27 October 2007

Grenoble Wrap-Up

Back Home in Bonn
It was a very long ten hour drive from Grenoble, France to Bonn, Germany which included an unscheduled delay in Basel. The bright spot was it gave us an "unscheduled" caffeine stop at Starbucks for Desmond and then later dinner at Burger King somewhere on the German autobahn. Once home, I happily collapsed in my own bed just shortly after midnight. Decidedly unpacking anything waited until morning.

This concluded a three week long, very productive ministry trip. It was virtually non-stop beginning with my flight out from Bonn to Leipzig on 2 October, to my return last Sunday, 22 October.

Doors Opening
This was my first visit to Grenoble, France and it was terrific. The week before, when Desmond and I were both at the conference in Leysin, Desmond invited me to go along with him to Grenoble. He was scheduled to teach a class in a local bible school. While there, Desmond introduced me to local French pastors, Pastor Michele, Pastor Joshua from the Grenoble area and Pastor Patrick from St Laurent du Pont.

Pastor Joshua was trying to figure out the logistics of having me speak at his church's Sunday service while Desmond was speaking at Pastor Michele’s church. But as it turned out, we could not work out the transportation and time issues, since the churches were not located close to each other.

Pastor Michele did give me an opportunity to share about the Kids Prayer program before Desmond started his Sunday service message. I was very pleased with the response from the congregation, to my program. After the service, I took the opportunity to pray for some of the children.

Both Grenoble pastors invited me back to do the kid’s program anytime in the future. I am excited that our Heavenly Father opened these new doors for me. Promise to keep you posted when that all happens.

Catch Up Time
Like everyone else, travel creates a lot of catch up work and emails when you finally get back home. This trip was no exception. During this trip, I realized that there were some adjustments to make and additional teachings to create for the kid’s program. Time refines all programs, doesn’t it.

Cultural Differences
One of the side benefits of this trip was being able to tailor my message to the French speaking audiences in Geneva and Grenoble. You may wonder what this means.

It means that once you live in Europe long enough, you really begin to recognize the cultural differences each European country represents. It also means how as an American missionary, you need to present the teaching material to them. Sometimes we can unknowingly offend someone by our ignorance or perceived arrogance. If we are fortunate, someone who cares for us will "call us" on it so that we can make the proper corrections in the future.

Right now I am a little touchy about this and for good reason. Within the last ninety days, I have seen a seasoned missionary make a very unkind remark about the people in the very country he is called to serve, while some of them were present. He didn't even notice the subtle negative reaction by them to his comment.

And on the opposite side, I saw an American minister who wants to preach in Europe, blunder in his actions and statements with uncalled for "smart remarks" and idioms Europeans do not understand. In both of these cases, "their mouths was operating before their brains were in gear".

An American Perspective
From an American perspective, we generally see all Europeans pretty much alike and pretty much like us. This could not be farther from the truth. Despite the fact that the Europeans have joined together to form the European Union, each country still has its own cultural personality and pride.

At best, the faster an American missionary understands this and customizes their message to the culture, the more success and acceptance they and their message will receive. At worst, think or at least ask before making an "off the cuff" remark you think is cute.

I am blessed to have very close friends that are nationals in the countries that I minister in. They are invaluable to me in many areas but in particular with this. They know that I welcome their input and insights into how to present my material in their specific countries.

They have seen others "come & go" and fail because they lacked an in depth understanding of the local culture. In my case, it helps prevent me from making some painful or costly faux pas when I preach that will ultimately be a distraction to the message I am trying to give.

It is a blessing to have people care enough about you that they will speak into your life and provide this kind of insight, while I work and represent our Heavenly Father’s love in their countries.

Have a terrific and blessed week. Will talk to you soon.


18 October 2007

German & Swiss Trip Pics

Here are some random pictures taken during my current ministry trip in Germany and Switzerland.

Left: In Leipzig, The War of All Nations Memorial, also known as the Napoleonic War Memorial 1799-1815.

Right: In Leipzig, St. Thomas Church you can see the burial site of Johann Sebastian Bach in the lower right corner of the pic.

Left: Lawrence next to a plaque commemorating Martin Luther preaching in 1539

Right: At this very spot, Martin Luther preached on the Protestant Reformation on Pentecost Sunday, 1539 in St. Thomas Church.

Left: Leipzig, The TOS Conference with David Hogan

Above & Left: In Geneva, Lawrence praying for some of the children at church.

Hope you have enjoyed these pics. I will post some additional pictures in the near future.

God bless you,

16 October 2007

Swiss Events

Zurich Church Wrap Up
Monday night we wrapped up the Tim Redmond seminar at Power House Church. His teaching included tips on finances and leadership. Seminars are a lot of work for everyone but it was all worthwhile to hear him teach.

That afternoon, we attended a small pastor's luncheon and went with Tim and Desmond to a bible school class in Brugg, Switzerland, where Tim was the guest speaker. Tim spoke on self-esteem and everyone was blessed.
Photo Above: Tim Redmond (left) Desmond Frey (right)
Prayer for Healing
One of the pastors attending the luncheon, told me about a woman in her congregation, that after a very hard life, had gotten saved about five years ago and was walking with The Lord. Just recently she was attacked with a fast growing cancer that has racked her entire body. The doctors only give her a few days to live.

After hearing about the lady's situation, I felt compelled to pray for her and asked the pastor if it would be possible to go to the hospice for a visit. God can and does heal cancer even in the very late stages. The pastor agreed and arranged for me to be taken to the hospital to pray for her. I am believing that God will heal her and as a result she will have a tremendous testimony of our Heavenly Father's love for all of us.

Catch Up Day
The last few days have had a tremendous amount of travel all across Switzerland. Today and tomorrow are email, laundry and catch up days before Desmond and I head to Grenoble, France.

Grenoble, France
I will be extending my current trip a few more days to travel with Pastor Desmond to a local church in Grenoble. He will be teaching a class there on "The Character of Leadership". It will be attended by regional associate pastors being trained to plant new churches. This will be great for me to make some great future connections for the Children's Prayer Program.

"Coming Soon" Trip Pics
I will be uploading some trip pics in today or tomorrow so "stay tuned" to see some new images of my trip.


13 October 2007

Power House Church / Zurich, Switzerland

Yesterday, we finished up the Time of Refreshing Conference and it was incredible to the end. I already look forward to next year's conference if there is one. The decision to have them is done year by year.

Moving forward, I traveled down from Leysin to Zurich with my pastor friend, Desmond Frey and will be at his church in Zurich for the next few days.

Tim Redmond will be putting on a financial seminar, Sunday and Monday at Pastor Desmond's Power House church. We all had lunch together today along with Pastor John Sagoe from New International Church in Biel, Switzerland. This is my first time meeting both Tim and Pastor John.

Ministry in Ghana
Pastor John Sagoe came from Ghana in 1992 and is establishing orphanages and various childrens programs there now. It looks like he and I will be meeting in the future some time. He was very interested in my Kids Prayer Program and said he would be interested in having me go to Ghana to minister there in the future. After hearing all that he is doing there, I am excited about the possibilities of going. We will all see how this works out in the future and keep you posted as it develops.

It looks like I may extend my trip a few more days before returning to Bonn. Pastor Frey has invited me to go with him to Grenoble, France. He is going to minister there next weekend. There is a possibility I might be able to share about the Kids Prayer program. I am really believing God to open more and more doors to minister both the Kids Prayer program and preaching on God's divine healing.

I may not have much time to post during the upcoming week, since there will be a lot of travel and long days. Promise to catch you up as soon as possible.

Thanks for checking in and catching up.

Be blessed,

11 October 2007

TOR Time of Refreshing Conference

Tonight is the last night of the TOR “Time of Refreshing” Conference in Leysin, Switzerland. Just like last year, the gathering has been a tremendous blessing to everyone. It is attended by about one hundred American missionaries working in all parts of Old and New Europe. The purpose is to give all of us a break from the day to day and be blessed by many Americans that sponsor the three day event.

Whether you are a “first timer” or “many timer” we all become family quickly as part of the Body of Christ serving here in Europe. It is a tremendous blessing to all of to hear the testimonies of young and old missionaries’ alike serving God here. The other blessing is that it is a cross denominational meeting, truly meaning we represent all parts of the Body of Christ.

We wrap up tonight with the last evening session and our final departure breakfast and short testimony time before returning to our assigned locations. The time literally flies over the short time we are here but everyone is excited about seeing each other again next year to share more stories about what our Heavenly Father has done in their lives.

I’m off to Zurich with a pastor friend to attend his church in Zurich during the weekend and also another short conference on building the kingdom of God. It will be interesting.

God bless you all. We’ll stay in touch as soon as possible.

God’s blessings,
Lawrence Blakeslee

10 October 2007

Preaching in Geneva

This past Sunday I was able to preach at a church in downtown Geneva, Switzerland. My topic was to help adults and specifically parents to recognize the gifts and callings their children have already been endowed with in their mother’s womb.

Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Yes, the Bible is speaking about Jeremiah in this verse but the application applies to all of us. And according to Romans 11:29, no matter what the age of the “child” those gifts and callings are without repentance, which just means they never get taken away. They just may not be utilized to the fullest extent or used at all but they are never taken back by God.

Rom 11:29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

My sermon reminded us that as we raise our children, God has a plan for their lives. That children are precious jewels, i.e. diamonds. And that we are all “diamonds in the rough” and as facets are “cut in us” the gem becomes more valuable.

We all know this but my “twist” on this topic is that children can start to operate in those gifts long before they become teenagers or young adults. In fact, it is much better for everyone to help develop those anointings as early as possible. If this is done early it will help children avoid the pitfalls the enemy has planned to divert them from serving our Heavenly Father.

The extension of this thought applies to all His “children” since from our Heavenly Father’s perspective we are all children.

So, child, teen, or adult can seek, find and develop the special unique qualities God put in them from their mother’s womb. They can find incredible blessings by walking in those blessings to the best of their ability.

Because of the innocence in small children, they sometimes have a better link to the spirit realm than we adults. They can pray with power and anointing for their peers and adults alike and our Heavenly Father will answer their prayers. Matthew talks about Jesus telling his disciples not to keep the little children away from him.

Mat 19:14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus didn’t mean just not to prevent them from being in His presence but they, like us can give Him their prayer requests too.

Blessings from Geneva,

08 October 2007

David Hogan / TOS Conference / Leipzig, Germany

How Blessed? Real Blessed!
How blessed can you be when the Holy Spirit shows up at a conference and blesses you and everyone else, the answer would be incredibly blessed.

As I mentioned in an early posting, I am on the road for the few weeks. My first stop was a conference in Leipzig. The TOS Conference was just two days long but intense. There was about five hundred in attendance which is a nice crowd by German standards.

David Hogan, his wife, son Jody and his wife came and ministered to all of us. It is always nice to hear preaching in my own mother tongue. Each session during the day and evenings went long but no one cared. Everyone stayed well after the end of each meeting to fellowship. Everyone came to hear about the dynamic miracles God has been doing in the southern part of Mexico among the indigenous people there. The miracles David told us about were almost hard to believe except when you understand the power and love of God that we all can access through the Blood Covenant.

My first impression of the Believers in Leipzig is the Body of Christ is alive, well and growing. The people are hungry for God and truly see Him as the answer to many of their problems. Especially the problems the government can not fix.

With the Wall Down...
This was my first time to travel to the old East Germany. We can all remember that day in October, 1989 when the Wall came down.

You can see redevelopment taking place everywhere. But despite the huge amount of money being poured into the east by the German government, you can still see much more will need to be invested. Unemployment in the east has dropped from 25% to 19%. It is still not as prosperous as the old West Germany.

I traveled from Leipzig to Berlin by train to catch a cheap flight to Geneva, Switzerland. From Leipzig to Berlin, the countryside showed the remains of the communist influence. Again in Berlin the mix of new and old was obvious. As the German capital, Berlin was alive with activity. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to see anything beyond my train ride to the airport, maybe it will happen next time.

Depending on my Internet access, I'll try to post again later about ministering yesterday in church at Geneva.


01 October 2007

On The Road Again

Tomorrow morning, at the crack of dawn, I leave for a three week trip to Leipzig, Germany, Geneva, Leysin, and Zurich, Switzerland.

During this trip I will be:

  • Attending a conference held by American missionary to Mexico David Hogan in Leipzig.
  • Ministering at a church in Geneva about the Kids Prayer program.
  • Attending an American missionary conference in Leysin, Switzerland.
  • Attending a Kingdom Building Conference in Zurich, Switzerland.

This will be my first time to minister in Geneva and I am really looking forward to it. My second time in Leysin attending a "Time of Refreshing Conference" put on by Rev. Bill and Emogene Kaiser. The conference is sponsored by some terrific people worldwide to bless American missionaries serving in Europe. Last year was my first time to be invited and it was a real blessing to attend. I am looking with great expectation again this year.

I'm not sure of my Internet connections while I am traveling but promise to update you when I can but promise to give a "full report" upon my return home around 18 October.

Be blessed,
Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe