wanted to keep the children away from Jesus, but Jesus knew the
importance of blessing. The importance of words of encouragement,
of picturing a bright future for those children, of expressing their
high value, of touching them, holding them, and showing them unconditional
love. We all need to be accepted, nourrished, loved unconditionally,
encouraged and praised. But many of us have grown up not receiving
the blessing from our parents, or only part of it, only just enough
to try to get more by working harder. Many have never heard praise
from their fathers, or been hugged and held, and cherished.
The Hebrew culture
had no fear of touch or praise. When Isaac called his firstborn
to bless him, he wanted him to "come close"; that Hebrew
word there doesn't mean just standing a feet from him, but it meant
coming into his arms and being held tight. He also asked for a kiss
- a kiss on the lips was nothing unusual in that culture. And then
Isaac blessed Jacob, picturing a bright future and transfering authority
onto him. Esau was so upset, he kept crying "bless me, too",
and weeping bitterly. The blessing was given, and could not be withdrawn.
Our words have
power, power to give life or to kill - which one will you choose?
Will you give life to a child (or adult), or will you destroy him/her?
The Lord has given us much power; let us not abuse that great gift,
but let's be LIFE-givers for all those that come across our paths.
While many of
us have grown up hearing words that destroy, you won't find hardly
anyone in Mali who's ever been blessed by their parents. The day
the child is weaned, and too heavy to be carried on the back of
his/her Mom, the touching is over. Words of encouragement and praise
are seen as weakness, as something that would only cause pride in
the child and spoil him/her.
As a result,
these precious people of Mali walk around with huge holes in their
hearts, never having heard any positive word (only correction and
being put down), never having been hugged or held or touched by
their parents. In fact, I've introduced hugging, which is very awkward
for the people at first. But today, my children are like sponges,
soaking up every hug and word of encouragement.
SUNDAY AFTER GHANA
I preached on the blessing, and while I spoke for 75 minutes, I
saw the words of truth pierce the hearts of my sheep. I saw the
pain, I saw the emptiness, I saw the longing, I saw the cries of
little children wanting to hear just ONE positive word from their
father, wanting to be hugged just ONCE in life. My heart went out
to those precious people, and the Lord started a deep work in some
of them when we prayed and ministered to them in the end. One after
the other, people came up to me saying they've never been blessed,
never been hugged, and how much their hearts were touched by the
If I could change
one thing in this culture, this is probably what I'd want to change.
Our family, our community of 11 living together, and 30 in our church,
we're learning to encourage and hug, and we will be a light shining
into the darkness. Our children will grow up knowing they're loved
and cherished, raising up another generation, and so on....
In the meantime,
we will soon be starting to do individual prayer sessions with children
and adults alike, to allow the Lord to bring healing and freedom
to their hurting hearts. The need has been so obvious, and I've
been crying out to the Lord to know what to do. And then He answered
by sending me to Ghana to be equipped as a conduit for His restoring
HEALING TRAINING IN GHANA - Nov 25-Dec 1
the past 3 years or so I've heard people talk about Theophostic
Prayer Ministry (TPM), an approach to inner healing. I've had training
in inner healing, in different approaches, but was intrigued by
the simplicity and effectiveness of TPM. I knew it could be key
in bringing restoration to the many broken lives in Mali, but had
been unable to find out more about it or learn the way it works.
then the Lord orchestrated for me to find out about the founder
of TPM doing a training seminar in Accra, the capital of Ghana,
and it seemed like a divine appointment. For the longest time it
didn't seem like it would work out (primarily for financial reasons),
but in the end Paul even came with me.
Dr. Ed Smith
4 days we learned, listened and watched, and were amazed, and excited,
knowing we'd been given divine tools to help bring mind renewal
to the people of Mali. I had the joy and privilege of staying in
the same hotel as Dr. Ed Smith, and his two companions, allowing
for some time to exchange, ask questions and share about Mali. (Paul
stayed with a pastor.) Paul and I also had a session each, and Paul
is sharing what the Lord did in him below.
Maybe some of
you are asking yourselves the question now what TPM is. In short,
every pain we feel is based on lies we believe, often unconsciously,
and TPM helps you to identify that lie, then offering it to Jesus
and receiving His truth directly from Him. It's what Paul calls
"renewing of the mind" (Rom 12:2).
night, Abdias (13) was very angry about something that happened,
and unwilling to forgive the person who had hurth him. While it
was too late to go deep in a session, he did say that he didn't
want to go to bed with his anger. Abdias identified why he was angry,
and we asked Jesus what He thought about those lies Abdias believed.
And Abdias, my son who never hears anything from the Lord, heard
Jesus speak truth to him, and was set free. Then it was easy to
forgive, because the pain was gone (you can read more details about
what happened yesterday in my blog from Dec 6).
and Issa both were set free, though it was not planned. Every night,
after our family meeting, I take half an hour to teach my resident
team (Paul, Firmin, Issa) about TPM. Tonight, the kids had gone
to bed, but Firmin was in his room crying. I had already seen that
he wasn't doing well, ever since the blessing sermon on Sunday.
I asked him what was going on, and he said with tears that it was
about his father. We sat down, and within few minutes he found freedom
in some memories where he'd been hurt. When we were done, he had
peace and was smiling.
Paul and Issa
had been listening, and were triggered themselves by what was going
on. Issa also had tears in his eyes, and so I took time to pray
for him as well, and he also found freedom and peace. Praise God!
Maybe some of
you have heard about TPM. Maybe some of you have heard negative
things about TPM. Like with every thing God does, there are people
who don't like it. Please don't just believe what you hear, but
check it out for yourselves. You can find more information at www.theophostic.com.
CENTERS CONCEIVED IN FOUR NATIONS
seminar was our primary reason for going to Ghana, but we also went
there to do ministry, and to take the first step into expanding
to other West African nations. It might still take a few years,
but I know without a shadow of a doubt that in the spirit, apostolic
centers in 4 nations were conceived.
you look at a map, you will see that Accra is not THAT far from
Bamako. However, we had 3 flights each direction, and were not taking
the same route both times. I knew it was no coincidence that we
set foot on the capitals of 4 nations during that week. I had a
great sense of divine purpose, of a kairos moment, of great significance,
and in each of those capitals we prophesied an apostolic center
into being (our church name is Mali Apostolic Center), we prophesied
national transformation, and for everything to be set in place,
to be prepared for the moment when it was time to move in. I knew
that those centers, the future ministry in those countries, were
conceived in that moment, and I was very excited, like a Mom that
is expecting. How long is the pregnancy gonna take? I have no clue,
and it's not important. What is important is that I know without
a shadow of a doubt that one day we will minister in those nations,
as ambassadors for His kingdom, to bring salvation and transformation
to those in darkness.
The four nations
and capitals were Accra, Ghana, Dakar, Senegal, Abidjan, Ivory Coast,
and Conakry, Guinea.
spent the first two and last two days in Accra with a pastor who'd
invited me to Ghana. On Sunday I preached in his church, and saw
many people touched by the message and the Spirit of God. My message
was simple - loving the Lord, and loving people. I talked about
intimacy with Him, about gazing upon His beauty, about passion for
Him, and then the fruit, His love flowing through us to a hurting
world around us. I did speak about children specifically as well.
While I preached, people walking by came in to listen. Afterwards,
the pastor told me that the message was exactly what they needed.
Africans are often very performance-oriented; they know how to do
spiritual warfare, but not how to sit at the feet of Jesus. They
talk the talk, but don't show true love to the people around them.
I was amazed
at what i saw in Ghana which was pretty much the opposite of Mali.
The south of Ghana is nearly entirely Christian (at least professed
Christian), and you find Scripture verse at every corner. Every
business has a Christian name, and there are churches in abundance.
Of course, there is also a lot of crazy stuff going on in the name
of Christianity that has nothing to do with Christ.
challenged the church to find that intimate place with Him, be transformed
by His love, and take the country for Him. When I invited them up
for prayer, EVERYONE came forward! I called Paul to assist me in
praying, and the Lord was faithful to minister to His children.
The pastor has
invited us back, to hold several days of revival meetings.
Paul (18) had ever been away from Bamako was 200 km, and so this
trip was filled with "first time" experiences for him.
He loved it, learned much, and was transformed in many ways. I believe
it was also a prophetic sign of the Lord's call on his life. I'm
excited to see my son, and faithful assistant, move forward in the
Lord. I asked him to share in his own words about the trip to Ghana:
to everyone in the name of our Lord Jesus. I'd like to tell you
about my experiences last week. It was my first trip leaving Mali,
and my first flight ever. I enjoyed it a lot. I could tell a lot
of funny stories about our flights, but I'd really like to tell
you about the big change that occurred in me this past week. God
has renewed my mind. After having heard all the teaching about inner
healing, one of the speakers prayed for me. In that session I understood
that I was loved and important for the kingdom of God. Now I'm constantly
joyful, and I feel strongly that I'm not the same I was before,
because a change has happened inside of me. I've realized that I
don't get angry any more. It happened a surprising way. It was a
confirmation that God really wanted me to go to Ghana. The seminar
really blessed me. And now I'm just overflowing with joy.
with Bill, who did the session with him
experienced things in Ghana that I'd never experienced before. I
was impressed when I saw the sea for the first time, and I loved
it a lot, since Mali is landlocked. And when we went to a church
for Claudia to preach there, I loved the way they worshiped the
Lord. I saw the way they loved the Lord, and was drawn closer to
the Lord. During the message, people were drawn in from the street,
and in the end everyone came forward to receive prayer. It was really
awesome. We prayed for many people, and God touched them. It was
during that time that God confirmed in my spirit that we're really
called to minister in Ghana. Everything that happened really amazed
everyone called me pastor Paul, which was very funny for me and
made me laugh, but in some way that was a confirmation for me that
I'm called as a pastor. In the end I got used to it and simply responded
had never seen an escalator before. The first time I used it at
the airport, I thought I'd fall over. Claudia was rushing along,
she simply went ahead, and I had no clue how to get on it. It was
very strange for me, but I really liked it.
gave me private lessons how to eat like white people in Europe,
because in my country, when you eat with silverware they'll say
you're European. We only eat with our fingers. I had very good food.
There was much I didn't know, that I had never seen before, like
salad and mushrooms, but it was really good.
loved seeing the earth and the clouds below me while sitting on
the plane. And the food was really good on the plane too. I've never
had 5 cans of Sprite in one day. I'll miss the food and drinks of
the plane and the good restaurants.
my family was excited to see the big change the Lord has brought
about in my life. THe day of our return to Mali, my big brother
had called and asked for prayer from us Christians, while he is
someone who usually doesn't care about religion at all. I think
it's because of this trip that he is starting to think about the
Lord. I'm the first person in my family to have ever left Mali,
and I'm only 18 years old, with a brand-new passport.
closing I'd like to say that I learned a lot and understood a lot
this past week in Ghana. It was really a very powerful experience
for me, that I will never forget all my life. Please pray for me,
and write if you have words of encouragement using the following
I thank God that he gave me the privilege to participate in that
father hasn't come back to cause any more trouble, praise
God. Since we're a part of the Malian Association of Churches,
I was able to get a contact at the Ministry for Children through
them, and have an appointment there tomorrow. The purpose is to
be in relationship with the government, so they'll assist us in
cases of trouble caused by parents or Muslim teachers.
finally received his driver's licence, two months
after he took the test. I have to say that he'd never pass a driving
test in the West, which means that it will take some time before
I can let him drive by himself. For now I'll have to continue
driving the kids back and forth to kindergarten each morning.
Sunday I spent precious time with six children
that would all like to move in with us. They are between 8 and
15, and have been on the street between 1 and 3 months. Their
stories touched my heart, and I wished I could take them all.
We only have 2 spaces left for now. Now I'm taking time to get
to know them and see who is really serious about leaving the street
and about following Jesus, asking the Lord to show me which ones
to take in.
God, 3 children in the village have sponsors.
Now pastor Enoch will be able to feed his family, and when the
other children have found sponsors, feed also the needy children
around him. The children still waiting for sponsors can be found
on my website.
needy children in our neighborhood also have
sponsors now, and we're gonna start feeding them every day in
the weeks to come. As soon as the other children also have sponsors
(details on my website), we're also gonna start a first year primary
school class to teach those children that have never been able
to go to school for financial reasons.
Christmas Party for (Street) Children will be
on Saturday, Dec 23. We usually have around 120 children show
up for these parties. If you'd like to help us provide the food
and clothes we give to each child, we'd greatly appreciate that.
Pray for many children to come to the Lord.
Dec 26 we're going to Dio, the
village we're ministering in on an ongoing basis, to show the
Jesus film and preach the gospel, heal the sick, and show the
way to salvation.
pray for a Toyota double-cabin pickup. Our 19-year-old
car is too small for all of us, and repairs are costly.
(the kids' teacher) has integrated well into our family. He's
a great influence on the kids, and he's hungry to grow in the
Lord, participating in everything and helping out where he can.
When we start a second school class (1st grade), Marie
will come to help him. Marie was married a month ago, and passed
by the other day. She's having a hard time adjusting to her new
keep praying for my health. I've had a cold for
one month now, getting better, then worse. The little sleep of
4-5 hours each night doesn't help either.
note of upcoming events and my itinerary
by looking at the calender to the left. .
May His face
shine upon you, may His presence surround you, may His glory fill
you and His love flow through you!
team and seven sponsored kids