What a wonderful privilege I had during the months of May and June this year to minister in the USA, England and Sweden. It was a great blessing and I thank the LORD for this amazing opportunity. I met such exceptional people who I know were handpicked for me to connect with. I was able to visit places that I had only read about or seen on television. I was truly spoilt by my heavenly Father.
I also thank the LORD for providing Robyn Butt and Sharon Peters as my travelling prayer partners. Without their faithfulness in prayer and their obedience in walking with the HOLY SPIRIT, the success of this trip would not have been possible.
My heartfelt thanks also goes to the faithful intercessors who prayed for us while we were away. Their commitment to pray for us is an act of love and I know the LORD will bless them abundantly for their faithfulness and dedication.
JESUS deserves ALL the GLORY for protecting us while we travelled. We were never sick or in any danger, PRAISE GOD!! We were on an assignment from heaven and the LORD kept us in Psalm 91. Hallelujah!!
When ministering overseas I was always accompanied by either Robyn or Sharon or both of them but for ease in writing this report I will write in the first person.
On this trip words like ornate, perseverance, persistence, overwhelmed and detail were redefined for me. When I visited Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral and Tower Bridge my interpretation of ornate was changed forever. I may never use the word ornate ever again in Australia! As for persistence and persevere they are found in the bible and GOD approves of those qualities and He seemed to go to extreme measures to see them developed in my life. Yet, to reward me through the trials of learning persistence and perseverance, He took me to new levels of being overwhelmed.
A question I am often asked regarding the mission trips is “How do you decide where to go?” Let me assure you that since Miracle Education is a prayer ministry, every decision is based on prayer. As I gather each week to pray with Robyn and Sharon, we wait on the Lord for our directions. Whether we travel to Sutherland, Canberra or Sweden it is all at the direction and leading of the Holy Spirit. Having said that, when the Lord gives an instruction, He does not always give the whole picture. Without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God, so if I can see how it is all going to happen then there is no faith involved.
Once the Lord gives us the destinations I immediately begin tracking down the necessary contacts for each country. On this particular assignment it was Sweden that proved the most challenging. Before we left on our trip, my networking in Australia yielded little in the way of positive contacts for Sweden. But I had my eyes firmly fixed on Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith. My Lord had told me to go to Sweden and so He was responsible for providing the contacts.
While we were in the USA the Lord told me to organise the Swedish contacts before I actually arrived in Sweden. So I got busy asking all the Christians we met in the States if they had contacts for Sweden. But to no avail.
So the qualities of PERSEVERANCE, DILIGENCE, PATIENCE and STEADFASTNESS were being worked in my life!
Hebrews 10v36 says “For you have need of steadfastness, patience and endurance so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God and thus receive and carry away and enjoy to the full what is promised.”
James 1v4 “But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work so that you may be perfectly and fully developed with no defects, lacking in nothing.”
These scriptures have been written on my heart through the experiences of these 8 weeks!
We headed for England and I was about to door knock on Buckingham Place to see if the Queen had any contacts in Sweden. Things were looking desperate. On the day before we flew from Manchester, England to Stockholm our gracious hosts invited folk from their church over to meet us. As I approached each of the guests I said, “Hi my name is Di, do you have any contacts in Sweden.” Well I exaggerate a little! You get the picture, though, of a woman on a mission. The LORD was definitely stretching me for it was on that last day in England that the Anglican minister, Andrew said YES he knew a minister in Sweden. PRAISE GOD!!! Thank you Andrew. You and your congregation will be blessed. And a big thank you to Carolyn and Richard for introducing us to Andrew and a big thank you to Lindsay for introducing us to Carolyn and Richard. Everybody in the chain is essential. And everybody in the chain will receive the same reward. ALL PRAISE to JESUS.
When we arrived in Stockholm I received an email from the Swedish minister, David, my newest contact in Sweden with a long list of people whom he thought may be able to help me. I went methodically through the list and struck GOLD with a Lutheran Church in Stockholm called Santa Klara. I sent an email to Deacon Inga who ministers at Santa Klara and she responded immediately by inviting me to attend mass. So I attended mass and afterwards I was asked to chat with the priests over coffee. They were so generous with their time and were very keen to hear how an Australian ministry team had ended up at their church in Stockholm. As I shared my story of perseverance and endurance the youth pastor responded with “This is inspiring!” (Photo shows me with Deacon Inga and Matz the youth pastor.) He then asked me to pray for them since I lead a prayer ministry. So I did and the presence of the LORD filled the room. The LORD was confirming that this was a DIVINE appointment. There was AMAZING unity in the room. It was MIRACULOUS as we were complete strangers in the natural but in the realm of the spirit we were UNITED as we had been brought together by the hand of ALMIGHTY GOD. And so the door was opened wide for a spectacular flow of DIVINE connections.
Nils, one of the priests at Santa Klara, has a weekly spot on the local community television station and he asked if I was free that afternoon to be interviewed on television with him. I checked my diary (giggle, giggle) and lo and behold I had a FREE afternoon. So I excitedly agreed to appear on Swedish TV. (Just as an aside, I need to let you know that Swedish children start learning English from the age of seven, so communicating with people in Sweden was no problem. And indeed, our hosts at Santa Klara were so adept with the English language that they were able to translate on the spot, at full speed, any spoken conversation or preaching for us. Another gift and provision from the LORD for us. Every detail was taken care of!)
So on the very day that I met the DIVINE appointments for Sweden I appeared on TV!!!!!. Nils suggested I attend the prayer meeting that he conducts at the church prior to the taping of the television programme. So I attended the missions prayer meeting and he asked me to share at that meeting. I was also invited to minister FREELY at the altar after the prayer meeting when people came forward for prayer. What FAVOUR!!!! This was definitely the hand of GOD. Remember this is the first time I had meet these priests and already I am FRRE to minister. And they did not bother to ask me my opinion on the rapture, Israel or how Noah got the animals on the ark!! AMAZING freedom and liberty.
Another invitation came on that first morning when I went to Santa Klara and it came from the youth pastor. He would be conducting the church service the following Sunday and he asked me to attend the service and be prepared to share with the congregation. As it turned out the HOLY SPIRT did instruct him to include me in the service. So I shared the word the LORD had laid upon my heart for Sweden. What a privilege it was to speak to the body of Christ in Scandinavia. And what a blessing it was to see them receive the word of the LORD. Matz, the youth pastor, is a splendid young man with a strong anointing upon his life. His heart for the body of Christ impressed me greatly. At our first meeting when I was asked about my church I said it was the same as Hillsong, just different. The priests from Santa Klara understood exactly what I meant and of his own initiative Matz went and downloaded information for me including a map on how to get to a similar church in Stockholm called Passion Church. I was overwhelmed once again with the detail of the Lord in connecting us to Santa Klara, a church that has a heart for the kingdom of God. We did make our way one Sunday night to Passion Church and the young people, although strangers to me, sought me out for prayer. Even though the picture of the praise and worship team from Passion Church is a bit blurry I have included it on the website as it is a reminder to me that the focus of this trip was to pray for youth leaders. Each of the ones I prayed for at Passion Church were leaders in the community. They recognised our visit as a DIVINE appointment.
At that first Sunday morning service at Santa Klara I met the Swedish representative of Moms in Touch. We had a great time of fellowship and I had the privilege of praying for her. This was once again a surprise from the LORD and a DIVINE appointment. I was not looking for connections with Moms in Touch. I had absolutely no idea that she attended Santa Klara church but the LORD was directing my foot steps and He wanted us to meet and so we did. ALL PRAISE to JESUS.
Yet another invitation came on that initial meeting at Santa Klara and it was from Deacon Inga who is involved in street ministry. She invited me to accompany her that Friday night as they gave out hot coffee and sandwiches to the needy street people. Although it was summer in Sweden it was freezing in the evening and we were rugged up with overcoat, scarf and gloves! But what a delight it was to minister the love of JESUS in a very real way to people who had become disconnected from everyday living. Even during the Swedish winter this wonderful team of people from Santa Klara minister to drug addicts and the homeless. Praise God for His faithful ones!
The hand of GOD on this divine appointment with Santa Klara also supplied us with accommodation. The church owns an island (part of the Scandinavian archipelago) just off the shore of Stockholm and it is used for retreats and other wonderful events. And so we were able to go there and enjoy the delights of that island for 2 nights. It was very relaxing and gave refreshment to our spirits. Although it was still very close to the city, the natural vegetation, very cute houses and camp like facilities meant we felt far away from the hustle and bustle of city life. While staying on that island we met Ingrid, another beautiful woman from Santa Klara Church. Ingrid was going on a trip for a few days and so her home was going to be vacant. So she gave us the use of her home for our last few in days in Sweden. All PRAISE to JESUS, our PROVIDER. Not only did HE provide spiritually but also our material and physical needs.
HE KNOWS WHAT WE HAVE NEED OF EVEN BEFORE WE ASK FOR IT.
Ingrid was also the contact we needed for praying for orphans in Sweden. This task was a challenge, mainly because orphans are placed in foster care. But finally we met a family who have been foster parents for many years and who were currently looking after a 4 month old baby girl. We prayed over her as a seed for all the other children in foster care. This wasn’t what I had envisaged regarding praying for orphans in Sweden but it was what the LORD wanted and so if HE was happy, then I was happy. This assignment of praying for orphans in Sweden was difficult and challenging for me for many reasons. Number one, just finding out about orphans and getting in contact with the people who knew of orphans was extremely hard and time consuming. Secondly, when I travelled to Africa, India and Fiji I was able to get my hands on large numbers of children but this did not happen in Sweden. Yet, I did what the LORD asked me to do. So, I was grateful to the wisdom of Robyn and Sharon who were able to confirm that we had fulfilled our assignment regarding praying for orphans in Sweden and Florida. (See details on Florida later in newsletter).
We were keen to attend mass for the last time at Santa Klara so we went back on our last Thursday in Stockholm. This time the service was taken by the head priest who I had not met but who had heard all about us. At the end of the service he announced that anyone who wants prayer can receive ministry from the Australian visitors. And with that he walked off! So we had the privilege of ministering again. What a God we serve!!
On the Saturday before we left Stockholm we went to the Great Church (which is in the same parish as Santa Klara) to hear Nils preach. Deacon Inga was at that service and she knew that we always like to pray from a high place when we go to a new city. So she asked Nils to take us up the tower of the GREAT CHURCH. This tower is NOT open to the public. It was also actually the first time that Nils had climbed the tower. So we went to the top and prayed over the north, south, east and west of Stockholm. It was AMAZING.
And remarkably, when we got to the top of the tower, the changing of the guard was occurring at the palace next door to the church. Imagine that!! The LORD was able to get us to the top of the tower at exactly the right time. We had no idea that the changing of the guard was even taking place. But GOD knew. So we recognised the changing of the guard as PROPHETIC and that gave us even more motivation to pray over the city and nation.
While we were up in the tower, a team from Young Life (YL) were in the crowd watching the changing of the guard. Two of them had already seen it before so they were looking around at other things and happened to look up at us in the tower. They decided that they wanted to climb the tower too, so they went into the church, met Deacon Inga and found out that the public were not allowed to climb the tower. BUT Deacon Inga explained to them that I would be very keen to meet with them as I have a prayer ministry for youth. So they waited for me and there was much jubilation and excitement as we ALL realized this as a GOD connection. I was not looking for Young Life in Sweden, I had no idea that they were there BUT GOD knew and HE wanted us to meet and so we did. Naturally I asked them if I could pray for them and of course they said YES PLEASE!!
There were 15 in their team. Some were from the US as long term missionaries and some were from the US, for the short term, and some were Swedish. So the Deacon and priest found us a space to pray in the Great Church. Oh, it was glorious to pray for these youth leaders…prophecy flowed and everyone of the YL team were touched by the LORD. I was keen to connect Ryan, the leader of YL, with the youth pastor of Santa Klara, so I invited the YL team to church at Santa Klara the next day. They did attend and my heart overflowed as I saw them sitting in Santa Klara Church in the centre of Gods’ will. Because of what I knew by the Holy Spirit I was overwhelmed to see people being positioned by the hand of God.
I don’t know what other plans YL had for that Sunday but whatever they were they were cancelled. They responded to the invitation given by an Australian woman whom they had only just met! They dropped whatever else they were doing and came to Santa Klara. I had the privilege of seeing the Lord connecting and weaving this magnificent tapestry to bring about the salvation of this younger generation.
I was even able to capture the connection of Ryan from YL with the youth pastor, Matz, from Santa Klara on camera. The YL team even bought along a couple with them from the States who had not been at the Great Church the day before but who did not want to miss out on what the LORD was doing. So to complete what the LORD had done the day before I asked the YL team leaders if they would allow me the privilege of praying for unity for them. So they joined hands and I covered their physical sign of unity by pleading the blood of JESUS CHRIST over their lives.
What a privilege the LORD gave me. HALLELUJAH!!!
How AMAZING to see the LORD weave these young people together!!! My eyes flooded with tears as once again I was OVERWHELMED with the privilege the LORD had given me.
There was yet another DIVINE appointment on the list that David my God given Swedish connection had given me. (God bless you David!!!) This was with a Christian teacher called Gunilla who, AMAZINGLY, has the same heart and vision for Christian teachers that I have. We are on the same page and see things the same way. She is a wonderful blessing to me. It was soooo refreshing to talk to someone who is like minded. All PRAISE to JESUS for finding Gunilla for me. We had a great time of fellowship and prayer. It was AWESOME to know that the LORD had brought us together. How else could we find each other!!
Times of powerful intercession for Sweden occurred over the 2 weeks we were in Stockholm with the Deacon Inga, the priests and a powerful intercessor called Anna. What a heart she has. Robyn and I enjoyed praying with Anna as she has such a strong anointing on her life for prayer. We enjoyed great unity in the spirit as we prayed for Sweden. Only God can connect people at such a level in the sprit realm.
I received another surprise gift from the LORD when we attended Hillsong London. I was very keen to get to Hillsong and I nearly fell off my set when they announced the guest speaker was Pastor Phil Pringle from CCC Oxford Falls (my church and so my pastor). I had no idea that Pastor Phil was overseas. But the LORD did and HE wanted me to be blessed by my own pastor. Needless to say, I was overwhelmed by the intricate planning of the LORD. Our God gives detail a new edge. Nothing is too much trouble for the LORD. I once heard a comment that God is never wasteful but He is extravagant!
So I call the experiences in Sweden the icing on the cake. And now for what happened in the USA and England…or the cake part of the missions trip! In the States we did a lot of geographical praying. In Fort Worth Texas we were led to walk around the various types of schools the States has and use them as a seed for the nation’s schools. For example we walked around an elementary school, a middle school, a college and a detention centre and covered them with the blood of JESUS and believed that the LORD would honour these prayers for ALL such institutions in the States. While on one of these trips, we had a DIVINE appointment with a young woman called Yessenia. She caught the bus with us and deliberately sat behind us. She then leant forward and invited us to a Christian festival, Cinco de Mayo, that was happening at her church. We accepted and it was particularly amazing as we did not tell her that we were Christians. So, come Saturday night, we went to her church and I was able to reassure her that the Holy Spirit had caused us to meet and that she was led by the holy Spirit to invite us. She agreed and I was able to encourage her in deliberately developing and strengthening her relationship with the Holy Spirit. I told her I was sent by the LORD to pray for young people. When I asked if she would be agreeable for me to pray for her she responded with an emphatic YES. As I prayed, my mother’s heart overflowed and there were tears from my eyes and hers. I then asked if any of her friends at that gathering would like prayer. She hurried off to find her friends and they were excited and ready to receive prayer as well. Praise God for this DIVINE appointment with young people.
Before we left Sydney the LORD had told us to find an orphanage in Florida to pray for. So when we got there we did a Google search and one particular Christian orphanage stood out from the rest. We went there and introduced ourselves to the receptionist who had recently returned form a visit to Sydney. How AMAZING that there was already an Aussie connection. The receptionist was only too willing to assist us. So she gave us a personal tour of the various homes on the campus that accommodate the children. I was able to pray for all the children under school age and I was able to pray over all the beds of the children who were at school. Then I was able to pray for any of the workers at the home who wanted prayer. What a glorious time we had!
While travelling on buses in Fort Worth we met another DIVINE appointment called Sharon. She was a beautiful, effervescent woman, on fire for the LORD and only newly married. Indeed, she was married only the day before!!. It was a God co-incidence for us to meet on the bus and we made no arrangements for meeting in the future. BUT the next day when we were travelling at a completely different time there was Sharon and her husband. Imagine that!! God is AWESOME. So we were able to pray for Sharon and her gorgeous husband. Another assignment was to pray around refuges. We caught a taxi to this particular refuge that was not in a very safe area. The taxi driver, although a stranger to us and not a Christian, was sent by God to protect us. He insisted on walking the perimeter of the building with us. Robyn kept him distracted with conversation while I attended to the spiritual matters of our walk. It was amazing that he asked so few questions and did not think our request too strange. He was definitely an angel sent by God! We certainly expect to see him in heaven as he was part of God’s plan for our lives. Opportunities to pray for taxi drivers, hotel staff and others were abundant and we jumped into every one of them.
So to England and we had the wonderful privilege of re-connecting with Marilyn, a long time friend from my days with Prayer Groups for Schools. She was such a blessing to us and was our link to many people and events including the Global Day of Prayer. How AMAZING to join with the people in England for this significant prayer event. It was such a privilege and for the first time I saw Graham Kenderick perform live! To be part of the body Christ in such an event is a wonderful experience. Through Marilyn, I was also introduced to Alice, who works specifically with young Bangladeshi children. We were allowed the privilege of helping out at one of the after school programmes. To see these children and witness first hand the social dynamics was enlightening and extremely helpful for praying accurately for the needs of the children. It also gave us an even greater appreciation for Alice and her team as they work tirelessly to minister the love of Jesus to the children in their neighbourhood.
Marilyn was also instrumental in connecting us with a gorgeous family in Cambridge who warmly opened their home and hearts to us. There were wonderful times of prayer and fellowship with adults and with the two beautiful daughters of our hosts. Once more we were connected with youth workers and everyone concerned recognised these as GOD appointments. Our visit to Cambridge meant great opportunities for prayer as we walked the streets of this University town and climbed to a high place to pray. Cambridge is the seat of learning for England and so it was extremely significant for us to pray in this town as our prayers would effect the education of the youth.
England has a wonderful place of prayer at Ashburnham. It is near the town of Hastings and we had the privilege of meeting Brian Mills who is the European Co-ordinator of AD 2000 and Beyond United Prayer Network. He has been at the forefront of intercessory ministry for nearly 30 years and is regarded by many as the father of the prayer movement in the UK. He headed up the British team which travelled to Australia in 1998, praying for reconciliation between these two nations and along with Brian Pickering, authored the book Fountains of Tears. This was yet again another DIVINE appointment in our missions trip.
While at Ashburnham, we connected with Keith, another prayer warrior, who co-ordinates the Hastings Prayer Watch for the Cinque Ports and the S.E coastline. When I shared the vision of Miracle Education with him he immediately caught it in the spirit. I was so delighted to fellowship with him as he saw what I saw in the realm of the spirit. This was another gift from the Lord!
Keith sacrificed his time and was only too wiling to pray and fellowship with us. What a blessing! He introduced us to Caz, a youth worker in the schools, who I gladly prayed for and who was keen to receive prayer. She saw our meeting as the hand of God in her life and was greatly encouraged that the LORD would send us all the way from Australia to pray for her. Caz oversees Christian work in 26 schools and personally goes into 6 high schools!!
It was slowly becoming apparent to me that the focus of this trip was
prayer for youth workers and leaders.
When we left London we travelled to Manchester and on our first day there we met with youth workers in schools whose ministry has the great title of CHRISTIANS in SCHOOLS. How cool is that!! They are funded in much the same way as youth workers are in Australia, with churches combining to pay for their expenses. It was great to pray and fellowship with Sue, Andrew and Jonathan, like minded people with a passion to minister in schools. They were greatly encouraged and heartened by our God ordained appointment. They were amazed when I told them of the open doors we have into schools in Australia. It is not the same in England and they were keen for Christians in Australia to take every opportunity to minister in the schools.
Our lovely hosts, Carolyn and Richard, had an open house for us on our second last day in England. They invited youth workers and teachers from their church to meet with us with the specific purpose of receiving prayer from us. What a wonderful time of fellowship and ministry we enjoyed. The hearts of all these folk were so open to receive what the Lord had for them. Once again, the focus was on encouraging and blessing those who worked on the front line with young people and children.
Even on our last day in England a husband and wife team who minister to young people travelled an hour and a half to meet with us as they were unable to connect with us while we were in Cambridge but did not want to miss out on a GOD APPOINTMENT. Once again, I was overwhelmed by the Lord’s planning. These people were total strangers but the connection in the spirit made us one in the LORD and so the fellowship and time of prayer was rich. So that day we flew to Stockholm and I immediately began following up the connections that had just come to me the day before via Andrew the Anglican minister and his Swedish colleague David.
I really liked the architecture of Stockholm and felt right at home with all the water views around the city. At our hotel in Stockholm the Lord connected me with young people who were visiting from the States. I marvelled at the Lord’s planning. He did not connect us with these students who came from the US while we were in their country but waited till we were in Sweden! Anyway, two young men in particular stood out to me and in due course I ended up talking to them about Jesus. It was a privilege for me to connect with Davian and Evan and I recognised that they were DIVINE appointments in my life. The Lord is obviously committed to rescuing Davian and Evan’s generation.
It was a great privilege to go on this missions trip and learn more about the Lord’s character through personal experience. Experience is definitely the best teacher and to have the world as the classroom is a huge blessing. Connecting with the body of Christ around the world and seeing their heart for the Lord is so encouraging. It is a great joy and delight to pray and fellowship with believers from other countries and find that despite cultural differences in the realm of the spirit there is complete unity. It is a great honour and blessing to have 8 weeks of DIVINE APPOINTMENTS! There is a depth and richness to these relationships that defy human thinking and that can only be expressed with the word OVERWHELMING!
Peace be with you