23 October 2012

New International Church - Biel, Switzerland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More to come.

First Step Ministries, Net

New International Church, Biel, Switzerland

Fellowship of European International Churches

Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe

18 October 2012

Time of Refreshing Conference

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

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

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

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

Blessings from Leysin,

Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe.

02 October 2012

A Thread

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

Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe