What Are You Leaving Behind?

Right now we are traveling in Denmark preaching the gospel visiting family and friends. The other day as we were heading for our next destination Karen told me to stop and turn the car around. “Did you see the sign at the roadside”, she asked, “It says “Nødhjælp fra Hjem til Hjem”… (Danish meaning “Disaster Relief from Home to Home”).

Could that really be? The sign looked very official, but it looked familiar to me. It was the name of a non profit organisation that Karen and I founded back in the 1990’s as we started collecting food and clothing for poor families in Ukraine, Belarus and Moldavia. God gave the vision, and God gave the provision – for when God guides, He also provides!

We went down the dirt road. On the right side was a barn. The door was open. I could see piles of plastic bags with clothes at the right side of the wall and stacks of wheel chairs, bikes and hospital equipment on the left side. In the doorway there was an old man in work clothes.

“Helmer?”. The man in the barn looked at me. It has been more than 15 years since last time we met, but obviously he was still here, still going strong 86 years old collecting donations and packing stuff for the next transport. Since we started the work it has been 228 trailer loads with 9 trailers last year. Hundred thousands of people have received helped over the years because of one mans vision.

This was my first big assignment before entering into full time ministry. I was visiting the former Sovjetunion when God told me to make a food drive and collect clothes for the people there. I was just a young man and I had no clue what I was doing, but the collection laid the foundation of what we are doing today.

From Home to Home

It was so cool to meet Helmer and hear about the work how it continues to bless people in great need. What started in our home has now spread to many homes. Amazing to see how this work of the Lord keep going and growing, spreading to different nations.

After this experience we went north to the coast to visit the thrift store that has been the financial engine behind the transports. Karen and I started the thrift store in 1998, as a teamwork between the church and the city, and there it was, still in the same location as a monument of the faithfulness and the goodness of the Lord.

As I entered in I found three ladies working in the store. Only one of them looked familiar. I did not introduce myself. “Do you remember me?” I asked, and when I said my name, she smiled. “This gentlemen was here from the beginning, he was here before anybody else” she explained and now we were all talking.

Old pictures came out of the drawers together with old articles from the local newspaper, and we talked about the first trip, when I brought a group of ladies to Ukraine. When they saw the poverty they were changed for life, they cried for a week, some of them gave their lives to Christ, and after this they gave themselves 100 pct to the work.

The Story Continues

It was amazing to see how the work of the Lord has not been in vain. How the vision that He gave came through, and how the seed that was planted back then is still growing for the benefit of many, even though we are not there anymore.

God has called us all to make a difference where we are at, to be history makers, trail blazers, vision bearers, life changers. Question is, what do we leave behind when we are not here anymore. What are the fruits, have we been faithful to do what He called us to do?

I live every day for him. That’s my passion, my only desire. I want to be obedient to all that He calls me to do. Not to say “no” but to go wherever he tells me to go. To Denmark, to Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando, to Ecuador, Greenland, Kenya, leaving a trail of testimonies behind.

Power to Overcome

Four years ago we introduced Powerschool in Orlando Florida, where people could come to our church in Orlando and learn about Christian lifestyle.

We started out small, with the members from our church, but over the years we have had an increasing number of international students. They come from Africa, Europe and South America, from different states and even from different tribes. We have prayed God to give us the nations, and our prayers have been heard!

What is Powerschool

The purpose of Powerschool is to empower people to live victorious in every area of life. In Powerschool you will meet teachers who has been through “stuff”, and they will talk to you about the process, how they overcome obstacles in life. 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.

I will talk about how we gave up our 60 acres farm in Denmark to come and feed the homeless people in Orlando. My wife will share how she overcame 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.

If you want to know more about powerschool, you can go to our website . Registration is open, and the price is 50 dollars for a week .https://www.powerhouseflorida.com/powerschool

Today is The Day

People standing in line for BBQ outside our Powerhouse church building in Orlando during our Winter Fest last year in February. Now the church building is ours!

Do you know what day it is today?

It is the day, where we finally got to purchase our church building on 1025 S Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando, Florida. It is the day, where we officially own a part of “the trail”, the highway 441 that runs through the downtown Orlando area.

For us, to own this 20,000 sqft building is an absolute miracle. When we first started the church five years ago, we were only a few people that got together and rented a party hall half a mile down the road from our current building. The party hall was known for parties in the gay and lesbian community. The rent was 3000 dollars a month, and we were only 6 families. So we decided, that if nothing else would work, we would just pay 500 dollars each to make sure that the rent was paid every month.

Our first facility was one room, two bathrooms and a back room the size of the closet in my master bedroom. Here we had our children’s ministry that shared the space with the cleaning supplies, and here we put up a room divider to separate the kids from the brooms.

God’s House, in the Middle of The Street

After three years in the party hall, praying and looking for another building that could contain the vision, God showed us the building we have now. It was huge compared to the first place, the rent was triple, and we were still small in numbers. One of our leaders took contact with the owner, and after a time of negotiation, we were able to rent the place.

It has been two years with a lot of trials, we have had water damage, rain through the roof, rats, coach roaches, and people stealing, shooting up heroin in the parking lot. It has been like the 10 plagues of Egypt, but finally, we are at the end, now it is time for God’s people to go and take the land that God has already given to us.

100.000 USD Downpayment

God gave us a rental agreement with the option to buy. I know some of you followed us last year when we raised 100.000 dollars towards the downpayment. We gave everything. One gave a car, another a house, and a motorcycle, just to mention a few things. We are not a rich church but we are rich in vision and we are willing to pay what it takes in order for God’s Kingdom to come and his will be done.

The church is not a building, we are the building, the living stones, that make it all come together, but we believe that God has given us Powerhouse on OBT as an embassy for the Kingdom, like a lighthouse shining in a very dark place.

When we came with the downpayment of 100.000 dollars, I could tell that our landlord was impressed. He wanted us to proceed, he said, to buy the building, which meant another 120.000 dollars in downpayment according to the contract. I knew this was not gonna come easy, it was just too much, we had given everything!

God’s Way of Doing Business

All the way we have had a good relationship with our landlord who is a Muslim. He has great faith in us and in the vision and he has been speaking highly about us all the time, as we have kept our testimony and paid our bills on time.

At the beginning of this year, he called us. He said he wanted to speed up the process, in order for us to buy the building, and we decided to meet. I called a businessman in Texas to give me some advice before the final negotiation, and he asked if we were in any default. I realized that we were! The month we paid 100.000, we had not been able to pay our rent in full. The businessman told me to get this in order, and he helped me by transferring the money an hour before I arrived at the landlord’s office. When we sat down, the first thing the landlord addressed was the default, and by the grace of God, I was able to pull out the check with the exact amount so that we could continue the negotiations!

Long Story Short

Someone said that “money talks”, and now we were able to talk and to present our case. We had a very direct proposal. No more downpayments and a reduction in the price equivalent to the past two years of rent, plus a new roof, because of all the test and trials and tribulations, we have been going through.

It was a tough one, our landlord is a businessman, but he is also a believer. Even though we don’t share the same faith, he has respect for the House of God, and eventually, that made the conclusion. We got the price down below the market price which is an absolute miracle, and we own the building from today!

Changing Lives at the Beach of Esmeraldas

On my recent mission trip in December 2018, we crossed the Andes to go to Esmeraldas which is a coastal city in the northwestern part of Ecuador. We had a day off, so we went to a breakfast restaurant at the beach, and as I saw the water, I thought to myself, “today we should go fishing”. As I look up, a guy walks in, and I ask him if he knows somebody who would take us out on the ocean, and 30 minutes later we were already ready to go fishing in the Pacific Ocean.

I live what you can call a “predestined lifestyle”, I believe that my steps are ordained by God, that “we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good deeds that we should walk in” (Ephesians 2.10).

We went through the waves across the reef and cast out the lines in more calm water, waiting for the fishes to bite. It was an awesome experience. We spend the whole day fishing, and when we came back in the evening, I asked the fishermen if they could prepare a fire so we could BBQ the fishes on the beach. I paid for the party and the fishermen brought their families, and right there, as we were eating, we had the opportunity to share the gospel and lead the fishermen to Christ.

Revival Among the Fishermen

We had revival, right there on the beach. What we experienced there was more authentic than a regular church meeting, it was so beautiful to see these men receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour, and the same night we prayed with them to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”, so that was what we did, right there with the fishermen on the beach.

I will never forget these fishermen and their stories. As we were sitting around the fire, we were connected in a special way. Even after we left, I kept praying for these people. One of the men had seven kids, his wife had left him, and he was the sole provider of his family. They were very poor, they were trying hard to make a living, but they did not have the resources. They needed a bigger boat in order to get a bigger catch out on the deep ocean, they paddled in a canoe so they could not cross the reef and take them to the deep waters where we had been fishing during the day.

Two New Boats Can Change the Lives of Many

I want to start a project in Esmeraldas, right there on the beach. I believe this connection was God-given, and I already have talked to one of my attorney friends in Ecuador to set up a fishing consortium so we can invest in this community and buy bigger boats.

Where I go, I will bring the gospel. Luke 4.18. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.

What is good news to the poor? Is it not that they shall not be poor anymore? Let us preach the gospel, not only in Words but also in action. Our little can help a lot. For 6,000 dollars we can buy two boats and two engines for the fishermen in Esmeraldas. Several families can fish on each boat, with fish comes money and school for the kids and even more open hearts for Christ.

Your Kingdom Come!

I want to see the Kingdom of God manifested on that beach in Esmeralda, Equador. I remember many years ago when I first brought the gospel to the Eskimos in North West Greenland, immediately after having received Christ they started to catch more fish and animals and they were so successful in hunting together that more hunters started to ask if they could go out hunting with them. That village is still developing til this day. I believe the same thing can happen on the beaches of Esmeralda. If you want to partner with us in this project, click on this link. May God bless you for your prayers and support! https://evangelistministries.international/contact/donations/

In Memory of “Come Clean”

“Come Clean” was the street name of this man who died a few days ago behind a garbage dumpster alone, just across the street from Powerhouse Church. This is the picture of his memorial. A photo, a few plastic flowers, some candles, two booklets, and a white teddy bear on the spot where he was found.

“Come Clean” was one of the homeless people in our community. He used to come to our church all the time, for Community Day or during the Wednesday Dinner. Now we won’t see him anymore. He is no longer around. It is really sad. I talked to him last month and now he is gone.

I went to see his memorial yesterday together with one of his friends, and as we were going down the street, we did a Facebook live recording to give you an impression of what kind of area we are in. We are in a dark place, and God has put us here to shine his light!

In a few days “Come Clean” will be forgotten and another memorial will be raised for somebody else on the trail. Orange Blossom Trail, OBT, devours people and destroys families, only Jesus Christ is the answer.

Do you realize that all these people dying for nothing were kids once? Think about it, they were playing around, going to school, and they all had dreams – until some adult stole it away from them, they were abused before they started using, and as they grew up they suffered the consequences of iniquity and sin.

His Last Message on Video

One of the young guys from our church made a video with “Come Clean” recently. At this point, he thought he still had plenty of time left on this earth. He was free of cocaine, but not free of alcohol. This is what he said, not knowing that this would be his last message to us on OBT https://www.facebook.com/C.Hedegaard/videos/10217329688412424/

Are you ready to meet your Maker? Only one thing is sure in life and that is that we all will be leaving at one point. I wish we all be ready. I know where I am going. I have dedicated my life to give and to live a life worth dying for. I want to live life to the fullest, with Christ, in obedience to Him, as if each day was the last.

This is the live video that I made from the memorial of “Come Clean” https://www.facebook.com/C.Hedegaard/videos/10217326384969840/

“Come Clean” was a beautiful man, and I hope that one day I will see him again. In Powerhouse Church he is not forgotten. “Come clean, or don’t come at all”, that is what he used to say. God knows his heart, He knows every outspoken prayer, He even knows his last words and how he died …

Don’t You Ever Give Up Hope

This Christmas it has been seven years since we first came to America and started feeding the homeless people on Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando, Florida. Every Wednesday and Sunday after church, but also a lot in between. Even before the church was established, our family has served tens of thousands of people, and if somebody asks me if it has been worth it, I will always say “yes”.

Honestly, I don’t think about it, I just do it. If I start to think too deeply about what we are doing I might start to lose courage. Orange Blossom Trail needs a lot of change, and we all know that it’s not the food, that will change the community. It is Jesus Christ. My focus is so strong on Jesus Christ and the vision that I refuse to look back and faith in him keeps me alive and strong in all the daily problems.

I have many pastor friends now in America and sometimes I have to pinch myself in the arm when I hear about their problems, how I wish I sometimes could swab problems with them. Just last week alone, two of the people that come to our church regularly have died out in the street, but still, I am convinced that I am graced to do this job.

There is a Reason, Pastor!

Let me give you three fresh testimonies that kept me going this past week:

In our church we have this homeless man that I have fed for seven years, he always sticks to himself, he has a long beard and white wild hair, and not so long ago he told me why. “There is a reason, pastor. I want people to think that I am crazy so that they will stay away from me”, he explained. “I am not crazy, but I am so hurt by people, I just want to sit on an island alone and die”, he said. This man has been expelled many times because he has been drunk and aggressive, but last year he detoxed himself off one bottle of vodka a day and has been sober for a long time. Now he has decided to follow Jesus, and Sunday he was in our service for the first time ever and got baptized in front of everybody. Even I was astonished to see him take that turn. For many years it seemed like nothing was happening but now, all of a sudden, he is changing big time.

My Other Sheep

One of my other “sheep” have been coming to our Community Cafe for a long time. They are always around, and they are always high and drunk. They live in a different world of substance abuse and we have had many problems with one of them in particular. No matter what I say, they will never listen, so I must admit that I kind of wrote them off, still knowing that “nothing is impossible with God”.

This week I saw the impossible. I was outside the Community Cafe talking to one of the guys, and when I came into the building everybody was real quiet. I had to look twice when I saw my “case impossible” speak in front of everybody. “So many people have died out here, but this church has saved my life”, he said. “This is our street, and we must stand together to change our community. We can do it. If they could change me, you can change as well. But it takes faith in God and faith in the church”, he said.

I was stunned. This man has threatened me and my family and my volunteers over and over again. Recently we gave him the “last chance”, he has been asked to leave the facility several times, but now I am happy that we had faith, patience, and longsuffering enough to love him through. Now he is pulling people into the church.

We Saved his Life …

My last “case impossible” is a young man that I don’t remember “not high”. A few months ago he told me that he was starting in school, A young man that I do not remember “not high” on drugs told me a few months ago that he was starting to go to school. I took the time to talk to him but it looked like the word was just going in through one ear and out of the other. I also prayed with him, and next time I saw him around he was sitting down, talking to another young drug addict about Jesus Christ. “You know me from the streets”, he said, “but I have changed, ever since pastor prayed for me and I started listening to him, my life has changed. I am going back to school. This pastor saved my life!” he said.

I almost fell off my chair, I had not seen that one coming and I realized right there that our word is like a living seed. We must preach whether people like it or not. We must not stop speaking about Jesus Christ. The word is alive and has mighty power to save.

When I came home Friday I was still in awe. Two of the most impossible cases were testifying in front of other people that I had saved their lives and I did not even know it. The third “impossible” guy was baptized on his first Sunday in church. Wauv, I never get tired of serving Jesus Christ.

Happy New Years from all of us here in Orlando. We walk by faith, not by sight. Faith is the substance of things hoped for. Don’t ever give up hope!

When Tumors And Cancer Disappear

In my last blog “Living With Christ is a Blast” I wrote about the adventures in the Amazon Jungle in Ecuador, how we flew into the tribes in small planes and how we drove over the Andes Mountains on motorcycles, swimming in waterfalls, white river rafting etc.

This time I want to share with you the biggest adventure of them all and the reason why we went there in the first place. I did not come for the jungle experience, I came for the “Jesus Experience”, to see Jesus touch peoples lives in the Puyo region.

First time I came to Puyo was in June 2018, and after two days of crusade, I felt there was more for me to do. That’s why I talked to the pastor in the region, and that is why we set up another crusade with four revival meetings at the beginning of December 2018.

The first night we preached in the host church in Puyo, the jungle capital of Ecuador. The pastors are Carlos and Alicia Marchan, they are wonderful people and very respected for their work in the region. When they came there was nothing. Today they have started many churches and led many people to Christ, and it is amazing to see how the church has developed and grown with the city.

It was a really good start, many people were baptized with the Holy Spirit, so we were all fired up and ready for the big meetings the following days in the downtown sports center. The next day it was raining all day which I had not expected. Only a few people were there at the beginning of the meeting, but after an hour they were there by the hundreds, including my tour guide and several of his friends, and when I called for salvation many people gave their lives to Christ.

Instant Miracles of Healing

My preaching did not take a long time at all, so we started ministering to the sick and oppressed. I will try to give you some of the highlights:

A teacher and her teenage daughter, she was completely blind on one eye and had severe pain in one side of her face. The daughter started crying when she realized that her mother’s eye had been restored and to my surprise, she started reading out loud the banner behind me on the stage, even the sentence in small print that I could not even see myself.

A woman with a severe infection in her stomach, it was so bad that she could not even urinate and had a lot of pain. We prayed for her and I told her to go the restroom and pee and when she came back her face was all lit up and she whispered in my ear that as she went to the restroom all the puss and infection had come right out of her and she was healed.

It just kept going and going on for so long. So many testimonies. Now I knew that the second crusade night in Puyo would be great. Again it was raining cats and dogs all day, even worse than the first day, we could not even go out of the hotel. The rain was so heavy that I thought people would not be able to come. But people kept coming. They said there were over 500 the second night, which was a personal miracle to me with all that rain.

After the sermon, I asked people with tumors to come to the front for prayers and one by one they testified how God healed them there on the spot from tumors and growths. When people saw and heard this, their faith exploded and soon many people poured out from the isles to give their lives to Christ and to receive healing and deliverance.

The Power of God Hit the Place

A woman with throat cancer came forth. I had talked to her before the meeting and she said she had no faith. I told her that I did not agree since she had already demonstrated her faith by coming to the meeting. And when she finally came for prayer I told her how she had now demonstrated her faith in Jesus twice in a day. First by coming to the meeting and second by coming for prayer. I asked her friend to lay her hands on her and immediately she started to swallow, which she could not do. She asked for water and after drinking a whole bottle she asked for food and then another bottle of water, she could eat and swallow without any problems. A miracle happened right there before our eyes.

I remember another lady with a huge tumor under her breast, it was as big as a cup. As we prayed for her to be healed the thing disappeared right before our very eyes. We all started crying, everybody on the team experienced the power of Jesus Christ that night. It was like an explosion. This evening many more got saved. It was so powerful. I could not sleep when I came back to the hotel.

Sunday morning I preached again in the church and again we saw several people getting baptized, healed and set free from demons of witchcraft. This was my last meeting, supposedly the end of the trip, but I have the feeling that I am not finished. It seems like we are just getting started on a whole new chapter, an outpour of the Holy Spirit in Ecuador spreading to other countries in South America as well.