To France and Back
What a trip, I tell you what! If ever you could put a concentrated amount of the Holy Ghost in the same container as a horse pill of "grueling traveling," this trip was it for me. I'm thinking of inventing a "G" suit for traveling ministers if I ever do this again; you know, something to keep me from blacking out somewhere between the in-flight TV dinner and the post-worship ride to where you sleep for a few (and I mean FEW) hours.
(Pic: Baptism of Nils Blyth on 07.23.06)
Physically speaking, this trip was quite the whirlwind. After twenty hours of traveling, I no sooner arrived at Radikal For Jesus (yes, they spell it with a "k") than they inform me, "Pastor Hopper, you are doing a seminar in fifteen minutes." O really? says my body. On what? "On evangelism." And for how long? "One hour."
My youth group in Depauville will remember my message about a month ago on Mark 3:20 where Jesus and the disciples "didn't even have time to eat" because of all that there was to do. I was instantly reminded that many times we don't even have time to study. We simply have to be ready. I had no notes prepared for "evangelism." But my spirit was in communion with His. Like I said. No problem.
(Pic: CH during a seminar on "Teen Years Are For God")
"Pastor Hopper, you are leading worship tonight, too." News to my ears! With what worship team? "We'll introduce them to you later." But the meeting starts in two hours!
(Pic: [below] Radikal For Jesus tent at Moncel)
Again. How ready are we as the people of God? Needless to say all the times of preaching and leading worship were amazingly wonderful and intense. Saturday night's service was about 3.5 hours of straight worship with not a single "slow song." It was full-bore 110%. We were sweating and three of my fingers started bleeding all over my strings and guitar. All but five or six songs were entirely prophetic. Then there was preaching and then more worship. Each night we'd get home around 1am and then to bed by 2am. Up at 7am for a leader's meeting. Sunday night was a concert open to the community. All in all I felt wonderfully "used" by God and completely spent both physically and spiritually.
God's Holy Spirit is moving across the nations, and let me tell you, it's intense. Nations represented there included Columbia, Argentina, Mexico, Spain, Morocco, Congo, Guinea, Central Africa Republic, Switzerland, Italy, Bulgaria, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Holland. The overall all theme of the conference was "changing our mentality." From what? From one of expecting other people to do the work of the ministry to expecting us to do the work. We spent a lot of time equipping the youth for action and strengthening their spirits. It was a deep time of encouragement and deliverance.
And when I say "deliverance," I mean hard-core deliverance. The most common manifestation in Europe? Throwing up in the middle of worship. Someone begins crying out to God and turning their spirit over to Jesus. So the demon has to leave. Suddenly someone screams and throws up in the midst of a song. I look over to them and there they are, smiling like they just got let out of jail. It's such an ironic scene. Being so happy, yet dripping wet. For in fact they were let out or prison.
I'm so very glad to be home and my body is starting to forgive me. I'm obviously glad to be with my girls again and excited to see my church family.
Thanks for all your words of encouragement and your effective, fervent prayers for me and my little family!
Blessings and much love,