31 December 2008

Larry, What Did You Do On Christmas Eve? ...Walk the Red Light District...

At first it might shock you but in context, it will bless you.

Evangelich Methodistisch Kirche, a Zurich inter-city church organized an outreach for the people living and working in Zurich's Red Light District.

A small group from Power House Church joined about 80 people from other local churches to do street ministry on Christmas Eve.

It was a clear, crisp, starlight filled night with the temperature around 35 degrees F (1-2 degrees C). The weather could not have been better. But cold is still cold.

As we walked the streets, we passed out small gifts, candy and evangelism tracks. The people we met were also invited to a Christmas Eve Service and Christmas Dinner at the inter-city church.

The men in the group, stayed on the streets and ministered to the homeless, the "Johns" and the "Pimps". The ladies on the team went into the brothels to minister to the "Ladies".

The Ladies Got Their Bibles
Our women's team reported an interesting experience in one of the brothels they visited. The team went in and started to
share the Gospel. It wasn't very busy so most of the "Ladies" gathered up to listen and share about their lives.

After a few minutes, some of the "Ladies" excused themselves, went to their
rooms and got their bibles. They brought them out and wanted to talk about the scriptures. The team took advantage of the situation and had an informal bible study right then.

I was surprised to find Zurich's Red Light District wasn't as "seedy" as expected. With the exception of a couple of obvious places, it looked like any main street with a mixture of shops, businesses and restaurants.

Later, the men I was with came up to an older, nicely dressed couple that were walking on the main street. We gave them a gift and a track. When they realized we were doing street ministry, they told us they were Christians and gave us an offering for the church.

Then There Was Daniel
We ministered to a homeless man named Daniel. He was seated on some cold marble steps at the entrance of a closed business. As he smoked a cigarette, he had his arms and legs t
ucked in close to keep himself as warm as possible. He looked about 70 years old but that was the result of living on the streets for so many years. He told us his story. It was like many others. We gave him some candy, some fruit, an invitation to come to the church and shared God's love the best we could.

Around 11:00 p.m. we gathered back at the inter-city church, where we shared our experiences. The church provided us with snacks and warm drinks before the Christmas Eve Service began. It was neat to see a few of the people that we had invited earlier show up at the service.

Open Microphone
At one point the church's pastor opened the platform to anyone who wanted to share. Two people came up and touched everyone's heart with their comments.

One person was a Jamaican guy that really started to preach an incredible message. If or when this guy gets saved, he is clearly going to be an evangelist.

A young woman who seemed to be a "Lady" came up and shared how much she was appreciated that strangers would come out on Christmas Eve to pass out gifts and encouraging words.

Rich or Poor -- Need Jesus
As an American, it seemed strange to think of Switzerland, one of the richest, per capita, countries in the world, would have homeless and the working poor but it does. "The System" can fail them too. But Jesus doesn't fail them. They need Jesus just like everyone else.

Our Heavenly Father loves all mankind but He needs us to express His love. Try it sometime. You'll be blessed.

Blessings in the New Year,
Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe

01 December 2008

How & What Are You Thinking?

A few weeks ago I received an email from a friend, Tim Redmond of Tim Redmond Leadership. His article in the email seemed so appropriate for the times we live in, that I asked him if I could reprint it.



Growing When Everything is Shrinking

"Grow? I'm just trying to survive - haven't you heard all the
bad news lately!"

My friend was reacting to a point I was making. Without realizing it, he had been inoculated... really, hypnotized by all the facts and feelings flooding his mind.

Sure facts are facts. You may be dealing with really challenging, if not impossible - looking situationa.

A challenge has a voice. So do all the bills yet to be paid... especially the bills to the banker. It can be a bit overwhelming when these negative voices are yelling at you.

This is where "taking dominion" begins. I'm not asking you to ignore what you're facing. But HOW are you facing these "facts"?

We also have a voice on the inside of us. It's the voice of what we think is most true. What is your internal voice saying? Is it conforming to the challenges around you?

There's only tow ways that we face anything. Our "voice" is eitehr saying it's possible or impossible, I can or can't, I'm empowered or disempowered to overcome. You are bigger than these challenges and you'll certainly outlast them!

I want to wake up the right voice in you now. The one that agrees with the Holy Spirit and what He is saying to you and about you. The one that says, "all things are possible to him who belives!" and "there are amazing opportunities that I am learning to take advantage of right now."

Agree with and vocalize who you really are.

What absolutely invaluable lesson is being presented to you right now? Be patient with this time so you don't overlook the lesson you are to learn. Remember wealth creation has more to do with what you learn and the relationships you nurture than your current product or service.

Your creator has created you to create - this is at the heart of your purpose.

To bust out of a paralyzing hypnosis, deliberately line your purpose - create something rather than react. Don't allow negative generalizations (e.g. the sky is fallling!) blind you to market gaps and pockets of possibility desperately needing your creative touch.

It is a season of thanksgiving. With an attitude of gratitude, look for opportunities to give and create - you'll be amazed how it releases your creative thinking... and you'll find yourself growing rather than shrinking.

Guard against the outside voices that would pollute your inside voice of possibility. As Solomon was wisely instructed by his father and king, "guard your heart with all of your focus and energy - for from your heart, you determine the borders of your possibilities" (Proverbs 4:23 Tim's Expanded Translation).


I hope that you are blessed,
Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe.

More Info:

30 October 2008

Pics of Hailey Aliese Blakeslee

Albeit delayed but as promised, I am happy to post pictures of my newest grand child Hailey Aliese Blakeslee.

Born on 5 October 2008. Weighing in at 7lb 19oz (3.18kgs) and 19 inches long (48.2cm).

Looks like she is going to be a feisty one with a strong curiosity for the world she now lives in. The nurses told William and Stephanie that when she was being cleaned up after the delivery, she seemed like she was trying to lift her head around to see what was going on around her in the delivery room.

We know that she is going to be a happy baby. When the nurse gave the baby to Stephanie to hold and bond with after delivery, Hailey gave Stephanie a little grin when Stephanie stroked her little face.

I like happy Blakeslee babies. I'm sure that mom and dad do too since they have their hands full with two tiny tots, both under one year old. Bradley will be one year old on 5 December. ONLY the young can perform this feat.

When I asked if they knew what caused this "condition". They said "Yes".... Okay... I just wanted to check.

You'll notice that Hailey, like her “older” brother Bradley, arrived with a full head of hair.

Congratulations William and Stephanie for a job well done. Love you guys. Dad

All of God’s blessings on your families too,
Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe & Asia

14 October 2008

Time of Refreshing Conference

TOR Conference
It was great conference this year. The weak economy in the U.S. showed it’s affect on overseas missionaries. The missionaries only had to pay their own transportation costs to Leysin, Switzerland, but only about 45 attended instead of the normal 70 or 80 missionaries. All the other conference expenses are paid by various supporters. Even the TOR Team member attendance was went down to 11 from the normal 25 members. Rev. Bill and Emogene Kaiser have hosted the TOR for 20+ years.

God showed up and blessed us. The intensity of each meeting may have been due to the smaller more focused group. Nearly all of the missionaries in this group are like me, have independent ministries that are not directly connected to a larger, well funded denomination or organization. We’re like “small business” missionaries. Anyone that is self-employed understands the freedom that gives, along with an abundance of challenges. This group is no different. There’s nothing wrong with solid denominational backing and support. God bless them. It is whatever works for the individual and led by God - works.

Under One Banner
The conference meetings are not theology but relationship based. They are not about teaching, training or learning. It’s not about discussing the nuance of a particular scripture. It is about building relationships, personal and spiritual restoration. It is about networking with the Christian missionary community serving in Europe.

We stand with each other to praise, worship, laugh, and cry. We gather together under one banner – our Savior Jesus Christ. That is the purpose.

A Different Perspective
Bringing a group together like this always gives someone a chance to take another look at their own situation and the challenges they face. Quickly you realize that your “challenges” may not be as overwhelming as the person standing next to you. You might have lost 50% of your support because of the economy. But you could be standing next to someone in a life or death struggle with health problems. Your problems — suddenly became smaller.

All Were Blessed
All agreed that it was a more intense than previous meetings. Every one there knew and felt the pressure of economic problems world wide. This was the week that was… Markets worldwide were collapsing by the hour and the day. Everyone wondered out loud where it was all going to end up. But we all agreed that our trust had to be in The Lord. He is our provider. He is your provider.

All of God’s blessings to you and your family,
Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe and Asia

05 October 2008

New Blakeslee Arrives & Goin' South

New Blakeslee Arrives
My youngest son William and his wife Stephanie had their second child Saturday night at about 10:30 p.m. E.D.T.

Hailey Aliese Blakeslee arrived three weeks early, 19 inches long (48.2cm) and 7 lb 12 oz. (3.18kgs). Mom, baby and dad are doing fine, albeit a little tired. Praise The Lord. There’s more to come about Baby Hailey. The new dad promised some good pictures of her. I'll post them as soon as I get them. Honestly, do you really think this Grandpa is not going to brag about our latest addition to the Blakeslee family?

Goin’ South Again
It's been a busy, busy month in September and I’m heading out of town again. It all starts tomorrow with another two week trip to Switzerland.

TOR Conference
After an overnight near Basel, Power House International Church’s, Pastor Desmond Frey, his wife Sandy and I will be heading to the small village of Leysin, Switzerland, located near Lausanne, to attend the annual Time of Refreshing (TOR) Conference. You’ve heard me talk about this conference for the past three years.

A group of American’s, some pastors, some ministers and some lay people sponsor this three day event for American missionaries ministering in Europe. It’s always great to see old friends and make new ones. For most of us missionaries, this is the single largest group of Americans gathered in one place, unless we are in the U.S..

Pastor Bill Kaiser and his wife Imogene have been sponsoring this event for over 20 years. It’s a testimony of God's love to us, to them and to the hundreds of Christians in America, who give their finances and their time, unconditionally, to bless us, who serve God in Europe.

Power House International Church, Zurich
At the end of this week, I’ll be leading the church’s monthly worship night and preaching the Sunday morning service on the 19th. It’s been over a month since I was last there and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone again.

It’s Winter or at Least Fall
During last few days, the seasons have definitely changed in Germany. Fall has hit but it seems like it is winter. I’ve been told that it has already snowed the Black Forrest area of Southern Germany. Oktober Fest in Munich had the temperatures drop to unseasonably cold. So I’m not sure what to expect in Switzerland.

If I had a question about taking my down jacket and winter gear; that question has been answered. In Germany it’s better to have and be prepared for anything; than not, and wish you had.

God’s blessings,
Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe.

11 September 2008

"911" - The 7th Anniversary

Today is the 7th anniversary of the life and world changing event called "911". This event impacted everyone in some way.

It doesn't matter if you were an American or not, the world as we knew it, changed. Our transportation changed, our security changed, the world's economy changed and the lives of American missionaries overseas changed.

Months before “911”, I had already purchased my airline tickets to fly from Phoenix, Arizona to Bonn, Germany and then continue to Moscow, Russia to minister in both cities. The question after "911" became - was I going to make the trip as scheduled.

The months following “911” everyone was nervous about everything and especially overseas flights. Our world had been shaken. Friends and family freely expressed their opinion and concerns about my trip. Honestly, I had questions and doubts too. No one knew what to expect next. No one expected 911.

Hearing Him
As a Christian, this is one of those times that you really have to dig down, pray up and ask the Holy Spirit for specific direction. What was He telling you to do or not to do?

As followers of Jesus, we should always be living that level of relationship with Our Heavenly Father and hearing His Holy Spirit. But we don't always, do we.

Sometimes it is only in crisis that we go to God and ask for direction. When in reality, He wants to provide direction all the time, if we only ask. It's that simple.

Why do we have to ask? Why doesn't He just tell us? It's called relationship and freewill. It is the very reason He created us. He wanted a relationship with us but gave us freewill to choose that relationship.

Sometimes the problem isn't that we can't hear Him. It's that we don't ask or aren't in a position of relationship to hear Him speak to us. If that's you, take time right now to correct and confess the thing or things that might be interfering with your relationship and ability to hear Him.

Search your soul, search your heart and ask Him to forgive you. Based on God's Word, the Bible, it is an instant restoration of relationship and it’s worth it.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (ASV)

All of God's blessings to you and your family,
Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe

P.S. You can read my “Day of 911" experience in the "Archive" section of this blog. Just go down the right side of my blog near the bottom, click on "2007" and "September". Scroll down and you'll find the title "911- My Story"

08 August 2008

God's Peace

There are times and places when the presence of God’s peace can unexpectedly touch you.

Riding on the train, from Bonn to Basel, the other day, I was about 20 minutes away from my destination. The vineyards of southern Germany were passing by my window. It was a warm sunny day with puffy white clouds that can trigger the thoughts of imagined animals and things moving across an azure sky.

I was in my own little world. Had just finished working on my laptop and thinking about the busy week ahead. The five hour train ride was coming to an end. My iPod was playing some mellow music, when the Holy Spirit gave me the most incredible sense of thanksgiving, peace, and well-being.

It seemed that the Holy Spirit was reminding me of how blessed I really am. Having two wonderful sons, Shawn and William, an “adopted daughter” in Stephanie, William’s wife, and two wonderful grand kids, Antonella and Bradley, with another one on the way in October, Haley.

The Holy Spirit seemed to also be reminding me of how God made it possible for me to fulfill my dream of serving Him by being a missionary in Europe, by helping kids know Him and building churches that will have an impact on their city, country and continent. Being able to travel to the “utter most parts of the world” to tell others who may have never heard the name of Jesus, how much He loves them. Tell them how Jesus Christ made the ultimate and final sacrifice to make our eternal salvation in heaven available to us.

“How Does He Do That?”
It struck me that the God of the universe, the God of all creation, who is love, could actually know me and show me His love. And then freely express it at the most interesting times. I thought, “How does He do that?”

This isn't experience isn't limited to missionaries. You can have this too. The Bible says that God is no respecter of persons. Simply said, what He will do for me; He will do for you and visa versa.

Maybe Never?
When was the last time you had one of those special God filled moments? Has it been a long time? Maybe never? How do you make it happen? Well I don’t think you can “make” it happen. But you can create an environment where God knows He is allowed to be involved in your life and love you.

How do you do that? Ask Him. It’s really that simple. The Bible also tells us that we have not because we ask not. God is always listening. But he won’t ever go against your wishes if you choose not to have Him in your life. He’s waiting for an invitation from you. So out of your mouth, out of your heart, ask Him to be part of your life. He would love it and so will you.

Do It Now
It doesn’t have to be a “formal” or “churchy” prayer. You can work out the “details” later. After all, it’s going to be a long relationship. And He already knows you and has been waiting a long time for you to ask Him into your heart. So do it now. You won’t ever regret it. In fact, you’ll be amazed at how close you can become to God.

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

19 July 2008

Back From Zurich

A week ago Monday, I returned from an eleven day trip to southern Germany and Switzerland. The purpose of the trip was to explore new ministry opportunities in southern Germany, Switzerland and at Power House Church in Zurich. At the same time it gave me chance to check out the possibilities of relocating there. This will be a major move for me since Bonn has been my home from the time of my arrival to Germany from the U.S. in 2002.

Pastor Desmond Frey of Power House Church, was kind enough to drive me around to visit potential places for me to live. Since I am still without a car, access to public transportation is mandatory. One practical choice seems to be a small, university town called Konstanz, Germany. It is located right on the Swiss/German border. On the practical side, the cost of living is a bit less in Germany than Switzerland and it would only be a little over a one hour train commute to Power House Church in Zurich. But at the same time, I'm also open to see if God has other plans or ideas, for me. This is a time of transition physically and increase in ministry opportunities in Europe overall.

John Maxwell's EQUIP Program
I extended my trip a few days so I could ride up to Ulm, Germany with Desmond where he taught one of John Maxwell’s EQUIP leadership seminars on Friday and Saturday. The seminar was held at Pastor Toni and Connie Heule's church, "Missionzentrum Immanual". On Saturday morning, I was able to share my vision of the Kids Prayer program with this group. This was my first time to visit The Heule's church in Ulm.

Stau = Traffic Jam
The entire trip was marked by traffic jams. Nearly every time we traveled on the autobahn either in Germany or Switzerland, we got stuck in a traffic jam. The worst traffic jam happened one evening on the way back to Desmond's home from Zurich. We waited for nearly two hours on the side of the highway, until a car fire in a tunnel was cleared out. Along with hundreds of other stranded motorists, there were also not moving, we utilized the time and got some work done. Desmond and I were working out the details on how I can best help him and the church.

Kids Prayer Program Will Continue
Never fear, the Kids Prayer program will continue even while helping Power House Church, In fact it will probably open new ministry doors of opportunity for me in the region. I’m excited about the future and see this possible move as a "new chapter" in my missionary life.

It will be easy to integrate into Power House Church since I have been there before in October and December of 2007 and always received an incredibly warm welcome from the church members. I look forward to becoming an active part of the church ministry team.

Power House Church is young, vibrant church, which is growing steadily. A few months ago, they moved into their own facility located near the Zurich airport. The church's future potential to reach the lost, with a focus on young families and professionals in Switzerland is incredible. This past Monday, they opened Power House Day Care which will enable them to minister to the pre-school children and parents working in the many nearby office complexes and airport, surrounding the church building. The Zurich Airport alone has 41,000 people directly tied to the operation of that airport and it various surrounding facilities. It is literally a small town with its own postal code and train station.

Lake Zurich Baptism Service & Grill Party = BBQ
The Sunday before I returned to Bonn, the church had a baptism service in Lake Zurich. Desmond baptized seven people from the church.

After the baptism service, we celebrated as a family, with a "Grill Party" aka BBQ. Serious rain storms over-night and in the morning threatened to cancel the event but prayer does work. After the Sunday morning service and while we drove from church to Lake Zurich, the rain stopped during the baptism service and BBQ and started to sprinkle shortly after the event ended while we were on our way back home. God is good.

Just click on the arrow in the center of the picture below to check out a YouTube video of the baptism service below. It was recorded by one of the church members.

Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe

03 July 2008

Short Trip to Switzerland

Happy 4th of July Weekend
Usually tomorrow I would be doing my normal 4th of July ritual of flying my small American and State of Arizona flag from my balcony but I’ll be on a train traveling south to Switzerland instead. So someone fly a flag for me.

Quick Trip South
Just a quick update to let you know that I will be taking a short trip to Zurich, Switzerland tomorrow. There are some additional ministry opportunities coming up in the near future and I want to explore them on the trip. During my time there, I will be meeting and staying with Pastor Desmond Frey at Power House Church in Zurich.

You might remember my previous trips (and blog postings) to Power House Church this past October and December. This is where I was able to help Pastor Desmond and his church during Switzerland’s first Men’s Commissioning.

I’m looking forward to being able to spend the week with him, his family and Power House Church again. The church recently moved into a permanent facility near the Zurich airport. Since then lots of great things have been developing in the church. I’ll update you on the trip when I return next week.

In the mean time, enjoy the holiday weekend and the freedom we have as Americans. Don't take it for granted.

Be safe and blessings,

16 June 2008

Happy Father's Day

My Father’s Day present came in the form of a phone call Saturday. It was from my youngest son William and his wife Stephanie. They called to tell me the gender of their second child, which is due in October. It is going to be a girl. This was a terrific Father’s Day present for me. Congratulations William and Stephanie. Little Bradley Scott is going to have a little sister to tease when they get older.

Special Bond
Grandpa’s love their grand children no matter what gender or age. But fathers and grand-fathers do have a special bond with their little girls. Having two sons, whom I wouldn’t trade for anything, has been great. But as a man, having a little girl in the family is very special. Of course, children are a blessings no matter what their gender. I’ve begun to realize as Shawn’s daughter, Antonella, is getting older, now 7 ½, we are getting much closer. This is a wonderful thing even if nearly 3,000 miles of Atlantic Ocean separate us. I also thank God often for the technology that is now available to all families and missionaries living apart from their loved ones.

I am incredibly proud of both of my sons Shawn and William for many areas of their lives but especially in their roles as fathers. Shawn has had a few years head start on William. And Shawn has not only been a terrific dad for Antonella but also has been available to some other children needing a father figure. William is a new dad with seven month old Bradley Scott. But even in this short time, you can already see the incredible love and caring he shows his son and other children. (Both of these boys kinda makes a dad proud, ya know.)

What Is a Father?
It is an awesome title and responsibility to be a dad. Biologically men can “father” a child but to be a dad is another definition. You can be someone’s dad and have never “fathered” a child. And unfortunately the opposite is also true. You can make babies and never be a dad.

It takes a special man to become a dad to a child whether they actually fathered that child or not. I have great respect for some friends of mine who have welcomed and played that role for years. The greatest blessing any man can receive is when a child acknowledges that he is their “dad”.

Many Teachers but Not Many Fathers
Men need to step up and assume the position of “dad” as our Heavenly Father has done for us. The most amazing thing happens to us when our relationship with our Heavenly Father becomes personal. God gives everyone acceptance and meaning to their lives. We have the free will choice to make it personal. Even Paul talks about fathers in the New Testament. He mentions that there are many teachers but not many fathers. What does he mean?

I love this version of scripture from the Message Bible which says:
1Co 4:15 There are a lot of people around who can't wait to tell you what you've done wrong, but there aren't many fathers willing to take the time and effort to help you grow up. It was as Jesus helped me proclaim God's Message to you that I became your father.

Paul is talking about the spiritual aspects of fatherhood. But I challenge you that there are natural applications to this scripture also. Correction can be one thing ­­— guidance another.

The Challenge
Take up Paul’s challenge in God’s Word and become a dad, spiritual or otherwise to someone who needs one. Age has no influence on this type of relationship. Genuine concern and availability does. You’d be surprised at the number of adult Believers that would love to have a “Father in the Lord”. Call it fathering, discipleship or mentoring. The end result is a bi-directional blessing for both parties.

God’s blessings,
Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe

28 May 2008

Graduation / Rhema Bible Training Center - Germany

On 20 May, Rhema Bible Training Center - Germany held their graduation ceremony. The event is held every other year. This year it was held for the 2007 and 2008 graduates.

Pastor Ken and Lynette Hagin from Rhema Bible Church and Rhema Bible Training Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma were the commencement speakers and presented the graduates with their diplomas.

Alumni Luncheon
An alumni luncheon was held earlier that afternoon. It was attended by about ninety alumni representing graduates from Europe and America.

My contribution to the ceremony was to help with set up and run the stage lighting system. I am at the lighting board with Brent Harris, who is running the computer graphics. Brent is an American missionary and Rhema Germany staff member.

Lawrence E. Blakeslee

22 May 2008

Myanmar (Burma) Needs Our Prayers

Above Everything Else…
The people of Myanmar (Burma) need our prayers.

A few weeks ago, Cyclone Nargis hit the Irrawaddy Delta Region of Myanmar (Burma). Reuters New agency reported last Monday that the death toll is estimated to be over 130,000 people and climbing.

View Larger Map

Myanmar (Burma) is an access and information restricted country run by a military junta. The Burmese government has allowed only a limited amount of international humanitarian aid to come into the country since the cyclone hit on 2nd and 3rd of May.

A worldwide public uproar continues as thousands of tons of multi-national aid waits beyond Myanmar’s borders in ships, planes and helicopters, ready to be delivered. The military junta that has ruled the country for 19 years, has so far refused to allow only a trickle of relief to enter the country.

According to the New York Times on Monday, six U.S. military flights landed on Friday. Which brings the total number of relief flights from all countries to 17. This has increased by today but not by much.

Ships, just off the coast, are holding thousands of tons of supplies waiting for permission from the government to off load. These include three U.S. Navy ships capable of producing 70,000 gallons of fresh water.

Last week, a threat loomed of another cyclone to strike the country on the same storm track as Cyclone Nargis. The storm failed to develop into a cyclone but flooded the already overwhelmed region in torrential rain.

What Can We Do? Pray!
Join me in praying for the people of Myanmar (Burma).

Prayer Points
• Pray for the children and elderly who are not capable of fending for themselves.
• Pray that the military junta will allow the vast multi-national relief agencies to enter Myanmar to help them.
• Pray for the health and safety of the survivors and relief workers as they work in the disease infested region.
• Pray that the people of Myanmar will have an open heart to see God’s love by action by these workers.
• Pray for Myanmar’s Believers to be able to share Jesus’ love for them and the hope He can give them.

What I Saw in January 2007
I’ve been asked if I had visited the area where the cyclone hit when I was in Myanmar last year. No, my time was spent mostly in the highlands and not in the lowlands. The cyclone track looks like the storm was reduced to severe rain in the areas I visited.

Home construction in rural areas is mostly of thatched roofs and weathered wooden beams would not withstand high winds. Many families live above their livestock. In a cyclone or severe storm, the roads and utilities, would be destroyed and take forever to be rebuild. Relief agencies are already concerned about the lack of equipment to clear roads so they can reach the remaining survivors.

During my trip, I traveled on a narrow, winding, one and half lane wide, mountain road that tracked alongside a small river for a few miles. More than six months before, a severe rain storm washed away a bridge and major portions of this road for a few miles.

As my full sized, overcrowded and standing room only bus traveled on the remaining portion of the road, it was clear that not enough heavy or road building machinery at the job site. What equipment was there was old and worn out. Much of the rebuilding was being done by hand labor. This was going to make rebuilding the road an endless project.

The various people groups and tribes of Burma are a kind and gentle people. The survivors of Cyclone Nargis need food, fresh water and basic relief supplies to save their lives. But they and the rest of their countryman, also need the prayers of all Believers’ throughout the world. They need the hope of The Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Rev. Lawrence E. Blakeslee

Additional Facts:
CIA Fact Book:
Earth Observatory / NASA: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/natural_hazards_v2.php3?img_id=14819

23 April 2008

The World IS Flat!

The world IS flat and you thought that I fell off — well that is pretty close. Today, I realized it has been nearly a month since I’ve posted anything. Sorry, but I do have a good excuse.

The two months in the States was non-stop, with a real push the last two weeks in Phoenix. The time spent with my sons, Shawn and William, William’s wife Stephanie and grand kids was priceless. Sorry boys but new grandbaby Bradley and grand daughter Antonella learning to speak German were at the top of the chart. We all needed the extra time together this year.

Dodged a Bullet
Remember the grounding and canceling of all flights using the MD-80 planes of Delta, American and Southwest Airlines? By the grace of God, I flew the day before that all happened and it was on a Delta MD-80 from Charlotte to Atlanta. This could have been a real problem for me. God is good.

Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock
In a previous post, I mentioned looking forward to a men's retreat near Prescott, Arizona and expecting some peace and quiet so I could get before The Lord. Well that would have been at a “normal” retreat. The Tres Dias retreat was great but completely different than I expected.

I was blessed to be there and the Holy Spirit ministered to me differently than what I expected. It also gave me the opportunity to minister to some of the other guys that were there. My “immediate” prayer needs were delayed slightly by God’s plan.

With only 11 days left before leaving for Germany, it was non-stop “meet & greet” with as many people possible. It was fun to be able to see as many friends in Phoenix as I did. Granted we didn’t get much time to visit but at least it was something. Thank you for your flexibility in allowing me to drop in on your lives, sometimes with little notice.

Night Owl Flight
My trans-Atlantic flight from Atlanta to Dusseldorf turned out to be a “night owl flight”. On prior flights, I could manage to get about five or six hours sleep out of a ten hour flight. On this one, the ambient cabin lights brighter than “normal”, the "million candle power" big screen TV ran all night, (my cheapy eye covers couldn't keep out the light), the entire plane seemed to be up, talking, or moving around. My normal “jet lag prevention” routine went out the window at 31,000 feet, near Iceland, about four hours into the eight hour trip. It took a full week before I finally got back on schedule from the jet lag and the crazy sleeping patterns.

The German Custom's officers gave me a long second look as wheeled all my stuff through the “Nothing to Declare” lane. I really didn’t have anything to declare but you wouldn’t have guessed it by the load. With the dollar so weak against the Euro, it's a common thing now to fly to the U.S. from Europe and shop, shop, shop till ya drop. German Customs is happy to make the additional revenue from your trans-Atlantic shopping trip.

Left: Previously photographed, looking across the Rhein River at Konigswinter, a small town nearby, that used to be the vacation spot for royality, hence the German name for King is "Konig".

Right: A view from my village Rolandseck across to Bad Honef, also a place for vacationing royality in the 1850's and now famous for the manufacturing of Birkenstock sandals and shoes.

God's Beautiful Creation
My German friend, Uwe, picked me up at the airport. He and I jammed my two big maxi-legal airline suitcases, the largest airline legal rolling duffle bag, my computer roller case and briefcase in his little Fiat and shuttled me home to Rolandseck.

Even with a jet lagged brain, there was a moment when the beauty of God’s creation here where I live, struck me. The morning was clear and crisp as we drove down the autobahn. The bright blue sky, puffy white cumulus clouds and morning sun, contrasted the still leaf-less, barren trees of winter in the forest. The evergreens are always "evergreen" but the rest of the trees in the forest looked like a army of skeletons, with arms out stretched, diligently waiting to be covered with "fleshy" leaves. Nothing had begun to bud.

During March, Germany had terrible weather this late in the season. This day visibility was nearly unlimited which can be rare for winter in Germany. Because of the previous weeks of bad weather, the Rhein River was running unusually high, fast and brownish due to the above normal rain runoff.

Honestly, I have never taken for granted the wonderful place God sent me to live and work as a missionary. This has always been appreciated even more after returning from various missions’ trips to Third World countries.

America will always be my home. I would never trade my dark blue U.S. passport for any other country in the world. Somehow God builds in grace for all missionaries to have a “second home” mentality.

The glorious weather disappeared the next day when it all went back to rainy, cloudy, and cold. As I unpack my suitcase, I thought I guess I can pack my shorts and t-shirts away again for awhile. Even my neighbors were complaining about the extended winter when it should be spring.

Finally — It’s Spring
Spring struck yesterday and of course I'd rather be out in it than sitting at my computer working. Don't we all. But the extra light of spring and summer days at this latitude will allow playing outside later. This trip produced a lot of good conversations and exchanged ideas. It’s time to do some praying and research to see what The Lord wants, if any, out of all these ideas floating around.

My plan is to really try and return to Florida a second time to see my sons and grand kids. There is also enough ministry work available in Florida to combine the trip with work and family. I wanted to do it last year but it didn’t work. I believe that it can happen this year. Would you be in prayer agreement with me for this and for this years ministry travel expenses.

In the mean time, it is time to set ministry schedules here in Europe and elsewhere as The Lord would direct and make possible.

2008 promises to be a good year with lots of interesting ministry opportunities and possible changes ahead. Working for God is always an adventure of some sort.

Lawrence Blakeslee

25 March 2008

Jacksonville, Florida to Charlotte, North Carolina

Well I just wrapped up a couple of wonderful weeks with my son Shawn and grand-daughter Antonella in Jacksonville, Florida. And just before that time, with William, Stephanie and baby Brady. It was hard to believe how much Antonella has grown over the last year. As a first grader, she has turned into a “walking-talking-thinking” little person. She asks lots of good questions about everything she observes. She is terrific. Although my German friends will probably cringe when they hear this, I even started teaching her some German. Kids have minds like sponges. I guess there are some advantages to being a kid.

Windy & Wet
Shawn and I did lots of guy things. All three of us went out fishing on his little boat a few times but got blown off water because of fronts moving through the area.

Even though Antonella was cold and wet from the waves crashing over the bow, she never complained. I was impressed with her ability to put up with a pretty miserable time on the water without complaining when she really had a bit of a right to do it. Overall, fishing was not good but still anytime boating with your family is a good time. I regret not getting any pictures on the boat but it was so wet I didn’t want pull out my camera and risk ruining it.

On To Charlotte, North Carolina
Easter Sunday I flew up to visit friends Grant and Emily Gray in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. Grant is a budding missionary, having traveled to Africa last year for a short-term mission’s trip to dig and repair fresh water wells in the remote areas of Kenya. Grant is planning on going again this year. His wife Emily works for Rick Joyner’s MorningStar Ministries. It has been great to see them and their family again.

MorningStar took over the old Jim and Tammy Bakker “Heritage U.S.A.” facility in 2004 and is continuing to do a remarkable restoration of the property since then. Many improvements and repairs have been done since my last visit to the facility in 2006. Rick Joyner’s heart is for restoration not only of people but to this property which was previously dedicated to God’s work.

Back to Phoenix
I return to Phoenix this Wednesday evening and then leave the next day to attend a four-day men’s retreat in Prescott with my friend Nathan Hale. This will be my first time to attend the Tres Dias retreat and I think it is very timely. It will give me some quiet time from all the travel during this trip to the U.S.. More importantly it will give me some quality prayer time with The Lord before I return to Bonn.

Every year, during my trips to the U.S., I get asked how long I will be in Germany. Every year, I take time to see what The Lord’s plans are for me during the upcoming year. It is important not to get “trapped” into doing the same thing every time without “checking-in” to make sure that I am fulfilling God’s plans and desires for me. During the last six months there have been a couple of different thoughts and ideas come up in my heart the last six months and I want to make sure that I am on target with God’s plan for my life.

Friday, April 11, I fly from Phoenix and return to Germany via Atlanta. The last two weeks in Phoenix will be very hectic trying to “meet and greet” as many people as possible before I return. This year, my friends in Phoenix got the “short end” of my total time on this trip to the U.S. with literally only the last two weeks being spent in Phoenix before returning. I’ll try to make the best use of time before I leave. If I fail to see you on this trip, please accept my apology in advance.

God bless you,

09 March 2008

From Snow Storms to "Sons-Shine"

I’ve just spent the best time with my youngest son William, his wife Stephanie and my new three month old grandson Bradley Scott. We really had a wonderful time together.

Winter weather has been following me around the U.S. since I got here. I left Kansas City in cold and icy weather on my way to "sunny" Tampa, Florida. We made an enroute stop in Indianapolis where we needed to de-ice the plane before take off. We approached Tampa, with thunderstorms surrounding the area and got off the plane to find everyone bundled up wearing jackets. I was really looking forward to wearing shorts and t-shirts in Florida and eventually did happen.

Wednesday, 27 February to Thursday, 6 March / Tampa, Florida

Family Time
During my previous annual trips to the U.S., I would take only a few days off during the trip to visit my two sons in Florida. But this year, with new baby Bradley and Antonella now 7 ½ years old, it was important to spend much more time with all of them.

On my last day with William and his family in Tampa, Shawn and Antonella drove down from Jacksonville to join us for a Blakeslee Family Fun Day at Busch Gardens in Tampa. Busch Gardens is an amusement park and mini zoo with many animals and birds from around the world. It was a great place to have a family day. Despite the rain, which started in the afternoon and never let up though out the night, we still had a great time together at the park.

(Left) Proud Grandpa and Bradley Scott

(Right) Bradley's First Pro Hockey Game

(Left) Antonella

(Right) Antonella and Her New Bird Friends

(Left) The Blakeslee Boys & Girls

Friday, 7 March / Tampa to Jacksonville, Florida

Farewells & Tornado Watches
It was great to see William, Stephanie again and meet Bradley for the first time. Yes, I know this is “grandparent talk” but even you have to admit when you see his pictures that Bradley is the cutest baby in Florida, if not the world. I’m going to miss them until I see them again next year. Before we went our separate ways, all of the “Blakeslee Boys & Girls” gathered at a local Mexican food restaurant for lunch and another round of pictures with all of us together.

Shawn, Antonella and I drove north as tornado watches were being posted for the Florida’s Panhandle area that also included touch downs and sighting in a small community just west of Jacksonville.

The heavy weather hit as we drove north of Daytona Beach. Rain just down poured down for the next two and half hours as we traveled north. Coincidently it was also Bike Week in Daytona Beach. This is a huge annual 250,000+ person motorcycle event. All of the riders traveling south to Daytona Beach were just being soaked. The best rain gear would not have kept you dry in this constant torrential rain storm.

The next couple of weeks will be spent with Shawn and Antonella. She has gotten much taller and grown up so much from last year. As you can see in the pictures, she is incredibly cute and smart. More to come from our time together in Jacksonville.


25 February 2008

Snow Storms, Freezing Rain and Icy Roads but Not in Germany

Amazing but true… It wasn’t until I arrived in the U.S. that I really saw winter weather this year. Briefly, here is how the trip has gone so far.

Thursday, 14 February / Dusseldorf, Germany to Phoenix, Arizona
Despite adding an extra two hours of travel time to the airport, I nearly missed my flight because of traffic jams on the autobahn. I made it through security quickly, which was only by God’s grace, considering the amount of electronics in my backpack, then on to passport control and to the departure gate just in time to board my flight to Phoenix via London’s Heathrow airport.

Friday, 15 February / Flagstaff, Arizona
Met with Pastor Mike Tenpenny and eight others from Lamb of God Bible Church. I met Pastor Mike and the others when they traveled to Zurich, Switzerland last December to participate in the Faithful Men’s Commissioning at Power House Church. On the way to Flagstaff, we ran into an incredible local snow storm and traffic jam, which brought traffic to a standstill for nearly an hour. At one point, I really thought I wouldn't make it to Flagstaff. But everything cleared up and I made it in time.

Saturday, 16 February / Flagstaff
Attended the LOGBC Men’s meeting and also met Franklin Santagate who shared about Market Place Ministry. A topic and a form of outreach to the public that is close to my heart.

Sunday, 17 February / Flagstaff
Attended LOGBC church service and spent the weekend with close friends.

Monday, 18 February / Travel from Flagstaff to Phoenix
Back to Phoenix to get ready to fly out to Tulsa early the next day.

Tuesday, 19 February / Phoenix to Tulsa, Oklahoma
Caught an early flight out from Phoenix to Tulsa. Attended my 20th Anniversary Home Coming for Rhema Bible Training Center and the Winter Bible Seminar. Renewed some old friendships and made some new ones as I attended the Missionaries Luncheon and my Home Coming luncheon. Took the opportunity to share the Kids’ Prayer program with many.

Thursday, 20 February / Tulsa to Independence, Missouri
It’s the last day in Tulsa and I woke up to an ice covered car, the results of an ice and snow storm that passed through the area the night before. Flew out late in the afternoon to Independence, Missouri to stay with Pastor Tim and Wendy Vogel of Independence Four Square Church. The same cold front that hit Tulsa, shut down Kansas City highways earlier in the day. Walked off the plane and into 9 degree (F) temps, wind, ice, slush and snow. Very glad for a last minute decision to bring my boots and heavy down parka jacket.

Sunday, 24 February / Independence
Had the opportunity to share the Kids’ Prayer Program and my new First Step Ministries promo DVD with the church. A special thanks to Spencer Fry for his help in putting the DVD together.

Monday, 25 February / Independence
Will spend the day at Mike Bickle’s, International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri. IHOP has 24/7 Praise & Worship in their auditorium. This has become an annual blessing to be able to take the time to spend the day in this incredible atmosphere of prayer, praise and worship.

Tuesday, 26 February / Kansas City to Tampa Bay, Florida
I am looking forward to spending some time with my youngest son William, his wife Stephanie and my new grand baby Bradley Scott Blakeslee. This will be the first time for me to see Bradley in person. Really looking forward to spending some quality time with them.

More to come as the trip progresses.


13 February 2008

On My Way to... Actually the U.S.A.

Hi Everyone,
Tomorrow morning, I fly out of the Cologne/Bonn airport on my anual trip back to the States. I'll be arriving in Phoenix late Thursday afternoon.

I leave Phoenix the following morning to start five weeks of travel and ministering as I work my way across the U.S. all the way down to Tampa, FL. After Tampa, I start heading back towards Phoenix, returning back to the Valley of the Sun in late March.

This year I will only have less than two weeks in Phoenix before returning to Germany. It is going to be non-stop. If I don't get a chance to visit with you this year, please accept my apology now. I'll try to make it up to you next year. This will be one of the busiest trips planned in six years.

As I travel and time permits, I'll try to do some postings to keep you up to date.

Be blessed and be careful.

Talk to you soon.
Lawrence Blakeslee

29 January 2008

God & Me on Bus 19

In a few weeks I will start my annual trip to America to itinerate, raise support and visit family and friends.

Around this time last year, I had an unbelievable experience in my home town of Phoenix at the beginning of last year's trip.

I wrote this story last year but held on to it. It seems like now is the time to publish it here on my blog. It is rather long and I have tried earnestly to shorten it. But there is too much to share in order to communicate the impact this event had on my life and ministry.

So for those that like to read and have the time, you'll be in heaven. For those that have limited time or only like "pics and snippets"... sorry. But try just this time to take seven minutes out of your already busy day. I think at the end, you'll be blessed. LB

So we begin...

God & Me on Bus 19
By Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
6 March 2007

A few months ago, I was tramping around the Hill Tribes Villages of Myanmar and Thailand ministering everywhere I could. In those villages, you expected to see the poorest of the poor, with a wide variety of animals roaming around the villages with their associated odors.

Shortly after this particular missions trip in Asia, I traveled back to the America to itinerate. While in Phoenix, Arizona, I needed to travel to the other side of town. Being a missionary, I was used to taking public transportation overseas, so I decided to use the Valley Metro, the local Phoenix metro bus service.

The trip would take me from a middle class neighborhood in Scottsdale, through the heart of Phoenix. The first half of the trip was uneventful. Being an avid people watcher, it was interesting to observe the variety of people that were riding the bus. You wonder about their lives and if they have any relationship with Jesus.

I Bailed Out…
When it was time to make a simple transfer to another bus to continue my trip, it became a real challenge. Before boarding the connecting bus, I checked the sign at the front of the bus to make sure it was the right one. The bus proceeded up the street a few miles but took an unexpected turn and started heading down a “wrong” street. This unexpected turn threw me off. So rather than get totally lost, I bailed out at the next stop, crossed the street and took a bus that returned me to the point of the unexpected turn.

Bewildered, I asked the returning bus driver where I had to go to catch a bus going northbound. He didn’t say anything and pointed vaguely down the street. I didn't think he heard me so I asked again and he refused to give any verbal direction. He again just lazily pointed vaguely down the street. This was frustrating and added to my confusion.

Stepping off that bus, I looked around and saw another bus stop located up the street, on the correct side of the street, in the direction in which I wanted to go. As I walked up to the bus stop, I noticed some street construction signs which were gathered up on the sidewalk, near the bus stop and not in the street redirecting traffic. They were not in effect, since all the vehicle traffic continued to use the street normally and no obvious road construction could be seen.

When I arrived at the bus stop, I saw another temporary street sign saying the bus stop was closed. Out of frustration and without knowing what to do, I just simply sat down on the bus bench to think.

I couldn’t figure out how to take the correct bus that would head up the street to my destination. I didn’t have the answer and didn’t know where to go to get one. My frustration level was rising rapidly.

Earlier when I checked the bus company website it had not indicated any detours on this route and now without the help or cooperation from the previous bus driver I was stuck. I didn’t have a cell phone to call anyone. Pay phones on the street are now nearly non-existent.

The only honest way to describe my feelings was that I was fuming in frustration. I didn’t have this much trouble getting around in a foreign country and in other language.

I Do Not Need This…
After about 15 minutes of sitting and “contemplating” my situation, a short, slightly unkempt, middle aged, lady stopped and said to me in a bit of a harsh and slightly sarcastic voice, “You know this bus stop is closed.” I thought to myself, “I do not need this right now.”

But – I replied nicely that I saw the sign on the sidewalk but was confused and had no idea how to catch the bus that would take me up the road to my destination. She quickly pointed down the road to the temporary bus stop that was at the beginning of the “wrong turn”.

She then proceeded to tell me that for some reason the buses continue to detour even though the road was open to normal traffic. She continued to explain in kinder terms, that the bus would eventually end up back on its normal route, after a considerable detour through a local neighborhood. I thanked her and was relieved to have help from anyone at this point.

As I walked towards the bus stop, she tagged along and started to tell me that she was taking the same bus to Wal-Mart to buy milk because it was much less expensive there, than at the nearby 7-11.

She then introduced herself as Sally and that she had diabetes. She needed the milk for that condition. With her still tagging along, step for step, she asked if I had any spare change. I gave her some money believing in my heart that it would actually buy milk and also possibly end her shadowing me. Besides, it was the least that I could do since she offered me more help the than the last bus driver.

As we continued down the street step for step, she volunteered that she went to a nearby church and that God had helped her. Strangely for me, I didn’t mention that I was a missionary or even that I was a Believer. Now I wanted to see where she was going with the conversation and to hear what she had to say.

Sally told me about her pastor and how the church had really helped her. When I asked her the name of the church, she couldn’t remember but pointed down the street and told me roughly where I could find it plus the Sunday service times. When I asked her the pastor's name, she only remembered his first name, Mike. Interesting, I thought.

We arrived at the temporary bus stop and she continued to tell me her "life story". During this time, my overall frustration level had dropped and I actually began to listen to what she was telling me.

The bus arrived and we boarded. When asked, this bus driver confirmed that this bus would be going to my destination. Even though there were plenty of other seats available, I decided to sit down next to my new friend Sally. Now she intrigued me.

I noticed that when Sally boarded, others already on the bus knew and acknowledged her as she walked down the aisle. She greeted nearly everyone.

Sadly, she told me that she had recently lost her husband after six years of marriage. She admitted that she was having a hard time dealing with his death and that her diabetes was also bothering her. Her eyes began to tear up as she explained that life had become increasing difficult for her to handle without her husband. Her voice gave away that she truly loved him and missed him. I felt sad for her loss.

God’s Little Angel & The Bus Pastor
A few minutes into the ride, a lady seated across the bus aisle started a conversation with Sally. Sally asked the lady about someone’s health. The lady told her that her friend was getting much better and believed that Sally’s prayers had made the difference. Both of them were happy with the good news. She seemed to be God’s little angel to everyone on the bus. A few stops later, Sally arrived at her stop and left the bus. Another lady boards at the same stop and she takes a seat near the rear of the bus.

Immediately as the new lady settles in, other riders acknowledge her. As people leave the bus she bids them a warm “God Bless You”. While the bus is making its way up the street, people come back to her area of the bus and talk to her about their lives. This lady seemed to know many people. At nearly every stop, new people boarded, saw her and came back to her to discuss their lives with her. It struck me that she seemed to be the “Bus Pastor”.

As more people got on and off the bus, she greeted them with a genuine blessing and a concern for how they were doing. At one point a slightly mentally retarded, middle aged man, boarded the bus and sat down across the aisle from me. Listening to a CD player, he did not start a conversation with anyone. But as each person left the bus from the rear exit, he said, in a timid, almost unheard voice, “God Bless”. It was amazing. I’m not sure anyone leaving noticed his blessing them.

It was a warm day and the bus air conditioning wasn’t working very well. The bus was taking on a variety of aromas that were not very pleasant. I say this with all respect, if you’ve ever worked with the homeless and street people, you know this smell. It is the distinct aroma of the poor, living and surviving on the street.

The Rose of Sharon
I propose to you that it is not the sweet distinct aroma of the “Rose of Sharon” but it is a smell that God might even prefer. As I became aware of this odor in the bus, for some unexplained reason the presence and love of God filled my heart as I began to see these people through God’s “eyes” and smell this aroma through God’s “nose”.

Some twenty-plus years earlier, at the very beginning of my walk with The Lord, I was blessed to work with the homeless, street people and the working poor on the Phoenix's Westside. It was at ministry called “Love In Action”. Now some twenty-plus years later, I seemed to have forgotten my “ministry roots” and God took this opportunity to remind me. At the same time, He revealed some flaws in my character and thinking.

Honestly, I realized that I started this bus ride with a bit of hidden pride. Now that pride was being stripped away and a sincere sense of humility and humbleness was replacing it. The Holy Spirit was reminding me of the sincerity these people had at Love In Action, when God was their only hope.

Yes, I was tired of the “inconvenience” of being on a bus, the detour problems, the uncooperative bus driver and overall frustrations. But during this time, God reminded me of a "world" in my own country that I used to be familiar with, the helpless, the homeless and the working poor.

My guess is that our Heavenly Father would find the “odor” of the poor or homeless person more pleasant to Him, when they are living in righteousness and holiness; than of those who are more "well heeled" and have the ability to wear expensive perfume or cologne but are not living for God.

We know God loves all people. Christ died for all people, not just those of a certain income tax bracket, title, position or country. But sometimes I think the Body of Christ forgets this basic tenet in the air-conditioned, carpeted, cushioned pew church world in America. This fact is not overlooked by the many missionaries serving both overseas and at equally important, home missions.

Earlier, I was perturbed about the bus “detour” in my life. My little world was focused on my needs and my frustrations. Now, the very tangible presence of God, through the Holy Spirit surrounded me on Bus 19.

No Place to Hide…
As His presence hit my spirit and soul, I tried to hunker down low in my seat.
I had no place to hide. Behind my oversized Aviator sunglasses, my eyes filled with tears that streamed down my cheeks. I realized the earlier “inconvenience” of my bus ride was actually a ministry reality check. Sally and the "Bus Pastor" were obviously an extension of His love to everyone they touched on that bus. Had I become so annoyed and distracted in my little world, that I forgotten how much God unconditionally loves these people too?

As I looked around with my tear filled eyes and thought about the people on Bus 19, I tried to imagine their lives and their inconveniences. I knew that my Heavenly Father counted them precious and loved them just as they were — just the way they smelled or didn’t. He loved them so much that He sent His Son Jesus down to earth, to be the ultimate and final sacrifice, to die on a cross and rise again — so all mankind could receive their eternal salvation.

You don’t have to be a missionary working on the nomadic plains of Mongolia, ministering in densely populated India or working with the Hill Tribes in Thailand, to be able to minister God’s love to people.

Yes, God had given me that privilege as an overseas missionary. The inconveniences of those trips, lack of plumbing, cold showers or no showers, strange foods, and strange smells, etc were counted as “merit badges” of sorts. The inconvenience of riding a city bus, with bad air conditioning, a driver with a bad attitude, construction detours and the smell of the poor was not “ministry” or was it?

My Challenge to You…
You may not be called to be an overseas missionary. You may not have a full-time ministry for any number of valid reasons. But you can have a ministry of sharing God’s love right outside your door, if you want it.

Buy a bus ticket and ride your city bus. Pick the same time of the day, the same day of the week, the same route. Get to know and be known by the other riders. If you want an additional challenge, pick a bus route that takes you through the inner-city. Pray before you go to have an open and sensitive heart to the Holy Spirit and to those around you. Be ready to give God's love away.

Please don’t “hammer” anyone with a “Hell Fire and Brimstone” speech. God touched all of our hearts with His love for us when we needed it. Rather be ready to share God’s love with people that you encounter. After all, all of us are His hands, His voice, and His love expressed to those loveable and unlovable. You too can be a missionary and minister the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


Copyright © 2007 - 2008 Lawrence E. Blakeslee All Rights Reserved Reprint with permission.

14 January 2008

30 Days of Prayer for Muslims

Last week, I attended a meeting in Europe, of people that have a heart to reach Muslims with the Gospel. Although not directly associated with this group, for the past two years, they have allowed me to attend and provide input and insight into their ministry.

My role during these meetings is to be "Joe Christian". Which means to give my perspective and opinion, as an average Christian, in how they can promote their program to Christians worldwide.

30 Days or Prayer, ( http://www.30-days.net/ ) is a worldwide ministry that provides booklets and materials to be used by Christians during Islam's Ramadan. This is the period of time that Muslims fast and pray for 30 days. This ministry believes that they are not so much, called to fight Islam but to lift up Jesus so they can see Him as Savior.

Their desire is for Christians worldwide to pray in unison, using a standardized, worldwide prayer guide, during this same period of time. They do this so that the Holy Spirit can touch Muslims and open their hearts to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

At the end of these meetings, I have left with a high level of respect for the people working on the 30 Days project.

Their goals are to:
• See the Kingdom of God come among the Muslims
• Pray for Muslims to recognize Jesus as their Savior
• Not criticize them but to love them

It really is my blessing to be with the team and hear them reflect God's love for Muslims worldwide. Thank you for asking and allowing me to participate.

Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee