God’s Secret Weapons in Boston


My car (by the lamppost), ready for a trip to Boston.

13 January 2017

I drove to Boston just after Christmas, making a couple of stops along the way to visit family (in Durham, North Carolina), friends (in Poughkeepsie, New York), and intercessors (in Killingworth, Connecticut).  Bella Vista, where I live with Mom part time, is part of a chain of independent living retirement homes.  One of the perks of being a resident of Bella Vista is that I can make arrangements with any of the other affiliates anywhere in the country and stay for free.  I did just that: I made arrangements to stay a week with an affiliate of Bella Vista near Boston while I visited Allegra, my ministry partner, and Hannah.  Hannah was my roommate on my first trip to Israel[1].  She has become one of my key intercessors, and since she and Allegra both live there, I make it a point to come visit her, too.

As I drove through northern Connecticut, the Holy Spirit directed me to take a back road into Massachusetts toward Boston.  At first I didn’t understand why, although I had plenty of time.  At the entrance to each town along the way there was a Masonic Lodge sign alongside the township sign.  Since the secret society of the Masons is satanic and works witchcraft over its members and city, I broke the witchcraft off each town I entered.  Then the Holy Spirit revealed to me a Secret Weapon prayer walk that He wanted me to do while I’m in Boston: go to Salem and prayer walk there.  Salem is where the witch trials were held during Colonial times.  Probably most of those executed were not witches.  In recent years, Salem has been adopted by modern witches as a place to gather during samhain (halloween[2]).

Allegra and I met at a coffee shop near Harvard Square.  After catching up on each other’s lives, we started our official meeting in prayer.  Then Allegra reported about her various ministry focuses.  One is Good Word Radio Show, which she hosts weekly.  She is also involved in a year-long college campus tour in New England, to see campuses return to their original purpose in the training and sending of ministers of the Gospel.  Allegra is directing worship for the campus tour.  The tour will break for the summer, when Allegra hopes to bring a team to prayer walk in Italy and Albania.  While there, she will also lead burns (extended times of worship and intercession) for Revival in Europe and seeking a fresh anointing for individuals and ministries.

Then I told Allegra about going prayer walking in Salem.  She was enthusiastic about the idea and wanted to go so much that she rearranged her schedule for it.  Later when I talked to Hannah, she also wanted to go to Salem with us, even offering to drive.  Since she is much more familiar with the Boston area, I was happy to let her drive.

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Historical marker for the site of the witch trials in Danvers.

So the next day I met Hannah at her house and from there we went to Allegra’s house to pick her up.  On the way, Hannah told us that Salem isn’t the original site of the witch trials.  The original Salem Village changed its name to Danvers in 1757 when it incorporated[3].  Salem cashes in on “witch tourism,” while Danvers is the historical site.  We all agreed that we needed to go to both towns.

Since Salem was closest, we started there.  In the town center, I saw an obelisk that the Holy Spirit highlighted to me.  I couldn’t read the inscription as we passed it in the car, so I asked Hannah to park so we could go there.  She found a parking place near Starbucks and we walked through the snow to the obelisk.  It turned out to be a Masonic obelisk.  I told Hannah and Allegra how the Holy Spirit had instructed me to enter Massachusetts via back roads, breaking Masonic witchcraft off each little town I entered.  So we prayed there in the icy morning air, breaking the witchcraft of the obelisk off Salem.

As we walked back to the car the Holy Spirit assured me that we were the right people in the right place, doing the right things—God’s Secret Weapons, chosen for this assignment on this day.  I had asked Allegra to bring her guitar because worship is a powerful weapon in prayer walking.  She had left it in the car because of the cold, but got it out and we went into Starbucks.  (It was just a few weeks later that the CEO of Starbucks announced: “If you support traditional marriage, we don’t want your business.”  See https://thewashingtonpress.com/starbucks-ceo-if-you-support-traditional-marriage-we-dont-want-your-business/.  What a stupid thing to say!  I could see him saying something about if you’re against gay marriage . . . , but this just made me mad, and when I heard it I decided that Starbucks doesn’t need any of my money—and they’ll never get another penny out of me again.  I don’t like their crummy coffee anyway.  But I think it’s interesting that the Holy Spirit led us to have a worship session in Starbucks in Salem.)

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Allegra under the witch city sign in Starbucks.

We sat at a table halfway between the door and the cash register.  There Allegra pulled her guitar out of the case and we spent about an hour worshiping in Starbucks—something I could never have predicted.  We were quiet, and couldn’t be heard over the coffee shop noise and their sound system, but volume is not important.  Most people ignored us, but the few who noticed us were very unhappy about our presence.  I smiled to myself thinking that it was easy to spot the witches.  I took a picture of Allegra, and just above her head is a sign that reads “Welcome to Witch City!”

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The memorial to the witch trials.

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The Bible sculpture where I left the open Bible.

Next we went to Danvers, looking for the memorial to the witch trials.  We found it easily.  I had asked Allegra if she had a spare Bible that she didn’t mind leaving.  I didn’t know where to leave it, but I knew that the Holy Spirit would show me.  When I saw the memorial I knew that this was where to leave the Bible.  After walking and praying all around the memorial I opened the Bible and read:

Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near.  Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon, (Isaiah 55:6-7 NKJV, emphasis mine).

I love those last two words: “abundantly pardon,” so I paused before reading them and lingered on them.  Then I left the book lying open on top of the Bible sculpture on the memorial.  Here are some last words of some of the people who were executed for being witches, as recorded on the memorial[4].  I suspect that not all were witches, but there are a couple that I believe surely were.  See what you think:

“I am an innocent person.  I never had to do with witchcraft since I was born.  I am a Gosple woman.” Martha Cory (March 21, 1692).

“The Lord above knows my Innocencye … as att the great day win be known to men and Angells.  I Petition to your honours not for my own life for I know I must die, and my appointed time is sett but the Lord he knowes it is that if it be possible no more Innocent blood may be shed …” Mary Esty (September 1692).

“If it was the last moment I was to live, God knows I am innocent …” Elizabeth How (May 31, 1692).

“Well!  Burn me, or hang me, I will stand in the truth of Christ …” George Jacobs, Sr. (May 10, 1692).

“Amen.  Amen.  A false tongue will never make a guilty person.”  Susannah Martin (May 2, 1692).

“I can say before my Eternal Father I am innocent, & God will clear my innocency.” Rebecca Nurse (March 24, 1692).

“The Magistrates, Ministers, Jewries, and all the People in general, being so much inraged and incensed against us by the Delusion of the Devil, which we can term no other, by reason we know in our own Consciences, we are all Innocent Persons.” John Procter, Sr. (July 23, 1692).

“… I fear not but the Lord in His due time will make me as white as snow.” John Willard (May 18, 1692).

While I was in Boston, the defeated enemy attacked my car again[5].  This time my windshield cracked.  You know how trucks on the highway are always kicking up rocks—it happens all the time, and usually it’s no more than a little chip.  Well this time, probably due to the cold, an existing chip grew into a big crack running along the bottom of my windshield.  Hannah knew a place where I was able to get it replaced that same day.

I left Boston just ahead of a blizzard, driving to Poughkeepsie (where I was staying the night with my friend).  Then I got out of Poughkeepsie and drove all the way home to Asheville between snow storms.

I know that everything that I was able to accomplish both in Boston and in Texas is because I have a really amazing team of intercessors praying daily for me.  They are also the reason why I have been kept safe all along the way.  When I arrived home, I had to admit that I’m glad to have the driving part of my trip to the US over.  I did 3300 miles in the Texas trip and 2100 miles in the Boston trip.  Now it’s time to rest before returning to Italy.  God is good!

[1] Hannah was Prayer Slapped with me on that trip.  It served to cement our friendship.

[2] There are some words I refuse to capitalize, and halloween is one of them.

[3] The town known as Salem was once a much larger city which included Marblehead, Salem Village (Danvers), Peabody and parts of present-day Beverly, Middleton, Topsfield, Wenham, and Manchester-by-the-Sea.

[4] Misspellings are written exactly as they appear on the memorial.

[5] See God’s Roadside Assistance.

Blessing the Cities


Parma Center.

13 July 2017

Michele, Ketty, and I went to Parma and Cremona recently to prayer walk.  We started in Parma, which is a little over an hour from Milan by regional train.  Parma is the birthplace of both Prosciutto (Parma ham) and Parmigiano (Parmesan cheese).  All over town there are shops that sell ham and cheese and other delightful foods that compliment them.  Michele wanted to take us to a coffee shop that he had discovered there.  But as we neared the place, he started speaking about it like he had a premonition that it was closed.  Sure enough, it was closed.

As we walked toward the center of town, Michele kept pointing out all the cheese shops, entering the more promising ones, gazing wistfully at the glass cases, but not buying anything.  Finally with a big smile on his face he said: “I just realized that my love language is food.”


Michele taking a picture of the poster.

When we got to the center of town we saw a sign that showed a picture of a cigarette butt and said:

If you throw me on the ground, you’re a butthead (my translation).


Parma butt-holder.

It turns out that the city of Parma had launched a campaign to keep the streets free of cigarette butts.  A city employee even came out to talk to us.  She opened the glass case that the sign was in so that Michele could take a picture of the sign without reflection.  She also gave Michele a little plastic butt-holder that they have been giving away to smokers for free.


Michele blessing Parma City Hall.

We prayer walked all around city hall, blessing the city and the mayor and all his staff.

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Lighting (and highlighting!) by the Almighty, Himself!

Then we went to the cathedral.  There were no pews and no seats, and in the middle of the floor there was a podium with an open Bible on it.  Curious, Ketty and I went to see where the Bible was open to.  It was this:

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, (Isaiah 61:1a).

Then we noticed that the light was falling on the Bible, on the open page in a really dramatic way, so we took pictures of it.


Hams hanging from the ceiling.

Next we went to look for a place to eat lunch.  Michele found a place called Degustaria (Tasting Room).  That sounded promising, and indeed it was everything that we could have hoped for.  Cured pork loins hung overhead (prosciutto), and most everything on the menu was appetizer style tastings with cheese aged nine, twenty-four, and thirty months.  After a lovely lunch we walked a bit more and found a really special cheese shop.  Inside Michele and I simultaneously saw Parmigiano that had been aged 52 months—that’s the most that either of us had ever heard of.  Michele went back and forth, wondering if he should get it or not.  While he thought about it, I grabbed a shrink-wrapped package and went to pay for it.  My decision helped Michele to decide, too.  And it’s a good thing because just then they started closing up shop.  If he had hesitated any longer, he would have blown his chance and regretted it for the rest of the day.

Next we went to the park, where Parma castle is and prayed there for the families of Parma.  The park is enormous, and we had a train to catch, so we didn’t spend much time there.


The Shredded Violin of Cremona.

Next we went to Cremona, the home of Antonio Stradivari, maker of the famous Stradivarius violin.  There are violin shops all over the center of Cremona.

The first thing we noticed in town was a violin sculpture near the train station.  But this sculpture was of a violin all shredded up.  Since the violin is the symbol of Cremona, this spoke to the broken identity of the city.  While the atmosphere of Parma had been light, Cremona seemed very heavy.  Even the residents seemed weighted down with heavy burdens.  Walking a bit farther, we found another violin sculpture.  This one was also distorted.  We had plenty to pray about in Cremona.  And we called back the beauty of music to heal the city’s residents.


The broken, distorted violin.

At Cremona City Hall we met a remarkable young man, fifteen years old, who spoke to us in English.  He answered all our questions about the city, and even spoke of the freak hail storm that had damaged the cathedral’s decorations, including a golden orb at the top of a spire.  He said with some pride that his dad had repaired the damage to the orb and replaced the golden covering.  He also pointed out to us that the clock on the cathedral is the largest in all of Europe: “Larger than Big Ben!”  We complimented him on his English, which was very good.  He said that he attends the Liceo Linguistico, the Language Magnet High School.


Our English-speaking guide in Cremona.

After he left we prayed for the mayor and for the city, then we walked back to the train station.  We noticed that the sculpture of the shredded violin had a name: The Soul of the City.  This saddened us, and we prayed that the soul of Cremona would be restored.


The Soul of the City.

As we walked toward the train station we saw a man with a Bible in his hand talking to a couple of men on a bench.  We walked on past to go see where to catch our train.  Since the train was running five minutes behind schedule, and would be arriving on the closest track, we walked back to the bench.  The man had just finished praying with the men.  So we introduced ourselves, and told him that we had come to prayer walk in the city.  He was excited to hear that, and told us that he’s the pastor of a church in town—obviously one that has a passion for reaching the lost.  We promised to pray for him, and then we went inside the station and caught our train back to Milan.


The Pastor shares Jesus at the train station.

It was a long and tiring day.  Ketty’s Fitbit said that we had walked twelve kilometers (almost seven and a half miles).  But it had been a very good day.  Now what to do with this cheese . . .  God is good!

God’s Secret Weapon


God’s Secret Weapon on assignment recently in Prague.

God gave me the title to this year’s book (God’s Secret Weapon–my ninth since starting ministry) before I knew what it referred to.  In May I went to Tallinn, Estonia, where I was asked to prophesy over a group of young people at a local church.  God highlighted one young woman and gave me a prophecy for her that went something like this:

God has chosen you to make you His Secret Weapon.  You are a Secret Weapon because the forces of the defeated enemy won’t believe that you could possibly be a threat to his kingdom.  Thus, you will fly under the radar of the defeated enemy’s forces, and they will never see you coming.

You will do real damage to the defeated enemy’s kingdom and set back his plans in many places.  Do not fear, though He leads you into some scary places.  God will be with you all the way, leading you, showing you where to go and teaching you how to pray.

A little over a week later, He showed me that the prophecy was for me, too.

In fact, God has a whole lot of Secret Weapons out there.  The only requirement for becoming a Secret Weapon (besides being born again) is obedience.  God will show you where to go, but it won’t always fit in neatly with your plans.  Obedience will often cost you something, too—usually both time and money.  But of course that will reveal how much you really love God.

We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey His commandments.  Loving God means keeping His commandments, and His commandments are not burdensome, (1 John 5:2-3).

As I began editing this book I realized that I had been operating as God’s Secret Weapon long before I even knew that I was a Secret Weapon.  But then again, I was also doing a lot of my current ministry before I knew that it was ministry.  I guess the key there is not so much in the knowing as it is in simply doing what He’s calling you to do.  The knowing may come later or maybe not.  The whole point is being close enough to God to know what He’s telling you to do, and being obedient to do it no matter what the cost.

If you’re having trouble hearing from God, think back to the last clear instruction that He gave you.  If you didn’t do it, you need to do it as soon as possible.  If you can’t do it because of the passage of time, then confess and repent for not having done it.  Once you have made this thing right between you and God, you’ll begin to hear His instruction again.  The more you obey, the clearer His instructions will become.  Why?  Because obedience will bring you closer to God than anything else.

Another thing that obstructs us from hearing God is because we’re not spending time with Him.  If you’re too busy to pray, you need to understand a fundamental principal: the reality is that you’re too busy not to pray.  Jesus got up a long time before dawn to pray.  If Jesus needed to do that, we definitely need to.  Don’t give God one morning out of the week, sitting passively listening to a sermon, and think that you will hear from God.  Sometimes you will, but to hear from Him on a consistent basis, you’ve got to make Jesus the center of your day every day.  Here’s a way to measure how close you are to God: how much time do you spend in prayer each day versus how much time you spend watching television[1]?  How much time do you spend reading the Bible versus other reading materials[2]?

Here’s the amazing thing that I’ve seen in my own life: when you go all-out for God, He will go all-out for you.  And really, He’s already done so much for you by sending Jesus to die in your place[3].  But think about that: if I go all-out for God, I can only do so much.  I’m not rich or powerful or influential.  My strength and abilities are limited.  But even with my limited abilities, when I go all-out for God, He goes all-out for me—and His abilities are without limit.  God is able to put money in your pocket when you need it.  God is able to open a door where others are locked out.  God can reveal things that you simply could not know any other way.  God is your most powerful ally.  So why not join His army and become one of God’s Secret Weapons?  The adventure of a lifetime is waiting.  God is good!

[1] It doesn’t matter if it’s Christian programming or not.  Passive Christianity is only slightly less bad than watching secular television.

[2] Again, it doesn’t matter if they are Christian books or not.  Even the best Christian books are worthless in comparison to the living and powerful Word of God, sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, (Hebrews 4:12*).

* Unless otherwise noted, all scriptures are from the New Living Translation (NLT), said by John Bevere to be the most accurate English translation of the Holy Scriptures.

[3] If that fact alone doesn’t move you to gratitude, then you really need to get before God and find out why.  We don’t always feel what we ought to feel when we ought to feel them.  Feelings can lie.  But if you can spend time contemplating the cross and not feel anything, that’s a sign that something is wrong.

Overcoming Fear-nertia

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Replica of the Tabernacle of Moses at Timna Park.

8 September 2016

Today I bought tickets for my trip to Israel, starting with a ten day stay in a tent at Timna Park for Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles).  My idea was this: the Israelites were commanded to live in a sukkah (tabernacle or tent) for Sukkot.  Timna Park has really nice tents that you can rent.  They are permanently parked pop-up trailers with electric hookups.  So you’re not on the ground.  Yes, it’s glamping.  It’s also possible to bring your own tent to Timna, which costs a whole lot less, but I don’t have a tent.

I had waited longer than I intended to because I had the audacious idea to stay in Israel for over six weeks.  That’s because I was invited[1] to a prayer tour of Israel.  The ten day prayer tour starts two weeks after the end of Sukkot.  And what is the sense of flying back to Italy just to fly back to Israel again?

Part of the motivation to buy tickets today is also because I signed up for a prayer conference in Cyprus.  Someone recently told me about it (I don’t remember who).  But the really cool thing is that the conference falls exactly within the period of time that I have nothing planned while I’m in Israel.  And since Cyprus is less than an hour’s flight away, that is timing too perfect to ignore.

The idea of staying six weeks in Israel had scared and thrilled me, but mostly scared me into paralysis.  So, today, with the perfectly timed conference in Cyprus, I overcame that paralysis—fear-nertia—and made the leap of faith: six weeks in Israel.  God is good!

[1] By the prayer team from Sheets in the Wind.  They had come to stay with me in 2015.  My house was the starting and ending point of their prayer tour around Italy.

A Long Anticipated Meeting

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Prostitution is legal, but unregulated in Italy.

5 July 2017

Yesterday Deborah let me tag along on a trip to visit Pastor Gaetano.  She was meeting with one of his co-pastors to discuss filming a series of Bible-based puppet shows.

I had wanted to meet Pastor Gaetano for a couple of years now because Beth (another missionary friend) had told me about him.  Beth works with trafficked women.  When they ask for her help to escape the life of prostitution, she brings them to Pastor Gaetano.  His church has a safe house for them where they can learn life skills including job skills.  I was anxious to meet Pastor Gaetano because he is a man of great vision that is so rare in Italy.

Pastor Gaetano and his team of co-pastors took us for a real Sicilian granita (like an Italian ice, but way better).  As we all got to know each other, it was clear that Pastor Gaetano is not only a man of vision, but has surrounded himself with other men of vision.

Meeting him was anything but a disappointment.  I pray that this meeting will open up opportunities for Deborah, for Pastor Gaetano and his church, and for the trafficked women they serve.  God is good!

Praying for Revival in Leipzig

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The Monument to the Battle of the Nations–it’s bigger than it looks!

24 June 2017

Last year I had gone to a conference in Milan called Rise Up Now.  The focus is praying for Revival in Europe, with an emphasis on reaching Arabic-speaking people.  My friend, Amun, is one of the organizers.  Amun is Egyptian, but has lived in Italy for many years and attends my church.

Last year’s conference was the first Rise Up conference.  I had gone mostly because of Amun and because it was in Milan, so I wouldn’t need to arrange for lodging.  But I enjoyed the workshops and the worship in Arabic so much that when I saw the announcement for Rise Up this year in Leipzig, Germany, I wanted to go.

Leipzig was my first trip to a city in former East Germany (not counting Berlin).  I invited my son and translator, Tim, to come along.  Tim is always up for an adventure.  The conference didn’t interest him, but visiting Leipzig did.  So we planned to arrive a couple of days before the start of the conference.

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View from the top of the steps of the Monument.

I had thought that my time with Tim would be strictly tourism, but our first point of interest turned out to be yet another place where God was calling me as His Secret Weapon[1]: the Völkerschlachtdenkmal (the Monument to the Battle of the Nations).  In the tourist brochure it seemed benign, but when I stepped onto the grounds my spirit came to full alert.  The monument memorializes Leipzig’s victory over Napoleon’s invading army.  It was a victory, but one that left Leipzig a smoking ruin in the process.  The monument has the distinction of being the largest monument in Europe, and it is enormous, indeed.

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Sculptures look like Milan’s Central Station.

What the Holy Spirit pointed out to me was Masonic witchcraft built into the very structure of the monument.  I didn’t even think of it at the time, but modern Freemasonry has its roots in Germany[2].

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As we approached the monument I also became aware of how similar its statues are to those on Milan’s Central Train Station.  In some elements they are almost identical.  The monument was built in the early 1900’s, while Milan’s Central Station was built during the heyday of fascism in Italy (in the mid-1930’s), so it is possible that they were sculpted by the same person, though I haven’t been able to confirm that[3].

I prayed as Tim and I climbed, breaking the witchcraft off the monument.  We climbed the outside of the monument, and even from the highest step, the monument continues another couple of stories overhead.  Then we went inside the gift shop and looked at the history of the monument.  It turns out that the monument was abandoned during the Communist regime, suffering water damage so bad that it effected the structural integrity in places.

I know that my prayers hit the target, but not the bullseye.  Nevertheless, I did what I was called to do there.  I’m sure that means that God will call someone else to finish the job.  After all, I am not God’s only Secret Weapon.

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Panorama Tower, a great place to see and bless Leipzig.

Another place that Tim and I went to see was the Panorama Tower.  From its location on the campus of Leipzig University in the city center, you have a beautiful view of the entire city, including the gargantuan Monument to the Battle of the Nations at the edge of town.  From Leipzig’s highest place, I prayed, blessing the city.

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St. Thomas Church, a Holy Goosebumps place.

Then we walked to St. Thomas Church where Johann Sebastian Bach was a parishioner and is buried.  I hadn’t realized that he was from Leipzig.  There I prayed for Leipzig and Germany to return to the kind of faith that inspired Bach to compose his lovely music.  As I was walking and praying the organ started playing a Bach piece and it was Holy Goosebumps[4] time.

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Final resting place of Johann Sebastian Bach.

I only knew a few people at the conference that I had met last year.  The proceedings were in German with Arabic translation or Arabic with German translation.  But English translation was offered via headsets.  I recognized the English translators from last year.  Again the worship in Arabic was wonderfully joyous.  But I believe that the main reason that God wanted me in Leipzig was accomplished on the very first day.  I love being His Secret Weapon.  God is good!

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I felt right at home with all these flags here.

[1] See Tallinn.

[2] Adam Weishaupt founded the Illuminati secret society in 1776 (an interesting year for Americans) in Bavaria.  It was based on the Knights Templar, and eventually became the modern Masons.  If you don’t know about the satanic connections in Freemasonry, the Illuminati, the Knights Templar, the Jesuits, the New World Order, and other secret societies, you can check it out.  The History Channel did a documentary on Freemasonry.  Of course theirs is not from a Christian perspective.  For a Christian point of view, check out Chris Pinto’s documentaries.

Understand that I am not advocating going deep into the conspiracy zone, but it is important to be aware of all this lest you accidentally become entangled and turned into an Illuminati tool.  I truly believe that most of the people in these secret societies are unaware that it is satanic.  The thing to do is to educate yourself while remaining in the “shadow of the Almighty,” (Psalm 91:1).

[3] The builders were definitely different people.

[4] This is a term I made up for those times when the Holy Spirit causes your flesh to stand up in goosebumps.  It is also the title to my 2014 book: Holy Goosebumps.

After OCE Riga

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Katya and Gregor’s cat, Tail-wagger, who acts more like a dog.

23 June 2017

After the OCE[1] trip had officially ended I had gone the gravitational center of Europe, doing prayer work as God’s Secret Weapon[2].  But returning to Riga was strictly a friendship thing, I was certain.  And there certainly was a friendship element to my visit to Riga after OCE.

My friends Katya and Gregor had come to stay with me in 2015.  At that time they were in the process of moving to Riga from their home in Moscow.  They told me to come see them in Riga sometime.  So when the Baltics trip was planned, I took them up on the offer.  Katya and Gregor have two daughters in their early teens, and two sons—the youngest son was born sometime after their visit to Milan, so I had never seen him except on Facebook.

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If you like Uno, you’ll love Solo!

But their older son, Sasha (aged five at the time of their visit to Milan), loved to play cards, and his favorite game was my favorite game, too: Solo.  Solo is like Uno, but better.  So Sasha and I played cards almost continuously and despite the language barrier.  I don’t speak Russian and Sasha didn’t speak English.  But our love of the game transcended the language barrier.

When I arrived in Riga, Katya and Gregor met my bus and brought me back to their house where his big sisters were watching little Uri.  Sasha waited until I had set my bags down before asking me to play Solo with him.  We played a few hands, and something became immediately apparent: Sasha has been learning English.  Instead of pointing to the color he wanted, he was saying it in English: “Blue.”  As the afternoon wore on he revealed more and more English.  Sasha knows all his colors and his numbers up to twenty in English.  I was impressed, since he’s only seven.

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I can’t solve it at all, certainly not in under two minutes!

Seeing that he had impressed me, Sasha then retrieved his Rubik’s Cube.  That kid is the first person I’ve ever seen solve the Rubik’s Cube—and he did it in under two minutes.  In fact, he didn’t even have to look at it much during the last 30 seconds or so.

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The kite on one of its brief, ill-fated flights.

The next day Katya, Sasha, big sis Yuliya, little Uri, and I went to a beach community not far from Riga.  I had brought a kite for the kids, failing to remember that the girls were young teens, and probably wouldn’t care much for a kite.  But Sasha was very excited to get it up and flying.  We had a good wind off the sea, but a very uncooperative kite.  It was on the ground far more than in the air, though it did fly briefly.

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Site of the first free church in Riga.

After lunch we returned home and Gregor told me that there were a couple of places he wanted to show me.  These were places that would not interest the kids, so they stayed home with their mother.  First he took me to the site of Riga’s first free (non-state-run) church.  I was so moved that I prayed then and there for Latvia to return to the faith of this pioneering church.

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The former concentration camp Holocaust memorial looks like a slaughterhouse chute.

Then he took me to the grounds of a former concentration camp.  Gregor told me that this had been the first concentration camp to follow Hitler’s order to exterminate the Jews.  I was glad to see that there was nothing left of the original camp.  In its place they had erected memorials so that no one would ever forget the Holocaust.  I prayed there, too, praying that nothing like that would ever happen again.  I also prayed that the Latvian Jews would feel homesick for Israel and make Aliyah.

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Holocaust Memorial at the former concentration camp.

I was surprised to learn that there were these other places to pray near Riga, and so grateful to Gregor and Katya, who had gotten me there to continue my work as God’s Secret Weapon.  The next day I flew back to Milan.  Although my time in the Baltics had been a great adventure, after over two weeks away from home, I was glad, so glad to get back.  Little did I know that the cough[3] that had started in Vilnius a few days earlier was going to cause me so much trouble.  But that’s a post for another time.  God is good!

[1] Operation Capitals of Europe.

[2] See Tallinn.

[3] See Barking Hell.

After OCE in Lithuania – Part Three


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The gravitational center of Europe, just north of Vilnius.

22 June 2017

After the OCE[1] trip had officially ended, Angela and I had gone to the castle in Trakai and to Kernavė to prayer walk.  These were extra prayer assignments that God had given to Angela, and she had invited me to go along.  Before leaving Vilnius Angela told me about another place that she felt needed prayer: the gravitational center of Europe.

Since I had time to go there, I did some research.  There are a lot of places that claim to be the center of Europe, but a team of French scientists had researched gravitationally where the true center of Europe could be.  It is about 26 kilometers north of Vilnius.  I saw a picture of the place, which is a simple column with a crown on top.  Then I started praying about it, asking God why I should go there, given the difficulty of reaching it by public transportation.

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That crown!  It just made me so angry!

Instead of answering with words, as He often does, this time I just kept seeing in my mind’s eye the crown on top of that column.  Every time I thought about that crown I felt a holy anger rising up inside of me.  Finally I realized why I had to go there: because Jesus is the only One worthy to have the crown of Europe.  So I made arrangements with a taxi to take me there, and to bring me back to the bus station.

I told the driver where I wanted to go, making sure that he understood that I wasn’t talking about the Europos Centras Park, but the actual center of Europe, which is nearby on a golf course.  With a bit of difficulty we found the trail leading to the Center.  Since it was about to rain, he stayed by his taxi, which was fine with me.  I walked about a quarter of a mile up the trail to the monument.  I found the indicator for the exact center of Europe, and there I stood and proclaimed Jesus to be the only True King of Europe.

After praying and proclaiming, I had it in mind to sing a song.  The song I had in mind was Jesus at the Center of it All.  But the Holy Spirit had me sing a different song: Worthy is the Lamb.  I didn’t understand why until I got to the lyric: “Crown Him now with many crowns.”

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The last thing I did was to ask God to station angels around the area so that if anyone thinks to come there to do witchcraft, they will not be able to find the place.

Then I walked back to the taxi and took a bus back to Riga to go visit my friends, Gregor and Katya there.  Little did I know, but God had some extra assignments for Riga, too.  But that’s a post for another day.  God is good!

[1] Operation Capitals of Europe.

After OCE in Lithuania – Part One

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Trakai castle on the lake.

20 June 2017

The highlight of the Baltics trip for me came after the OCE[1] trip had officially ended.  Angela and I had talked about going to the castle in Trakai that evening and then to Kernavė, the original capital of Lithuania, the next day.  God often gives Angela extra prayer assignments, and sometimes I get to go along.  So we went to Trakai late in the afternoon.

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Lukas’ taxi.

The castle turned out to be a very long walk from the train station, farther than we could go and be able to get back before the last train back to Vilnius.  I had developed a cough[2] two days earlier, and that added to the difficulty.  So we were looking for a bus stop when I realized that the car we were standing next to was a taxi.  Taxis in the Baltics are very cheap.  The driver took us to the lake where we could find the castle, then he asked us if we know Jesus.  The guy is a born-again, spirit-filled, Israel-loving Lithuanian believer!  He was very encouraged by meeting us, and we were very encouraged to meet him, too.  He said that his name was Lukas, like Dr. Luke in the New Testament.  He said that he had lived in Jerusalem for ten years, then his wife insisted on moving back to Lithuania.

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Taxicab selfie with Lukas.

Lukas was going through a very hard time because his wife doesn’t believe in Jesus.  She threw him out.  He has an eight year old son that he misses terribly.  His wife has not allowed him to see his son.  Lukas been fasting on water and fruit juice for eight weeks, praying for breakthrough.  Imagine that!  So Angela and I prayed for him.  We also told him that we would need a ride back to the train station in about half an hour.  Lukas gave us his card and took a taxicab selfie with us, promising to be ready to come get us when we call.

Angela went over the footbridge to the castle, which occupies an island in the middle of a lake.  She prayer walked in there while I prayer walked upon the lakeshore.  When we finished we called Lukas who came quickly to pick us up.  Angela encouraged him to break his fast, since eight weeks on water and fruit juice could be a strain upon his heart.  He made no promises, but expressed again his desire to be reunited with his wife and son.

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Angela, Lukas, and me.

Instead of the train station, Lukas took us to the bus station because the buses ran later than the trains did.  At the bus station Lukas gave his tablet to a man standing there, asking him to take a picture of the three of us.  We all agreed that our meeting had been a divine appointment.  The man had had a few beers, and his first couple of pictures were accidentally of himself.  Finally he got a good picture of us.

Then Lukas did what he does with everyone he meets: he asked the man if he knows Jesus.  The man, whose name is Colin, began to make all sorts of excuses about having been a choir boy, but now he believes in science.

Since Colin was British, Lukas left the conversation to me, being the only mother tongue English speaker among us.  I had been watching several of Ray Comfort’s videos where he talks with atheists.  The Atheist Delusion is the best of them, and includes scenes of him talking with all sorts of educated atheists.  Education that includes the Theory of Evolution as though it were fact is definitely not a quality education.  Having watched Ray Comfort in action, I asked Colin about the large and gaping holes in the fossil record.  He agreed that it was problematic.  Then I asked Colin about entropy.  [Entropy is the tendency of all physical objects and systems to decline from order into disorder and never the other way.]  So when I asked Colin how evolution could go against the law of entropy when nothing else in the universe does, he had no answer for that.  Then I asked him about irreducible complexity, like where in the fossil record is the creature with a pre-sight organ.  There is none.  In the Theory of Evolution creatures ostensibly go from having no eyes to having fully-developed eyes.  Colin agreed that it doesn’t make sense.  So I observed that it takes way more faith to believe in the Theory of Evolution than it does to believe the Bible.  Colin agreed with that, too.  There wasn’t a single thing I said that Colin disagreed with.

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Sharing the Good News with Colin.

So I said, “Why don’t you give up Evolutionary Theory and believe in God again?”  Colin said that he’s just more comfortable believing in science.  So, taking a page from Ray Comfort I said, “No, you just love your sin[3].”  Colin’s eyes widened and he said, “What did you say?”  I repeated: “You love your sin.”  Colin smiled and said, “That sounded just like my hometown dialect.  It means ‘you love yourself’.”

Just then the bus pulled up.  Colin and his friends were going to Vilnius, too.  So they boarded the bus and we parted company on friendly terms, with a seed planted.

Angela and I gave Lukas a final hug, promising to pray for him and his family.  It had been an amazing day.  God is good!

[1] Operation Capitals of Europe.

[2] See Barking Hell.

[3] Remember that Colin was drunk, so I had to be bold if anything was ever going to get through to him.

Baltic Capitals Trip – Part Three, Lithuania


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The bus passed sunny fields of Canola flowers (pardon the dirty windshield!).

17 June 2017

After Riga we traveled to Vilnius for the third part of the OCE[1] trip.  Ketty had said that Vilnius was worse than Riga for the spiritual heaviness.  We met with the local YWAM[2] team to learn some of the spiritual history, and share a meal.  The bus ride gave my ankle a chance to rest[3].  The bus ride was only a couple of hours.  I did what I usually do when traveling: I put in my earbuds and listened to worship music on my MP3 player—I have it in 5 languages: English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Hebrew.  I slept a bit, too.

When I arrived and checked into the hostel, I thought I would just lay on my bed a pray a while.  Instead I fell very deeply asleep for about an hour.  Then after supper I had a full night’s sleep.  Sounds like I needed it!  I felt great the next day, and I even had a dream[4] for Lithuania.  I saw a long line of people, walking three or four abreast.  They were walking with purpose, but not out of fear.  I got the sense that it was a matter of national/cultural importance.  I’m not sure what it meant, but I prayed about it in the spirit.

That day, being Sunday, there was a church service we were invited to.  They always say that it’s optional, but I like to go.  I love hearing worship in different languages (as evidenced by my MP3 player).  And the bonus is that it is encouraging for the local believers to see new people visit the church.

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The footbridge through the construction site and across the river.

But I had a bit of an adventure on the way to the church.  The automated announcements of the bus stops was not in synch with the actual stops, so I found myself far off course.  I got off the bus, crossed the road, and caught a bus going back toward town.  This bus let me off just across the river from the church.  My navigation software had me go to a construction site to cross the river.  Even though it was Sunday morning, there was a guard in the office.  I told him my dilemma, and he opened the gate and walked me through the construction site to a footbridge across the river.  He called his colleague, who unlocked the gate for me on the other side of the river.  The guard pointed down the dirt road to my left, which was what my navigation software was saying, too.  I thanked him and followed the dirt road as it went deeper and deeper into the woods, getting narrower as it went along.  With a deep sense of foreboding I saw that the navigator indicated the dirt footpath to my right.  There was a fenced yard in that dark corner and suddenly two dogs lunged at the fence, barking and snarling menacingly.  I said a two word prayer: “Dear God!” and was grateful to see that the fence held.  I went up the path, which eventually opened up back into the sunlight.  At the top of the path I saw a building with people inside, assembled in rows.  I had found the church.

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The scary dirt road.

My foot and ankle were not at all swollen even after my adventure in the Valley of the Shadow of Death.  That makes me think that it was an attack by local spirits in Riga.  Lars had told me that pain or swelling in the leg from the knee down means battling in prayer.  He also mentioned how strong the water spirits of Riga had been.  That was when I realized that water had been nearby or involved in both instances of my recent irritability: one in the shower and the other was by the river[5].  Of course I bear the responsibility for my actions and responses to stress, but I can see that I was definitely influenced.  And God had warned me that I needed to stay very close to Him on this trip.  I had thought I was doing that, but apparently not as close as I should have been in order to avoid it.  That’s the thing with going in and doing this kind of prayer work: there is opposition, and sometimes it is very strong.  But nothing is stronger than our God.  He has been talking to me for the past few weeks about our position of victory: that we don’t have to go running after the defeated enemy to fix what he has messed up.  Instead, if we simply stand our ground, stand on the Word of God, and keep His praise on our lips, we cannot possibly lose.  Every battle is really a blessing because it makes us stronger.  God doesn’t allow anything to touch us that is not ultimately for our good, as long as we’re submitted to Him.  Where we get in trouble is when we go running off, doing our own thing.

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Concrete triple cross atop a hill in Vilnius.

The following day we prayed at the high places and down by the river.  It was a lot of hill-climbing.  One teammate has a Fitbit that reported that we climbed over 2500 stairs—that’s over a mile!  It doesn’t seem like the hills are so high, but there are three of them.  I’m glad I didn’t know that before we started.  Sometimes the hardest part of this work is between your ears.  I was really grateful that my foot and ankle didn’t suffer with all the climbing.

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Putting the pagan altar under our feet in prayer.

At the top of one hill we prayed against a pagan altar that had been used in ancient times to burn ritual sacrifices.  In recent times interest in the altar has revived and people have sacrificed animals on it.  Lars rested his foot on the altar, asking: “How shall we pray here?”  I said that I liked the idea of putting the altar beneath our feet, so we all put a foot on the altar.  I was specifically led to pray that if anyone is interested in going up to the altar to do rituals, they won’t be able to find it.  A few minutes later, a couple covered in tattoos and both wearing black came up the hill.  They walked all around the altar, but never once looked directly at it.  I believe that they just didn’t see it—or us!  After a minute, they went back down the hill.  I know invisibility is something God can do for us[6], so why not ask Him to make a place invisible?

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At the river, looking up at the castle hill.

We ended the day praying by the river, and just as our prayers finished I felt a little spirit slide by me.  I should have rebuked the thing, but I was tired and didn’t feel threatened by it.  The next day was when I started coughing[7].

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The locked gates of the Lithuanian Parliament building.

The following day we prayed at Parliament, which was so different from Parliament in Latvia, where we were able to sing, worship, and pray inside the Parliament building[8].  In Vilnius we not only could not go inside the building, but we couldn’t even get very near the building because there was a gate that was closed and locked.  So we prayed as close as we could, and then went for an ice cream.  Thus ended the OCE Baltics trip.

The best part of the trip for me has been getting the opportunity to encourage the individual teammates and local believers.  I met a Latvian filmmaker in Vilnius who is very interested in meeting Deborah.  I love connecting people!

Lithuania is so different from Latvia and Estonia.  It is a very Catholic country, and for that, it’s harder for missionaries than in the other two that are secular and/or atheistic.  But there is a small contingent of charismatic Catholics in Lithuania, so there is hope!  We visited a Mennonite Brethren church.  They told us that they are the wild Mennonites.  I’m not sure what that means, but it made me laugh.  They meet in the Russian Pentecostal church’s Bible school building.  That impressed me: cooperation between denominations in Lithuania—in fact in all three of the Baltic countries.  That’s makes the Baltic countries very different from Italy, where even within denominations there remains suspicion of other churches.  It is getting better, but Italy still has a long way to go.

Even though the OCE trip had ended, I was staying an extra day and a half before going back to Riga to visit friends.  Angela also stayed an extra day, and we made plans to go to a castle on the lake near Vilnius that evening, then to the original capital of Lithuania the following day.  But that’s a post for another day.  Despite the difficulties and opposition, we felt that this trip had gone very well.  I love working for God where the work doesn’t feel so much like work, and the best part is meeting new friends.  God is good!

[1] Operation Capitals of Europe.

[2] Youth With a Mission.

[3] See Baltics Trip Latvia.  It didn’t bother me for the rest of the trip.

[4] Or a vision—I’m not sure if I was really awake or not.

[5] See Baltics Trip Latvia.

[6] See The Retroactive Power of Invisibility.

[7] See Barking Hell.

[8] See Baltics Trip Latvia.