Saturday, 25 August 2007

Just A Tiny Little Cloud

LHS was above average for a small town high school in California. Now, 30 years later, I know I got a great education. I must say though at the time, I wasn't sure how learning to type or sew that ridiculous little dress was going to help me in my chosen profession! Thankfully, someone smarter then me was making the decisions in those days! The typing thing now is a no-brainer but who knew I would spend most of my life on a continent where I was a head taller and one shoe size longer than the entire poputation. There is some comfort in knowing that should the need arise, I could make that dress-and it's even retro cool now!


In those days, progressive educators believed monthly cultural assemblies were going to expand our tiny minds and give us a bigger worldview- Right! We had a lady who wrangled snakes, a guy who sang To Dream The Impossible Dream like he was Andrea Bocelli, and a mildly inebriated gentleman who attempted to hypnotize the entire student body-somewhat sucessfully I might add-thus proving how weak minded we all really were! Less than revelational, these assemblies were simply a great escape from 4th period Physics! I do also recall that they were carefully choreographed so that any overtime cut directly into the lunch hour! While my experiences in school assemblies were perhaps less than life-changing, that is not always the case...

Hot, humid, dirty... long days, bad food, endless travel... zero privacy... this decribes what Mike and his team lovingly call "Cowboy Evangelism." They love it! Town to town, village to village -the team moves day by day. A city square or field will become their backdrop and the outdoors their auditorium. Upon arrival, a day of Netcasting and inviting leads into an evening film, music and the gospel --this cycle being repeated with each new morning. However, sometimes, they are invited to do school assemblies => ...


A new campaign had started in June, 2006! At the leading of the Spirit of God, the team was launching out to a new island. Bohol is the 10th largest island in the Philippines and aside from its pristine white-sandy beaches and the Chocolate Hills, it is known to be a stronghold for the NPA (New Peoples Army) one of the many rebel groups contributing to unrest in the Philippine Islands today. Permission was given to hold outdoor meetings on Bohol with the proviso that a police team would go along and each night present an anti-drug abuse message in conjunction with the meetings. Being proponents of an anti-drug abuse position, this posed no problem whatsoever!

After much fruit in several barangays (organized communities), the team was ready to head for the more remote villages in the mountains. Being a stronghold for the NPA, the police graciously granted them permission to go on alone. Moving through mountain villages by way of rutted roads that run rivers in the rainy season, mid-week found them set up in a field on a basketball court.

The singing had drawn them-just over 100. The promise of something different or special enticed them to come away from the day to day. They were sitting on chairs supplied by the Barangay association and were listening, curious, seeking, ... perhaps hearing for very the first time...The sky shone with stars--not a cloud in sight. It was obvious the LORD was working. As the Gospel went out, MP drew near to an invitation. Mike, on the sidelines, praying for speaker and crowd alike, noticed a tiny cloud move toward them and settle directly above the b-ball court. It hovered over the listeners. And just at the most inopportune moment, a light drizzle began to fall. The crowd evaporated with the cloud. The service, a bust. Mike was deeply disturbed,



As I thought about what happened that night,
it took my breath away to think that we had been taken unawares. I realized that
the cloud was demonic-it was spiritual attack! Then a thought hit me,'If the
devil can bring a cloud to scatter a crowd, God can bring a cloud tokeep a
crowd.'

The team pressed on in one of the most grueling evangelistic campaigns they have seen yet! The road was difficult and while there were successes, it was obvious that Bohol is going to be tough! Having broken in successfully, the team moved back to the island of Negros for more meetings. A marvelous door had been flung open there--you guessed it--a school assembly and on the NORSU satellite campus.

It was ROTC day. No less than 2000 college students rescued from class were gathered with half a dozen army officers on a dusty parade ground. In the middle of the day, they stood with the sun beating down. Mike described it...



As I stood there looking at those young people
trying to shield themselves from the sun, I thought, 'They will never listen to
me under these conditions!

'It was then that the LORD said, 'Pray for a cloud.'

Immediately I said, 'Alright LORD, I will.'

Then the LORD said, 'Pray publicly for all to hear.'

Again I said, 'Alright LORD, I will.'

Of course you know all of this happens in an instant! Before he could think about it, or rationalize his way out of it, or change his mind the soloist, Y, finished her number and he was on.) What happened next is best in his own words...



Immediately i stood up and asked the young
people,'Are you hot?'

They all yelled back in one accord,
'YES!'

'Shall I pray and ask God to send a cloud
to shade you from the sun?'

Again they shouted back, "YES!'

So... I bowed my head and out loud I said,
'Lord, these young people are hot. Would you please send a cloud to shade them
from the sun so they will be able to concentrate on Your Word?
Amen.'

They had 30 precious minutes. Immediately he started to preach-credibility hanging by a thread! In a moment, it dawned on all of them that they were suddenly sitting in the shade. Looking up, they saw the cloud. An audible, "W-H-O-A!!" followed by a hushed silence was all that came from the crowd until the invitation. No less shocked than the crowd was Mike's 15 member evangelistic team who were at that point wondering what he had been thinking!!! As you can imagine, for the next 30 minutes he had everybody's attention and the Gospel went out in power! At one point, the sun peeped through and Mike looked at the team and said, "You are not praying." Whoosh, their heads dropped and they prayed. The shade remained the entire time! When the invitation was made, 800 students answered, 800 rescued, 800 delivered.

Having doubts? Well, I want to mention here that there are witnesses (2000 + 6 + 15 + 1!)


This is how I know God still answers prayer!


I do however wonder... what has become of the FAITH to ask?


A permanent team is stationed on Bohol now. Won't you please remember them in prayer?

Sunday, 19 August 2007

He Still Answers-Why Aren't We Asking?

I’m a 70's kid… Earth, Wind, and Fire, Nixon, Dittos, and …of course the Vietnam War. What was happening there was everywhere then- in the news, in the hushed voices of my parents and even in the cafeteria at school. During my high school years the town next to ours became know as the city to have given more sons per capita to the cause than any other. (Quite amazing for a tiny little town without even a single MacDonald’s.) Vietnam was far away and frightening. People I knew were going there and not coming back and it had been going on for most of my life. And then it was over. There were too many loose ends. This unfinished story became a scary place in my past, in my thoughts.

In early 2006, Nancy C thought it would be great to take some of our ladies on a retreat to Vietnam--Hanoi no less! I thought so too. Vietnam was promoting tourism at a bargain basement price. We could just take a regular commercial tour and do our own ministry along the way. Living in Singapore, it’s only a short hop-like crossing the Bay Bridge during rush hour to dine in Berkeley, or heading out to the Island from mid-town on a Saturday afternoon. The ladies signed up, we prepared messages, Betty booked the tour and it was on. I was thrilled. I don’t think I realized how boarding that plane to Hanoi was going to affect me though. I sat silently in my budget seat on Tiger Air and with the rush of the plane taking off I was thrust back to 1991 to a coffee shop in Singapore…


Pastor James Singleton was once again casting his World Evangelism Vision to Mike and me. We loved hearing it. He was talking about looking into the Restricted Access Nations with an eye to the future. Then, from nowhere,he shot out Vietnam. I was shocked. Under my breath I said, “How could we possibly even consider going there?” I knew he heard me and I was immediately ashamed. “Lisa, that’s woman’s thinking. You better get over it.”—like it was a disease! I bit my lip. He said it so matter-of-factly and I was pierced because if what he meant by that was “fear and prejudice mixed with unforgiveness”—he was right! I didn’t even know I felt that way.

As he carried on without missing a beat, I sat there trying to get over the “woman’s thinking” thing. I realized I was looking at a man who was no stranger to war. A man who had been there for the island invasions of the south pacific and more. A man who had seen man’s inhumanity to man up front in living color. A man with reason to be prejudiced and afraid, but he wasn’t. He had a big God. He had forgiven. And, for the past 50 years he had been going after all of them for Christ’s sake…

I was wrong. It was easy to ask for forgiveness.

That day in 1991, I began to pray for Vietnam.


Arriving in Hanoi, we were transitioned effortlessly into a carefully choreographed plan of campaign beginning with taking the government sanctioned tour conducted by the government sanctioned tour guide. We shopped in the government sanctioned shops and saw the government sanctioned sites-the first of which was the home and tomb of national hero, Ho Chi Minh. All along the way I looked for visible signs of Christian presence. Not one. Not one person. Not one piece of literature. Nothing. I know there is a witness there, but compared to the need… the need was so awesome. On the whole trip the only person we were able to witness to was a Vietnam War Vet-- also touring, also searching.

Along a street where barbers were set up in the open on the sidewalk, a man was selling postcards 10 in a pack. He wanted one U.S. dollar each-outrageously overpriced… of course I bought 2. Twenty postcards-what was I going to do with 20 blurry postcards?

Back in Singapore it was amazing how the “missions talk” had turned to Vietnam. Those in the know said go to the south, that’s where the LORD is working! And truly, there is good work going forward in the south and in Ho Chi Minh City where the government seems to be just a bit friendlier to the cause. But I kept thinking of the north, of Hanoi, of what they had been through, of who they were and I began to pray that the LORD would open the door for us or some of the folks we co-labor with to go. It was then I believed the LORD would have me send out the 20 postcards with a call to pray.

Each postcard was sent to a person or family asking them to commit to pray for an open door to Vietnam. Maybe you got one. Many responded with thanks for the card or saying they would pray. But, 5 people wrote specifically committing to pray daily for this matter until the LORD answered! I want you to know, He heard you and he did answer.

English as a second language is the ticket for much mission work in the Restricted Access Nations. L and S were reaching the lost in China while teaching English. With hearts turned toward Vietnam, they sought a position in Hanoi and the Lord has granted them a place. They will be heading over very shortly. It’s great to get teachers in, but it’s not enough. That’s only a partially open door. They needed to have contacts with the local church. We had none but were still praying for that open door.

Just last week I received the quarterly newsletter from the ministry we cooperate with in China. The director related the joy of expanding the work into Vietnam and explained the missing piece as being the local church contacts. Then came the divine appointment… the answer… on the way home from the survey trip to Hanoi, he sat next to a man with a big Bible. This couple had been working with the local church in Vietnam for many years and after spending some time together, he was willing to share his contacts. The missing piece provided. A new pipeline for the Gospel is open. How glorious is the LORD!

This is how I know God still answers prayer. I wanted you to know too.

Can I send you a postcard? Let me know. :)


1 Cor. 15:57-58

“ But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ.

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

Call Back!

I need encouragement! It thrills my soul when I read that those I admire had struggles, found and sacrificed victory, and were humble enough to say so! I am pulled forward by those who have called back--the Lord Jesus being the primary example!

Rosalind Goforth said it all for me in the forward of her book, Climbing: Memories of a Missionary's Wife. I share it here with you...
Call Back!

If you have
gone a little way ahead of me,
call back--
'Twill cheer my heart and help
my feet along the
stony track;
And if, perchance, Faith's light is dim,
because the oi is low,
Your call will guide my lagging
course as wearily
I go.

Call back, and tell me that
He went with you
into the storm;
Call back, and say He kept you
when the forest's
roots were torn;
that when the heavens thundered
and the earthquake shook the hill,
He bore you up and held you
where the very air
was still.

O friend, call back and tell me,
for I cannot see your face;
They say it glows with triumph,
and your feet bound in the race;
But there are mists between us,
and my spirit eyes are dim,
And I cannot see the glory,
though I long for
word of Him.

But if you'll say He heard you
when your prayer
was but a cry,
And if you'll say He saw you
through the night's
sin-darkened
sky--
If you have gone a little way ahead,
O friend, call back-
'Twill cheer my heart
and help my feet
along the stony track.

-Selected

I think if there is no time to call back, I am too busy. I have been too "busy."

Ephesians 4:13-15

"That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."

I Am So Thankful They Wrote It All Down

Rosalind Goforth, Marie Monsen, Ruth Paxson, Isobel Kuhn and so many others . . . the books, the letters, the lectures, the essays. I am so thankful they wrote it all down!

My life, and perhaps yours too, has been influenced by recorded events of His-story played out in the lives of His servants! These women had lots in common --they knew both success and failure, victory and defeat in their lives and ministries. But, I think one of the most important things they had in common was that they were confident to the depths of their being that they could touch the heart of Almighty God on their knees! They knew the secret that God answers prayer! And, in faith--they prayed!

Sometimes in our "highly administered" world I think we actually forget or maybe even stop believing in our ability to touch the heart of the one who actually controls the avatars in the X-Box of life! We schedule, organize, assign, recruit and strategize ourselves into some sort of visible success. We all know that this success is sometimes ours and sometimes His.

The LORD has been so good to Mike & to me and it has been my joy to know many great pray-ers! Actually it is amazing to think of what the LORD has done in our short lives in answer to prayer!

So, with a lot of encouragement and as the LORD allows ...
I have decided to write it down.

Welcome to . . . How I Know God STILL Answers Prayer!