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.
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?
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!
For a long time, my husband has been talking about making a wood work shop where we could create projects in pallet wood and jobs for the homeless people. We have a heart for the homeless, and this wood shop has been on our hearts for several years. We have talked about it and looked for people who could work with wood, but nobody showed up until we actually started the production one month ago!
Our first project was to make an American flag made out of pallet wood. My husband found a how to do video on youtube, so we went out to buy the tools. First we went to the pawn shops, but they did not have what we were looking for, so instead we ended up in Harbor Freight and Home Depot to buy the proper tools and the paint for the project. It was not cheap, but the good news was, that we already had the wood for free. The wood was in “the hood”, on Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando, which is the neighborhood of our church. The wood is all over the place, so we asked some of our guys to look for pallets, and the same day they started hauling in pallet wood to our shop.
Then we started to break down the pallets and pull out the nails, cutting out the stripes for the flag with a table saw, preparing them for the paint work. I will spare you for the video. None of us are used to working with wood, but we made it work anyways. My husband was cutting, one of the guys from the street was sanding, and I was spray painting. Eventually we put it all together into our first American pallet wood flag!
It all started with a vision, and over the past month we have build an production out of pallet wood that we pick up in the neigborhood. We work outdoors in a shed outside our church building, and in this little shop we have made a great selection of wood art. American flags and different signs with scriptures, Christmas decorations and even artwork painted on pallet wood.
We even have a brand. We call it Heart4Homeless OBT referring to the vision, to make projects and create jobs for the homeless people in the area of Orange Blossom Trail (OBT), but so far there is no paid jobs for this business. It is all based on volunteer work, until we find the right places to sell the wood – and the vision.
I am sharing this because I want you to know that we can do all things trough Christ, even wood work. My husband and I are pastoring a church, but we have a heart for the community that make us step out of our comfort zone, out of the box, into a wood shop and create something significant out of wood that other people would throw in the dumpster.
We are a team, and we love working together, even the days where nobody comes to help us. We are here for the vision. Everything we do, we do it as unto the Lord. Even the wood work. When we work in the Heart4Homeless wood shop on OBT, we don’t primarily work with wood. We work with people. They might look rough, full of nails, we find them dumped on OBT, homeless, selling drugs or prostituting themselves. In the eyes of this world they are considered “good for nothing”, but God sees the potential, and in his hands they can be made into something beautiful.
This is a small beginning, let’s see how it goes in this season of Christmas where we will go out to present the work. It is all for sale, like a lot of other stuff on the internet. But we are not there only to sell the wood work, we are there to share the vision, our heart for the homeless and the needy people on OBT.
In 2010 God gave us a calling according to Genesis 12.12, to leave our country, our people and go to a land that He would show us. We left our homeland, Denmark, and moved to Orlando, where we started to reach out to the community, feeding the homeless people in the downtown area of Orange Blossom Trail, OBT.
In Denmark we owned lots of land, we left our 60 acres ranch, to pursue the calling of God, and we arrived in December 2013 with our three teenage sons, five suitcases and 200 dollars in our pocket, plus a visa to work as a pastor in the streets.
We moved in to a rental home in a cookie cutter neighborhood, from where we started their outreach to Orange Blossom Trail. In the beginning we served 2,000 meals a month, just us and a few friends, and eventually we established a church, from where we reach out to the poor community, still giving out food and clothing on a weekly basis.
Our vision was to “Build God’s house”, but all these years we have not been able to purchase a house for ourselves. First time we got scammed, second time we gave our downpayment to another family, and third time we gave it all to purchase the church. No regrets, just pure faith!
The Pursuit of The Promise
We believed that God would “show us a place”, a house with land and lot’s of space, where people can come and visit from many states and nations and be a part of the vision, reaching out to the poor and needy practically and spiritually from this place to the end of the world.
First time we saw the land was two years ago. My husband went out there and prayed over it, but he was never able to find the owner. Next time he heard about land was last year, when a pastor friend of ours had found the owner and was buying the land. And third time we came across was in July 2019, when the sale was canceled and we were able to pursue the property ourselves!
This happened in July 2019, and in August we were able to purchase The Promise, which was nothing less than a miracle. 12 acres with a 12,000 sqft construction shaped as a cross. Nobody had ever lived there, because nobody had the permission to build. The house was doomed for demolition, but with us as the new owners, the process will be reversed. Right now we are going through the permitting process, and as soon as we can, we will be moving out in an RV to live and build on the land.
The Vision for Nations
The vision is to have a home with multiple living quarters, a beautiful place where people can come and find rest for their souls. We want to grow the land and prepare the buildings for events such as weddings, gatherings, retreats and spiritual training school.
We call it “The Promise”, signifying God’s promises, not only for us as a family, but for everybody, who will come and take part in the vision, donating their time and money to this place.
Tuparnak Berthelsen is the name of the woman standing to the right. She is a very unique Inuit woman with an extraordinary mission. First time we met her was in Denmark. She was a student at our Powerschool, and this year she also attended our Powerschool in Orlando Florida.
Tuparnak has lived in Denmark for many years, but after she got saved and healed in 2001, God has called this woman as a missionary to Greenland. She has such a heart for her people, and she is willing to travel to the most remote places, even by helicopter and boat to bring the good news of the gospel, that God so loved the world that send Jesus to save, heal and deliver us from sin, sickness and the spirit of darkness.
During our last meetings in Denmark in June 2019 a group of people committed to support Tuparnak so that she can bring the gospel to the Inuit people. She was send out, and this summer she is traveling to Sisimiut, Kullorsuaq, Quaanaaq and other places.
20 days in Kullorsuaq
Tuparnak attended a conference in Sisimiut and spend 20 days in Kullorsuaq in North West Greenland. This was the place where great revival broke out in 2003, followed by strong persecution. The Christians in the village are still standing strong, and recently she has send us this report from her visit.
“I was received very well and they would serve me “matek” which is a traditional Inuit whale dish. I had to meetings in the village and two meetings in the church. Only 12 people came because of persecution. In one of the meetings God showed me, that somebody was suffering from a stroke. I started praying and found out that one of the leaders had a severe head ache and felt paralyzed in one side of his body. I commanded the sickness to leave in Jesus name. He has been seeing the nurse, but the man is completely healed”, she says.
After the visit in Kullorsuaq, Tuparnak is traveling 19 days to Quaanaaq which is the worlds northern most civilian settlement.
May 13th to 17th people will be traveling from different nations and places to learn more about the Power of God, experiencing PowerSchool 2019 in Orlando, Florida. So far we have people coming from Denmark, Greenland, Portugal, Ecuador, Kenya, Sioux Nation, Texas, Alabama, Pennsylvania – and Florida!
People of Faith
PowerSchool is presented by Powerhouse Church, our local church on Orange Blossom Trail, and the teachers in PowerSchool are all a part of the church. They are pastors and leaders, people of faith who has been through “stuff”, and they will talk to you about the process, how they overcome obstacles in life.
During PowerSchool they will share their lives, not only the success stories, but also their mistakes and misery, the problems and the pain. But they will not leave you there. They will show you a way out and share, how they were able to pick up faith and to move on in life.
This is a week where you will be ACTIVATED to live your life to the fullest – empowered, encouraged, receiving new strength, freedom, healing, purpose and vision for your future (check out the video below to see what the students says about this!)
Power to Overcome
On board we have our senior pastor Christian Hedegaard who will talk about the Power of God, how he was filled with the Holy Spirit and delivered from demons. I will share about overcoming cancer, having a handicapped child, and how it was when my teenage boys were on drugs. Our pastor from Rwanda will teach you about prayer, telling powerful testimonies of healing the sick and raising the dead, and the other leaders will give you their version of how to build a church from scratch, faithfully serving the poor and believing in the vision when nobody else was there.
Worship and Workshops
In PowerSchool we start the day with coffee and fellowship, followed by prayer, worship and teaching. We also have workshops with evangelism, prayer and community service, giving out dinner and brunch to the poor people in the community. You will be challenged, stepping out of your comfort zone, learning how to love and to serve, finding out more about the will of God in your life.
Most of you know our story of how God called us out of Denmark, and some of you know how we were sentenced in court for instigation of quackery, preaching that Jesus Christ can save, heal and deliver people, which according to the government is a crime.
All this happened before we came to the USA in 2011, but now it is happening again, not to us, but to another evangelist that has been in the media and now is experiencing persecution and death threats on his life like we did. It is almost the same story, a journalist comes into the ministry and collects all kinds of material, they cut and paste and make a soup of slander and lies ready to serve on television.
This time they made three programs and now the politicians are changing the laws to “protect” people and especially children from radical christianity. Several Christian families are already under investigation because the Danish government wants to remove their kids in order to protect them from their parents beliefs!
Raising Up a Standard
What is our response to this? Isaiah 59 says that “when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Lord will raise up a standard”, and this is exactly what we saw in Denmark when we were there.
People were craving for the gospel. We could not preach anywhere in the churches so we planned to do one house meeting and this grew into five meetings in different homes. People came, 30-40 people every evening. We did not know the people, they responded through Facebook, and even though Facebook shot down the live streams from the meetings because of persecution, the people kept coming.
The last night we were close to 60 people gathered in a little house in the country side, and the power and the presence of God was there. There was such a huger. We were worshipping in the Spirit, praying in the Spirit, and people went home in the power of the Spirit.
Pray for Denmark. We might be back there sooner than we know!
Are you dreaming of going places where you have never been, seeing things that you have never seen? Watch this 5 minutes video documentary from our latest trip to the Amazon Jungle in Ecuador visiting remote places.
10 months ago I wrote a blog about our three sons, how we had a prodigal son party on Valentines Day celebrating how they all three had come back to the Lord. It was the coolest party – we had almost 100 guests for dinner at our church, as we were giving glory to God, worshipping and celebrating together.
This week we are preparing for another party. Our number 2 son, Hector (23), is getting married this coming Saturday, which means that the Hedegaard family will be expanded with another Mrs. Hedegaard, our first daughter in law!
Proverbs 18.22 states that “He who finds a wife, finds a good thing”. Another translation says “finds a treasure” or “a gift from God”, which I would prefer since a wife is so much more than a thing! First of all, you can’t buy her for money, she is priceless, and secondly, you can’t treat her like a thing, consume her, use her, or put her as a trophy on a shelve.
Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”(Genesis 2.18). The word helper in Hebrew is “ezer”, and next to the “ezer” you find the word “k’negdo” which shows us the deeper meaning of the way she should help. An “ezer” is not a helper in the house, somebody who will cook, clean the house and do the laundry (even though she might do so!). An “ezer” is so much more, used in other scriptures to describe God, who is our “ezer”, our helper in times of need (Psalm 115.9-11).
The word “ezer” signifies that Eve would come alongside with Adam as a defense, the shield, and a glorious sword, standing sentry, watching his back, as he was watching her back. Do you see the picture? This was how man and wife were supposed to fight side by side in the battle of life, not against one another, but against the enemy.
I am so excited that our son is finding his “ezer”. Her name is Nashali and she is the most beautiful treasure, inside and out. She is his best friend. She is a Proverbs 31 woman, a woman of noble character, wisdom, clothed with strength and dignity, who does not get worried or discouraged but can embrace the days to come with great joy.
Besides this, she is a walking talking testimony of the goodness of God. Same thing with our son Hector. They have come a long way, and now is the time for them to write their story together. I believe that they will be history makers. They have both been through hell and back, and now they are heaven bound, determined to serve him who has called them out of darkness into the light!
The Bible says that two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer (Ecclesiastes 4.9-11).
The passage ends with the famous verse 12 describing a “triple braided cord” that is not easily broken. Two is good, but three is better. That is why man and wife, as long as they are united around Christ as their center, in holy matrimony, always can stay strong.
He who finds a wife finds a good thing, I already stated this at the beginning of the blog, but that’s not all folks! If you read the last part of the scripture, it says that “he obtains favor with the Lord”. This is a serious promise. Who does not want to get married and move into this level of favor with the Lord? Can’t wait till Saturday to see our son and his bride enter into this blessing together. More pictures will follow!