October was a busy ministry month with a lot going on in many areas. Two annual meetings that I look forward to attending were the "Time of Refreshing" Conference in Leysin, Switzerland and the "Fellowship of International Churches Pastor's Summit near Vienna, Austria. Sandwiched in between these meetings was my Europe Advance, Church Planters Roundtable in Zurich.
Time of Refreshing
|The TOR "Class" of 2011|
This conference is an annual blessing to American missionaries by providing a few days of "R & R" at no cost to them. Their room & board is paid by gracious donors from America. The only financial responsibility the missionaries have is to pay for their transportation to and from Leysin. Sometimes you just need a break in the middle of the battle. The Time of Refreshing Conference in Leysin provides one of those times.
Europe Advance / Church Planters Roundtable
|Pastor Joe Champion|
Pastor Joe Champion, from Celebration Church, in Austin, Texas, was our guest speaker for the weekend meetings. Pastor Joe spoke extensively on the spiritual preparation aspect of church planting. He gave some great insights into what he found had to be done in order to have a successful church plant. We had 20+ potential church planters attend, who came from Germany, Switzerland, France, Netherlands and even a pastor from St. Petersburg, Russia.
FEIC Pastor's Summit
With the CPR finished, next up was a short flight from Zurich to Vienna for the Fellowship of European International Churches, Pastor's Summit. The ride from the Vienna airport to the Gutenstein, in the Austrian Alps was less than a two hours. Once you get off the autobahn and into the mountain roads, the scenery turns incredible. The Fall colors were showing at the higher elevations. It was just beautiful driving through some of the small Austrian villages surrounded by the brilliantly colored leaves and pastoral meadows. God's creation is just amazing.
We had just under 50 missionary pastors attend representing their international churches all over Europe. International churches are defined as churches that have individual church services not only in the local language but other languages also. They use the same facilities at other times and days to reach those specific people groups in their own mother tongue. Most of the pastors are from the Assembly of God missions group but FEIC is open to connecting with anyone building God's Kingdom in Europe.
This was my third year to attend and every year there is a different "texture" to the meetings. This year it seems that many were in transition and saw the transition as completing the next step in God's plan for their lives and ministries. We had two worship teams come and bless us, one from Louisiana and the other from Florida. Both were "dialed-in" to the Holy Spirit and led us in tremendous praise and worship. Our prayer times were intense and so were the fun times. It was a great meeting. It was great to build new relationships inside this group every year.
|Lawrence Blakeslee sharing at FEIC|
Pastor Terry Hoggard asked me to share with the group about the goals of Europe Advance had for building the Kingdom. Plus, I was able to share about my new project that God has been "percolating" in my heart for the children's pastors and children's workers in Europe. I'll share more about it soon.
Overall, the trip was intense, effective, beneficial and worth the lack of sleep until I got back home and slept in my own bed. (We all understand this one don't we.)
The Upcoming New Year
It's hard to believe that we are at the threshold of a new year. Amazing to realize how fast time flies for all of us.It is going to be an exciting time for the Body of Christ to rise up in 2012. As people and nations recognize the fragility of countries, governments, economic systems and the easy loss of individual freedom. God is there, stable and available to get all of us through every test and trial, if we ask Him.
Blessings from Bonn,
Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe & Asia
For More Information:
Europe Advance / European Church Planting
Fellowship of European International Churches
Pastor Joe Champion / Celebration Church
Power House Church