Hope Dealers in South Dakota

This summer we received an invitation to visit the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. We were invited by a pastor who lived there and we’re excited to go. We traveled almost 2000 miles to get there, and as we crossed the border to the reservation we realized how far away this was from what we call home!

The Rose Bud Sioux Nation in South Dakota is a nation of 25.000 people living on 2800 square miles of land. The land is vast, the summers are dry and the winters are cold. It is not unusual for South Dakota to have severe hot, dry spells in the summer with the temperature climbing above 100 °F and winters going low to -30 °F with an average snowfall of 41 inches.

We stayed in a small town called “Mission” and found out that this was a mission, even more than expected. The church there was small. The first night we were only a few people, the pastor, the leader of the school, the worship leader and his wife, plus a family with nine kids! Even though the meetings had been advertised on the radio nobody from outside showed up! We realized that God had to give us a new strategy to reach the people, so we decided to make a bill payment. If Jesus came to announce good news for the poor, what would be more fulfilling that paying peoples bills?

Next day we went out with flyers and visited every corner of town, as many trailer homes as we could reach, every apartment, every street. As we knocked on the doors, the kids would answer. Many places we did not see the adults. Most people were friendly, and when we invited them for the bill pay they were very surprised. They had never heard of anything like this, and they all had bills that needed to be paid. One family had been without electricity for five months!

As we walked around and talked to people we could feel the hopelessness. So much poverty, misery, drug and alcohol abuse, unemployment … there were only a few grocery stores in town, only one bank, a Family Dollar with next to nothing on the shelves and more than 100 miles to the nearest Walmart. I was thinking of the family in church with the nine kids. How do you raise your kids and provide for your family with little substances in such a desolate place?

We were “hope dealers”, dealing hope to the hopeless. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, so in this case, hope had to come before faith! We were speaking hope, declaring hope, singing songs of hope: “Let hope arise, let hope remain, the dawn is breaking, it’s a new day!”, expecting God to change the atmosphere.

Many people came for the bill pay, they brought their bills and entered the drawing. The first two nights we gave away 2 x 500 dollars, and Sunday morning we gave away 1.000 dollars. The money was donated by people in our home church and people that we met on the road, it was awesome to see how it all came together!

First night five people were saved. The pastor was crying. For the past 40 years he had never seen five people saved at the same time, he said. The following days more people got saved. I think we counted 21 in total. We saw how hope was restored in peoples lives, maybe they came for the bill pay but they stayed for Jesus. They did not hurry to get back home, those that came the first night came back, and some of them also brought friends and family along.

When we left with our team after service Sunday, we wanted to pack them all up in the car and take them back home to Orlando, but obviously, that can’t happen! We believe God has another plan. Jesus says, who should I send, who will go? I trust God will call and send people to fulfill the mission out there, he is the author and the finisher of our faith, and we believe that He who started the work will be faithful to complete it, not only in our lives but also in the life of the people we ministered to.

We left a piece of our hearts there, and we pray that we will be able to be back. Help us share the vision. Some of you have supported this trip financially, and we trust that God will call more people to support. Pray for Mission, pray for the reservation, pray for the Native Americans. Let hope arise!

You can watch the video from the reservation here: hope dealers in the reservation

Seeking the Reality of Pentecost

hands-worship

Yesterday we celebrated the birthday of the Christian church, the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit entered into this world with the sound of a mighty wind and tongues of fire transforming ordinary believers, empowering them to become witnesses for Jesus Christ to the ends of the world.

(Acts 2:1-4) ”When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”

When the Holy Spirit came, it turned the life of the church upside down. At this time, there were gentiles and Jews from all over the world gathered in Jerusalem, and they were all wondering when they heard how the disciples began to speak to them about God’s great deeds in their own language.

It was so wild that the critics blamed the disciples of being drunk in wine, even though it was early morning 9 am. They did not know about the new wine that the Holy Spirit was serving, and it seems like the same critics are around today!

Speaking in tongues has become a rare phenomenon, even in the Pentecostal church. Here we can find so-called believers who believe that the gift of tongues is not for everybody to receive, together with people who no longer speak in tongues in the congregation because they have become so seeker friendly that they don’t read their Bibles. Check it out. It says that speaking in tongues is a sign, not for the believer, but for the unbeliever. 1 Cor 14.22.

Let me give you an example. On my first crusade in the Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic, I stood on the platform in the biggest sports arena, not knowing what I was going to preach. As I looked through a few different preachings, I suddenly realized that it was the actual day of Pentecost, so what would be more natural than preaching about the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

I preached with boldness and spoke the Word, and after that, I invited people to come for prayer. The first 5 came to the altar, then 10, then 20, then 30, then 40 and so on. Finally, there were about 100 people, who wanted to be filled with Holy Spirit and power.

Everybody stood, staring at me, expecting that I was going to fill their mouth with unintelligible sounds, and again I had to stress the importance to them, that it wasn’t me, but God who gives. Instead of praying for people individually, I released the power of God in the hall.

“Be filled,” I shouted, but at first there was no reaction. People just stood with their mouth open like young birds waiting for God to fill them and heaven to open up.

When I looked out to the people, my eyes caught a young guy, who had received the language of the Spirit the night before. The Holy Spirit showed me that I should ask him to come up on the stage. And when I put the microphone in front of him, he immediately started speaking in tongues.

This young man’s family was known by everybody in there so it became a mighty sign for the people gathered. Immediately when he started speaking in tongues, it spread to the first row. More and more people began speaking in tongues, and soon the stage and the floor was full of young, elderly, and old people, praising God in new tongues. After the meeting, a parent went on stage to take his daughter home. She was among those slain in the Spirit. When I left the arena, he came walking all by himself. I rolled down the window in the car and asked about his daughter. The man told me that he had to leave her on the platform because she was too drunk to walk on her own!

Pentecost is wild. It might not look presentable when the Holy Spirit falls on people but it is definitely needed for revival to break out. It is not our plausible words of wisdom, but in the demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that does the difference. We need the supernatural. More miracles and less apologetics, so that our faith should not rest in the wisdom of men but in the Power of God (1 Cor 2.4-5).

If you want to learn more about the baptism of the Holy Spirit, you can read more in Christian Hedegaard’s new book, “Holy Spirit Wildfire”, who is available on Amazon.  Holy Spirit Wildfire