14 December 2012

Emma Update

The "Reward"
A quick update on Emma. The surgery went incredibly well. It lasted around two hours, much less time than expected.

She's doing great. The family is doing great. Now the recuperation period begins.

Prayer does work. Thanks everyone for keeping this incredible young lady in your prayers. Don't stop now. We're believing for an equally fast recovery. 

Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe

11 December 2012

Prayers for Emma

A close family friend of mine that needs of your prayers this Thursday, 13 December.

Emma is a 14 year old teenager that is having major spinal cord untethering surgery for spina bifada. If you knew Emma's history, you would see that she is a living example of God's miracle power and love. This will be the third time in her short lifetime that she has needed to have this surgery.

Her mother Michelle describes the surgical procedure best.
"When she was born her spinal cord was sticking up out of her back and they went in and tethered it down, or sewed it is... so now it is in scar tissue. So they have to release the spinal cord that is in the scar tissue. It is a long process that goes millimeter by millimeter... so they test the nerves before the cut and release them."

Michelle goes on to say, "Please specifically pray that she will gain function. The doctor said there is a 30% risk of loss of function and there is a 30% chance of gain in function. We are believing for the 30% gain. God is in total control. We have peace. Knowing that it is all OK."

After 4 or 5 days of recovery in the hospital, there is an extensive 5 to 7 day recovery period at  home. The family could use your prayers for the friends and family that will help provide after-care for Emma. This family also provides care to a number of foster children that are in residence at their house. 

Pray that the surgery goes without problems, the doctors and the operating room staff have the mind of Christ as they perform this very lengthy and delicate surgery. Also pray for the close friends and family that will be providing care and support for Emma's during her home recovery period.

Emma's family and I thank you for your prayers.

Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe  

23 October 2012

New International Church - Biel, Switzerland

Retracing Steps
The trip continues as I finished the Time of Refreshing Conference in Leysin., It was a short drive down the mountain from Leysin to Biel, at least that was the plan. At about half way to Biel, I pulled over at a rest stop to stretch my legs, looked back in the back seat of my car to realize I left my hangup bag in the closet of my hotel room back in Leysin. Amazing... How did I do that?  I wasn't in a rush. No pressure to get on the road. Just plain forgot to check the closet before I went out the door with the rest of my bags.

So now it's time to turn around and backtrack the already traveled 100 km, (66 miles) back up the mountain. I tried to call a couple of friends hoping that they were still at the hotel and could just bring the hangup bag down with them and we'd connect some where. Not happening this time. Everybody is off the hill and heading their own directions. There's no other choice than to retrace that part of the trip.

The ride back up and down the mountain was as uneventful as the original trip so I retrieved the bag and retraced my steps. When you're paying over $7.50+ / gallon for gas, it really makes you think twice, even in my little fuel efficient car.

Really Mom, I Wasn't Lost.
Arriving in Biel, brought back some interesting memories. The very first time I had ever been in Biel was as an eight year old. My mom had brought my older sister and I there for a summer vacation. I still have some incredible memories of being in the city as a child. I played in a small playground near the river that flows through the city. Walked the streets bored as my mom and sister shopped for girl stuff. I got really bored one

day and decided that I was going to go back to the park and play while they shopped for lace table clothes.

The  problem was I was eight years old. BUT I had a great sense of direction and no fear. I walked away without saying a word. I headed back to the park to play, watched as milk wagons from the countryside come into town to drop off their fresh milk for processing. It was a happy day for me. It was a little kid's adventure.

Unfortunately not for my mom. She clearly and understandably panicked, started searching and back tracking. She eventually found me sitting on the hallway floor outside our hotel room. She would have killed me if she could but was too happy to find me okay, to carry out the deed right then and there. (I didn't do take any unauthorized adventures the rest of the summer.)  I also remember getting sick from eating too many fresh cherries. Frustrating my mom because I had to put my hands in every water fountain as we pass in France, Switzerland and Italy. (I am a "waterbaby".) It was a memorable trip for an eight year old boy.

Big "Kid's" Adventure
Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
It was interesting to realize that those many years ago, I would return to this city to preach in a church in Biel, but God did. Kinda amazing.

Next stop was at Pastor John Sagoe's New International Church in Biel, Switzerland. My schedule included talking about children's ministry and my Kids Ministry Network on Saturday at the School of Ministry. The ministry students were very excited to hear about the Kids Ministry Network and how they and their respective churches will be able to participate in the network.

Pastor John Sagoe
The Sunday service was a Family Service. My message was about parents becoming actively involved in their own children's spiritual development. They had some of the kids singing with the Praise and Worship Team at the beginning of the service. This was a moment the kids won't forget and could also mark a time in their lives that gifts and anointing get revealed in a public setting for the first time.

Kids involved in worship.
We need to allow our children to show these talents God has placed in them. I am passionate about children's ministry and even more passionate about children reaching their full spiritual potential. Children need the direct involvement of their parents, especially their fathers, in their own children's spiritual development.

 After preaching the Sunday service, I met with the churches' children's workers for some informal training, sharing and brainstorming.

Pastor John Sagoe has an incredible heart for children. Not only the children in Biel but in Ghana, Africa also. He runs a number of orphanages there. He has invited me to go to Ghana with him and minister to the children and the workers. I am seriously praying about it.

It was great to be at New International Church in Biel and look forward to returning.

Next stop, a flight from Zurich to Vienna to participate in the annual Fellowship of European International Churches, Pastor's Summit meeting held in the Austrian Alps at Gutenstein, Austria.

More to come.

First Step Ministries, Net

New International Church, Biel, Switzerland

Fellowship of European International Churches

Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe

18 October 2012

Time of Refreshing Conference

It's been a busy few weeks. Went to my annual Time of Refreshing Conference of American Missionaries in Leysin, Switzerland a last week. It is always good to reconnect with old friends and make new ones. For some reason, this year, I paid much closer attention to the long term missionaries that have been serving God and fulfilling their "Call" for 20+ years. There were a number of them.

Some missionaries have been in the field for over 30 years. It is amazing to hear their stories. It should not be a surprise that the same challenges I have faced in 10+ years in the field are re-occurring events they faced years ago. It also seems that they "survived" them and grew stronger in their walk with The Lord because of them. I am not saying that God sent them these challenges. I am saying that their spiritual growth became deeper because of them. Their and my understanding of God's faithfulness grew because of walking through these challenges.

This year's theme was the Gifts of  God. We had a "mass" Birthday Celebration for everyone.

This year we only had one clear day and it was beautiful.
Never too young to worship God.
Take the challenges of the day in stride, walk them out, don't quit and get victory over them. In the long run, the  pain of those challenges will fade but the internal spiritual strength you gain will stay and serve you well in future challenges. Yes, their will be future challenges until we enter heaven.

Blessings from Leysin,

Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe.

02 October 2012

A Thread

Thought this was the coolest video to share with you. It's called "The Thread". If you can't see the embedded video below here is the link:

Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe

18 September 2012

Update: Praying for Fellow Missionary

On 11 September blog, I asked you to prayer for a fellow missionary, Melinda Henderson. Melinda was facing biopsies for possible live cancer. She had already beat cancer before when this new "challenge" raised it's ugly head again.

I am more than happy to report that she got her lab reports back today... VICTORY! (in Jesus)

Here's what Melinda wrote:
The liver biopsy came back only as liver tissue and the breast biopsy came back that we are looking at two precancerous lesions. They suggest that I have those removed but it will not be any invasive surgery. We will follow up on that one step at a time.

Thank you Father for your healing and protective power over all of us.

There's not much more I can say or add to this great report, so I won't. Except, thank you to those that prayed for her and her family during this test.

Blessings from Bonn,
Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe

11 September 2012

Standing & Praying for Fellow Missionary

It recently came to my attention that a fellow missionary Melinda Henderson has been confronted with another possible attack of cancer. Melinda and Larry Henderson pastor a large church in Vienna, Austria. They and their children have been Assembly of God missionaries for years. 

Here is what a mutual friend recently wrote:

Melinda has battled cancer in the past and we've seen the Lord miraculously intervene in her life. During a recent checkup Melinda was told by her doctor that he has seen three new tumors which he believes are cancerous. The one in her liver is believed to have metastasized from the colon cancer she had two years ago. Melinda is scheduled to undergo two biopsies of the areas on September 12th.
Melinda recently wrote: "I don´t know the reason to walk through this again but I know WHO has the answer and I am confident of His great plan! We will not accept this first diagnosis until God says it is settled. We will take this step by step and follow the necessary procedures but our prayer is that the tumors be dissolved before I go in on the 12th or that they are confirmed to be benign."
Melinda clearly knows the power of God in her life and her previous healing. Stand with me as I stand with them knowing who our Healer is in our lives. 
Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe.  

Never Forget

We must never forget the tragedy that struck our country, America 11 years ago today. Most importantly, we need to share our personal testimonies with our children and grandchildren so they have a clear understanding of the actual history of this day as it unfolded. If we do this, it will help prevent the re-writing of history to fit the the possibly "politically correct" future they will live in.

Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe

28 August 2012

Reinvention and Re-Direction

First Step Ministries History
This past April 26 I celebrated my 10th year in full-time ministry. From then to now, First Step Ministries, Inc. has gone through a number of changes and directions in ministry. At about the five year mark in Germany, I seemed to be led back into more direct involvement with children's ministry.

This evolved into ministry to men and fathers in a unique way. As a dad, grandfather and a children's pastor, I realized that most kids do not receive any spiritual training at home. In my message, I asked the men to commit to training and praying with their children on a regular basis. It was important to encourage the men and let them know that they did not have to be in "full-time ministry" before they could do it. And if they did it, it would be the most important legacy they could leave for their children.

The Next Step
During one of those meetings I met a Finnish man who publishes a bi-monthly Christian Men's Magazine in Finland called Tosimes Lehti. I emailed him and asked if he would be interested in publishing an article about this concept. He immediately replied asking if I could have an article ready for his next issue. He also asked how many would I like to write. I was excited. Without having anything really ready, I wasn't going to pass up this opportunity. I said yes and we agreed that I would write for a year and decide if we both wanted to continue. This December 2012 will be three years of writing for Tosimies Lehti.

As I traveled throughout Europe and Asia, I saw many churches who actually "babysit" their children instead of teaching them during the main service. Teaching young children the Gospel seems to be more a little more accepted in America than Europe. There are many reasons for this situation.

Some did not have curriculum available to them in their language. Others just didn't have the basic training needed to teach the children and some it was a cultural issue. No doubt people that work with children love them. It is hard enough to get volunteers. But many of them have not been shown the potential their children have to learn both basic and deep spiritual principles.    

The Solution = Reinvention and Re-Direction of First Step Ministries
Recognizing this problem, led me to think about how the European children's workers could receive in-service training. How could they also modify or create culturally and context relevant curriculum for their children.

The idea struck me to try and network the "those that have" with "those that didn't". I know some incredible children's ministry teachers. And I have met those that have a heart but no training. This can work!

Free Mainstream Christian Kids Curriculum
Here's the goal:

  • Adapt existing, copyright free curriculum could be done at a regional or language level
  • Create context and culturally relevant curriculum 
  • Train children's workers how to develop their own curriculum
  • Receive free or very inexpensive in-service training in their own language 
  • Provide open access to translated curriculum and training into their mother tongue available to everyone
  • Create a pool of peer-to-peer trainers based regionally that would provide cost effective training

For two years, I've thought about how to get this done. Everyone agrees it is a great idea. I wrote a basic business plan including a vision and mission statement. It has become the foundation for what is now an incredible concept.

Fresh Eyes = Fresh Ideas
Recently, I lunch with some of my past DHL friends. I shared my concept about the network. They loved it. When they heard the details, it was like an "idea bomb" went off at our table. They started contributing tremendous ideas on how to expand the concept. It was exciting. Fresh eyes with fresh ideas can really made an impact.

We have solidified the ideas into an action plan. A volunteer team is forming based on their skills. Everyone has some part to contribute but many more skills are needed.

Need a Website Developer
The biggest project is to find someone or a team that can build an extensive website. We already know the various functions it will need. 
  • Translated pages in every common European language
  • Forums where everyone can connect to share problems and solutions. 
  • A page to download translated printed curriculum in the various European languages. 
  • Eventually the ability to download audio and video training available in various languages. All of this based on translated pages in common European languages.
  • Moderators to help users in their mother tongue. 
If you know of someone that would like to volunteer their time and expertise in this or any area, please let me know.  You can Facebook me "Larry Blakeslee" or email me at Larry@FirstStepMinistries.net  

God's Ideas Coming Together
This is going to be much bigger and involved than I first thought. But the impact on ministering the Gospel to the children in Europe is going to be incredible.

Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe

02 August 2012

Short & Sweet Update

 I won't begin to make excuses for how long it's been since I've blogged. There are plenty of them and all very "legitimate". Rather, I've been feeling guilty about having a "season" where this blog has not been a top priority.

Last weekend I was with some new Finnish missionaries sharing my thoughts about what it takes to be a full-time missionary. The topic of communications came up. How and when do we send out newsletter, blog, Tweet, etc. As I spoke to them, I felt "guilt or conviction" about my own lack of communication. So it's time to "recommit" and get consistent with updating you on all that is going on and has been going on in my life and ministry. There really is plenty to tell. Since we're all busy, I'm going to try to do this in bullet points.

The Update

  • End of 2011: Happy to see 2011 go away. It was the clearly toughest year I've had in ministry. Everyone in the U.S. is having a tough time and it understandably reflected on their giving to overseas missionaries. (Including me.)
  • Start of 2012: Off to a little rocky start but God did some incredible financial miracles. 
  • January - March: God confirmed and re-confirmed my idea to network children's workers in Europe. He would NOT let me walk away from this idea. More info and details to come on that topic.
  • April: Great God directed connections to people that could help build the network.
  • May: Finally after not being able to return to the U.S. for two years, I get back. No attempt to minister anywhere in the U.S. I needed the time personally. In Phoenix, nearly every hour was dedicated to getting personal tasks done. Work on my rental house, major dental work, new glasses and I passed my next level up test of Amateur Radio License.
  • June: Off to the East Coast to visit my two sons and three grand kids. One in North Carolina and the other in Florida. Again, no ministry time, just much needed family time. Two years is too long for me not to see and hug them. We had soooo much fun together. They needed their dad and grandpa. I needed them to remember what's important in life. 
  • July: Back to Bonn. Refreshed, good attitude adjustment and ready to jump on the kids network project with maximum energy. 
  • August: Recommitted to blogging and communicating more. Team building for the kids ministry network. Prep time for promotional media for the kids network and two conferences in October. Still writing a series of articles for the Finnish Christian Mens magazine called Tosimes.  
Proud dad Shawn and new 7th grader Antonella

William, Hailey & Bradley

Blessings from Bonn,
Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe

09 May 2012

In The States

In Phoenix
I arrived back in the States last Monday evening after being gone two years. (At least one year too long.) Currently I'm in Phoenix getting some things done on my house here and major dental work. I'll be here for about a month before heading to the East Coast to see my sons and grand kids. Really looking forward to that time with them. We're all excited to be reconnecting after a two year absence. We're blessed with the technology, like Skype, webcam and emails but still... it doesn't take the place of face to face contact, read hugs here.

A couple of previous posts ago, I briefly mentioned that I was going to give you some incredible news about First Step Ministries, next step. I am working on it but there is so much to share I want to get it all correct. I can give you a hint that it continues with ministering to children in Europe in a much bigger and more dynamic way. (Is that enough of a tease?)

In a couple of hours I'm heading to the dentist for some major work. Never looked forward to going to the dentist but there is a time, now, which I am looking forward to taking care of some much needed work. 

Tomorrow and for the next few days I'll be working on my house. The first couple of weeks clearly are going to be very busy with practical stuff. The "blanks" in my schedule are filled with meeting old and making new friends both in and out of the ministry.

Blessings from Phoenix,
Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe

17 April 2012

New Mailing Address

It's been awhile since I've posted anything here. That doesn't mean that there isn't a lot going on in the background. I'll catch everyone up later.

Most importantly I wanted to let everyone know about First Step Ministries new mailing address in Arizona. 

Effective Immediately

The New Mailing Address:
First Step Ministries, Inc.
PO Box 1061
Glendale, AZ  85311-1061

The Old Address
First Step Ministries, Inc.
POB 56603
Phoenix, Arizona 85079

The Post Office will forward mail to the new address for a number of weeks but please update your records.
Keep those "cards & letters" coming. Everything else remains the same. Only the post office box has changed to make it easier on my administrator, David Fyke.

Thanks again for your continued support during these challenging times for everyone.

Blessings from Bonn,
Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe

03 November 2011

Last Month's Activities

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
The "Time of Refreshing" Conference was attended by American missionaries living and ministering in Europe. Attendance was a bit down from previous years because of the economy. Many missionaries have left Europe this past year because of the loss or serious reduction of support to keep them on the mission field. I have experienced this challenge first hand this year. This was an on-going topic of discussion at the meeting together this year.

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
TOR ended on Friday morning and I drove to down from the Swiss Alps to Zurich to get the Europe Advance, Church Planters Roundtable (CPR) meeting ready. I transitioned from "attendee" to "Lead Team Member" as I helped get the CPR meeting ready to welcome Europe's future church planters.

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

11 October 2011

Meeting in Malmo

Last month, I ministered at International Christian Fellowship Church in Malmo, Sweden. The City of Malmo is located just 10 miles or 14 km from Copenhagen, Denmark. While in Malmo, At the same time, I was invited to do a couple of radio shows on a Christian radio station in Malmo. This FM station broadcasts programs in English is also heard  in Copenhagen and streamed on the Internet.

It was a quick, busy and powerful weekend. It started at 3:00a.m Saturday morning with an hour plus drive from home to Dusseldorf airport. In the European Union no flights depart before 06:30a.m.. As I entered the airport terminal it was a real surprise to see literally a thousand people standing in two lines approaching the first security checkpoint. The line moved along okay as they checked tickets before the detailed screening. It's only a little over an hour flight to Copenhagen. Upon arrival it was down to the train platform for the short ride to Malmo. One of the best things about traveling in Europe is the combined inter-connected transportation modes at every airport.

Producer Mats Jonsson (L)and Larry Blakeslee (R)
My friend Mats Jonsson picked me up and drove me to the hotel to check-in and then off to the radio station to record the programs. Being at Europorten FM 89.2 radio station brought back old memories when I worked in broadcasting years ago in Arizona. I met Producer Juliene Munts who was going to interview me for the first show. The interview show was a mix of talk and music. We discussed how parents can leave a legacy for their children if they will train their children on how to have a relationship with God.

After the first show, Juliene and Mats, who is also producer asked me to do an unplanned third show. The second and third shows were just me sharing more about a legacy and my heart about the potential God has placed in our children. We arrived at the radio station at 11:00a.m. and left at 4:00p.m.. It was a long day for me since it started at 3:00a.m.. I needed a nap and needed to get some quiet time to prepare for the day's Sunday service.

International Christian Fellowship Church, Malmo, Sweden
Sunday was another great day. The English and Filipino churches decided to have a combined service. The Filipino's did worship and I spoke. For a couple of years now, God has kept my messages focused on parents being proactively engaged in the spiritual training of their children. When I am doing a men's meeting it really becomes focused on a dad's responsibilities to be the spiritual head of the house. I covered both of these topics in this service and prayed for the sick at the end.

After church, Mats and his family and then Juliene and her family hung out with me until it was time to reverse the travel process and then fly back to Dusseldorf. I finally got back home at 12:30a.m. Monday morning. It was long and productive weekend.

As busy as it was for me, I really enjoyed all of it. The people at International Christian Fellowship Church were incredible. I am always thankful when the Holy Spirit shows up either at a church service or at a radio station. My hope is some children's lives will be changed because their parents recognizing the need to step up in this area of their children's lives.

It's great to see good parents taking care of the natural needs of their children but also important to provide "spiritual nutrition" also.

Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe and Asia

Additional Info:
International Christian Fellowship Church  
Europorten Radio FM 89.2

11 September 2011

911 Ten Years Ago

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, 911.

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 911, my American flag flies from my balcony here in Germany.

Never Forget

Rev. Larry Blakeslee

02 August 2011

Christian: Proud & Available

The below is an article I just wrote for the August issue of the Finnish Christian Men's magazine, Tosimies. I think it has relevance not only in Finland but the Western culture here in Europe and America.


Christian: Proud & Available
By Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee

Recently, a Christian organization in America that works on university campuses announced that it was going to remove the word “Christ” from their organization’s name. The reason given was that it would be easier to reach out to non-Believers if “Christ” was not part of their name. Of course I do not agree with that thinking and I do not think the Bible does either.

Matthew 10:32 Every one therefore who shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father who is in heaven. NIV

Jesus tells us not to deny Him but He was not afraid to challenge someone either. There is a fine line between being offensive and standing on what you believe. If we are embarrassed to admit we are a Christian, we are in trouble. If you purpose to hide your faith for the sake of being politically correct, you are also in trouble.

“Political Correctness” has taken a dominant role in Western culture. The “PC” culture does not allow you to express any strong beliefs or convictions of any kind that could remotely offend anyone else. It does not matter that your belief or view point might be in the majority. In the “politically correct world” those in the minority seem to have more “rights” than you do.

Is it politically correct to be Christian? Do people know that you are a Christian? Can they tell by the way you live your life? I am not talking about being offensive. I am talking about how you live your private and public life? How you treat your children and wife? How you get along with your co-workers? How do you handle a crisis in your life?

Everyone has challenging times in their lives whether they are a Christian or not. When people see that you handle it with God given peace in your heart, people can see it. They may not understand it but they see it the results of it. Some non-Believers might ask and based on the following scripture, God wants you to be ready to share it with them.

It reads: 1 Peter 3:15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have… NIV

More than confronting or condemning someone about their life style, we can effectively evangelize our small part of the world by being an ambassador for Christ on this earth. We can be available to help others, offer prayer or support them in their crisis. Be ready to tell them how a personal relationship with Jesus has helped and changed you.

Just the other day, a new Believer, who had been completely “unchurched” all of their lives, told me how they became a Christian because a co-worker had seen the deep depression they were suffering because of the death of her mother. The Christian co-worker simply gathered up the courage to ask them to attend church with them just one time. The non-Believer did and she and the Holy Spirit seized that moment to help her. It was all God needed to make a permanent change in that person’s life. Eighteen months later, the new Believer’s family saw the change in her life and asked about going to church with the new Believer. Do not hide but be ready to share the hope that God has freely given to you, with others in their time of need. Besides how are people going to know that there are solutions to life’s problems? How are they going to hear about the promise of eternal salvation in heaven?

And finally, as parents, do our children see us living our Christian life openly? Do they see us reach out to our friends and neighbors who are in crisis and stand by them during their challenges? Do our children see us praying and asking our Heavenly Father for direction when we have challenges in life?

Someone you currently know or might meet in the future might see the hope and peace that God has freely given you. Be ready to tell them. And do not worry about what to say to them. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and He will. Also do not be afraid to allow your children or grand children see you live it and share it. It will bring great rewards for you.

Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe

Information Links
Tosimies Magazine

07 June 2011

Favor In Finland

Espoo Pentecostal Church
A couple of weeks ago I returned to Bonn from ministering in the Metro Helsinki area of Finland. I was there for ten days and had the opportunity to minister at seven different meetings. This was my third trip to Finland in a twelve months. Each trip has been more and more productive. God clearly has given me favor with the Finnish people. My meetings ranged from house church meetings, Christian Businessmen Meetings to Sunday morning services.

One of my scheduled "free days" from preaching was spent in a four hour meeting with a couple of local Pentecostal pastors who are considered pretty influential in the Pentecostal circles. They are great guys. We found out that we had mutual friends though out the world which proves again what a small world it really is.

Larry and translator Kalevi Pohjalaat, at the Espoo Church
What's interesting to me is that I minister in as many Lutheran churches as Pentecostal churches and I love it. God has given me favor in both camps.

"Roman Bapti-Costal"
All of my Christian "walk" I've been able to cross denominational "boundaries" and I count it a great blessing. Guess it might be because I am a "Roman Bapti-Costal". Let me explain, I grew up Roman Catholic, got my foundation in a Baptist church and became a Pentecostal. I don't care how it happens. What's important is finding the common denominator Jesus and the Bible, no matter what Christian denomination.

I probably ought to correct my "Roman Bapti-Costal" to read something different. When I was chatting with one of the pastors in Finland, we were talking about our backgrounds. As I was talking about mine, I realized that the first actual Protestant church I regularly attended was a Swedish Lutheran church on Bel-Red Road in Redmond, Washington. So would that make me a "Roman Swedi-Luther-Bapti-Costal"? I guess so but what a mouthful.

3,000 of My Closest Biker Friends
Once in while God blesses us with a really fun ministry thing to do. On this trip it was to ride with the Espoo Chapter of the Gospel Riders of Finland to the unofficial motorcycle season opening rally in Turku, Finland.

During my time in Finland last September 2010, I used a translator named Mika Saarinen, who also happened to be the National President of the Gospel Riders of Finland. We started talking about motorcycles and I mentioned that years ago I used to ride a BMW when I lived in America. He suggested that I come back to Finland in May 2011 and go on a national ride. I already knew I was coming back for some already scheduled meetings during that same time but I didn't have a motorcycle to ride. He offered his BMW immediately and arranged for me to borrow some riding stuff. So not wanting to "hurt his feelings", I "accepted immediately". After all it was the only "polite" thing to do. Anyway, I had no idea what I had agreed to.
Literally 3,000 riders at the Turku Sports Center

Mika mentioned that riders from all over Finland would ride to Turku and gather at the local Sports Center. Then they would ride as a parade to Lieto, a small town nearby and attend a Drive-In Church Service at a local Lutheran Church. Sounds like fun. He mentioned that we would pass out tracts and "Biker Bibles" to those who wanted them. Sounds great.

Just a few days before I was to depart for Helsinki on this trip, I emailed Mika and asked him for some details on the motorcycle ride. He replied that it would involve about a 185 mile round trip ride and that they were expecting about 1,000 bikes to show up. I thought the number in his email was a typo. He confirmed it again. WoW! As it turned out the local news reported 2,000 bikes, 3,000 riders and about 1,000 spectators that lined the highway from the city of Turku to Lieto, 8 miles.

The 31st Year of the Drive-In Church Service
The Turku Rally and Drive-In Church service originated 31 years ago. Not all riders are Believer's but nearly all of them rode to the church for the outdoor service. It took about 90 minutes to get all 3,000 bikes moved from the Turku Sports Center to the church.

Praise & Worship filled the air of the parking lot as all the bikes filed in to park. Once everyone arrived, the service began. We heard a sermon, some scriptures and it ended with Communion being served to anyone that wanted to partake.

About 200 of the 1,000 members of the Gospel Riders of Finland came to the event. We passed out tracts and the Biker Bibles as we engaged in casual conversation usually centered around our common bond, motorcycles.

Communion being served both inside and the parking lot.
It was an incredible, once in a lifetime event to attend. I will never forget seeing so many bikes in a parking lot, all wheel to wheel and handlebar to handlebar. It was amazing. The Gospel Riders started 30 years ago and now have country chapters in Estonia, Switzerland, Spain and in Jerusalem.

This ride turned out to be the beginning of a terrific ten days in Finland. Fortunately or unfortunately it also re-awakened my love for motorcycles.

God continues to amaze me as He uses me to speak for Him to these people and country that loves Him. It is truly a blessing.

I continue to write my magazine articles for the Finnish Christian Men's magazine, Tosimies. The series on Leaving a Legacy has been published for 18 months now. The June issue will also include a two page article written and photographed by me on Turku motorcycle ride.

The patch says it all.

This translates to "Lord, help me to choose the right road."

Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe & Asia

For Additional Info:

Finnish Christian Men's Magazine


05 June 2011

Nine Years

On 3 June, I celebrated my ninth year in Europe. I arrived at Bonn/Cologne Airport with luggage and extra baggage that was not shipped over earlier. "My goal" was to be overseas about two or three years. Guess I passed that goal. It's actually kind of amazing when I think of it. "Who wudda thunk it!"

After living nine years in Europe, somethings are easier and somethings are harder. Either way, I am glad that I did it and have no regrets. Yes, there were times that I wished my family was a bit closer. When I left Phoenix my oldest granddaughter was still a baby, now she's 10 1/2 years old. I didn't even have the other two yet that came a little over three years ago and two years ago.

The obvious question is "What's next?". I don't know exactly but my Heavenly Father does. Yes, I have some ideas and plans for the next few years. I am always dreaming or thinking about things. I never lack ideas just sometimes the money to implement them.

Without a doubt there is one over arching thing I have found out while serving God as a missionary. God is faithful. The list is too long to cite the many ways God has provided for me during this time. Yes, there were and are times that I wondered "if & when" but in one way or another, He always either provided, showed me that it wasn't necessary or my timing was off. For now, I'll just keep going forward, listening for direction from the Holy Spirit for His next steps for me.

It's been an adventure and I am pretty sure that it will continue to be so serving The Lord. 

In The Mean Time
As many of you know, Face Book is my quick & easy way to let you know what's been going on in my life and travels. You can "Friend" and find me as "Larry Blakeslee". Since it's been awhile since I've actually posted on my blog I thought I would take the time to catch you up.

Christmas "Turkey"
Not what you think. Actually I had "Christmas Chicken" in Turkey. Someone blessed me with airfare to visit some friends and fellow Americans in Turkey. They pastor a church there. Other than a short stop years ago with the military, this was my first real time in that country.

It was great to get out of the snow and cold in Germany and to wear shorts and t-shirts at least part of my time there. Although it did get "chilly" a few days in Turkey too.

I love history and that kind of stuff. One of the most incredible things I got to do was to spend the entire day touring Ephesus and other historic sites on the drive there. It really makes the Bible in more alive when you know that you are walking where our spiritual forefathers walked and talked. It was amazing. Every Christian should try and go there sometime.

In the pic above it had been sprinkling on and off all day. Then it finally started to really rain when I got in front of the Library of Celsus. It was built in 117 A.D. We all ran for shelter as it began to become a down pour.

Back in Bonn
With my mini vacation complete and refreshed, it was time to get back to my admin project for the ministry. The first quarter of the year was spent updating stuff. Doing some praying, planning and brain storming for the ministry in 2011 and beyond.

Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe and Asia

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. 

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