Germany April 29th - May 10th
A return visit to Ellel Germany in the beautiful town of Altensteig. Linda and I went there last year to do a Father Heart of God weekend and it bore much fruit. This time it was for two weekend courses, a Father heart of God and a Men of God course. (A weekend course, or conference, is usually seven or eight sessions, each session being from one hour to one and a quarter hours in length, starting Friday evening and finishing at Sunday lunch time or Sunday afternoon)
The Father heart of God course had a full teaching hall and the hunger was palpable. The ministry session was before lunchtime on Sunday, but many stayed in ministry well into their lunch hour. It never ceases to amaze me how this subject remains one of the most popular and one of the most fruitful year after year. It is an honour to be entrusted with this precious teaching. (Still working on the book!)
The Men of God course. This was a new course for Ellel Germany and we were not sure how the German men would react to the very challenging teaching on this course. We soon found out. During the Sunday morning ministry session five men stood for salvation, and between 80-100% of men stood for the other issues. In fact, overall I found the German Christians amongst the hungriest I have had the honour of teaching.
Sweden (and Lapland) May 26th - June 7th
This was my fourth visit to Ellel Sweden and it is a beautiful country that I have become very fond of. The first weekend was a Men of God course at Kåfalla, a beautiful centre situated right on the edge of a lake. It is a photographer's dream location and once again I found myself drawn to get up at 3.30 am on the first morning trying to capture creation at its most mysterious.
Just days before I was due to fly out to Sweden I had quite a bad fall in my home and damaged my right knee so badly that it required I go to hospital. The doctor gave me anti-inflammatory tablets and a seven day course of antibiotics, emphasizing that I must complete the full seven day course. The tablets worked well and my knee was fully operational in 48 hours. However I pressed on as requested with the full seven days of the strong antibiotics. Unfortunately during the first weekend Men of God course I began to suffer strong reactions to the antibiotics. On the Saturday afternoon my eyelids became heavily swollen making my face look as if I had gone ten rounds with a good boxer and lost. This side effect, despite attention from a Doctor on the course, persisted for some days. Much worse was the side effect of diarrhea which was to last for most of remainder of the two week visit. This left me weakened and needing additional rest times. However this physical problem did not stop the work of the Kingdom. As Paul discovered, when I am weak then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10)
Indeed the first weekend Men of God course could not have gone better. Rarely using the normal course notes I spoke from my heart, and the men responded from their hearts.
On the Tuesday, Ellel Directors Göran and Roswitha Andersson and I set off on the two day drive to Fredrieka in Lapland. This is a beautiful drive, but a long long drive and requires an overnight stop in Northern Sweden along the way. We stayed in a beautiful old home that was situated on the edge of a sea inlet, backed by pine forest. This is the land of the midnight sun and at 4am I found myself out walking along the coast line, with camera of course. A beautiful time of day in a beautiful location.
On June 4th we travelled to Långviksmon, in Northern Sweden, for a Men of God weekend that I had been looking forward to for some time, because the Lord had impressed upon my heart for months, that this was going to be a special weekend.
For a long time now, the Pastor (Sven) has been going regularly to the top of the nearby hill to blow a type of shofar (in this case a Swedish Mountain horn) to claim the area for Jesus. He has written to every home in the area to explain what the noise is and why he is doing it. After the Saturday evening session the men climbed the hill to stand with Sven as he once again proclaimed Jesus over the area. I believe that the weekend was part of God's response to that long standing call from the Pastor.
Finally, on June 7th the long journey home began. Umea Airport in Northern Sweden to Stockholm to Dublin to Belfast. A very tired but satisfied man arrived home.
Meanwhile while I was away on 'international duty' the Christian Restoration in Ireland team were taking weekend events in Southern Ireland. First in Portroe in County Tipperary, and then in Kilkenny City in County Kilkenny. In both places they both taught and ministered. At Kilkenny there were several who stood for salvation. For the team visit to Tipperary I prepared a one hour video talk from my home. This is now on the teaching page. Team members continue to do prayer ministry in Green Pastures, Ballymena, every Thursday. This is the third year of that work.
God is SO faithful and we are all so privileged to be called to be co-workers with Jesus. (2 Cor 6:1)