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.
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!
“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.
“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 …
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!
A few days ago I was contacted by a Danish man on Facebook. He said that he had been in my meetings in Denmark many years ago and that he wanted to help me help people. He said “Christian Hedegaard, you are a man of God, we need you in our country. Why have you moved to America?”
I told him, that God had given me a call to help the poor people in Orlando and to build Him a church where his presence reigns and from where people will go to the whole world with the gospel.
I don’t care where I live, seriously Karen and I could live among the Eskimos in Greenland or among tribes in the Amazon jungle and be fulfilled in Gods calling, but I know that I know that I know we are in the right place right now, and there is no amount of money or position that can persuade me to leave. We are in Gods plan for our lives in this season, and it is very satisfactory. We are so hungry to see Gods plan for Powerhouse Church being fulfilled.
For the second time, the man wrote to me and asked how he could help me with the work. My answer was simple. “Money and prayers are much needed since we are feeding homeless people. We are in a very dangerous area and the needs here are endless”, I said.
I honestly thought that this man wanted to help us since he was the one contacting me, so I was very surprised when I got his reply. “ Why should I give you anything, who do you think you are to ask me for money?”, he said, suggesting that I should go back to Denmark and help people there instead of being here in Orlando, Florida, where God has called me to be.
I really don’t need “friends” like that, so I deleted him on Facebook, even though I couldn’t help thinking about his response.
Earlier this year a 59-year-old blind man came to our church. He had been blind and homeless for 10 years, and over the next few months, we got to know him very well. We found out that he had a severe cataract and that a simple surgery could give him his eyesight back.
Over the next months, I encouraged him to believe God for a miracle surgery. I taught him about Jesus Christ who gives blind their sight back and set captives free. One day a businessman visited our church and told Thomas that he would sponsor the surgery. This was good news!
Not only did he get his physical eyesight restored to him, but God has also opened his spiritual eyes. He has seen Jesus as his Lord and Savior, like the one that cares for him and loves him so much, that he send a man he never met before to donate money for the surgery.
Now Thomas can truly see. He stayed with us during the time of surgery, and my youngest son Noah followed him all the way, as he made this documentary. Thomas had no insurance, but somebody else paid the price. Jesus paid the price for all of us, and our job is to give what we have. It’s more blessed to give than to receive, Jesus says. With your little, you can help us do much. https://evangelistministries.international/contact/donations/
Last year I blogged about “The Good, The Bad and The Evil”. It was a story of how somebody stole the circular saw that belonged to our church on Orange Blossom Trail. I was chasing the guy on my motorcycle and ended up in a dead end with a bunch of people that was more dead than alive. Heroin addicts and dealers, prostitutes etc. I felt cornered, so my only escape was to invite the most tattooed guy for a ride. It was a wild story. That day the two of us made friends, and as I am writing this blog the man with the tattoos is sitting in my living room reading his bible.
As I look at him, I am watching a true miracle. This man has been addicted to heroin for 38 years but now Jesus has made him clean. Not only from heroin but also from sin. Jesus has become his new “high”. When my wife was in Denmark in May, he asked if he could use my parking lot to get cleaned up. I took him to my house, gave him a mattress on the floor and covered him with a blanket. He stayed there for 5 days, shaking, as the heroin was leaving his body. Every evening I would come and lay my hands on him and pray, and every day we would fill our house with worship. In this atmosphere, the man was healed.
When he finally stood up, he was a new man. One big smile, happy and forever grateful. The first thing he wanted to do was to work. We had some engines in boxes in our garage, and these engines are now being attached to used bicycles. We have been buying bicycles from pawn shops and thrift stores and these bikes are being transformed into “power bikes” with an 80 cc engine. This week we loaded the pickup truck and took the power bikes down to our church so this man can have his own little business in the back of the building, selling motorized bicycles to people on OBT. He has made a sign for his business and will be sitting at the curbside talking to people and hopefully selling some of his bikes.
I can’t tell you how much I love my new brother. The more we spend time together, the more I see the grace of God over his life. We have had some deep conversations about life over the past weeks. The other day we talked about his past, but most of the time we talk about his future. We are looking for a place where he can live his new life with Jesus. He cannot return to the streets. That would be like the dog that turns to its vomit and the pig that returns to the mud.” (2 Peter 2.22). He is a new creation in Christ, he is a part of our church family and not to be compared to a dog or a pig!
How God has set him free from heroin addiction has become a powerful testimony for the people he used to be around. Slowly but surely we see how the gospel is changing the mindset of the people in the street. When I go with him to serve breakfast and lunch for the homeless people at the church, I can tell how other heroin addicts now are coming to see what freedom looks like. and I believe some of them will follow his example and change. The rumor is spreading. It cannot be stopped.
Right now our church is doing a fundraiser for the downpayment for our church building on 1025 S. OBT. We need a 100.000 dollars to secure our building before June 1st, if we do so, our landlord who is a Muslim will help us owner-finance the building. This is a God given opportunity that we don’t wanna miss!
100.000 dollars is a lot of money for us but not for God! All we need is people to participate and to support the vision. This is not about a building, it is about building the Kingdom of God, to let the light shine in the darkness, to let the people know that there is faith to be found in a place where fear is dominant. The Lord has told us to build his house on Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando, that we may see the street being transformed into a Highway of Holiness according to Isaiah 35.8.
The other day I got a phone call from a prophet. He said, “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets so he may run who reads it” (Hab 2.2). I realized that I needed to do this, in order to let the herald run. So I took my tablet and began blogging to share the vision and the specific needs that we have as a church right now, being obedient to the word that was given to me by the prophet.
Honestly, I don’t like fundraisers. I don’t like talking to people about our needs, I will rather talk to God and let him talk to people. Do you understand what I am saying? I am a preacher, not a fundraiser!
So here I am, sharing this on Facebook. This is our heart, to reach out to the lost and the least, as we continue to serve and do what God has called us to do. When I said yes to the call, I left everything behind and came from Denmark with my wife and my sons and 200 dollars on the account. I did not feel qualified but I was obedient. When I asked God, “why me”, He said, “I asked 3 pastors before you but they didn’t want to go. I asked you because you don’t say “no”.
Please take time to watch the attached video, see the vision, share it and pray. We need the 100.000 dollars downpayment on June 1st. I know the people at Powerhouse Church are doing what they can in order to make this happen. We don’t have much but we have great faith. When we signed the contract on the building last year, people gave beyond and above, so that we were able to move in. We know, God gave us the building, and we will do what we can, to stay in the building!
The other day I talked to a police officer in our church parking lot. He had been an officer for 26 years and I told him about the vision. Obviously, he did not believe in change on Orange Blossom Trail. He had seen too much, he said. Over the years he had lost faith, but I told him that I had found it!
I don’t care if it is only one in a hundred that want to change. We will still be there for the one that wants to change. We will see them raise up one by one and we will send them out to reach all the other ones. We are here for the long haul. To build a culture and create a movement. We desire to see our community encounter Jesus Christ in a completely transformative way.
We have many plans for the building on Orange Blossom Trail. This is our Powerhouse, a place of empowerment, where people can come from near and far and experience the Power of God. If you want to know more about what we are doing, you can watch the video here on the blog. If you want to give, donate on this site or go to http://www.powerhouseflorida.com today. We need your prayers and support!