31 December 2007

"Market Place" Train Ministry

Ministry comes in many forms but we also know that it comes when we are willing to be sensitive and available to the Holy Spirit.

On Tuesday morning, 11 December 2007, I boarded a train in Basel, Switzerland to return home. The train was not full. So when I arrived at my cabin and reserved seat, I noticed three of the six seats were already filled. I would have made the fourth.

Not really wanting to cram in since the train so empty, I moved down aisle to the next cabin which only had one man seated in it.

The man asked me something but because he was speaking a little too fast and with a Swiss German accent, it was hard for me to understand him. So I apologized for my German and asked him if he spoke English. He did and very well. He introduced himself and in nearly perfect English explained that he spent 3rd and 4th grades living in Raleigh, North Carolina.

96% Unsaved in Europe…
When he found out I was a missionary, he was surprised. Most Europeans wonder why I am here in Europe instead of some Third World country. I told him I ministered in both.

Then I politely gave him some statistics from EMRG Strategic Research, ( http://emrg.friderich.net/ ) that only 4.12 % of Europeans follow Jesus and are actively concerned about their neighbors doing the same. Only 3.84% of Europeans would accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior and join a fellowship if presented the Gospel.

Like other Europeans, this fact surprised him. He felt Europe was Christian because of its heritage. We discussed the facts further and he began to realize what he thought might not be true.

He mentioned that he was raised Methodist but his parents forced it on him. He had no desire to go to church and would not make his two young sons go either. I apologized for this situation and explained that God was interested in a voluntary relationship not a forced one.

We continued to talk and exchange ideas about everything. Eventually it got to the question every American gets in Europe, “What do you think about Bush?” I told him what I thought and we discussed that for awhile.

When we were done “solving” the world's political problems, I narrowed the focus and asked him about his relationship with God. Did he know how much God loved him? Did he know that God wanted to have a personal relationship with him?

He politely offered the standard response that everyone has their own beliefs and answers. He continued to say that there were many good people in the world and they would go to heaven because they were good. He too would go to heaven because he was a good person and tried to do good things.

There was no doubt that he was a good guy, loving husband and father. But I stressed that God still wanted to have a personal relationship with him.

Earlier he mentioned he had two young sons. I used an example of when he comes home from work and his little five year old boy jumps up on his lap and starts loving him for no ulterior reason or motive. How did he feel when that happens? I suggested that this is exactly how our Heavenly Father feels when we have time for Him.

The Holy Spirit Moving…
You could see and sense that the Holy Spirit was beginning to work on him.
I then gave him a shortened version of my testimony.

Years ago, God used my oldest son Shawn, when he was just a little over three years old to tell me, at a crucial time in my life, how much Jesus loved me. I explained to him that this life changing event happened when I was “completely unsaved” and pretty much uninterested in God.

The Holy Spirit was really working on him now. The conversation went on like this for about an hour more. He could have ended it at anytime but — he didn’t and I didn’t.

During the last few minutes before our train arrived, I challenged him to let God show him how much God loved him. I asked if he had a Bible or a New Testament. He replied that he still had his childhood Bible. So I asked him when he got back home, to get it out and read the Book of John. But before reading it, ask God to show Himself to him and how much God loved him.

We exchanged business cards and I told him that if he had any questions or needed prayer, I was available to him. Since I would probably be coming back to Switzerland sometime, maybe we could even get a cup of coffee together.

We arrived at the Mannheim, Germany train station. He had business there and I had a connecting train to catch. As we stepped off the train and onto station platform, I turned around, shook his hand and found myself without thinking, giving him a hug, as I told him that God really does love him. Shaking hands is normal. Hugging a complete stranger is pretty much culturally out of the question in Germany. Then I went one way. He went another.

Personally, I know God will jump at the chance to show him how much He loves this man and his family, as He loves you and me.

You could be…
Sometimes — we meet people that have a life-long impact on our lives. They may not be in our lives very long. But it’s not the length of time that governs the impact. It is more of allowing the Holy Spirit to use you. In fact, YOU could be the answer to someone else's prayer for that person.

Our Heavenly Father wants us to have our own personal relationship with Him and to be led by His Holy Spirit. You don’t have to be an overseas missionary or in “full-time” ministry to have more adventures and opportunities in your life than you can possibly imagine. Just be available.

Thank you for reading my Blog. I hope it ministers and challenges you in some way.

Happy New Year – 2008 will be great!

All of God’s blessings on you and those you love. Never take them for granted.

Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe & Asia

19 December 2007

A Child Is Born / Bradley Scott Blakeslee

Well this is NOT about the Christmas story we know but one that is just as close to my heart.

My youngest son William and his wife, Stephanie gave birth to their first child 5 December 2007 at 5:55 p.m..

Bradley Scott Blakeslee entered this world at 8 pounds 10 ounces and 22 inches long. The birth went well; William’s older brother Shawn called me at 2:00 a.m. my time to let me know that I was again a grandpa. I think William was still in shock or exhausted. A few minutes later I was able to get through on his cell phone to congratulate them.

I will see all of the “Blakeslee Boys” (including the newest member of the team, Bradley) and girls, in early March during my annual fund raising trip to the States.

Personally, I absolutely love Bradley’s name, it already sounds like a famous author or pastor doesn’t it. Well, why not! Our Heavenly Father has a plan for this little boy too. And there are plenty of scriptural importance and references to the names we give our children.

Welcome to the world Bradley. God has great things planned for you to do.


14 December 2007

Faithful Men Comissioning / Zurich, Switzerland

(Above) Jack King challenging the men to protect the women and children in the church.

(Pic Above, Lft to Rt) Pastors Joaquin Molina, Michael Tenpenny, Desmond Frey and Jack King

(Above)Newly Commissioned Men and the guests from the U.S.

Hello Everyone,
This past weekend was an incredible blessing in a variety ways. All of my time was spent helping Pastor Desmond Frey of Power House Church, Zurich, host a weekend men’s conference.

The conference was the “commissioning” of eight men who completed the requirements of Dr. Edwin Cole’s "Christian Men’s Network" and Faithful Men Ministries. Jack King did the commissioning and is expanding the vision of the late Dr. Edwin Cole who was considered the "Father of Men's Ministry".

Jack King's ministry, Faithful Men Ministry, was founded in February of 2003.

Faithful Men Ministries teaches men to:
* Become the man of God that He has called them to be
* Fulfill the great commission
* To make disciples in all nations

One of the most memorable moments happened when during the Sunday service, Jack King asked all the men attending to stand up, to take a hand of another man and make a circle around all the women and children in the church. He then charged the men with the responsibility of protecting all the women and children in the church. Every one's heart was touched by this symbolic action of the men.

Nine people flew to Switzerland from the Lamb of God Bible Church in Flagstaff, Arizona, U.S.A.. Pastor Mike Tenpenny and his group came specifically to support the new commissioned men in Zurich.

Also attending this event only was Pastor Joaquin Molina and Mr. Jurgen Ziemer from Spring of Life Church, Miami, Florida. Clearly all the Swiss people were touched by the commitment of these men and their wives to fly half-way around the world only to attend this event. It spoke volumes to the Swiss that the Americans would spend the money and time to do this.

It was a long and exhausting weekend but worth every bit of the effort to see the results.

On my return train trip, I had an incredible opportunity to minister to a fellow passenger. I will share this experience and blessing in a later posting.

Thanks for checking out my Blog. Hope you are blessed this Christmas and have a terrific 2008. I will.

Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe

05 December 2007

Leipzig Public School Ministry

First Some Technical Business
Let me apologize for the way some of the pictures I use get displayed in your web browser.

For some technical reason, when I post pictures and captions, I never really know what final position they will be in after I save and post the article. Even when I preview the posting ahead of time, the final result is completely out of my control.

Simple is better in this case, so not much creativity is being applied to the pictures. I think getting them up is better than not having any pictures at all. Thanks for being patient about this.

Now To My Posting…

Leipzig Public School Ministry
This past Sunday I returned from a five day ministry trip to Leipzig, Germany. Leipzig is located in the “old” East Germany about two hours drive south of Berlin, the capital of Germany. Since “The Wall” fell in October, 1989, the East is still in the rebuilding process and you can still see remnants of the Communist era everywhere.

A few weeks ago I was invited by a Leipzig public school teacher to be a guest speaker at her German elementary school. The fourth grade students are learning English. My speaking to them would give them a chance to meet an American and to hear real American English without an accent, something that does not happen very often in Leipzig.

Technology… humm….
I tried to show them some pictures of Arizona on a classroom video projector but as it worked out, it didn’t. The projector was fine but the slide show would not work. So instead I talked about our American Thanksgiving and its origins. As always, the kids were great. They were flexible and we had a good time in each of the classes. One little girl, Susanne, gave me a gift of a little colored beaded thing, she made. I was touched and blessed.

After talking about Thanksgiving, the combined classes of about thirty-plus students took turns asking me various questions about what are my favorite things about Germany and America. It gave me an opportunity to speak about being a missionary and what I was doing in Europe.

Resurrection Power Church / Halle, Germany
At this church, I attended their Wednesday Night Bible Study, the Friday Champions Meeting and Pastor Sammy Egboh’s Saturday afternoon birthday celebration. It was a surprise and an honor to be invited to sit at the head table with Pastor Sammy. The Nigerian’s really know how to celebrate birthdays. He has a heart for the lost, the Faith message and seeing God’s healing power manifested in our daily lives.

TOS Church - Leipzig
After the birthday celebration at the church in Halle, I went to the TOS - Leipzig Church in the City of Leipzig to hear evangelist, Carlos Jimenez. He is originally from Colombia but currently lives in Houston, Texas. In October, this church sponsored Missionary Evangelist David Hogan which I attended. [Ed. Note: Scroll down to read the details of that meeting.]

At this time, I met with Pastor Stefan Haas and was invited to return and do the Kid’s Prayer program for his church there. We are currently working out the dates that this can happen. This church and their affiliates have a tremendous heart for evangelism and outreach to children worldwide. Pastor Hass told me that they have a number of children’s facilities and outreaches they support in South America. I look forward to going back to Leipzig and ministering at his church in the spring of 2008.

Next Up!
Thursday, I am traveling to help at an Ed Cole weekend men’s conference at Power House Church in Zurich, Switzerland. I’ll update you when I get return to Bonn.

Thank you for reading my Blog.

Jesus IS the reason for the Season. Enjoy it with those you love.

All of God’s blessings to all of you,
Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe