Dear Internet Family and Friends,
God bless you! We pray that you are full of the grace, peace, and rest of God! As you read this we pray that you are well and blessed and having a great day!
Glory to God!! Wow! What a joy to report on the might wonders and great acts of God! In January, my friend, Jeff Neal and I had the incredible privilege of carrying the cross in the southern African nations of Lesotho, Namibia, and South Africa. Awesome and glorious are about the only words to describe this trip!! The Bible says that we go from glory to glory, and this was the feeling that we had on this trip!
As with most of the cross carrying trips that God calls me on, we didn’t know anyone or have anything set up ahead of time. Yet, it so awesome to know that God goes ahead of us to prepare the way (John 10:4). After a fifteen-hour flight to Johannesburg, Jeff and I boarded the shuttle to take us to the plane for the last leg of our journey to Maseru, the capitol of Lesotho. As we drove to the plane, a very kind lady sitting next to me said, “I’m smiling!”. Then she pointed to the small sticker on my shirt, “Smile, God Loves You!!”. As I handed her a sticker she began to tell me how much she loved God and what wonderful things He had done in her life. Immediately, other hands began to reach out to receive stickers, as well.
When we told her why we were traveling to Lesotho she clapped her hands and told us how she had been praying for this tiny African nation for nearly thirty years. Then she asked how she could help us. She graciously helped us through customs, and then introduced us to her friends who were waiting at the airport. They quickly offered us a ride into Maseru, then proceeded to help us find a place to stay. Later that night she called and asked if we would mind speaking in some churches the next day, then being interviewed for the national Christian television station.
Only moments after putting the cross on my shoulder to begin the walk I was stopped by a man curious to know why we had come with the cross. What a privilege to be able to explain about Jesus and His mission on the cross! Soon we were kneeling at the foot of the cross as He committed His life to follow Jesus. As I walked into Maseru, I was amazed at God’s grace as He brought multitudes of people to the cross! At times, it was impossible to walk as I was surrounded by, what seemed to be, a human sea of people as so many pressed in to hear the message of the cross. For nearly four hours I couldn’t even take one step! I would preach and then invite people to pray with me to commit their lives to follow Jesus. Only God knows their hearts, but multitudes would kneel down and join me in a prayer of commitment. I would then try to explain what it meant to follow Jesus and how to continue in this relationship. As I would start to say good-bye, a new wave of people would press to the front asking me to please preach to them. They explained that they were in the back of the crowd and were unable to hear. This scene played itself over and over that afternoon. It was absolutely glorious!!
During our walk in Lesotho, we also had the privilege of being interviewed by all the national media. One afternoon we were informed that the Queen Mother of Lesotho had invited us to her home. We had the incredible honor of not only visiting with this precious woman of God, but of having dinner and praying with her. After our meal, she even carried the cross a short way! This precious lady is a devoted follower of Jesus with a special heart for the people of her country. God has not only given her this position as a leader, but He has called her to pray and intercede for the people of Lesotho. She has fasted and prayed for years! If you think about her please pray that He continues to keep His hand on her and the precious people of Lesotho.
From Lesotho, we had the privilege of traveling to South Africa where we began walking in a township, Mdantsane (just outside of East London) down toward Port Elizabeth. Again, it almost seemed like we were being mobbed at times! I wondered if I wasn’t going to be crushed in the multitude as people pushed and crowded around the cross! Wow!! What a way to go! It was glorious! From there, we were on our way to carry the cross in Namibia (formerly Southwest Africa). Just before going there, however, I had been invited to speak in a number of churches in South Africa. It was quite an honor, as these were wonderful churches and I truly look up to these men. These men reminded me of the great need that remains in South Africa, and that there are relatively few people in Namibia, since it is primarily desert. I kept feeling, though, that we were to decline the invitations and continue on to Namibia. As I read my Bible that particular morning, I read in Acts 8 where Phillip was called to leave the revival in Samaria and go to the desert for one man – the Ethiopian eunuch. I have always felt that we are to respond to God’s call and not react to circumstances that surround us, whether good or bad. Here was a wonderful “opportunity”, but God’s call was into the desert with the cross.
With God’s help, we had a powerful time in Namibia! It was true that there were not multitudes; but the depth of commitment that we saw were powerful. One morning I had the privilege of praying with a young man who appeared to be about twenty years old. After committing his life to Jesus, Usuepo said, “This is wonderful! Now we must take this message to my people! They don’t know this news!” Please pray for his people, the Hembas in northern Namibia! It seems that this is God’s time for them.
The next day, after praying with a group of young men to give their lives to the Lord one of them asked, “Will you please write that special prayer down. It is so special and we don’t want to forget how to say it.” I wrote it down for him, and then reminded him, “God won’t forget! He has already written your name down – in His Book!!” How truly glorious!!!
Finally, I have recently returned from taking thirty-one young people to Peru. In fact, we were there when the two bombs exploded. The young people were wonderful! They never had second thoughts! In fact they took their cue from President George W. Bush’s comments, “No ‘two-bit’ terrorist is going to keep me from coming to Peru!” The young people decided, “No “two-bit’ devils are going to make us leave Peru!” I was so blessed by their heart for our Lord and for people! Each day they would do a drama, then we would preach and witness. Later we had the privilege of carrying the cross in Lima, then Cusco, and finally all the way up to the ancient Inca city, Machu Pichu! Wow!!!!
If you think about us, please pray that God would give us great grace and mercy, strength and endurance, and courage to do all that He puts in our hearts. Finally, please pray that we would truly wipe away the tears from Jesus’ eyes and put a smile on His face!!
Thanks SOOOO much for your friendship and love! The way you love and support us in God’s call and mission is an amazing treasure. It is such a privilege to serve and follow Jesus and to see Him through your eyes, and hear Him through friends like you.You have to be about the best family anywhere! Not only do your gifts and prayers send us, you go WITH us! We thank God for you!! Our prayer is that God will bless you and keep you. We pray that He will make His face shine on you and give you peace. May His goodness and mercy follow you all the days of your life and may you dwell in the house of the Lord forever!
God Bless You!!