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Ask of Me, and I will make the nations your inheritance. (Ps 2:8)


A Matter Of Perspective

Dr. Claudia R. Wintoch

29 August 2005




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As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isa 55:9)


Rain is pouring down from heaven, and the power just went off. But praise God, my computer has a battery and the phone line's working again, without even a need for electricity, so that I can finally send you this mail I wrote in the airplane to Bamako Saturday night. By the way, Siebou (my guard) has become a follower of Christ while I was gone (I kind of expected that), and so far no one has seen or heard of Simeon.

What an awesome God we serve! A God of mystery, of surprises, of diversity, of creativity, of adventure, of unimaginable love, and absolute power, of complete faithful and perfect control over the entire universe, and the smallest atom! The Almighty Most High God who has chosen, hand-picked, every single one of His kids, loving them as if they were His only one. And I have that humbling and exhilarating honor of being one of them! I get to hold the hand of my heavenly Daddy, walking with Him and listening to Holy Spirit's whispers coming straight from the Father's heart, and all because of my wonderful Bridegroom Jesus!

In this world we will never comprehend this awe-some God! And we will never understand this world if we don't get a heavenly perspective. We are seated with Christ in heavenly places (Eph 2:6), and yet we live as if the world around us, the visible, perishable world is all there is. When circumstances arise, we deal with the visible, maybe without asking the question who the originator of that circumstance is. Is it my flesh, my stupidity, immature, unhealed areas? Or is it the enemy who comes to steal, kill and destroy? Or is it maybe God who wants to kill us so He can resurrect us, who wants to conform us to the image of His Son, who puts us through the fire, burning away all that hinders us? Or is it God allowing the enemy to act so that He can turn it around for our good and bring glory to His own name? (Rom 8:28)

And how do we react to unexpected, unpleasant, inconvenient circumstances or worse? Whichever of the above the source is, our response will reveal our heart, our character, our maturity and will ultimately decide how the issue is resolved. Will there be anger, bitterness, hurt people, a snowball effect? Or will there be forgiveness, praise, expectancy of how our heavenly Father will get glory in it all?

Why am I saying all this? Because it just took me four days to get from Kansas City to Bamako, arriving two days later than expected, and I want to encourage you because we all encounter these circumstances.

God is sovereign. And nothing that happens surprises Him. He is always fully in control. May we always abide in this truth!

I left my friends' house in Kansas City Wed morning, with three 32kg (80lb) bags, ready to go home to Mali, knowing Emmanuel would pick me up from the airport with his brother's car on Thursday night, not knowing God had other plans. I was sitting by the gate, ready to board the plane when my flight to Atlanta was delayed by more than an hour – that would be tight. That's when I sent you the email asking you to pray. Well, in this case you'll be pleased to know, God did NOT answer that prayer, because He was up to something. We were all sitting on the plane, waiting for take-off, when we were told there was an additional delay resulting in an arrival time after my Paris-plane departure. Yes, I have to admit, my first reaction was what maybe most of yours would have been – what am I gonna do? I'll also miss the plane to Mali. Where am I gonna stay in Atlanta? I can't spend money on a hotel room…. I started praying. I was wrestling through this, considering options and ramifications, while looking out at the clouds. The reason for our delay was heavy storms in Atlanta that made any landing impossible. As we were approaching Atlanta, there were many clouds, some darker than others, though it was hard to tell because the sun had already gone down. I was still staring outside, when suddenly two lightning flashes came down close-by. The plane started shaking pretty bad, for a little while, then it was over as quickly as it started. I hadn't seen any lightning before and didn't see any after that. But, this may sound weird to you, I somehow got a kick out of it, getting excited over our sovereign God. I realized at that moment, I was on an adventure with God, and whether it was the enemy rattling (a technician was on board even before everyone got off the plane – time and time again the plane would behave weird during the flight) or it was God, something was up. I was excited, full of anticipation of what God would do.

We cannot change circumstances, but our behavior will determine the outcome. I'm His chosen one. He can do with me what He wants, send me where He wants. Maybe there was somebody He wanted me to minister to? Maybe the Syrian lady in the hotel shuttle bus I got talking to, and had breakfast with. Maybe I was a piece in her coming to the Lord one day. Or maybe the Muslim women and girls I sat next to from Atlanta to Paris a day later. The old husband and first wife (Middle-Eastern) sat elsewhere, while his young wife with their two little girls (ca. 2 and 4) sat next to me. Other people might have been very annoyed having those kids sitting next to them, but I felt God had put me in that seat by assignment. He broke my heart for those girls and the young veiled woman, all of them completely without hope of any kind. They only spoke Arabic, and I regretted having forgotten most all of my Arabic. So I spoke to them with actions of love, loving on the girls, smiling at them, helping the (sometimes overwhelmed) mother and inwardly weeping and praying all the time. I requested their salvation, their freedom, prayed for angelic visitations, and that those girls would grow up powerful women of God who would take the gospel to the Muslim world. Could it be that God had me miss my plane for their sakes? Could it be that He would send a storm to Atlanta so one of His servants would pray for two chosen girls, so they'd be saved and step into His calling?

I don't know what you're answering, but God has done more radical stuff before; like becoming man and dying for people who couldn't care less.

So, back to the story. I missed my plane to Paris by a few minutes only and had to take a hotel room (the airline paid half of it). I rejoiced in having a beautiful bed to sleep in, a shower, internet connection, and hours alone with HIM. Praise God!

We have a choice – to either complain or be thankful. There were many things that could have made me miserable. For example, because of my visa "irregularities" while living in the US, I now have a negative record and always have to go through special security checks (with all the Middle Easterners by the way :-)) that are not the most pleasant (only since this summer – it gets worse every time I come back to the US). But I chose to praise God and expect divine appointments, to walk as an ambassador of the King of kings (see last email), following wherever He was leading me.

Arriving in Paris, I was put before that same choice again, when my new friends in Paris were nowhere to be found at the airport. I had a layover of six hours, and the pastor of the HIM church I had visited only two weeks earlier immediately offered to come get me to their conference going on this week. I was full anticipation of that one conference session, yet there I was sitting at the exit waiting for them and becoming discouraged as I realized time was slipping away, while the conference was going on without me in attendance. Yet again, I made my lips praise God and gave my lack of understanding of what was going on to Him.

Little did I know what great blessing He had in store for me. Not only did I get to see my wonderful new friends again for a few hours, I got to stay a whole day. When we finally found each other after nearly 2 hours, God somehow put the thought in our minds that maybe I could take the plane the following day instead of that day, therefore giving me some time with my precious friends, and at the prophetic conference. You see, if they had picked me up right away, the idea of staying a day might have never crossed my mind, but God wanted me there.

Now I do have to back up a little and tell you that this divine connection with the church in Paris is one of the most profound and significant things that happened to me this summer. For two years I was frustrated at not having access to Christian materials in French – now I do. Wherever I go and tell people to come to Mali and help me I hear, "I don't speak French" – they can't say that. Not only is there now a church in Paris I'm connected with, but it's a church "in the river", a church where God is welcome to move in power and does. Not only is it a revival church in Paris, but it's a church called to the French-speaking world, with pastors called to French-speaking Africa. Not only is it a revival-church called to Africa, but God has knitted my hearts to theirs in such a supernatural and quick way. I feel like I have known them by years!

So, not only was I overjoyed to spend time with my friends there, but it was also a divine set-up. The speaker at the conference was a prophet, and the Lord gave him a word for me as well as Mali. A word of encouragement, of confirmation, and of impartation. I'll be praying about adding it to my website in the ENDORSEMENT section (I'm in the process of redoing my website and can't do any changes to the version that's online). I have been so very desperate for Him these past two weeks, and enjoyed the corporate worship and entering into His presence, lying on my face before Him, loving on Him. And then the word of the Lord came….

How precious! He sees our heart's cries – none of them is lost! Sometimes we cry out for months and years before the time has come for Him to answer. How desperate are you for Him? How long will you cry out? A day, two, a month? Don't give up! He loves to see your hungry heart and with excitement He is preparing your answer! But just maybe he wants to see how desperate you really are, how much you really want HIM, or if your cries are only half-hearted. For YEARS I was crying out for more of the Lord on my face in Austria, not letting go. He saw I was serious, and then, one day, He decided to send me to the US, to a church in revival….


It's the fourth day, my third plane, and I'm finally fast approaching Bamako. I know I will have much to tell you in the weeks to come, but right now I just want to give you some important upcoming events I need your prayers for.

Our "kick-off event" will be on Friday, September 2. We will have a big banquet for neighbors and street kids, and French-African worship on the video screen (Fridays is our movie night), and I will speak a few words, whatever Holy Spirit is up to…. :-)

This coming month is very crucial for us, because the Malian association of churches AGEMPEM is meeting on September 28 to decide whether to accept or reject us. An evangelical organization, they've had some questions. Plus, they told me need to have the government recognition by then. On Monday, I'm depositing the paper work at the government (I had to collect and translate all the papers) and we only have four weeks for the recognition to come through. In a country where time is not an issue and corruption part of life, that's an impossibility, unless God takes it into His hands.

Why is this so important? There are several reasons, the most important being my visa which runs out in the middle of October. Since I'm not teaching at the High School any more, I need all of these papers to come through to have my visa renewed.

Lastly, remember the big events in November, when Cliff Pash comes for a month. The warfare for that 4-night-crusade and the conferences has already started (and fiercely). We need intercessors to stand behind us! And anyone who wants to come join us, the two-week trip is November 7-21, one week Bamako and one week Timbuktu. I will send out more information on that shortly.

The Almighty God be with you in ever-increasing glory!