We've just got back after another incredible trip to Juba, South Sudan with a small team consisting of Ronald Gabrielsen (Norway/Poland), Einar Mikkelsen (Denmark), Eimund and Cassie Skjæret (Norway/USA). We started the trip travelling from three different countries, met in Paris, then travelled together to Nairobi.
Jesus never told us to pray for the harvest, but for workers to go into the harvest-fields – for the harvest is already ready. In this newsblog I will try to summarise a little bit when it comes to what we are doing here in Poland and present one new harvest-worker that has joined the team.
At the beginning of February we got a new addition to the team here in Lublin – Svein Svendsen from Norway. He has been working with us before and it’s very good to have him back again. This time he plans to stay until summer.
The last period Svein was working here, he, Arnfinn and Michael went on a mission trip to Ukraine. During that trip, they got good connections to a pastor in Lviv. So, right after coming to Poland, Svein took a short trip to Lviv to follow up the things they had been doing there last time.
Street meetings in January can be a cold experience, espesially when playing guitar or piano.
But when it comes to the importance of preaching the Gospel it was a small price to pay.
In Matthew 25:35-36 Jesus is saying "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me."
Even though being cold is not on this list, I believe it just as well could be — especially if the Bible had been written in Poland, during winter. Even though January is a cold month, when it comes to the weather, we have still been able to spread some warmth to people who need some extra care these cold months.
If there is one thing I have learned during my years as a missionary, it is that you need to stay flexible. Every time you think you have it all figured out, it seems like God already has something new going on. If you get to ridged, you will soon find yourself missing what God is doing.
Here in Poland the last months have certainly been this kind of times. Many things have been going simultaneously, but when you feel God is backing up what you are doing – well, then you’re too blessed to be stressed.
Humanitarian aid and Street Church
It has been twice the last months that we have had to arrange humanitarian aid on a short notice. The first time it was a friend of ours from Lyngdal that was originally going to Ukraine, but then they got in trouble on the border from Poland to Ukraine and had to turn back. Lublin is only a few hours away from the border and when they realised that they needed to turn back, they decided to call me and ask if I knew someone to whom some gifts from Norway could be useful.
Ronald, Eimund and Cassie have been on an exciting trip this August 14-28th to both Kenya and South Sudan. Here are some of the highlights from the trip!
Ronald’s father has a missions organization called Mission 10/40 and though this organisation he has been doing a lot of mission work in both Kenya and South Sudan (and they also lived in Kenya when Ronald was small). Because of this we got good connections both places and where able to work together with some really good people.
Geoffery (Bishop of East African Pentecostal Churches) and his wife Anne were our hosts in Kenya, and Geoffrey even travelled with us to Juba. A good friend of Eimund and Cassie’s also joined us in Kenya, Stig Ove Gisnås from Mo i Rana, Norway.
Him, his wife Linda and 3 children have established a missions base on the coast of Kenya, Kilifi and have lived there for 2 years. (Stig and Linda ministries) We are so grateful that Stig Ove came and hung out with us, took incredible pictures, and helped us spread the gospel!
A few days later a friend, who had also been on our prayer walk, asked me if I had heard the news. I had not, so I was curious about it.
He then told me that he had read in the newspaper that the city government had found an old unknown well – a few meters from where we had been praying. The amazing part was that they had also decided to dig it up and reopen it.
What a peculiar coincidence! Right after we had been prayer-walking in town, asking God to reopen the old wells of revival, the city government finds an unknown well they decide to dig up and reopen.
God is definitely doing something in Europe and the wells of revival that changed this continent once will start to flow again – I truly believe this with my whole heart.
Here comes another update from us in the North! (Eimund)
Since last newsletter we have seen God bring some literally amazing breakthroughs.
The first weekend of Easter break we got an invitation to preach at a morning meeting in a youth camp an hour away. I shared my testimony of how God used me as a teenager to see healings and salvations in my middle school. And after I was done with my message I got the crowd of 50-60 youth to stand up with me and pray, while that happened I sensed God tell me to pray for the sick.
I ended up asking if there was anyone with any pain in their body, and eventually a girl came up that had little pain in her back. Then I got some youth to come forward to pray a short prayer of healing over her, and immediately after the prayer she got totally healed! Because of this healing another youth that was little farsighted came forward, we prayed a short prayer for him and he could immediately see better!
Then a girl with knee pain came forward, and a guy that was hard of hearing, and another man who couldn’t hear so well and had ringing in his both ears. So we got the whole crowd of youth to stretch out their hands and pray “in the name of Jesus be healed”. One by one they testified that they were totally healed in front of the entire crowd! This went on and we saw at least another youth that claimed he had ringing in his ears that was totally healed. We experienced that nearly everyone we prayed for in that meeting got healed!
These youth would never have experienced God in such a powerful way if I had only preached, what people need is an encounter with God!
Nesna 16 April: (Eimund)
April 16th Maria Kogstad (from our team) and I went to Nesna to reach out to the youth at the local Christian High School there. Every morning the school has a short chapel meeting with the youth where a brief message is shared. This time I got the chance to share my testimony and the simple gospel for the whole school.That was such a precious moment since this school has a big majority of non-believers! We as well are getting better connections with the students because we have visited so much, and in the evening we gathered a good group of youth for a meeting in a local church.
So the youth in Nesna is definitely hungry for Jesus, and we have the privilege to share him with them!
A few of us joined Eimund and Maria in Nesna for the meeting in the evening, and we got to meet some of the students that came. We just hung out with them, shared some of our real life with Jesus, had some really meaningful conversations and got to encourage many of them. Also, we just had fun playing music and being with them. It is really beautiful to have a place where youth know that they are welcome to come as they are, ask any kind of questions and that we can just share Jesus and our honest life with them and let them know that they are so valued.
Everyday testimony (Eimund)
Two weeks ago I went on a run in one of the nearby trails, and I ran by a couple with many dogs. I felt God told me that one of them had pain in their knees. So I asked them, and the man responded and said that was him, and he had been in serious pain the last days. Then I asked if I could touch his hand, and immediately he felt a difference! He got a little bit freaked out, but was not yet a hundred prosent healed so I got to touch his hand again and he got nearly hundred prosent healed. Then they thanked me and asked me if I was a healer, but then i got share that this is Jesus and that he longs for a relationship with them!
We have another team from the Fire and Fragrance DTS (YWAM) in Kona, Hawaii here right now, but we´ll fill you guys in on that in the next letter, that will be longer and with more pictures!
Eimund & Cassie
When you are a missionary there are challenges that you would not have if you chose a more "A4" kind of life. However, with God the blessings are always much bigger than the challenges. To see lives changed by the power of the Gospel and people growing in their faith is a reward in itself. To experience God's guidance and provision builds more faith than 100 hours of teaching could ever do.
The last month here in Poland has been a good and busy month where we have experienced God's guidance and goodness.
An interesting experience
This last month I had quite an interesting experience. As me and Kasia were leaving the church after a Sunday meeting, a couple stopped us. We started to talk and they said they recognized me from a video with Torben.
They told me they had not been saved for so long and that they did not belong to any particular church. After getting saved, they got in contact with another Norwegian who is working with house churches in Poland. So now they had started to weekly gather friends in their apartment.
This was very interesting, so I asked where they lived - and guess what! They live only with a 10-minute-walk from where we live!
Here is a little update on what God is doing in Poland. This year began with some rather big changes when it comes to the team stationed here. Michael returned to Denmark and Anna is now back in the US to gather more support. But Kasia and me are still here, though, and God is doing great things in Poland.
New disciple training program
One of the exciting projects we have been working on the latest months is a new disciple training program. Our dream is to make it become a daily Bible school, but in the starting phase it will take place two weekends every month for a six-month period.
We wrote the last newsletter when we were in Bergen at the Nations Callings missions conference, right before we left for Belgium. It was a bit of a whirlwind, but so very worth it! We felt like just being with old friends, other Nations Calling missionaries, telling stories, and getting prayer with people from Jesus Fellowship was so refreshing for us.
After we got back from traveling, we had a couple fun weekends with visits of Per-Øystein, then Fredrik Skoglund. Since then we have been doing normal life in Mo, which consists of evangelistic admin for Eimund, and teaching and studying for Cassie. We are in Mo for Easter break, and feel that it is so good to just have time to relax and be at home! Here are some stories from the previous month, hope you enjoy them!