I watched with mixed feelings - more sadness than relief - as
the last team member disappeared inside the airport, and got into
our rented car one last time before it is being returned. I took
Emma home and returned home myself, parking it one last time inside
our compound. How I'd miss being mobile, being able to go anywhere
anytime and easily. How much easier life is with a car! How much
more we could accomplish!
On my way inside the house, I talked to Seybou, my guard, who has
come to the Lord this past year and will be baptized on Sunday.
He told me that he had tears in his eyes when Cliff left and that
he'd miss everyone. Inside the house, there was now only Marie left.
Not too many days ago, 6 people lived here, and a couple more were
around all the time. Marie also said how much she'd miss everyone.
Yes, while relieved that the intense time is over, I'll also miss
"the guys" around here. It truly was a special time, and
a time where thre pressure of my responsibilities as a leader were
somewhat off me; a time when people interacted with Cliff and the
other 3 team members while I contented myself in the role of the
interpreter (since I interpreted from morning till evening, I even
continued doing so in my dreams); it was a time where I saw again
how needed, how important, how powerful it is to have a "man
in the house", for people to have a male role model, for my
own team, the young men I'm raising up, to have seasoned men of
God to look up to. They all made the most of the days they had,
gleaning everything they could and just soaking it up.
When Cliff had given his last message, done his last meeting, it
suddenly became calm for the first time in 3 months. There had been
so much "noise" in the spirit realm, as if there was constant
fighting going on around me in the invisible realm, as if the powers
of darkness were constantly stabbing at me, and then suddenly it
was simply quiet. It was over. So silent. Like the other team members,
I've never had such warfare before. I've never been constantly sick
for 2 months, one thing following another, then having the worst
flu in Bamako during the campaign week, and while still recovering,
suffering from a "relapse" of the issue I went to the
doctor for in Paris, that weakened me while in Timbuktu. Back in
Bamako, the ministry over, that issue simply disappeared, the effects
of the flu are gone (except for some ear problems), and only tiredness
Only just over 24 hours ago, that tiredness was not only physical,
but also spiritual and emotional, as I had poured out everything
I had, leaving me with nothing left but the question of how to continue.
I had done the work of 3 people during the 2 months leading up to
the team's visit, and then just kept going from morning till evening,
serving, interpreting, taking the punches from all side as the buffer,
the only one able to translate from French to English and vice verse,
whether preaching or shopping, whether words of encouragement or
anger, trying to smooth things, to find solutions, clear up misunderstandings.
And I loved it, I gave my all, but inside my hunger for God kept
increasing, my cries to God kept going up, my fear of being the
one person remaining unchanged after the team's departure increasing.
I was discouraged, certain expectations weren't met, and it seemed
that everything would just continue the way it was before, the same
struggles and frustrations with people, and maybe not even any new
people added to our family. Truly, Mali is not East Africa. Cliff
himself was surprised to see "so little".
Yet, while we haven't seen much, not many conversions, healings,
deliverances etc., we all agreed that a lot was accomplished in
the invisible realm. A foundation was laid that will prove invaluable
and crucial in the future.
And then the Lord remembered me.
While I was empty and tired, getting ready to take up our regular
activities with the last team member Alex gone, having accepted
the fact that nothing had changed in me and that the same struggles
would continue, the Lord reached out with his loving arm to touch
his daughter on the last night before Alex's departure. He touched
me as I cried out in desperation for more of Him; He touched me
as I cried out for hope; He touched me as I cried out for faith;
He touched me as I confessed all my weaknesses to Him and threw
myself into His arms.
Thursday nights we have Bible School. I had asked Alex to teach
last night. I was going to lead worship for half an hour before
handing it to him, and he would teach for 3 hours. However, God
had other plans. Instead of half an hour, worship lasted an hour
and a half. While praising God, the hunger inside me grew, as well
as the joy, and His presence came down on us. As we were worshiping
Him, I started going into an extended time of prophetic singing
that seemed to open the heavens. Alex was visibly touched deeply
by the Lord, and so was I. Simeon, Paul and Marie were also there.
The Lord gave me new songs, new melodies, as we were worshiping
in Spirit and truth. When we finally made ourselves stop (and I
was losing my voice by then), Alex started sharing what God had
shown him. That God had heard my cries, and that we were to build
an altar for Him, to consecrate this place, this church to Him.
He turned to 2 Chronicles 6 - a passage I know well - and because
of the significance of 2 Chr 7:1 in my life, I knew God Himself
was speaking and I started trembling inside, moved by His presence,
my voice breaking more and more because of His goodness. We anointed
the floor with oil and "erected" an altar to the Lord,
breaking the curses on the land and all the strongholds of the enemy,
consecrating the ground and the house to the Lord. I read 2 Chr
6 and everyone of us prayed. In fact, I was so moved by then I had
to speak up and tell everyone the significance of 2 Chr 7:1 (see
my 10-day visitation in Oct 2001 that started with this verse -
Then I prayed from the bottom of my heart, consecrating everything
to Him, and asking Him to come down with His consuming fire and
with His glory. I was on my knees, nothing of me left, wanting only
Him. Alex stretched out on the floor, and I picked up the guitar
again, singing prophetically, and praying, pouring my heart out
to Him. I cried out in desperation, telling God I would not, I could
not, go another step without His presence, I could not continue
the way it has been, that I was sick and tired of not seeing people
healed, of preaching to closed hearts, of not seeing people saved,
of not seeing them delivered, of not seeing them changed, of not
seeing His presence and glory come down. If You don't go with us,
then I won't go another step. I prayed for this Sunday, our first
anniversary service and celebration, asking God to come down. And
Alex confirmed that this was a new day for us, for me, for the church,
that a new chapter had started. Would I dare believe it? Could I
have hope again? Could it really be true this time? I threw myself
into the Father's arms.
I believe last night was very significant. The Lord visited me,
renewed me, restored my hope, restored my intimacy with Him, lifted
my face to look at HIM alone again, and not at myself, all my weaknesses
and shortcomings, neither on all the weaknesses and shortcomings
of my leadership team. Alex received Isa 43:18-19 which greatly
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive
it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.
So, please pray for our big celebration this Sunday.
Also, I feel like it's time to appropriate the car God has in store
for us. In summer I felt like the car was close, and I believed
even then it would come before the end of the year. There were several
items I prayed to have for the past two years, and I believe it's
significant that the Lord released and enabled me to buy 3 of the
4 items yesterday (like a deskchair) - partly thanks to having a
car to transport them home. Now there is only one item remaining
on the list: the car. And our whole team feels more than ever the
necessity and urgency for it, even Alex agreed it was at hand.
Now we have our official papers, being recognized by the government,
and we're starting the process of requesting a plot of land. The
car is becoming more and more a necessity. Even during the prophetic
worship yesterday, the Lord was saying, "Is anything too difficult
for Me? Is there anything impossible for Me?" NOTHING.
So, I'm expecting the impossible, I'm expecting the Lord to move
and display His glory and power, to make His name great among even
the Muslim community that knows we're expecting the Lord to provide
this car. I don't know how the Lord will do it. A decent car costs
a minimum of $20,000 (17.000 EUR).
To HIM be all the glory! To HIM be all the honor! To HIM be all
the praise! He is so worthy of all our adoration! There is NONE
like HIM! He is able! He is glorious! He is beautiful! He is marvelous!
He is stunning! He is extravagant! And He loves me. And you. And
He chooses each one of us to display His glory, in spite of all
Let's fix our eyes on HIM, the author and finisher of our faith,
and everything else will fall into place!