Categories
Christianity community Lifestyle The Promise

Bible, Bacon and Bullets

Over the past couple of years we have made several attempts to start a Mens Ministry at the church, usually once or twice a year, and often with a very low attendance because people always have to work.

This year we did it again, but instead of inviting the men to the church, I decided to bring them out to The Promise which is our future family and ministry home on 12 acres of land half an hours drive from the church in Orlando. My friend from Texas was working behind the scenes. He has been very involved in mens ministry, so he kind of talked me into it. When we first announced it, we called it Bible & Bacon, and then my friend added another B for Bullets, so they all could come and shoot guns!

I guess this was the key to succes. Somehow the sizzling bacon on the griddle would make most of the men rise and shine, and it seemed like adding bullets to the breakfast would be a winner as well.

What is a Good Man?

Saturday morning my field turned into a parking lot as all the guys came to sit at my table to eat and fellowship. The bacon was good, and the Bible was even better. I shared a word on Barnabas who was known as a “good man”, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, leading people to Christ and playing an essential role as an assistant to the apostle Paul (Acts 11).

Right there we talked about our faith in Jesus and what it takes to be a good man, which is different from what you find in your workplace and in the world today. In the Kingdom of God it is not all about money and muscles, trucks, trophees and a trimmed lawn in front of your townhome. God does not look at the outwards, but he looks at your heart.

After breakfast and bible study, people went to the shooting range bringing their weapons and lots of bullets. What a sight! The tables were all set, all we had to do was line up! I had heard that there was a shortage of ammunition in the United States, but not today. Somehow it looked like all the ammunition was right here at The Promise.

Go for the Target

We spend the next hours shooting guns into a big pile of dirt. My neighbor had been cutting the grass, and my friend from Texas had marked the site with yellow painted tires. It was so cool. Some of us did pretty well, and it was great to see how especially the new guys enjoyed the day, the fellowship and the scenery.

My prayer is that they will go for the target and not miss the mark. It is not about the bacon and the bullets, it is about the gospel, finding salvation in Jesus Christ, through the work of the cross and his resurrection power. We are all created in the image of God, and we have all been equipped with mighty weapons so we can fight the good fight in the light, against the power of darkness. Time is precious. Let us not waste more bullets, missing the mark, but focus on the target and live our life fully for Him!

.

Categories
Inspiration Road Trip Testimony

My Wildest Ride of Faith

People around me know that my motorcycle is my favorite way of transportation. I love motorcycles. I am a pastor, and when I ride I spend time in prayer. That is where I feel closest to heaven. It makes my heart jump! I heard somebody express it like this. “Four wheels move the body, but two wheels move the soul!”.

This blog is dedicated to one of my most adventurous bikes, a red Yamaha 1300 V star 2013, that has followed me since 2018. I only had it for a short time, but my time with this bike has been a a powerful testimony about Gods guidance and provision in my life.

God Loves Motorcycles

One day as I was riding my bike, God spoke to me with an audible voice. “Sell your bike, and send the money to your dad in Denmark”, He said.

This was my chance to clear the debt to my dad, so I listed my motorcycle for sale and waited for months, still riding the bike.

After three months somebody contacted me from Trinidad. He had seen the add, and he was ready to meet me at the church the following Sunday. He already knew I was a pastor, and he knew he was supposed to buy the bike. Gold told him to buy it!

I thought this was very interesting. I am convinced that God loves motorcycles and especially mine!

A Significant Sunday

The following Sunday the man from Trinidad was in church sitting in the front row together with his wife. During service a pastor friend of mine showed up outside. He said God had told him to come to our service, and that he had something to share.

We invited him to the pulpit. This pastor had just finished cancer treatment and looked like skin and bone in a suit. This was his first Sunday in church since the treatment, so I understood the significance, that he was with us in Orlando and not in his home church in Daytona Beach.

We all looked at him as he took the microphone. “I am here in the office of an apostle. God has given me wealth and I am here to distribute it”, he said.

What happened next was unbelievable. I was sitting in my seat as he pointed at my son and daughter in law. “God is giving you pick up truck and a car”, he said, and then he turned towards me. “And this is for you pastor Christian…”

Next thing I hear is a roar from huge motorcycle, like the one I just sold to the man from Trinidad in order to pay the debt to my dad. I looked at the pastor from Daytona Beach. “God has seen your sacrifice, this is for you to keep and not to give”, he said.

I was chocked and so was the man from Trinidad sitting next to me. He was here to buy my old motorcycle, and right there God was giving me a Yamaha V star with lower mileage and all the extra equipment that I had been dreaming of!

The following week I looked in my calendar and realized that God had given me this new bike exactly one year after another significant church service in August 2018 where I gave my former motorcycle in the offering in order to raise the downpayment for us to buy the church!

I Yamahappy Biker

The following months I was driving my new bike, and my new friend from Trinidad was driving my old bike. He invited me and my wife to stay in his house, and we became biker buddies. He even gave me a t-shirt so we could ride together. The printed message on the t-shirt was clear. “I Yamahappy Biker”, it said.

One day my new friend was heading back to his home in Trinidad, and the day he left, he left the keys to the motorcycle in the offering at the church. “God told him to do so”, he said.

I was still living in his house, and the motorcycle was still standing in the garage, next to my motorcycle. But now it was my job as a pastor to find a buyer for my old bike, so that the money for the sale could be given back to the church.

This was the second time I posted the same bike on Facebook, but this time it did not belong to me. It belonged to God, so I believed He would have to find the buyer!

MC With A Mission

It took a while, but in the beginning of March 2020 during a conference in Texas, I was sitting at the breakfast table telling the testimony about the motorcycles, how I gave one in the offering, sold one to give the money to my dad and was blessed with a third one on the exact same day as I gave the first one in the offering.

I was sitting next to a native pastor from the Rosebud Sioux Nation and showed him a picture of the bike that now belonged to the church. I had no idea that he was looking for a bike, so right there, at the breakfast table, we made the deal.

Right there I called my friend in Trinidad, and when he heard the motorcycle was going to the Rez in South Dakota, he started laughing. He told me, that he always have had a dream of visiting the Rosebud Sioux nation, so he was super excited to know that his motorcycle would be owned by a pastor on the Rez.

Long story short. The motorcycle was sold in March and delivered in July. I put it on the bed of a truck and drove it to Amarillo TX where we met with the pastor from South Dakota and unloaded the motorcycle from my truck to his trailer. The ride continues, and only God knows what happens next!

Categories
community

A Disturbing Day At Church

Last week I had a very disturbing experience at the food sharing outside our church on Orange Blossom Trail, OBT, in Orlando. We feed the homeless and needy people in the neigborhood every week, so this was one of our regular nights with a 100 people standing in line to eat.

At 5.30 pm we were plating the food and getting ready to serve, when four black cars came into our parking lot and parked next to a black truck that were already there. It looked like new rental cars, something official, so they caught my attention.

Next thing I saw were the drivers in the black cars jumping out, opening up the trunks and giving out stuff from the back to the people in our parking lot.

I don’t mind people caring for the community and helping us serve. That happens a lot of times. Usually teams will come and ask if they can join us, giving out food, clothing, hygiejne products etc, but this time was different. It seemed like these people had another agenda.

I am Not a Racist

I walked over to talk to them, but they totally ignored me. They were all african americans, a group of 10-15 young people, handing out packages. “This is private property”, I said, and immediately one of them, a young guy with tattoos in his face, came right at me cursing me out. Somehow he tried to make this a racial issue, calling me a “White Mother……”, as if the color of my skin would have anything to do with feeding the homeless. I am not from this country. I am a viking from Denmark, and over there we don’t see colors like some people see them here.

At this point, they all started shouting at me, almost like some of the protesters I have seen on the news. I saw the hate in their faces, as they were threatening me and calling me a racist. It all happened really fast, like putting gasoline on a fire. In all these years I have worked as a pastor in the “hood”, I never experienced anything like this…

Calling the Police

Our church is located just down the road from the police headquarters, so I picked up my phone and called the police, while the newcomers were still in my face cursing me out. Then they all went back in their cars and started to leave, including a black female driver, who almost ran me down on the way out. As the car touched me, I lifted my leg as a reflex, and the driver jumped out, accusing me of kicking the car.

At this point, the rest of the team were waiting across the street, and when they saw her coming out of the car, they all started running towards me. Again they were yelling and screaming, it looked like a lynch mob coming towards me, but thank God. Somebody went in their way and stopped them before it was too late.

The Devil in the Parking Lot

When the police showed up half an hour later, we were feeding the homeless like we always do. They were my eye witnesses, they had been watching from the side. The only hard evidence I had was footage from the security camera, but somehow the intruders had managed to cover up for the episode by parking one of the cars in front of the camera.

The Devil was in the parking lot that day, but so was God. And the only reason why I am still here is because of God. From His perspective All Lives Matters. It is not about being black or white. He made us all different, and He likes us like that.

Categories
ecuador Mission

Soup With A Mission

Due to local reports more and more people in the Amazon area in Ecuador are being infected with COVID-19, and it does not look like things are getting better. People are sick and dying, and the outreach team in from the church in Puyo is doing what they can to help.

Last month they were giving out care packages to families in the remote villages, and last week they started up a soup kitchen as an outreach in the church with funds from the USA. Healthy meals are being prepared to give out to the community. It is just a small operation, but it has a big effect when the volunteers drive out and serve the meals to go. Not only are they bringing food to people, they are bringing hope!

Franklin, a tourist guide from the area, and his wife Angela Sanches are spear heading the operation. The meals from the soup kitchen are being loaded into private cars, and now the meals on wheels are being brought out to people in the street. You see people with masks everywhere. Children, families and elderly people. You see the fear in their eyes and the smile that comes, when somebody cares for them and give them a bowl of soup.

There are so many needs out there because of the pandemic. We all know it, but imagine what it is like in places with limited medical ressources. The virus is real, and so is the lock down and the lack of financial support in third world countries. Reaching out in times of social distancing is essential. Nobody knows how long this will continue, so we will take one day at a time and continue to meet the needs of the people.

We believe that God will provide the needs as we continue to support the local community and feed the people in Puyo. Our team in Puyo is very accountable documenting every meal, every person and every penny spend on groceries. Pray for them as they go out there to love on people, they need our support!

Categories
ecuador Mission

The Virus Cannot Stop The Blessings

Our mission work in Ecuador is moving forward amid the pandemic.

Last year we were able to buy a fishing boat and nets for a group of fishermen in Esmeraldas, Ecuador, to help them support their families. It has been great to follow their faith, many have been baptized, and now they have asked us if we will come back and start a church on the beach.

As we have been distributing COVID-19 emergency help to churches in Ecuador during the pandemic, we have had no contact with the fishermen on the beach, but last week we finally reconnected through another church that was giving out emergency packages in the area.

We found out that the area had been very affected by the virus, some of the fishermen including our friend Luis had been deadly sick by corona, but through it all they have been strengthened in the faith, helping and supporting one another.

“We don’t need food, we just need a Word from our pastor”, they said and shared testimonies of how God has helped them through the hardship of COVID-19.

New Species Showing Up

One of the things they have experienced through the pandemic is how new species of fish showing up in their nets. They have started to catch fish that they have never seen before, and as they have experienced supernatural blessings, they have had more than enough to share with other families in the community.

“This is God blessing us”, they said, and in this blogpost you can see photos of the fishermen with the new species that has found their way to the nets. It is a crazy catch and a testimony about Gods goodness, that they have food on the table in times of famine.

The fishermen is asking us to come back and build the church within the community. They have already reserved a piece of land for the project, and more people wants to get baptized. They are asking for us to come back, and we are praying for guidance.

Right now we cant travel because of restrictions, but the Word of God is not restricted. You can shot down a country, but you cannot shot down the work of God. The Holy Spirit is still moving, people are coming to Christ and God is working on our behalf.

The fishermen and their families have been sick from Corona. Here one of the local churches is been giving out COVID-19 emergency packages to the community.

Categories
Mission

Pay it Forward

Children in the Amazon Jungle of Ecuador receiving Corona help. So far almost 500 families have received help.

During this month we have been busy collecting money for our friends in Puyo Ecuador who are suffering because of the COVID-19 lock down. So far we have send close to 8000 dollars to local church which has become a center of distribution of food to people who are suffering in the area. Almost every day they have been giving out bags of food (13 dollar value bags which can feed a family for two weeks) and so far they have reached close to 500 families, some of them in the most remote places where people don’t have any transportation or access to food.

Blessed To Be A Blessing

As people received help, they wanted to pay it forward, and we have seen how people have started to care for one another in a very practical way.

Franklin Sanchez who is one of the key persons in the distribution of food, working for pastor Carlos Marchan in Puyo, has send forward pictures of how his neighbors have joined forces to build a house for a deaf and dumb lady in the street. She was living alone in a shag with the rain pouring through the roof, together with four children, when the neigbors decided to “pay it forward”.

Over the past two weeks they have been building on “Biancas House”, and this week we received the pictures of the new house that Bianca and her four children can call home.

Categories
Disaster Relief

The White Shirt On The Pole

Only a few days after we launched the food bank in Ecuador, the work is spreading to more places. Pastor Carlos Marchan and his team in Puyo has been giving out essentials to the people in the city, but now they are planning a trip inside Jungle to one of the small communities.

The people living in the jungle are under the same lock down as the people in the city and they have nothing to eat. Usually they will travel to the city to buy food or trade for food, but because of the curfew they can’t make it that far. They live so remote, without lights and running water, and they don’t have any cars.

Over the past years we have been visiting the village several times. Usually we would travel out there in the morning, preach the gospel and share a meal with them. Some of you might remember the pictures, my sons tribal adventure when they painted us in the face and gave us chicha to drink as a part of their welcome tradition!

The White Shirt

Right now the team in Puyo is making care packages for the villages with rice, eggs and cooking oil and other things. The government gives out rations of five eggs and a little rice, but our team has been able to buy a lot of eggs so they are giving out packages of 30 eggs which is a huge blessing.

For the past two days our team have been giving out care packages in Puyo, and as they went out to the suburbs, they saw white shirts hanging outside the houses. This has become a common thing in Ecuador, people hanging out their shirts as a sign of surrender to show that they have no more food.

We Need Your Help

In Puyo pastor Carlos Marchan and his team sre loading the cars with care packages to drive out in the communities In just a few days, his church has become a food bank, a distribution center of essentials.

This has been possible through generous donations from our local church and from business people that we know. As the team in Ecuador has been sending pictures of families and elderly people receiving help, we know that we are reaching the lost.

If you want to be a part of this, we will be very thankful. Think about the white shirt on the pole. Look at the pictures, the faces of the children, the elderly, the places they live and the fear and poverty they are facing due to COVID-19.

If you want to support, you can buy a care package for 15 dollars. One package will feed a family for two weeks.

Click on the link and donate today.

Categories
ecuador Mission

Food Bank Launch As Response to Pandemic

Last week I was on the phone with my pastor friend in Puyo, in the Amazon Jungle. I was happy because our corona lockdown in Florida finally is over, but in Ecuador the reality is very much different. Due to the pandemic, people are not able to leave their houses during regular hours, and they are only allowed to drive their car once a week. Because of this, it is very difficult just to get essential supplies for a house hold. People have to walk, and if they are not back in their house before 2 pm, they will be fined or even arrested.

Many of the people we know have family members and friends that have died due to COVID-19, including one of the ladies that took care of our team in Esmeraldas last year. In Guayaquil which is the second largest city in the nation, they are burning dead bodies in the street or even dumping them in the ocean, because they can’t bury them fast enough.

Church is Essential

My good friend pastor Carlos Marchan who has an established ministry in the area, cannot pastor his church since everything has been shut down. I challenged him to become essential, to buy food and start distributing food to people in the community like we have done it at our church in Orlando, Florida.

I asked him to buy food at wholesale prizes and we would send him the money. Starting with one ton of rice for 1000 dollars, he could make the church into a food distribution center, which would be the beginning of the temporary “food bank” in Puyo.

A few phone calls later, business people started to donate, and the next day we were able to buy one ton of rice, eggs, cooking oil and other essentials for the people in Puyo as an emergency response to the pandemic.

Documentation

Right now the pastor in Puyo is working together with my other friend who is a tour guide. He has a military background and will be able to use his vehicle to pick up the food without any restrictions.

Our friends in Ecuador will be receiving the donations through our ministry and document with photos and video as they buy the food and give it out to the people in the community, especially families and elderly people in the neighborhood who cannot make the walk to the supermarket.

The economy in Ecuador is hit hard. People have lost their jobs because of COVID-19, and when the oil prices dropped, the nation was brought to it’s knees. Oil is a main source of income in Ecuador with an export rate of 60 pct.

Categories
Lifestyle

Finding Faith In Times Of COVID-19

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have all learned how behave as responsible human beings, keeping social distance, not gather in groups bigger than 10, wait for one another as we manuever through our favorite store, that has introduce one way aisles and limits on toilet paper, kitchen towel, paper plates and more.

In this season I have received countless of e-mails from different organisations and institutions of how they respond to COVID-19. Messages from my insurance company, my bank, paypal, the movie theater, different churches and charities, places I have visited or realtors I contacted years ago. I did not even realize they had my email address, so I responded with “unsubscribe”.

What Is Your Response?

As you can read in this blog, our first response has been “feed the poor”. Extravert instead of intravert. Reaching out and touching lives, even though we can’t touch them physically. When non essential business shot down, we can still open the door. Changes motivated by love and respect for our community and authority and not from a fear of COVID-19.

Now is an incredible opportunity for the Church to rise up in love and in service to communities around the world. The need for Jesus is more apparent than ever, and our potential to influence the world is great. What the enemy intends for evil, God can use for good. 

With Vision Comes Provision

In this season we have been feeding our community every night, giving out hot meals to go, close to a hundred meals a day. We started during lock down not knowing if there would be enough hands to help, but so many people have joined the vision.

Since we started feeding the poor, provision has been rolling in, as we have started to give it all out. It is like a constant flow, pallet after pallet, as we keep sharing, a supernatural multiplication is taking place!

Yesterday we received a huge load of t-shirts, and this morning it was distributed so that we could make more room for food. We were organizing and sorting things out for our foodbank. So many people were out there, waiting in line, just to get a few essentials. We gave out 62 boxes, and as we were packing down, we made a final drive for three single mums plus a daughter, her mother and her grandmother!

Where Is Your Faith?

This blog is about giving, but it is also about living. In this season everything we knew has been shaken. This has been a season of turmoil and change. There have been sickness and death, loss of jobs and financial stability, and many people don’t know what to hold on to anymore.

I made up my mind long time ago. Since we don’t know how many years we have in this world, we should live our lives more intentionally, finding purpose and faith before it is too late.

To trust in God is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. The Bible describes faith as the substance of things hoped for. This solid hope is unshakeable, like an anchor of stability that we can hold on to when the oceans roar and rise.

Life is fragile. We cannot take things for granted anymore. Suddenly we see things in another perspective. For some people it might be blurred by fear, but for others it is clear as faith. The world has changed. What is your vision? Is it fear, or is it faith? What is your response to COVID-19?

Categories
Homelessness

A Good Friday On The Trail

This morning as we arrived to the parking lot outside our church, we spotted this shopping cart loaded with shopping bags like ornaments on a Christmas tree. We have seen a lot over the years, but this caught my attention to an extend so I almost forgot to park in my usual spot.

Next thing I saw was a person laying next to the cart. My husband went over to see if it was somebody we knew. It was one of the elderly ladies, a very sweet woman, that I have had the pleasure of speaking with before. She was very confused and asked for a gentleman that used to come to our church for our brunch.

“Sorry Mam, we don’t have community cafe today because of Corona”, I said. “We are not serving brunch, but I can get you something else”.

I did not have any coffee, but found a cool bottle of mango juice, a small yoghurt and a pop tart. It was almost nine o clock. Some of the regular guys showed up outside the gate. But the lady didn’t want to stay. She took off with her shopping cart, heading back on the trail.

Coffee in The Courtyard

My husband invited some of the regular guys for coffee outside in the church courtyard. Just a few so we could keep the rules about social distancing. The coffee was brewing when another lady showed up. She was homeless as well. She had been living two years out of a van parked in her friends driveway.

“Sometimes they let me inside so I can watch tv. That’s nice and cool when it is hot outside. I have been living in the streets on and off. I have been arrested but now I have been out for almost a year”, she said. “I am ready to get my own place. Specially now with all this virus going around”.

The coffee was ready, so I gave her a cup, a yoghurt and a poptart. She closed her eyes and prayed, thankfully. Then she looked up and told me a little more about her life. She had worked as a prostitute, but not for the past year. I did not know what to think. This lady was at least 60 years old.

We talked for a while, and I promised to pray for her before she left. She was going to the doctor. She took up a bandana and coughed. I gave her one of our home made masks, and she gave me a big smile with no teeth. “I don’t like to go to the doctors office with all this corona”, she said.

I wish I could have given her a hug, but I have found a new way to greet people. Instead of saying see you later, we will say “Hug you later”. That made her smile. People need hugs, but most of all they need prayer.

Food Bank And Meals To Go

The rest of the day was super busy. First we arranged all the packages for the food bank and gave away a lot of frozen chicken and nice pastries for the Easter Holidays. We had a lot of nice stuff, drinks and chocolate, Starbucks coffee, creamer and chocolate milk powder.

At one point we got a phone call from one of our pastors. She had been contacted by a single mum with two kids that needed essentials. One hour later we received a pallet of diapers. Perfect timing, that is how we know that God is in control.

We gave out bags and boxes to 55 individuals and families in the community. And later today we served 50 free hot meals to go, like we have been doing it for the past two weeks during lock down.

I don’t know what other churches and ministries are doing for Easter but we are busy expanding in this season. Church is essential, and we are blessed to be a blessing. This Friday was special. It was Good Friday, and it was actually very GOOD!