As you know, things were touch and go in regards to the conference in Beirut. We got word the day before we were to leave that it was cancelled, yet every one on the ministry team (from various countries) felt they were to still make the trip.
We felt we were still to go. So we hopped the plane, without any idea what would transpire.
As I write this I’m sitting on our last hour of the flight from Frankfurt to Chicago. It seems like the perfect moment to reminisce over our week and share it with you!
We got in to Beirut late Tuesday evening. First thing Wednesday morning we went to Joseph’s church and realized that he was still planning on having the conference. Many of the Lebanese people had taken vacation time and he didn’t want to disappoint them. We had several sessions with the Lebanese church alone, and this turned out to be a huge blessing. They were fed, filled and truly blessed by the Lord in many ways. There were several power encounters, prophetic words, deliverances, and true encounters with the Lord of Hosts. It seemed the Lord had carved out this time for us to build some intimate, Divine friendships with the Lebanese. It was such an honor to be with them!
On Wednesday evening we ministered at Saied’s church. Saied is a new friend we have made through these conferences. That evening I shared a bit, then introduced Craig. The Lord really spoke through Craig in some mighty ways. The translator (Pastor Saied) was being blessed by the Lord as he translated, having several beautiful revelations and exuberant light bulb moments throughout. It was so fun to watch. There was, again, quite a lot of ministry that took place as well.
On Thursday we walked to Josef’s church for the morning sessions and were greeted by a few of our Syrian friends who decided to drive through the uprisings to be with us. I can’t even describe how great it was to see them. There were many tears, many prayers and many hugs. Craig connected with these guys in some profound ways. We had the honor of standing with our Syrian brothers and sisters in the midst of their sobering trial. I’ll never forge this day as long as I live. In the afternoon they received word that there had ben another uprising and more killings, in one of their home towns. They were all shaken and greatly saddened. Craig just grabbed one of them and held him, as they sat in this Holy Spirit embrace and wept together. If this was the only reason the Lord brought us to the Middle East during these days it would have been enough. But our God always surpasses our greatest need. He met them all in power that evening with His Holy Presence overcoming them…… over and over again. The intimacy of the Lord was more stunning than I had ever experienced as I watched Him minister to his war torn sons.
Saying goodbye to these friends was so difficult. Once again, there’s really no words making themselves available to me.
The Friday sessions were filled with more grace, solid chewable teachings, beautiful fellowship, Holy Spirit encounters, etc. He is so so so very GOOD!
Every day we walked to and from Josef’s church for the meetings. This, in and of itself, was a riot. Having Craig along was an absolute thrill for me. He excitedly said “Hello!” to everyone he met, stopping to talk with people, pray with people and basically connect with the people of Beirut. These Arabic men just lit up every time they saw him coming, as these relationships built day after day. Oh my goodness, this was such a fun experience! When Nancy and I are there, it’s not possible for us to be this friendly on the streets. Even eye contact and a smile is considered flirtatious to Arabic men. But having Craig along changed everything. It opened up the lives of these Lebanese people outside the church walls and bridged a very large gap for us. It was truly beautiful.
Sunday morning we went back to the Pilipino church that Josef pastors (he has two different churches). Do you remember me telling you about them last November? They are an astonishing group of women. These ladies have had to leave their families back in the Philippines in order to work as servants in Lebanese homes and send the money back for their children. Many of them live in slave like conditions, suffering under many abuses. Their heart for the Lord is so strong and mighty. Their greatest thrill is to take their only day off and spend the whole day at church, worshipping, learning and fellowshipping together in His Presence. The Lord filled my mouth with learning how to walk through a storm and remain soft hearted, continually healed and filled with an ever increasing love for Christ Himself. His anointing was very present. His love for these women absolutely overwhelms me. This small room was packed out with 150 Philipino women, with open hearts and the power of God. There were bodies laying all over, tears, tremblings, sreamings….. people being delivered, healed, and consumed by His Glorious Presence.
Our friends from England were with us. Benjamin Naumann (Tommie’s son) and Adam Gough. They’re worshippers and we were blessed to have them on the team. A friend of Tommie’s who is a pastor in Germany, Hans, was with us as well. It was so great to finally meet him and journey with him this week. We also had Amy French, Annika Hanifores, and a couple others who came to join in, they’re missionaries who work with Tommie in his Greece church. The way the Lord has put this team of people together from various nations is so beautiful to me. It’s a picture in and of itself of how the Lord is bringing people together in Unity to carry His glory wherever He leads.