Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Flying Here and Flying There...

There are lots of ways to view Christian Missions. I left a church a few weeks ago and there was a sign on the way out of the parking lot "Entering the Mission Field!"

In November it will have been 12 years since I went on my first mission trip to Brazil.

In April of 1999 I met a Brazilian pastor in Hyannis, MA. He is now my good friend Carlos. You can read some of that story HERE. Through him many doors were opened for me to minister in his community both here and abroad. He was my faithful interpreter and has seen me through the good times and the bad times.

The real story of Brazil starts in January 1997. I received this prophecy from a gentleman named Denny Cramer.

"I will give you a heart for nations as well, says the Lord. And you will travel from coast to coast. And you will learn what I am doing upon the earth. You’ll pick up this truth and that truth. I see you going to several major conferences. I see several airline tickets being purchased. I see you getting on a plane-- flying here, flying there, flying here, flying there."

Regardless of how you feel about spiritual gifts, let me tell this was all very exciting; yet bewildering. After all, I am afraid of heights, I don't like flying and had a fear of being in a country where I don't speak the language. It rocked my complacent, little, religious world.

Not long after I met Carlos, he introduced me to a couple of other Brazilians, in particular; one named named Lessak. Pastor Lessak did not speak English at all; therefore, all of our conversations were translated. He was convinced that the power of God was not something you could actually experience - just something to have faith in. He told me me, God was not going to knock him down, and no minister was going to push him either. Though falling in the spirit is not an essential Christian experience, I had seen it happen one quite a few occasions over the years. He stood there and challenged God like Gary Sinise atop the mast of the shrimp boat, in the movie Forrest Gump.

He readied himself like a linebacker before the call to "set." So I gently touched two fingers to his forehead and simply asked Holy Spirit to come. The power of God came like a shotgun to challenge his beliefs.

As he lay on the floor across the room he began to prophesy in English-- "Dav- i - G (the sound of my name in with a heavy accent) will be a minister on our team in Brazil. He will come with us to Brazil."

Wow! Ummm I mean, thanks but no thanks. I like it right here in the good ole' US of A. Carlos was trying to make sure that I knew what he was saying. I heard him loud and clear in English. Carlos assured me that he did not know any English.

The word of God is like fire in your bones. PS Lessak's words resonated in my spirit, but I was scared, Brazil was really unknown - well except for all that bad things on the news. What was going to happen to me in a foreign land? What if it was too hard, or something happened to me? What if I was imprisoned or got sick? How would I pay for it? What if I couldn't get the time off from work? What if...

The wheels of the Kingdom began turning. Not too long after, I decided I would go to Brazil, though I had some real concerns. Making the decision was hard - it was way, way, way out of my comfort zone.

After I had a chance to minister in a couple of dozen Brazilian churches here in the states, I started to become comfortable with the culture and the language. I had a few friends - and well, it didn't seem so unbelievable after all. I thought: "If I am with Carlos, and Lessak, I can trust them." The what-ifs seemed to lessen a little...

Carlos set up an itinerary for me in three cities in southern Brazil.

Funding the trip was going to be a problem - and I sort of felt that if God would pay for it, then I should really go (that was my out). The two Brazilians and I went to the beach and prayed for about an hour. We prayed about it on a number of other occasions too.

In the midst of all this, I was asked to participate on the ministry team of a Refresh conference, through a friend. In the process, one of my teammates wrote me check for $1000. That was enough to buy tickets for me, and help the others.

One obstacle down.

I also needed to get time off from work, so I went to the owner of my company. He needed me there, so 21 days was going to be significant. But he gave me the time off with pay!

Two down!

The next step was to get a passport. I thought this would be easy, but it wasn't. Check out Part II.

Yesterday I had coffee with the neighbor across the street. He is a Brazilian and we had a wonderful talk about his country. You know, maybe I will get a new passport.

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