22 March 2009

Keep It Real... Really

Last Tuesday night I had the opportunity to teach at Adobe Mountain, a youth detention facility in Phoenix. It was my first time to minister there. It was great. A small group of boys from the ages of 14 to 17 attended the weekly Bible study. These particular young men were serving time for drug violations.

My close friend Nathan Hale has been leading this Bible study for more than a year. Nathan is a young man I've known for years. He has lots of energy and the boys relate to him. He cares for these guys and they know it. Another guy on the team, Ron, shared a little about the history and importance of reading the Bible. Nathan's wife, Debora, helped with the music.

We gathered in a small Day Room and started the meeting with Praise & Worship. Each boy was able to pick a song they liked and wanted the group to sing. It also happened to be movie night in the cottage. All the boys in this unit had to choose to either watch the movie or attend the Bible study.

Later on, after the movie ended, some of those boys, had to return to their locked rooms, but watched and listened through the windows in their doors.

One Shot
With only about thirty minutes to make an impact, what was the most important thing that God wanted me to talk about? Communicate how real God is and how they could have a tangible relationship with Him.

We discussed how doing this is no different than with anyone else on earth. When I asked them if they had a girl friend, somehow they could then easily relate. Instantly a few friendly jabs and elbows were exchanged with each other. Imagine that, teenage boys relating to girls!

Yes, somebody talks. Somebody listens and then you swap. They began to understand that we don't have to use theological terms. We don't have to be religious. Prayer is just talk. Talk develops relationship. Relationship develops love.

God Is All Knowing
"Well, doesn't God already know everything about me?" Of course He does but He still wants a one-on-one relationship. Our Heavenly Father is always waiting for us to "phone home" and share our day. He wants to hear our worries, problems, and victories. Remember, this is the very reason He created mankind. It is no different than what we want on this earth with the people we love.

Keep It Real... Really
During the discussion, one of the boys piped up with a terrific phrase. He said, "So you mean, 'Keep it real... really' ". That says it all. We sometimes get off track on what prayer is or how to pray. Yes, as we mature in our walk with the Lord, there are times we get more "technical" by quoting specific scriptures for specific reasons. But for now, with these young men, it was just keep it simple and "Keep it real... really."

After the meeting, one of the boys came up to me and told me how he liked what he heard. He said he never thought that praying was just talking to God. His "ahha" moment made it all worthwhile for me. From the other boy's questions and responses, I think they got it.

The point with all of us is to understand that we have a real Heavenly Father, who loves us, who wants to communicate that to us. Who is waiting for us to communicate with Him.

Talk to God, just talk. Listen and don't be surprised if He talks back.

Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe & Asia

14 March 2009

Reaching Out in Phoenix, Arizona

Mini International Outreach

Kids & Ballons = Fun! My New Friends from Bhutan

Last weekend I was invited to participate in a kids outreach. It was held at a large apartment complex that houses many refugees from other nations.

The kids were "wired" especially when one of the team members brought a live lamb from their farm, as an object lesson.

The object lesson. There IS a lamb in there.

The kids had fun but I'm not sure the lamb thought it was such a great idea. It got more attention in 90 minutes than it has ever had in its young life.

Refugees from Bhutan, Nepal, Syria, the Middle East and India showed up to turn it international outreach in the middle of the city of Phoenix.

Behavioral Problems
The next morning I was able to minister at a home for children with serious behavior problems. About 18 kids showed up for a puppet show, mini-message and bible study on the power of our words, and of course, treats.

The ages of both boys and girls ranged from 9 to 17 years old. Many of these kid's problems stemmed from their mothers being on drugs during their pregnancy. This is not to big for God. These kids can be healed just like any other medical issue.

Youth Detention Facility
This Tuesday evening, I am scheduled to minister at the boys section of a youth detention facility in North Phoenix. So far, I haven't heard from the Arizona Department of Corrections about my clearance to enter but don't expect a problem.

Be in agreement that these young men have open hearts to hear and respond to God's Word.

Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee

02 March 2009

The Road Continues In the USA

Hi Everyone,
A little over a month ago, I started my annual trek across the country from Phoenix to Florida and back.

The trip started in Phoenix as I headed to Florida and to see my youngest son William, his wife Stephanie and their children. It was great to see all of them especially the newest addition to the Blakeslee Clan, Hailey Aliese born in October.

Hailey is a quiet baby and within minutes of coming into the world, had a grin on her face. She continues to grin and coo on a regular basis. Where Hailey is quiet, her "older" brother Bradley is, shall we say, a typical boy. Both children came "fully equipped" with a full head of hair right out of the womb.

Learning to walk and climb at 12 months and now at 14 months, Bradley is a busy toddler. He makes the most expressive faces all day long and seems to like being entertainment for the adults around him. His favorite face, with the prompting of his father, is to do the Incredible Hulk face, with all the huffing & puffing that goes with it. He is tooo cute. The Lord has blessed William and Stephanie with a wonderful family.

Sandwiched between my visits with William's family in the south and Shawn's in the north, I was able to have a short visit with my close friends, Doris Hack, Steve & Elaine Cottrell in Daytona Beach. I met Doris and Elaine at Christian Adventures International Ministries years ago.

You Did What?
Yes, as strange as it might seem for an Arizona boy, I decided to take the Amtrak train from the southern part of Florida to Jacksonville with stop near Daytona Beach. It's not like I don't get enough of trains living in Europe, especially without having a car but it seemed the practical thing to do and I was really surprised at how well it worked.

After using trains all over Europe for the last seven years, it was impossible not to compare. It was economical, pleasant and they ran pretty close to "on-time" for American or Amtrak trains. In fact, next year, I am going to work out my travel plans to include taking Antonella on her first train ride.

Florida: South to North
On to Jacksonville, to my oldest son Shawn and his daughter, Antonella. At 8 1/2 years old, she has turned into quite the little girl. Doing great in second grade, reading at a fourth grade level, she is doing well in school. Active is an understatement. She is her father's daughter.

Thank God for email, webcams and technology. It allows Antonella and I to grow in our relationship even with 2,500 miles of Atlantic Ocean between us. I can see that her Grandma Debbie Glenn has had a Godly woman's influence on Antonella already.

It's a blessing to see my son's doing well overall as they face the same challenges of life and the economy as everyone else today.

Independence & Tulsa
I arrived in Kansas City to visit my close friends Tim & Wendy Vogel and their family. They pastor Independence Four Square Church in Independence, Missouri. From there it was on to Tulsa, Oklahoma for Rhema Bible Training Center's annual Winter Bible Seminar. This year's theme was dedicated to an International Homecoming. Graduates from Rhema's schools worldwide gathered for this first time event. We had nearly 200 graduates from Europe alone make the trek to Tulsa.

American Christian Writers Association, OKC, OK
I left Tulsa a day early to attend an American Christian Writers Association Writer Conference in Oklahoma City. This was my first of many writers conference to come. I wasn't sure what to expect but I knew that I wanted to improve my writings skills and learn more about publishing.

The two day conference "downloaded" a lot of information about all aspects of writing. One of my reasons to attend was to learn how to publish the Kids Prayer Program Curriculum which will be happening in the near future. Plus I believe that The Lord will have me do more writing in a number of areas.

Currently I'm back in Phoenix and will be here for about two more weeks. Today's temperature high reached nearly 90F degrees. At the same time back in Rolandseck, Germany, it reached 46F degrees for a high with rain and snow in the forecast. Honestly, can you blame me for wanting to stay in shorts, t-shirts & flip flops as long as possible?

Even though a return date has not yet been selected, duty calls back in Europe and I'll be back to my other home in less than and month. I predict it is going to be a busy 2009.

My heart this year is to be able to return to Asia some where plus the normal ministry in Europe. I'm still not clear where in Asia but it seems to be calling again in my heart. It has been January, 2007 since I have been there. Would you be in prayer agreement for where, when and how.

Also, while you are praying for me, include that more doors to open in Europe for the Kids Prayer Program and Healing Meetings.

Miscellaneous Stuff
Again, I am experiencing some formatting problems with this blog so I haven't been as creative as possible with my pictures. I may be making some changes.

Just a few weeks ago, I found out that my automatic subscription service to my blog had been broken and were unable to subscribe. I have no idea how long this has been happening but it is fixed now. Can I recommend that you subscribe? Now that it is fixed, every new posting on this blog will show up as a simple email in your Inbox. I promise no spam.

You can subscribe by scrolling down this page and look on the right hand side column for the subscription box. Follow the simple instructions. Please let me know if you have difficulty.

Enjoy the current pictures of my family below. I know you'll be able to figure out who is who.

Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe & Asia