Five Nations: Pictures and Report
For the majority of April, 2018, I had the privilege of traveling and preaching in five nations—England, Switzerland, Lebanon, Germany, and Cyprus. During this time, I taught 33 times and spoke to leaders from approximately 45 different congregations. Below are pictures from each of the locations along with descriptions. I have ministered in England, Switzerland, and Germany in the past, so I’ll focus a bit more on Lebanon and Cyprus in this report.
Click on the thumbnails below to view full-size images.
In England, I was hosted by Pastor Benjamin and Amanda Conway in Dagenham, and by Pastor Wendy and James Preston in Aylesbury. Overall, I spoke to three congregations and also did an all-day leaders meeting. The church in Dagenham is not far from where William and Catherine Booth began the Salvation Army, and I got to see statues of them. While in Oxford, I not only got to tour the famed university, but also got to see the grave of C. S. Lewis and the church he attended. Our group also had lunch at the place where Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkein often met.
From England I flew to Switzerland, and stayed with missionaries Mark and Catherine McCord. I enjoyed teaching the students of Rhema Switzerland based in Lausanne on the topic of Through the Storms (ten class sessions). While there, all of the students also received a French translation of our book, Life After Death. It was a pleasure being with John and Laura Madan who have labored in the French-speaking world for decades.
The next stop was Beirut, Lebanon, where I was hosted by Matt Beemer and Matthew Hattabaugh of Club1040. I enjoyed spending time with leaders from two different congregations and meeting with a group of Lebanese pastors.
In my first meeting in Lebanon, in addition to the believers there from Lebanon, there were workers there from Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, and a Lebanese missionary to Kurdish refugees. I did two forty-five minute sessions for them (In Search of Timothy). My voice was very raspy and I was very tired from travel, so we dismissed ourselves as the pastor and his people began to pray together following the teaching. The pastor shared the following testimony of what happened with his leaders that evening:
Today after u left
The leaders pray together
Hug each other and the Holy Spirit was move in the hall
Then a leader start to cry
And bring water to wash my feet then all leaders start to wash my feet and cry and
sit on floor and kiss my feet and I was cry and my voice to Ashrafieh (he meant he was crying so loud his voice could be heard two villages away)
And god send healing
For all leaders
He later sent a note saying, “Your teaching touch our leaders and change the ministry.”
From Beirut, I traveled to Bonn in Germany and conducted a Dream Team seminar for Rhema Germany. Several churches were represented, and I also spoke for Rhema Bible Church of Bonn on Sunday morning. Monika Wagner, Alex Harten, and all of the people on their team are doing a great job there. I was pleased to see that Grace: the DNA of God is now in the German language.
Cyprus is one of the largest islands in the Mediterranean, and is located just south of Turkey and just west of Syria. It is a divided island and has been since 1974. The southern half is comprised of Greek-speaking Cypriots, while the north is occupied by Turks. The city where I preached, Nicosia, is the last divided capital city of Europe (think of Berlin before the wall came down). There is a Green Line that was established by the United Nations, a buffer zone dividing the city in two.
Pastor Stavros Ignatiou, for whom I preached, grew up in the north, and his family lost their home when the Turkish invasion happened in 1974. It is estimated that 170,000 Greek-speaking Cypriots lost all of their property and were forced to move to the south.
While Cyprus is an independent nation, they have been affected by the economic crisis that Greece has gone through. A couple of years ago, every Cypriot citizen who had more than 100,000 euros in the bank lost everything beyond that amount. Imagine going to bed with $500,000 in your bank account, and you wake up to find that the government helped themselves to $400,000 of the money you had been saving all your life. In spite of these setbacks, the church in Cyprus is mindful of helping the poor, especially Syrian refugees. I ministered five times in Cyprus.