Thursday, August 13, 2009

Ministry in Russia

When I first went to Russia in 1997, I only went to support my friend Nikolai P. He had asked me to go with him because I was his homeleader and he thought that I would be a help. I was a decent enough teacher and had been gifted by the Lord with a prophetic word. But I told him that I didn’t have the money. He gently corrected me by saying that I must ask the Lord first if it was His will, then, if it was, God would provide. I prayed and the Lord spoke to my heart telling me that whatever I could do to help Nikolai I was to do. On the day before our team was to leave the Lord brought in the $10,000 we needed to make the trip – I still don’t know exactly how. I have since gone about 20 times.

The Lord sent us to Kamchatka, a peninsula about the size of California hanging down above Japan from the farthest eastern end of Russia, across the Bering Sea from Alaska. It is lightly populated with four indigenous tribes mixed with European Russians, Koreans, and others. It had been a closed area, even to other Russians,due to military operations during the Soviet years. The gospel had hardly ever been reached there and it was Nikolai’s burden to see the church of Jesus Christ established in that land.

Nikolai, his wife, and his close friend Anatoly P. had been sent by their church in the Ukraine to plant churches in Kamchatka. When I first came to the church in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, there were about 500 people, all new Christians. Churches were already beginning to be established in some other towns too. There are now over 25 churches established with more on the way.

God was moving in power by His Spirit. One woman bought her grandchild to us for prayer. This 2-year-old lay limp as a rag doll in his grandmother’s arms. His muscles weren’t working very well. She handed this child to us and we all laid on hands and prayed. As we prayed, the child’s toe touched the thigh of the one holding him and his legs began to move in that automatic bicycle pedaling motion that infants have. The child began to cry and we handed him back into his grandmother’s arms. We all watched as he then raised his head by his neck that was now gaining strength and he stood, perched solidly, looking around with wide, fearful eyes. I noticed that the look in his eyes began to change from fear to an “I-can-get-into-this” kind of look. We had handed back the child healed to his joyfully crying grandmother.

Later that week, Nikolai and I flew to Palana, a small town in the middle of Kamchatka. The first night in town we had a meeting with about 20 young adult men. As Nikolai and I raised our hands in prayer and worshiped the Lord,these young men began to do the same. We all sang our praise to God. It was years later I found out that, when we did this, the Spirit had fallen upon these young guys filling them all and granting them the gift of tongues. I had no idea at the time because I didn’t know their language. We never taught them about this, God just did it like he did in the book of Acts at the house of Cornelius.

It was during this period that God began to establish me as a prophet. Nikolai would take me to many meetings and counseling sessions. Since I didn’t speak Russian, and they tended to feed us too much food, I often grew very sleepy at these times. They would talk and talk and I would try to stay awake. I would usually be told what the topic was, like marriage or church. Every time we had one of these sessions I would get a thought or a verse of scripture. At the end of the session Nikolai would ask me if I had something to say. I would then say what was on my heart and hope that it at least applied to what they were discussing. They didn’t tell me until later that, every time I spoke, I used the same verses and said the same thoughts confirming what had been said.

On one of these earlier visits I was speaking to them inside a theater at a conference. I had a vision in which I saw behind me and to the right, a large dark wall of clouds. It was coming down the peninsula with the intent of hiding all the light. Yet where we stood at the southern end, the light remained very clear and bright. After a while, the cloud was pushed back up the peninsula by the light. The light then went across Russia to the west going across Siberia, the steppes, and south into the neighboring countries. I shared this with them and we all cheered a lot and that was that.

When I left the building with my translator, we noticed that, in the direction I had ignorantly pointed inside the closed theater, there was in fact an extremely large bank of very dark clouds sitting like a wall with the edge of the front over the volcanoes to our north. The light around us was very bright and super clear. My translator told me that he had lived there his whole life and had never seen such a cloud formation.

For years I thought that the picture the Lord had shown me was only of their ministry. Yet in 2005 Bruce M., a friend of mine who is known to have accurate prophetic dreams from the Lord, called me and told me the Lord had given him a dream concerning me. In that dream I was on a peninsula in a tent like Moses’ tabernacle and I was covered by the glory of God. Yet beyond the glory was darkness. The Lord said to Bruce that He was pleased with me and that I could ask Him for anything I wished. Bruce asked the Lord what I should ask for. The Lord answered that I should ask for the nations. Then the Lord indicted to Bruce the verse in Isaiah where the Lord told Zion to expand their tent for people are coming! Don't hold back! Yet when Bruce told me about the dream the first time, he did not tell me of his question of the Lord and the Lord's answer. So that night I was deeply affected and I believed the word Bruce had shared. Without knowing the Lord's response I prayed, believing I could actually pray for anything I wanted. I decided to ask the Lord for the anointing to preach the gospel with a demonstration of the power of the Spirit. In addition, I prayed that this anointing would come upon me in the context of a mighty outpouring of His Spirit upon all His people with thousands of people who would have the same anointing I had.

Gradually it dawned on me that that the vision I had received in Kamchatka and the dream my friend had was about the same thing. This was confirmed when the leaders in Kamchatka asked me this spring of 2009 to pray and consider working with them to extend the ministry across Russia. I believe I am called as a prophet and a teacher to these people. I have it in my heart to help them establish churches all across Russia and the neighboring countries. My wife and I desire to go to the places that are out of the way, to the forgotten, to help lift the shade on the 10-40 window. And I would still be doing what the Lord had originally asked me – to help Nikolai in whatever way possible.

This is where you come in. If you would like to see this vision come to pass and the Lord disposes you so, would you consider supporting this ministry? If so, get in touch with me.

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