Meetings between Helsinki and Tallinn
While with Pastor Janno in Tallinn and with Kimmo Janas in Helsinki, I spoke to both of them about the possibility of doing a joint country men's meeting either in Helsinki or Tallinn. The cities are so close together and have such similar cultures that it would be great to bring the men of both countries together and form a greater dynamic force to reach more men in both countries. Both men expressed a sincere interest in trying to make this happen even as early as next spring.

Scheduled Back To Finland in May & September 2011
At this point, I'm already scheduled to preach again on at Hyvinkää Pentecostal Church's Sunday morning service on 15 May 2011.

On Saturday 7 May 2011, I will be on a motorcycle ride with the Finnish Christian Motorcycle Club, Gospel Riders. They have an all day ride to Turku, Finland and back for an open air service at the Lieto Lutheran Church. In the past, this annual event has had an attendance of hundreds of cyclists from all over Finland. Gospel Riders National President, Mika Saarin, is loaning me his BMW Motorcycle to ride. It will be fun to be "back in the saddle" again.

The September 2011 dates and locations have not been firmed up yet but I'll post them here and on my First Step Ministries website calendar page when I have them.


Blessings,
Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe & Asia

More Info:
Gospel Riders
First Step Ministries, Inc.

14 September 2010

Upcoming Ministry Trip to Finland

Short & Sweet
I just updated my travel calendar for Helsinki area meetings and wanted to share it with you and my Finnish friends.


16 September
Hyvinkää Pentecostal Church
Palo-ojantie 1,
Hyvinkää, Finland

18 September
Mission Church
Men's Retreat (All Day)
Church’s Camping Facility
Ramsinniementie 31,
Helsinki, Finland

19 September
Vantaa International Christian Fellowship &
Metrokappeli Pentacostal Church
Combined morning service
Helsinki, Finland
www.vicf.fi

20 September
Full Gospel Business Men's Dinner Meeting
Hotelli Kuninkaantie
Lakelankatu 1,
Espoo, Finland


Plus the ministry, it looks like I will be taking a two hour ferry ride to Tallinn, Estonia to meet with Pastor Janno Pennsalu in Tallinn.

If you happen to think of me the next eight days, I would covet your prayers.

Blessings,

Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe & Asia

11 September 2010

9 Years Ago My 911

Below is a copy of a previous blog posting I did two years ago. 

11 September 2007


911 - My Story

Today all of us remember the precise place we were at and what we were doing when we heard about the attack on the twin towers of the World Trade Center.

My parents often recalled the attack of Pearl Harbor with vivid detail. I can recall the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and now like many others, 9-11.

For me, the event six years and a few minutes ago, found me in the middle of a second day of teaching business strategy and organization at a ministry called Christian Adventures International in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Most of the small C.A.I. staff were gathered in the conference room, when I think, the bookkeeper ran in and interrupted the meeting to tell us that a plane had hit the WTC. Some how in my heart I knew this was not an aircraft accident.

We quickly found a small black & white television, pulled up the rabbit ears antenna, plugged it in and set it up to see if we could get more info. While watching, we saw the second plane hit the second tower and I then really knew that this was no accident but a terrorist attack.

The entire staff of C.A.I. gathered around the conference room and we began to pray and intercede for the victims. Lesley McNulty, the co-founder of the ministry, shared with us a story that had happened a few weeks earlier. She and her husband Kevin were returning on an overseas flight to land at Atlanta Hartsfield airport. Just before reaching the coastline of America, she had a vision of a dark cloud covering the eastern seaboard of the U.S.. It now seems that we were seeing, in real time, the prophetic vision The Lord had given her. It all made sense now.

At that time I was still working for DHL Worldwide Express and knew we had a facility in the WTC. I wanted to check on a very close work friend Debbie Sweeney who worked right across the Hudson River at one of the DHL facilities located in New Jersey.

Later in the day, I called her and found out she was okay. I will never forget the fear and terror I heard in her voice, as she described what she had seen from the New Jersey side of the Hudson river.

Debbie related to watching the fire and smoke rise across the Hudson River and ultimately seeing the buildings fall. Dealing with the masses of people that were evacuating the New York City on foot across any bridge or tunnel that would get take them.

She also mentioned that the DHL office at WTC was okay with no loss of life since the office was located in a side building on the WTC complex, not in the twin towers.

Being caught on the other side of the country from my home in Arizona, I didn't know what to really do. Flights were all cancelled for days. The westbound train was already booked for the next two weeks. They were not selling tickets even on a "standing room only" basis. Rental cars were not available to drive from Florida to Arizona without and incredible drop-off penalty. Or they not allowed to leave the Florida entirely. I was to sit still.

That night at the McNulty's home we watched the replay of the planes crashing into to buildings, them falling and the people fleeing from the falling debris. It felt like a never ending nightmare. We were all just numb.

By Saturday, Southwest Airlines announced they would have limited flights available. I decided it was time to try to get a flight back to Phoenix. One of my problems was that I had flown out to Florida on an Interline ticket from DHL. This was like a "Buddy Pass" but for airline employees. I would be the last one to be able to get on the flight after all the paying passengers had been accommodated.

To be honest, it was with some in trepidation that I wanted to fly anywhere. But it was time to return home and I believed the Holy Spirit would guide my steps. If I wasn't to be on that particular flight, I wouldn't board it.

The only way to explain the atmosphere in Orlando International airport was tense or nervous. Absolutely everyone was looking at everyone else with fear and suspicion. The ticket agents and the boarding personnel watched the waiting passengers for anything out of the ordinary. We watched each other.

Since this was one of the first flights of Southwest Airlines moving from the east coast to the west, no one really knew when it was actually going to arrive. It had only been earlier in the morning that SWA knew that they were going to be able to have any limited repositioning flights.

We all waited patiently in the boarding area for what would end up being about four hours. We had no choice. No one was going to say complain about anything. The atmosphere was much to tense to want to cause someone to "notice" you.

The plane arrived from it's point of origin about ninety minutes late but no one complained. Everyone just wanted to get home. The SWA ticket agents began the process of finally handing out our plastic colored and numbered boarding passes. They had withheld them until they were absolutely sure we had flight was going out.

Amazingly, I was able to board nearly at the beginning of the loading process. I'll never forget the looks of concern from the flight attendants at the jet's door. Since I was one of the first, the plane was virtually empty when I started down the aisle to pick my seat.

I went about a third of the way down the aisle and picked a row of seats on the plane's left side. I sat down in the aisle seat and immediately jumped back up. It seemed as soon as I my butt hit the seat, I knew I was not to sit there. My reaction was so quick and startling to me, that I noticed even the flight attendant become startled at my action. Remember, everyone was nervous and on edge for anything unusual. What I did was clearly unusual and hard to explain.

Yet, I grabbed my bag from the overhead locker and slowly moved down the aisle. When I got to the back third of the plane, I took a seat on the plane's right side and the aisle seat again.

The plane loaded uneventfully. The plane was nearly full but no one had joined me in my row. I had two empty seats next to me. A married couple were nearly the last to enter the plane an naturally, they wanted to sit together on this flight. Their hope of sitting together wained as they walked down the aisle. Strangely, every seat was taken, except for the two next to me. They couldn't believe their eyes when they saw these two open seats together.

The plane was eerily quiet even fully loaded. No one was speaking. If they did it was in muted tones or whispers. My guess was that everyone thought there was a possibility that they might die on this flight.

I got up from my seat to allow the couple to enter the row and we all settled down, buckled up and waited for the push back and engine start. It was very still on the plane. No babies crying, no restless children, no noise.

As we taxied to the active runway, we were cleared for take-off immediately. After all, there was very little traffic on the airport or in the air. We were only one of a handful of flights in the area.

As the pilot ran up the engines to full power for take-off, I noticed the woman next to me tightly holding her husband's hand. I also "knew" or sensed that she was praying even though you couldn't hear her. Probably many people were praying even if they had never done so before.

We were airborne and the flight attendants started to pass out snacks and drinks. Still, the normal humor and easy going style of the SWA flight attendants was missing. The passengers also were still subdued.

As we made progress across the country, I noticed that the lady sitting next to me was reading a Dr. Dobson newsletter. Yes, she was obviously a Christian. Yes, she was praying during take-off. I mentioned the newsletter and she engaged me in conversation. We established that we were all Christians. She mentioned that it was amazing to find two seats together for her and her husband.

I told her my side of the story on how it came to be. We agreed that God had a plan for us. This row of seats were "reserved" for us.

The couple departed the flight at Austin, Texas, our only stop on the way to Phoenix. During the flight we talked about things Christians all talk about. Just before they left, we exchanged business cards with the promise to keep in touch. And although it has been a little more time in between contacts, we still stay in touch and they receive my First Step Ministry newsletter. In fact she is part of the First Step Ministries prayer team.

Over time, everyone on the flight seemed to loosen up a bit and relax. My continued flight and arrival in Phoenix was uneventful. It was good to be home and back to normal. But it seemed to me that fear and sadness from this event, hit everyone on the east coast much more than the west coast.

For me this event will be one of those times in my life that I will never forget.

And today, as in every year since I have been in Germany, on the anniversary of 9-11, my American flag flies from my balcony here in Germany. In a way, it is an act of defiance against those that would try to take our freedoms away from us.

Larry Blakeslee

27 July 2010

Tosimies / Finnish Christian Men's Magazine

A few posting back I mentioned a surprise that I wanted to share with you. Some of you may have seen this on my Facebook Wall so it is a repeat for you.

It is always interesting to see how God can really surprise and bless us in some interesting or unexpected ways.


Since December 2009, I have been writing articles for a Christian Men's magazine in Finland called Tosimies. ("Tosimies" translates as "Real Men".)  The series of articles are called "Leaving a Legacy". Each article offers step-by-step ideas of how men can minister to and encourage their children.

Every writer wants to see his work published. It helps validate the time you spend working at your craft. When this opportunity came I was understandably excited and knew that God had arranged it. I also understood that it came with a responsibility.

First, to pray and seek God on how and what He wanted me to write. Second, to write with clarity since they are translated into the Finnish language. Cliches and idioms in American English do not translate well in other languages. And third, the ultimate goal was to be a blessing to the Finnish people so they and their children can have a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.

My First Time
I was excited to visit Finland for the first time this past April. A couple of other guys and I went there to minister. Two of the meetings were for men only and the third was a regular Sunday service. For the first time, I was going to meet the very people that I had been writing the articles for and it was exciting. The meetings went great. The Finnish people were wonderful.

After I returned to Bonn, the publisher of Tosimies, Kimmo Janas, emailed me the June issue of the magazine cover. To my surprise I was on it. Kimmo has a sense of humor and I thought it was just a mock up or a joke. But having fun with it I sent it off to my sons Shawn and William with a funny comment from me. William emailed me back asking if it was real. I actually did not know. I really thought it was joke. But I decided to email Kimmo and ask him if it was or not. Kimmo quickly replied that if I gave him permission, it would be the real cover for the June issue. WOW! Honestly I was shocked and pleased and surprised and... I didn't know what to think. I gave Kimmo permission and emailed Shawn and William that the cover was real.The boys seemed to think it was cool too.

The Finnish Parliament
It has been a blessing to write these articles. But if that was not enough, I had another unexpected surprise. Kimmo told me that copies of magazine are sent to all 200 members of the Finnish Parliament. My hope is that they will read it and bless their children too. 

The Cover Pic
A few weeks ago my hard copy of the magazine came in the mail. Kimmo had done a story about the ministry that happened that April weekend. It featured the team and the churches that we visited.
It reconfirms that God can really do some interesting things for us. He can get things done instantly, when we may struggle with for years trying to accomplish.


This also did something else. For Shawn, William, my grand kids and my close friends in America, it helped confirm the last eight years as a missionary living 5,000 miles away from them

The Story Behind the Cover Picture
In the picture, at the very bottom you see a little girl with her hands up. This happened during my last meeting. I was nearly at the end of my message when this little girl and her little brother ran up the center aisle from the very back of the church and started dancing around in the front.

The little boy quickly jumped on the "kneeler" and then up on the stage. I was caught off guard but was more surprised because after about five minutes nobody did anything to come and get them. Okay seizing the moment, I mentioned again, to the congregation, about  our responsibility to cultivate the "gifts and callings" in our children. I told the audience that obviously the little boy was a future preacher and the little girl a worship leader.The congregation enjoyed that comment. Eventually the kids were retrieved by the parents and the service finished. God sometimes works in mysterious ways. And God is always for us.

Blessings,
Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe and Asia

More Info:
Tosimies Magazine  www.tosimies-lehti.fi

15 July 2010

You're Gonna Do WHAT?

Today I am going to share with you a non-ministry story that is dedicated to my sons, Shawn and William and grand kids, Antonella, Bradley and Hailey. This story is meant to encourage them and you, to have dreams that are beyond your age and imagined limitations.

Many years ago, on today date, July 14, and at the age of 17 years old, the Federal Aviation Agency check pilot climbed out of my plane and congratulated me on passing my flight test and earning my Private Pilots Certificate. What an achievement. The quest started around May when a high school buddy told me that he had recently started flying lessons at the airport.

We talked about it but I had not considered it even though I lived near the airport. In fact, small planes flew over my house constantly as they entered the traffic pattern to land. Flying a plane? Never really gave them a thought. I wonder if I could do that too. The seed had been planted. Many times after school he and I went to the airport and I watched him take his lessons in a little two place Cessna 150.


The Hurdle
If he can do this so can I. We both came from average middle class families with no extra money for this kind of activity. But a bigger hurdle than the lack of money loomed on my horizon, it was my Italian mother.

Nearly every Friday night my family had a tradition of going to my dad's Elks Club for the Friday Night Fish Fry. I can't tell you the date that I sprung the big question but the event is still vivid in my memory. If the building still existed, I could show you the exact place we were seated.

It Was Time
I can remember the "pin drop" silence that surrounded our table when I announced that I wanted to take flying lessons.

Mind you, I hadn't been a problem kid for my parents. So I earned a lot of freedom at an early age. I also started earning money in the eighth grade collecting money as a parking lot attendant during the always hot Phoenix summers. My drivers license test was passed on my 16th birthday. My already old, all black 1939 Chevrolet two door "Martin Deluxe" was paid for and so was it's gas and insurance. I was a pretty responsible kid.

Back at the dinner table and for the first time in my life that I could remember, my mom was speechless.  I realized that I had stretched the "apron strings" far beyond their limit. Her first response was "You're gonna do WHAT?" Quickly followed by an empathic "NO!". Followed by a third rapid fire declaration, "You can die in those little planes."

The First One to Talk
Then there was the silence. It was another "pin drop" silence time at the table. My dad and sister had the wisdom to stay out of this discussion. The battle was between the typical Italian mother, always favored to win, and the impetuous "you are my only son" teenager. You really have to be Italian, Jewish or come from an other traditional family to understand the dynamics here. With unknown and unearned wisdom on my part, I stayed silent. It was what all good negotiators and sales people know, the first one to talk, looses.

Mom spoke first. She stated what she thought would be the final "death blow" to this idea. And a 16 year old teenager's "not completely thought out" fantasy. She said, "I'm not going to  pay for it." My retort was "You won't have to. I will and I will never ask you for any money." Her response was "If I allow you do this, I am not going to put one dime into it." She knew that this achievement, even in those days, was serious money my family didn't have. My desire overwhelmed logic and I told her, "You won't have too. I will do it all."

Later I realized her refusal to fund the lessons released her from any "blood money guilt" if something really did happen to me. It's Italian mom thinking.

Various odd jobs put money in my pocket for my very first lesson on July 4. Chief Flight Instructor Les Taylor from Saguaro Aviation at Sky Harbor Airport gave me my first lesson in a Cessna 150 which was registered as N1135Y. Funny the things you can remember.

By August 29 and in less than 7 flight hours, I soloed in another Cessna 150, N4219U. One year and ten days later on 14 July I had the first in a series of aviation licenses and ratings. By the way, I just checked the FAA registration and both planes are currently registered and I assume flying. I hope they are not "hanger queens."

My mom never put a dime into any of my flight training. Nobody did. Only the geeky, teenage kid with a strong desire to put the "surely bonds of the earth" below him as often as possible, made it happen. Something that I can always be proud of accomplishing.

My strong willed Italian mom became my biggest fan.To help me build flight time, every now and then, she would gather up her girl friends and arrange to have what pilots call is a $100 hamburger somewhere a couple of flying hours away. They got an expensive burger and I got the flying time. They also could brag about riding in one of those "little airplanes". My dad, on the other hand, was scared to death of flying in anything big or small. He actually went with me on a few local flights but it was not fun for him. But he at least tried doing it a couple of times.

If our desire is strong enough, we can really do anything. It might take longer than we think or hope. It might be in God's timing instead of ours. But it can be done. It CAN happen but we must have the dream to dream.

Blessings,

Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe & Asia

PS. I haven't forgotten my promise to surprise you. It will be in the next posting. It too is a dream fulfilled. This time God fulfilled it.

06 July 2010

The Near Future

The last blog post was too long to add all this info. Here's a quick look at my upcoming schedule.

The month of July, I'm not planning on traveling. I have a ton of "catch up" writing and planning to do, plus just normal stuff that has been delayed.

The month of August I will probably take a short trip to Switzerland to minister there.

In September I'm looking forward to returning to Finland for a week of preaching around the country and at couple of men's meetings. My friend, who is also my publisher, Kimmo Janas, is doing the planning for that trip. It will be great to be back in Finland again.

For October it looks like I'll be in Vienna, Austria for the Fellowship of European International Churches (FEIC) Summit meeting (Assembly of God) www.feic.org again and in Leysin, Switzerland for a few days at the Time of Refreshing Conference with American missionaries.

Also in October, the Europe Advance Team will host another Church Planters Roundtable (CPR) meeting in Germany. I and the other Europe Advance Lead Team members have already started working on that event.

For November, I'm praying and believing God for the finances to attend a Leadership meeting with a couple of German pastors at Pastor Bill Johnson's Bethel Church in Redding, California. www.iBethel.org I'm really looking forward to visiting this church for the first time. Everyone I know that has gone has been blessed.

Since I would be in the U.S. already I might be able to have a early Thanksgiving with my sons and their families. This would be the first Thanksgiving we would have together in many years.

I recently received an interesting blessing that only God could do. I'll share it with you in the next blog posting.

Blessings,
Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe & Asia

Further Info:

Fellowship of European International Churches
www.feic.org

Europe Advance
www.europeadvance.org

Bethel Church
www.iBethel.org

Travel, Travel, Travel

Travel, travel, travel but I'm not complaining. I am fulfilling my promise to update you on some of what has happened since my last impromptu blog posting in the McDonalds in Malmo, Sweden.

At the International Church in Malmo, I shared about every adult's responsibility to spiritually minister and nurture all of our children. It was well received and I look forward to being able to return and share more. I almost had an impromptu chance to record a radio show that the church sponsors on a local Malmo station but the timing just didn't work with the producer's schedule. We talked about doing it sometime in the future.

Since we were not going to record the radio program and I was so tired from all the travel the previous months, it was time to head home after church. The trip only took 10 hours but it was still a long day but at least I was home. I arrived just a little past midnight Sunday.

Christian Men's Network Meeting / Delft, Holland
By Friday I was on my way to a two day CMN meeting in Delft. Honestly, I really didn't want to leave town again after only being home for four days from Sweden, even if it was only a 3 hour drive. But I needed to attend if I wanted to be able to be part of leading the same type "Maximized Manhood" meeting in the future.

My Indonesian/Dutch friends and I had lunch with Indonesian, Pastor Eddy Leo. Pastor Eddy led the meetings. This man has a heart of gold and pastors a mega church in Jakarta. www.abbalove.org He strongly believes in and demonstrates the importance of church "Life Groups" and marketplace ministry. Because of the political and religious situation in Indonesia, his church is completely dependent on both of these ministry opportunities to reach the people of Indonesia.

Since this meeting was a Indonesian men's meeting in The Netherlands, the translations got interesting. Pastor Eddy preached in Indonesian, which was translated into Dutch, which was then translated into to English, by a South African guy. Talk about an "international" meeting.

It was great to participate in these meetings. The Holy Spirit really ministered to all the men including me. This was one rare time that I didn't take any pictures of really anything and it was okay. For me, it was a time to sit and receive.

Sunday morning I headed to Hilversum, The Netherlands and Pastor Sebastiaan Van Wessem's, 1000 Hills Church. www.thousandhills.cc Sebastiaan is part of the Europe Advance Church Planting Lead Team. www.europeadvance.org. Sebastiaan has a terrific church of about 300. The people are alive, joyful and seem to love life. Of course the day before, Holland unexpectedly won their soccer game and moved through to the next round of the World Cup Soccer tournament, that didn't hurt the environment.

After the Sunday service, I met with Dr. Edmae Chandoe. Edmae has offered to help the Europe Advance team in the administrative area. She is clearly "over qualified" for the job. Edmae leads her own strategy and planning company in The Netherlands. www.sbi.nl We discussed her future role and defined some areas of immediate need for the EA Team. It will be great working with her.

After the previous 15 & 10 hour road trips, the short 3 hour trip back home seemed too short. I just barely got "settled" in before arriving back at my apartment. There was one big benefit I failed to mention in the long road trips, I got caught up on listening to a backlog of teaching CD's I've wanted to hear to for a year. A long road trip does have it's benefits.

Blessings,
Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe & Asia

Further Info:

Pastor Eddy Lou
www.abbalove.org

Pastor Sebastiaan van Wessem
www.thousandhills.cc

Europe Advance
www.europeadvance.org

Dr. Edmae Chandoe
www.sbi.nl

13 June 2010

Sweden Wrap Up

I'm sitting in a McDonald's this Sunday morning in Malmo, Sweden. I've checked out of my hotel and am getting ready to head to church in Malmo. Today wraps up a busy 12 days in Sweden.

It started off a bit rocky. I got sick the Sunday night, the 30th May, before my departure from Klaipeda, Lithuania to head back home to Rolandseck. I was supposed to drive up to Stenungsund, Sweden the next day for the Europe Advance / Church Planters Meeting, that didn't happen. I couldn't get very far from my bathroom, no less a very long drive.

Wednesday, I thought I was fine until the middle of the night when "it" started up again. How frustrating. Finally, I made a "faith & executive" decision. My bags were packed, the car ready to go, and my new GPS, I call "Sarah" programmed for the trip. I decided I would go as far as I could go knowing that I didn't really want to be stuck on the autobahn "needing" a rest stop facility. The first four hours of the drive my stomach was upside down. By noon, it seemed to settle down a bit and I was really on my way.

"Sarah" told me that it would take about 10 hours of driving but "she" forgot to figure a 45 minutes ferry ride and the 60 minute wait for the ferry to arrive. The entire drive from my house to my host families house took 15+ hours. I really couldn't have done it without "Sarah". (You can see this is going to be the start of a running joke about "Sarah" in my future blogs.)

All the other EA Lead Team members were already in Stenungsund and getting ready for a meeting. Well my only choices were to arrive late or not arrive at all. I elected late was better than not at all. It proved to be the right decision.

The Europe Advance / Church Planters meeting went very well. We had about forty interested people attend the three day meeting. I met more neat people and some of God's most beautiful creations imaginable. (I'll post some pics later when I get back home. You don't want to miss these.)

While in Stenungsund, I stayed with two different Swedish families. They were terrific hosts. Since I have literally not stopped traveling since around 16 February, I decided I was going to take a few days off for "mini-vacation". Actually, I just needed to stop moving long enough to spend some "face time" with God. Traveling and keeping busy is great when you're serving Him but you can easily "run dry" yourself ministering and "doing" for everybody else.

During the meetings the weather was great which we really needed. When the meetings ended, so did the sunshine and the rain began. My Swedish friends told me that it can either be a rainy June or sunny June. Looks like it was going to be a rainy June.

It either sprinkled, rained or down poured every day starting in early afternoon. So it really didn't matter what time you got out, it was going to rain. At least I had plenty of daylight available. The sun is up at 04:30 a.m. and down at 11:30 p.m. Now that's a weird feeling. I think it's actually harder than jet lag.

It was still worthwhile for me to stop. I took my little car to a nearby harbor, parked it and read, read and read some more. Listened to music and teachings on my iPod and took lots of pictures of incredible things God and man had made.

Someone suggested I drive to an old fishing village named Smogen. I got up and out early and drove there. I locked in an historical church site in "Sarah" (the GPS) and we drove there to find a 100 year old sailor's church. It was simple and beautiful. I decided it was time to stop there and just get some quiet time before "sightseeing". I had an unexpected "God moment" in that quaint red brick church I don't think I will forget. Our Heavenly Father is amazing.

I spent the whole day in Smogen driving back late that evening. It was incredible and I was "catching up" on some needed rest.

Yesterday, I left Stenungsund for the four hour drive to Malmo. The wind started blowing like crazy in the middle of the night. It kept up for the entire drive south. 30+ mph cross winds and on and off driving rain storm kept me and my little car occupied.

30 kilometers outside of Malmo and it all ended as suddenly as it began. The wind was still blowing but deep blue skies and a bright sun filled the sky above me. I met my friends the Jonsson's at their church. Had some coffee, dinner and finally headed back to my motel room.

So, now it's time to shut down the laptop and head to church. I don't know if I'm going to head back home for the 10+ hour drive today after church and just push it or stay overnight and head out in the morning. We'll see what happens at church.

Okay, this is going to be one of those blogs I'm just going to push out and publish, hoping that I haven't made any big editing mistakes. Forgive me if I have. I promise to post some pics as soon as possible when back at home.

All of God's blessings from Malmo, Sweden.

Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe and Asia

03 June 2010

The Baltic Christian Men's Network Meetings / May 2010

The following are random pics from a recent ten day trip for Christian Mens Network, Europe to Riga, Latvia, Tallinn, Estonia, Klaipeda, Lithuania and Hamburg, Germany. Pastor Paul Cole from CMN USA was the primary speaker.


New Generation, Christian Russian Church in Riga, Latvia.
The service was televised to Latvia.


CMN Meeting / Tallin, Estonia


Christian Russian Church in Hamburg, Germany



The church in Klaipeda, Lithuania,

Powerful worship and great people



Blessings,
Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe & Asia

More info:
Christian's Mens Network Europe
www.cmneurope.org

Christian Mens Network
www.cmnworld.com

First Step Ministries.Net
www.firststepministries.net

21 May 2010

All Access 2010 / Baton Rouge, Louisiana

The following are samples of pics taken at the Association of Related Churches, church planting conference called "All Access 2010". It was held in April at The Healing Place Church, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.



Louisiana Zydeco Music with dinner


Good Eatin' Crayfish and all things Cajun.




These guys were part of my "crew". L-R, Zoran and Thomas
from Sweden and Rande from Germany, all pastors.









Overall it was a great event. With lots of terrific people wanting to build the Kingdom of God.

For more info:
Association of Related Churches
Healing Place Church, Baton Rouge, Louisiana


Blessings,
Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe & Asia