Day 93 Munich Germany, Journey’s End. Someone referred to my time in Eastern Europe as a ‘holiday’. Believe me, this was not a holiday. It was 18mths in the planning, it consumed hundreds of hours of admin (by myself and my PA), I fund-raised for 12mths around NZ & Aus to cover the airfare, car hire & other expenses. I drove solo (apart from the odd Polish hitchhiker) 14,926kms in a manual Peugeot 208. I visited 13 countries and shared in 50 concerts and services. So was it a holiday? I visited the poorest countries in Europe: Bulgaria, Romania, Montenegro, Serbia. I visited two jails and a Rehab Centre. I gave away hundreds of CDs to people who had no money to pay.. and someone who saw me in Munich in a house concert on the last night said I looked fresh & not tired (Isaiah 40.31). So, if it was not a holiday, what was it? It was the opportunity to share a gospel message in places where communism (aka atheism) has cast its pall across the generations. Many times I faced the Eastern European staunch granite face (which the Holy Spirit warned me about) but by the end of each concert or service many of these precious ones would shake my hand with tears in their eyes. Through the interpreter many would say ‘You have given voice to our pain.’ Others would say: ‘You have shown us a way of restoration & forgiveness at the foot of the Cross of Jesus.’ Others would simply say: ‘I saw Jesus tonight..’ The most rewarding aspect of this tour has been the overwhelming feedback at most of these events, not CD sales. What a privilege to be able to share in this way, and what a joy to see the evidence of the Holy Spirit at work in many hearts.. people who have been shackled by centuries of religion (Orthodox, Catholic, Lutheran, Islam) but softened and set free by the work of the Holy Spirit.
It was in May 2014, on the eve of my ‘retirement’ from ministry, that the Lord called and said: ‘My heart is for these ones, the broken, the brokenhearted, the bullied, the discouraged, the lonely, the fearful, the lost, the burnt out, the emotionally disabled, the depressed, the suicidal, the wounded, the weary, the lost.. will you go, or will you stay home and pander to your flesh?’ I have received such grace in my own healing journey that once I heard clearly from the Lord, it was not such a big deal to go and not to stay. I have been ‘going’ in ministry many years and so I agree with scripture that it is more blessed to give than to receive. I have been mightily blessed as I have given out.
Finally, I mention at least two who were pulled back from the brink of suicide by my testimony of restoration (as I was pulled back from the brink..) I think of these and many others (whose testimony I have posted on Facebook these 3mths) who have encouraged me that yes I did hear from the Lord, yes I did get the timing right, and yes there is mighty power at the foot of the Cross to heal and bring restoration to anyone in any culture, at any time and in any generation. It is a universal message across time and space. Hallelujah!
Now we look ahead to Scandinavia in 2017….