We’ve hit spring and my eyes are burning this week. I can’t remember having an allergic reaction like this before. The other day, I noticed a green film dusting the hood of my black Saturn. For any of you who are also have watery eyes and runny noses, let me empathize with you by posting a microscopic image of a pollen grain.No wonder our eyes water and burn. Look at those treacherous pointy tentacles!
My eyes were a bit teary over a few things that happened the past two months. It wasn’t just the pollen in the air. Let me relay to you a few God stories that really touched my heart.
Thanks again for those of you standing with me in partnership. I look forward to returning home in May to share reports in person. I’ll be sending out a newsletter in April with more details.
[featured]Who Holds the Key to the City? Brazil Gets Blasted[/featured]
During Carnival week in February, we partnered every day in prayer with Brazil. Several hundred YWAM missionaries, a few local churches, and a handful of IHOP missionaries decided to set-up a prayer room in Brazil during this licentious festival. The main cities would not allow them to congregate on the streets or evangelize. However, many of these believers wanted to make a difference during this pivotal time. While the decorations are colorful and there are many sporting smiles on the streets, the Carnival releases much immorality and violence. Months after the event many are seeking abortions from unwanted pregnancies. Others lives are further wrecked by increased drug usage. The believers in Brazil gave us frequent updates as they endured over 100 hours of prayer that week. They saw the Lord break in and bring unlooked for storms that brought heavy rain, drowning-out the heavy revelry on the streets. Also, the churches and believers in the area stood more united than before. As we were getting these reports, we were excited and continued in prayer along with them. Finally, we found out that a key ceremonial event never occurred. Usually the mayor gives away a giant key to a demon-like character (a guy in a costume) that is responsible for partying and revelry. In some way, it is symbolic of Brazil’s abdication of their country to the Devil during Carnival. Well, for the first time that our Brazilian brothers and sisters could remember, this “key” ceremony never occurred. The mayor of Rio De Janeiro never emerged with his key. We learned a simple truth during that week: Unified prayers from afar matter. God shifts nations at the pleas of his saints.[featured]Sitting Bull and Saint Patrick:[/featured]
Saint Patrick’s Day is NOT a Native American holiday, but for this one teenager in a crowd, it could have been. Over 400 of us students and interns hit the streets in downtown Kansas City to engage in spiritual conversations with any of the 300,000 spectators of the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. We used surveys, street music, and regular conversation to approach people to talk about Jesus, heaven and hell. Our approach was pretty simple and usually within a minute we would find ourselves in the thick of a spiritual conversation. Time went fast. Green meant go. Over the course of four hours, we saw approximately 55 people make a commitment to follow Jesus as their Lord and savior. We also prayed for the sick, too, right there on the street. One elderly man got healed from a degenerative disease and began running up and down the streets. We saw the Lord move powerfully that day. On our way home, our bus-load full of students had so many stories we were not able to finish them before we reached home. My favorite story was of an IHOP University student who began sharing Jesus with a group of angry teens. They ended up cussing him out. He ran away pretty shaken up and intimidated, only to learn his teammate was still standing near that gang! He timidly shuffled back to retrieve his partner when one of the fiercest teens pulled him aside. This teen was a Native American and began venting to him how many whites had ruined his people with religion and culturally enslaved them. Unfortunately, many of his reasons were understandable. The IHOPU student listened repented of the wrongs he heard, and then began to share to this teen that the Creator God his ancestors worshipped had a Son. He encouraged him to look into it. The entire scenario went from anger to openness. This Native American teen found himself closer to God than ever before. It thrilled me to hear this twenty year-old youth from IHOPU take one in the teeth and then willingly return, go to let God use Him before the very ones who abused him. His tenacity and willingness gave me insight into the persistence of God’s love for every one of us. For that teen this year, Saint Patrick’s Day was a Native American holiday. On that day, he took one step closer to God.
I’ll be sending a fuller report in April but wanted to pass a few of these stories along. Thanks again for those of you partnering with me. Thank you for your prayers and your encouragement.