Dear Friends in Christ,
During the first half of March, I had the marvelous opportunity to travel to Denmark, Latvia, Finland, Norway, and Iceland on a ministry trip on behalf of Lutheran Renewal and the Alliance of Renewal Churches (ARC). My first stop was Denmark where I reconnected with our former Master’s Institute interns, Silas and Kathrine Serner. They have recently moved back to the city of Holbeck where they both grew up. Their daughter, Lucia, will soon be three years old and she is a bright and lovely little girl. While I was there, baby Jesva was born and I was delighted to hold him just 24 hours after his birth. Silas is currently working for a cell phone company and Kathrine has been teaching music in the local school. During my three days in Denmark, I was also able to see Silas’ parents, Jesper and Bess; brother Daniel, a former LMTC student; and brother David, also a former LMTC student, and his wife Elisabeth and their two children. Jesper expressed his deep appreciation for our prayers over the last months when he went through a double liver transplant. He is continually recovering his strength and doing much better now. He has retired from parish ministry and they have moved to an apartment in Copenhagen.
I then flew to Latvia to meet up with Paul Anderson, the director of Lutheran Renewal, and Clint Wolcyn, one of the young leaders of Communitas, a young adult group that Paul oversees. Latvia is in an extremely difficult economic situation, having quite recently come out from under communist (Russian) rule and now been devastated by the 2008 economic collapse. There is much hopelessness and discouragement in this dear country. People with education are leaving for other countries where they can make more money. Corruption abounds. Our team held two pastors’ conferences in Latvia, one in Saldus and the other in the capital city, Riga. These included much special care and ministry to the pastors. It was very encouraging to see how the Lord poured out His great love and mercy on these Christian leaders who were all so hungry for more of God. On Sunday morning we had the privilege of participating in the worship service at Daugavgrivas Balta Evangelical Lutheran Church in Riga, where the Holy Spirit moved powerfully among the people. This was in spite of the fact that the church cannot afford fuel for heat and it was 37 degrees Fahrenheit in the sanctuary that morning!
After Latvia, we headed to Finland to be with the brothers and sisters who are part of the Nokia Revival in the Tampere-Nokia region. We spoke at the large Sunday night gathering which is held in a local sports arena. Monday was an amazing day with the leadership of the revival at a one day seminar. Through out the trip I experienced God stretching me in the area of the prophetic, which was marked by receiving personal prophecy for individuals and nations.
Our team then went on to Oslo, Norway, where we held two pastors’ conferences. It was wonderful to be back in Oslo where I had visited many years ago while in seminary. The weather was cold and snowy but the pastors were warm and friendly. From there we flew to Bergen. It was fantastic to see the mountains and fjords of Norway from the air. In Bergen we taught and ministered at the discipleship school “Veien.” We also held a special luncheon meeting with the leaders of our sister network in Norway, Doulos Netverk, and other pastors and leaders from the area. We ministered to the youth at a Friday night event and had a dinner meeting with the leaders of Kristkirken i Bergen (where reindeer stroganoff was served). On Sunday morning, Paul and Clint spoke at a community worship service at Kristkirken.
I left early Sunday morning for Reykjavik, Iceland, where I spoke that evening at Islenska Kristkirkjan, one of our ARC churches. A financial burden tied to loans is weighing heavily on the church and its leadership since the collapse of the Icelandic economy in 2008. There was much discouragement here also. I shared a message entitled “Remove the Stone,” based on the account of Jesus at the tomb of Lazarus; a word of encouragement of what Jesus can do even in the face of seeming hopelessness and death; a message of Christ’s resurrection power. The congregation responded wholeheartedly to the altar call and much prayer ministry followed the message. My friend and former MI student, Ágúst Olafsson, was my translator. Monday evening was spent with ARC Pastor Fridrik Schram and his wife, Villa. Tuesday night I met with the IKK church council and we discussed the issue of “succession” as Pastor Schram is nearing the time of stepping down as IKK lead pastor.
I want to thank the Elmwood family for their amazing support in this time of ministry by sending me as an ambassador to these far off lands that are in desperate need of transformation and revival. Your faithful prayers and encouragement helped provide great health, physical strength and anointing for Paul, Clint and me to be about the kingdom work of our God in these days. God bless you all.
In His Resurrection Joy,
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