Nomadic Kindred Hearts

Yesterday at the conference I met Rosy.  Right from the start she seemed to be the most interesting person in the room.  I met her just before the Ladies Coffee, which was a social time built into the conference.  I didn’t register for the Ladies Coffee right away just because the idea of a Ladies Coffee didn’t really appeal to me.  I don’t really fit in with most of the women there.  But the Holy Spirit had urged me to register for it at the last minute, so I did.  I asked Rosy if she was going to the Ladies Coffee, and she said that she was.  So we went off together, leaving her boyfriend, Bobby, to attend the next session without us.

Rosy is doing something that I had always dreamed of doing, but never had the freedom or the resources to do: she lives in her fully-equipped camper van and has been traveling around the country since she was laid off from her job.  That’s a courageous and daring thing to do, and I admire her a lot for doing it.  When I bought my camper van in 2011 (see my first book, Look, Listen, Love) I had thought of doing that, but in Europe.  My camper was stolen, which put an end to that dream for me.  Nevertheless, I still think about it sometimes when I’m traveling around in Europe.

Rosy also blogs.  So there we have a lot in common: writers, nomadic at heart, plus we’re both attending the Pre-Tribulation Rapture Conference, so we both keep our ears open for the trumpet’s sound.  I love all the new friends God has for me!  God is good!

The Pre-Tribulation Rapture

Greetings from Dallas!

I am here attending the Pre-Tribulation Rapture Conference.  The conference has only just started, but already God has been very merciful, helping me through what could have been a couple of bad logistical problems.

The first was the drive to the airport.  I left Asheville yesterday morning to drive my son home to Chapel Hill, and then turn back and on to the airport in Charlotte.  I had budgeted about seven hours, even though Google Maps had predicted that the total trip would take only a bit over five.  I had added an extra hour to my driving plan so that we could have lunch together at his local sushi palace.  Leaving him on his doorstep with a full stomach and sushi leftovers, I headed on toward Charlotte.  Google Maps either didn’t know about the construction on Highway 85 or that it was the tail end of Thanksgiving weekend and certainly both played a part in the drive time taking every bit of seven hours.  I didn’t really hit delays until about 35 miles outside of Charlotte, but I was really glad that I had decided to head straight to the airport and not take my time.  In the long term parking lot, I hailed a passing bus that had just gone by the shelter before I could get there.  The driver graciously stopped for me even though she was not at an official stop when she did it.  On entering the airport, I was especially glad that I had my boarding pass with me and no luggage to check.  The flight was delayed by nearly half an hour, but that’s not a problem when you have no connection to make.  It gave me an opportunity to breathe and even get a light dinner before boarding.

In order to avoid the expense of renting a car that I would really only need twice a day, I had selected an airport hotel near the conference site, which was another airport hotel.  My plan was to take the shuttle to the airport and then catch the other hotel’s shuttle.  My hotel’s shuttle departs for the airport every hour on the hour starting at six AM.  As I thought about this plan, the enormous hassle and potential of hours lost waiting for one shuttle or the other began to worry me.   Rather than worry, I simply prayed instead.  After a good night’s sleep, I had thought to catch the six AM shuttle to the airport and arrive finally at the other hotel in time for the conference start at eight.  Good plan, but I missed the six AM shuttle.  I decided that it would be OK if I were a bit late for the conference.  And who knows?  I might arrive on time for the conference anyway.  So I got a quick breakfast and signed up for the seven AM shuttle.  The shuttle driver was there, and he asked me what terminal I was going to.  I told him about my crazy shuttle plan.  He wanted to know where the other hotel was, and I told him.  He said that since he had only two stops to make this morning, he would take me to the other hotel.  In fact, he said that he’ll be working all week, and that he would take me every day, assuming that he doesn’t have a lot of stops to make.  That is an answer to prayer, and one I would never have thought to hope for!

So once again, I’m feeling like God’s favorite kid.  God is good!

Worship in the Afternoon and Forgiveness in the Morning

Our afternoon worship session (4-6 PM) was the best attended, besides prime time.  Felicity was in the zone, having really gotten in touch with her vocalization and riffing.  But of course, it’s not about the music as much as it is about the heart.  Her heart was clearly worshiping God, and that is what bumped her vocal style to the next level (perhaps even a few levels).

Bethany has shown a real talent for the flags.  She is able to make them dance in some really beautiful ways.  I love the flags, but I’m not at all good at it, and I’ve never waved them without the stick hitting something.  I figured that I should probably stop now before I put someone’s eye out.

After the session, I was feeling very tired, and wanted nothing more than to return to the hotel and sleep—yes, this was at six in the evening.  We have done late night, early morning, wee hours, and so forth, so that now I just need to go rest when my body says so, no matter what the hour.  So I went to the cloak room to put on my jacket.  The others were behind me and they were invited to share Communion with a couple of German men.  I saw Felicity go to her knees, and I knew that this could be a while, so I walked back to the hotel alone.

The following day, we were upstairs in the church’s coffee shop.  Felicity told me that she needed to talk with me.  So we went into the prayer room, which was empty for the first time (no babies, no nursing mothers, no small children).  There she told me about the German men inviting them to share Communion.  She said that she immediately realized that she needed to repent.  She confessed that she had been holding anger and unforgiveness in her heart because of Europe’s involvement with the African slave trade (Felicity is African-American).  She poured out her heart about how much she hates when people want to touch her hair or ask her what African country she comes from—she doesn’t know because her ancestors were kidnapped and taken to America as slaves.

We wept together for both her pain and for the loss of her heritage and culture.  Felicity knows that these are innocent things not intended to wound her, but she can’t deny the pain they cause her.  Before she took Communion, she knelt to forgive the Europeans, and to ask God to forgive her.

In the next teaching session, when we were invited to share our experiences at Tabernacles, Felicity asked me if she should share her pain and to ask forgiveness.  I told her that if that’s what she wants to do, she should do it.  So she did.  And several people told her that they forgive her.  But some people have since acted differently around her, avoiding her, particularly the German girls because it had involved their friends.

At the end of the teaching session, they called forward all the young people (those 30 and under), and we prayed for them.  I came and prayed specifically for Felicity.  The Holy Spirit urged me to also repent and ask her forgiveness for my ancestors’ part in the slave trade because my people, though not rich landowners, had some slaves nevertheless.  I had never felt personally responsible for the slave trade because it was all over and done with long before I was born, and I have always treated Felicity with the same kindness and respect that I treat all my friends.  But sins curse lasts to the 4th generation, and it was right for me to repent and confess the sin so that its curse could be completely broken.  Felicity forgave without hesitation, and we wept in each other’s arms.  It was a very cleansing moment for me.  Later she told me that nobody had ever asked forgiveness for the slave trade before.  It was very hard, but I am really glad that I did it.  It was the right thing to do.

Our last session was 6-8 AM.  I woke up half an hour before the alarm, and began to pray.  One person God led me to pray for particularly was Felicity.  Then God gave me a word for her: Isaiah 41:10:

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous Right Hand.

And the Lord’s word to Felicity went something like this (I don’t remember it exactly):

I have felt every blow and every insult, whether intentional or not.  I know your pain, but I will take the pain away.  It is no accident that you are here.  You are here for your healing.  Receive your healing.  You are My beloved daughter.  You are loved.  You have value.

This prophecy came to me in the form of a song, and the Lord told me to sing this to Felicity—on the platform in the church.  I realized that this could be a very emotional moment for her, and I felt like it would be best if she knew that it was coming, rather than surprising her.  So we walked together to church while the others were still gathering themselves.  I told her about the word, without telling her what it is, and asked her when she wanted it: early in the session (when there are likely to be fewer people) or later in the session (when she won’t have to struggle with emotions and tears while trying to sing).  She told me she wanted it early, and asked me why I had to sing it.  I told her about how God had healed me to sing (see Dancing in My Dreams).  She said, “Oh, I get it!  Killing two birds with one song!”  Yeah, that’s exactly it!

So, the sanctuary wasn’t completely empty, but we warned the others about what was going to happen, and we proceeded.  Being first thing in the morning, and early morning at that, my voice was terrible.  But I sang anyway.  Felicity cried, but not a whole lot, and was able to go on with worship without any problems.  It was a nice worship session, nothing spectacular, but full of the right heart for God.  God is good!

Dancing in the Piazza!

We have been rehearsing the last few days to do a flash mob in the Parliament Square.  This was my 3rd flash mob.  The first was in Milan’s ritzy department store, La Rinascinte, singing Amazing Grace on Christmas Eve to shoppers there.

My 2nd was a flash mob of values on the steps of the Duomo Cathedral of Milan, in which at a signal we held signs naming various moral values.  Mine said coraggio (courage).  The press had been invited to that one!

This time we were all over the big central piazza and after an introduction we ran to the middle of the piazza and danced to Resurrection (link there—I’m in the back on the right, all in gray).  You can see a guy in green at the front who briefly dances with us.  We had good audience participation.  The wind was something I, personally, had prayed for because without wind, it would have been blistering hot—so thank You, Lord, for the wind to keep us cool!

Afterwards the dance team and others went to the main street, set up there, and danced some more.  It was a moment when I would like to have been able to be in 2 places at once.  But I stayed in the piazza with the evangelization team.  We hadn’t seen them very much at all since Rome, so I wanted to spend some time with them.  But that desire was really just a set up for a divine appointment.  In Rome Guy, the host and head of the evangelization team, had told us about prayer walking in Parliament Square at 3AM.  He had gone up to the door and knocked on it.  The guard who answered had tears in his eyes, and Guy asked if he could pray for him.  The guard had just a month earlier lost his daughter in a car accident and had been in that moment struggling to cope.  Guy prayed for him and shared the Good News of Jesus Christ with the guard.  The guard has remained Guy’s friend.

After the dancers left, Guy went to the same door and knocked.  He asked the guard inside to please tell Paul hello for him.  The guard said, “If you wait 10 minutes, Paul will be here, and you can tell him yourself.”  So we all got to meet Paul, and he invited us into the courtyard of the Parliament Building.  Paul told us that we can’t go inside, though.  Then after a few minutes, he took us into another courtyard that was even prettier.  Again he told us that we couldn’t go inside.  I got a chance there in the second courtyard to talk with Paul.  He is a very nice man, and his affection for Guy was obvious.

Then after telling us twice that we couldn’t go inside, Paul took us inside, where we saw lots of suits of armor and paintings of leaders going back to the 1500’s.  Before exiting, we all prayed for Paul.  He thanked us, wiping tears from his eyes.  It was a sweet and touching visit, and probably prophetic for whenever Operation Capitals of Europe comes to Malta—that we will be gratefully welcomed.

Then Guy treated us all to ice cream, and we said our good-byes (some of them are leaving today, and I’m leaving tomorrow).  God is good!

Dream or Vision

On Saturday I was on a train returning to Milan from a prophetic conference.  I had had to leave the conference early in order to be back in Milan to meet a missionary coming into town.  I was in that twilight state between sleep and being awake and I had a dream or vision:

There was an object—a silver oblong cube, like a very small shoebox about 5-6 inches long and about 3 inches wide and 3 inches high.  This object was handed to a prophet.  The prophet was hugely pregnant and held the object where the baby’s foot was.  And the baby pushed its foot toward the object, so that it was as though the baby was stepping on the object.

I asked the Lord, “What does this mean and who is it for?”  But He remained silent.

When I returned home, I wrote the dream/vision out and sent it in an e-mail to the missionary who had driven me to the train station from the conference.  Since she had been the last person I had spoken with, I thought that perhaps it was for her or she might know what it means.  But she wrote back, saying that it doesn’t ring any bells, but it is a very cool vision.

Again this morning I asked the Lord, “What does the vision mean and who is it for?”  He said, “You are the prophet.  You are full of the gifts—all of the gifts.  Step into your anointing.”  And my spirit said, “WOW!!!”

A few minutes later, the missionary that is staying as a guest in my house came in and said, “The Lord gave me a word for you: Psalm 150, verse 6: ‘Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.  Praise the Lord.’  And He says that He will do it for you.”

Of course, my reaction was visible goosebumps and a dropped jaw.  She shook her head, not knowing what all of it means, until I told her about the vision and what God had just told me moments before, and it was her turn to be surprised and goosebumpy.

Praise the Lord, as the Psalmist says, and stay tuned because acts of God are coming!  God is good!

The Bulgarian Rose

Yesterday the team of intercessors with Operation Capitals of Europe (OCE) arrived in Sofia to pray for the city and the country.  Yesterday the government also resigned.  Often when we pray in a capital, there will be physical consequences.  Like one time we prayed at one city’s walls, praying specifically into the foundation of the city, and a week later the whole area was cordoned-off and excavation began into the city’s foundation.  But the government’s resignation is the first time that a physical consequence occurred before team prayer began.

Today started with breakfast at a café owned by a man from the local church.  Breakfast was followed by worship at the church.  This church is both hosting strategic prayer and worship sessions and collaborating with us to pray for their city.  There was about 40 or 50 people who joined us for this first session.  Having such a big crowd right from the start was very encouraging because it is always better the more locals who join us.  Sometimes the team has outnumbered the local intercessors, and it has become quite a challenge because as OCE becomes known, more people have joined with us from all over Europe.  The evening session had an even bigger crowd, as the young people and the working people joined us.

Between the two sessions we had two hours of free time, so we went into the city center.  We saw the big golden statue of Sofia, goddess of wisdom.  There is a drinking fountain near her where in order to drink, you have to bow your head to the statue.  Standing in front of the statue, you can see an Orthodox church, a Mosque, and just the other side of the Mosque is a Synagogue.  This idol is an example of a place that is likely to be chosen to pray at.

Then we went down into the subway station.  When they were digging the subway tunnels, they came across the ruins of old Sofia dating to the time when this was part of the Roman Empire.  The ruins were preserved within the subway station.  Part of the ruins in the subway is the original Eastern Gate to the city.  City gates are also places that are likely to be chosen to pray at.

While in the subway we found several souvenir shops, and many of us, being foreigners, wanted to look for keepsakes and gifts.  One shop had all sorts of rose products.  The rose is the symbol of Bulgaria, so a rose product like soap or perfume is also likely to be used in prayer as an object to show prayers for Bulgaria.

I keep saying “likely” because it all depends on the leading of the Holy Spirit, and He is unpredictable, even when you’re very well acquainted with Him and His ways.

The evening session included members of the OCE team praying for the local people who came forward for prayers.  The language barrier made things a bit challenging, but there were a few people there who could be found to interpret.  I prayed for a couple who are pastors asked for prayer together.  After praying for them I told them (through an interpreter) that I felt like they were mother and father to their church, and that the people go to mother for comfort and to father for wisdom; and that they have lots of spiritual children.  They told the interpreter to tell me that they were never able to have children, so this was a wonderful word from God.

Another woman I prayed for was very elderly.  As I prayed for her I saw a beautiful green field with a river running through it.  By the river was a big tree and the tree was full of fruit.  I told her (through an interpreter) that although she is old, God says that she will continue to bear fruit for the Kingdom for as long as she wants to do so.  Her response was not interpreted for me, but mostly it was just hugs and kisses.  At the end of the evening, she came to me to hug and kiss me some more.

Then on the way back to the hostel I saw that one of my teammates seemed troubled.  She talked out her problem, and then we prayed.  I told her that I really value her contribution to the team, and that it seemed like it was mostly a conflict of personal styles.  After prayer she was able to understand that she really is a valued member of the team.  I think part of the reason why she was feeling troubled by this now is because another teammate who has a ministry and style similar to hers became very badly ill just before the trip and had to cancel.

Please pray for missionaries!  We are on the frontline of battle.  The enemy was able to sideline our teammate, and then tried to make another doubt her value to the team.  He would love to stop what we are doing because we are winning back territory that has been his for centuries.  For those of you who are praying, thank you and God bless you!  Please know that you are a vital member of our team, even if you’re not here with us.  Your prayers are making a difference!