stowed in the car - equipment for the movie, the gifts, what's needed
for the night - so Paul hopped in, I got behind the driver's seat
and tried to start the car. We had just laid hands on our 20-year-old
car that has caused us so many problems recently, and prayed for
our trip to the village of Dio and back. After a few hundred dollars'
worth of repairs, it was possible to drive it, and it would have
to be the Lord who'd keep it running. I started the engine, and
had some difficulties keeping the car running. Our prayers for the
car continued as we left home, driving off full of anticipation
of what the Lord would do this weekend.
As time passed,
the car ran more and more smoothly, while Paul and I had a great
time praying and worshipping the Lord. After 80 minutes we pulled
into the the little courtyard of the only church in Dio - a village
of 4000 people. We saw the relief on the pastor's face that we had
made it - thank God, he didn't have to tell people we weren't coming
a third time.
The hot season
is in full swing, and the sun was beating down mercilessly. We sat
down with the pastor in the shade, sweat running down our body wherever
it touched the chair. It was very quiet as people were resting this
time of day when the heat is the greatest. There is no electricity
in Dio to provide AC's or fans, light or cold water - in fact, the
pastor's well has even dried up a few weeks ago so that he has to
go buy water at quite a distance. We rested for some time, talking
to the pastor, and talking details for the time with the American
team in May. Then it was time to go see the mayor.
mayor received us in his big home; a learned man with charisma and
a true Muslim. He was resting under a big tree because he was sick
with malaria, but still he received us. He thanked us for coming
to Dio and blessing his town, and we invited him to come watch the
MATTHEW film in the evening. He said that he was sick, and so we
offered to pray for him, and he accepted. Both Paul and I prayed
for him, and he thanked us. We didn't have time to stay any longer,
and he dismissed us.
is market day in Dio, and we had the joy of being able to buy 8
sacks (50 kg) of rice to give to widows and divorced women who struggle
to survive having to raise several kids all alone.We had to go twice
to take the rice to the church, where we would hand them out the
following day. That was made possible by the German NGO who manages
our kids' sponsorships - thanks to all who gave towards that! The
merchant selling us the rice was Alou, who I had shared the gospel
with on a previous visit, and who is hungry to know the truth. He
is also the one who let us use his house and the open space in front
of it for the movie. He promised to come watch it, but unfortunately
only saw the last few minutes of the crucifixion and resurrection.
Back at the
church, the sun was starting to go down, which meant it was nearly
time to go downtown to the market to set up our equipment for the
movie. Once the sun is gone, it's hard to do that without light.
The pastor had borrowed a tarp and was busy widening the shaded
area for the service the next morning, since I told him to expect
many. In the meantime Paul and I decided to pray for the evening
- and it was too bad the pastor couldn't join us. We had a powerful
time of prayer and intercession for Dio and the evening. The anointing
was there on both of us, and the Lord broke my heart for the people
of Dio. I was stretched out on the ground as I started weeping for
all these lost people who don't know our beautiful Savior.
As I got off
the floor, our task accomplished, I looked at the sky in amazement.
There were dark clouds everywhere (very unusual this time of year),
and beams of light breaking through the dark clouds, touching down
on earth. It was an awesome sight that the picture (above) can never
capture. As I looked at it, I felt the Lord saying that His light
is starting to break through the darkness in this place. What an
awesome prophetic sign! It lifted our faith for the evening meeting.
And then, at 2 am in the morning, suddenly it started to rain. Enoch
told us that in all the years he's been there, this has never happened
before! The rainy season is still a long ways off! Thank you, Lord,
for Your light and Your rain that are coming down on Dio!
FILM IN BAMBARA
was time to drive to the location for the movie, where we set up
the equipment. The sheet was hung down from the roof, held in place
by stones, the sound system, projector, DVD-player set up, and the
generator filled with gas. Kids surrounded us, curious as to what
we were doing, and they patiently waited for the beginning of the
film. We still had another 2 hours to wait, until the people of
Dio had finished eating and were free to come. So the pastor, Paul
and I sat down to wait, and I started sharing story after story
of the exploits of God through Todd Bentley and Heidi Baker and
other men and women of God. As we talked, our faith rose, and I
could hardly wait to see what the Lord would do that night.
and the pastor's daughter finally started singing Bambara praise
songs for some time to attract people's attention. The devout Muslim
school director of the private elementary school offered us to use
his benches, which was a great blessing - and we could even have
used twice that number! People were everywhere - sitting on the
ground, on the benches, and standing in the back. They watched and
listened very carefully. Every time Jesus did a miracle, people
were amazed! They were excited, and loved what they saw. There was
a party going on somewhere nearby (we could hear the music), and
suddenly all the young people from there came over to see the film
- unfortunately it was towards the end. Many were standing, and
for most of the time we had about 250 people, with people coming
and going constantly.
It had been
years since the last film showing in Dio, and so we were warmly
welcomed. But that night I found out something amazing. Mali is
a Muslim country, and there is one Malian marabout (a Muslim leader
with occult powers) who is the most famous in the country and who
has started his own sect of Islam (like a denomination). He has
groups in every village and town, including Dio, and they meet at
the very place where we showed the film. Not only that, but the
people of his group who are devout Muslims and whose women are recognizable
by their veil, sat attentively watching the life of Jesus - somebody
who they are not allowed to talk about.
All this raised
my expectations of what God would do after the film. At first -
totally atypically - nobody moved or tried to leave when I took
the mic. I told them that Jesus is still alive today and still does
the same things he did on earth, and that we would pray for the
sick even tonight. I also told them about the service Sunday morning
and challenged them to bring their sick friends, and God would heal
them. Then I shared the gospel with them, and we prayed a prayer
of commitment for those who wanted to know Jesus and become God's
children. It was time to pray for the sick, and I was shocked by
the spirit of mockery that arose. People came forward, saying they
had a sickness, just to make fun of us, and everyone laughed along.
In the end, I did pray for a few people, even with all the mocking
people around. But those were just every-day sicknesses like malaria
where you don't know right away whether you're healed.
big day had come when we would officially ordain pastor Enoch as
a pastor of Centre Apostolique Malien, welcoming him as
one of us, with all the rights and responsibilities. Unfortunately
his wife wasn't with us because her father had just died. We expected
many more people than usual to come - more than the little mud church
could hold - and I was curious how many would come and bring the
sick. The pastor had also invited the widows and divorced ladies
whose children are on our list for sponsorship, and they came with
their many children.
of the pastors' two adults led some Bambara worship songs. As I
closed my eyes and looked to my Beloved, His presence enveloped
me. Then I was called forward to take the meeting. I started sharing
my heart, talking about the qualities of a pastor as laid down in
the Bible, talking about Enoch and how God has guided us to each
other. Later one of the ladies thanked me for loving them, and she
just kept talking and talking, overwhelmed that I would come and
just love them like I do. She was visibly moved.
It was time
to call the pastor forward, who shared his testimony of how the
Lord led him to me, and how radically his life has changed since.
It was moving to hear how the Lord works!
he knelt down, and I anointed him with oil, ordained him, set him
in place, and prophesied over him. It was a holy moment, a day we
will look back to, on the first of this month - a day of new beginnings.
he got up, I gave him his gifts and explained their prophetic significance
- a DVD player to listen to teaching, two shirts, and three signposts
to show the way to the church, to be put up at three strategic crossroads
ordination part was over, and it was time to pray for the sick as
announced. Only one man had specifically come for that reason. He
even arrived early, and was ready when the call came. It was an
old man, and he sat down on the chair, telling us that he has a
heart condition and severe chest pain. We prayed, and the pain left
him. Praise God! He himself was so surprised and full of joy! The
pastor told me that he had had that condition for many years, and
had lost a lot of weight .I can't wait to see him putting on weight,
and to give his life to the Lord.
one child after another came for prayer, many for the same pain
in the stomach, caused by parasites that enter by way of the water
they drink. One little girl, though, had been deliberately poisoned
over an extended period of time by her family to kill her. We laid
hands on her and prayed, and Paul saw a black cloud leave her body.
prayed for everyone, we hadn't come empty-handed medically either.
We were given medication against parasites to help this dear people
get well, and so they lined up to each take their pill, young and
Then it was
time to hand out the rice, and the ladies were so thankful and joyful
at this unexpected gift that would make such a difference in their
lives. How wonderful to be able to practically do something to alleviate
those precious people's sufferings.
a girl about 10 years old came up to me, a baby on her back. She
explained that this baby had been found lying on the street, and
her family had picked her up and has been taking care of her since.
They wanted to give it to me. Honestly, I fell in love with little
Mamy who was peacefully sleeping. I talked to the pastor, trying
to receive some more information, especially to find out whether
the family who took her in was taking good care of her and loving
her. He said he would find out. Taking in a baby 6-12 months old
is a different kind of challenge and commitment, but I told the
pastor we would take her if they absolutely don't want to take care
of her. Please pray for Mamy.
It was time
to pack up and make our way back to Bamako to be there in time for
our service at 4 pm. Paul was preaching. In the car we talked about
the exploits of God, thanking Him for all He has done this weekend,
excited about the God we serve, and all that lies ahead of us. The
car had some difficulty in the beginning, but we made it back home.
Paul led the
Bambara worship, and then I came up to lead the French worship time.
The anointing was there in a powerful way. Then Paul preached on
miracles, and passion and compassion. It amazes me every time to
listen to Paul preach. Like they did with the disciples, you could
say who is this unlearned man to talk like that? I'm proud of my
18-year-old son and right-hand man who I can totally rely on. His
humility and innocence and childlike faith and love for the Lord
is bearing much fruit in his life.
handed the mic back to me, and we called people forward for healing
first of all, and prayed for two kids. Then I felt we needed to
respond, and I called those who wanted more passion and/or compassion.
As Paul and I prayed for them, Holy Spirit came down and touched
them powerfully. Then I felt I needed to pray for Paul, who happily
said yes. As I did, the anointing came down on him, and he went
down on his knees. Then I suddenly started prophesying over him,
and it was powerful.
day later, today, there is already fruit. Today my team and the
kids went swimming (in a hotel), while I stayed home to catch up
on work. They just returned home, and Paul excitedly told me that
he shared the gospel with 3 people there, and they were very receptive.
One is a documentary film maker who gave Paul his email and asked
him to write frequently and see him next time he's back in Mali;
he's a Malian who lives in Paris.
On the way home,
the taxi Paul was in was stopped by the police to be controlled.
Paul saw a blind man at the side of the road, and had compassion
for him. He got out of the taxi and asked him whether he could pray
for him. He finally agreed, and Paul prayed.
Only yesterday Paul was sharing his heart with me, how he longs
to do these kind of things, and I asked him what was keeping him.
Now he does it. Praise God!
If you speak
French, you can download all our sermons from our church
upcoming weekend we celebrate Easter, and we're
doing three days of special activities in a row. On Friday, we're
showing the MATTHEW film. On Saturday, THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST,
and on Sunday we're doing an Easter party for street children
and adults, with a banquet. Please pray for finances, for strength,
grace and favor as we prepare.
Update - The government office has taken tangible steps,
and tomorrow we have an appointment with the mayor that might
be the final one to receive the title deed for our property. The
well-building team has finished its study and located the right
place for the well. The electricity department is ready to start
bringing electricity to our property bridging the 1 mile gap,
which will take at least one month, but we don't have the $22,000
to give to them to start the work. In fact, we don't have any
funds at this point. Visit the CONSTRUCTION
page on my website for current news.
May a team of 6 young Americans is
coming to do ministry as well as a documentary on what's happening
here (dates on the left). I believe their visit is gonna have
a great impact, and so we're preparing in every way possible for
those two weeks. We will spend several days in Dio doing 3 open-air
meetings, and also 3 meetings on our property. We will also do
street evangelism, pray for the sick, and minister to children.
light of where we are at right now, a week ago I called our church
to a corporate fast for the next 7 weeks
(until the team's arrival), everyone according to his measure
of faith. Maybe some of the fruit we're seeing is a result of
this fast. I've been excited to see the enthusiasm even our kids
have to step out in fasting in a new way (we always fast lunch
on Sunday). Breakthroughs are ahead!
personally am in a special season of seeking
God right now, of finding healing from things of my past, and
pressing in for more of Him. I'm hungry and desperate for my wonderful
Beloved, longing for so much more. I believe this season is preparing
me for the next level, as I break through to Him.
looks like the trip to Nigeria is not taking place at this time,
and I've also felt the need to be in Austria
for one month, which is June 4-July 2. I'm looking
forward to being in my home country, and to minister to the people
there. I'm now starting to schedule my visits to different churches,
so just email me if you'd like me to come.
To HIM who
sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and
honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever! (Rev 5:13b)