Mission trip to India

For two and half weeks seven-eight of us travelled around North-East India preaching, praying for people and imparting a touch from Jesus to people’s lives. We visited seven areas where we were hosting conferences and meetings, were able to join in with the local Indian worship and meal times as well as seeing the Holy Spirit move mightily. Trevor, Sharon and Drew brought wonderful, life changing teaching to the people we met about things such as living supernaturally, accessing heavenly places and receiving an impartation. In some places Sharon and Katherine would play and sing whilst people were being ministered to. In many churches hundreds of people literally fell down like dominoes, one after the other in fast succession under the power of God. It was incredible!

On the way there on the plane and at the airport my ring and brooch broke as the superglue came unstuck. I felt God say, for the people we would encounter, that what has been stuck will become unstuck. Whilst there I was privileged to pray for many people that we met. In Gangtok, surrounded by 100’s of people lying on the floor, I prayed for a few people who were standing! They reported they had been healed of leg pain, chest pain, pain down one side of their body and in their arm and after someone thrust a phone into my hand asking me to pray for their friend over the phone, sinus problems were healed! Several people gave their life to Jesus and a couple were delivered from a demon, one during the lunch break! At a different church in Gangtok I prayed for two people for their chest & head, and knees & hip. They both said that they were healed! I also prayed for a little boy who would not eat accompanied by a desperate Father. Having previously seen breakthrough when praying for this with someone else I am believing for a breakthrough for him.

In a small place in the hills again 100’s fell like dominoes and people reported feeling better after I prayed for their heart & fear and memory & vision.

In Kalimpong and Darjeeling hundreds of people received an impartation from God and were touched by the Holy Spirit, often falling over, crying and laughing. We gave prophetic words to many, which seemed to really touch them.

In one small church high up in the hillside near Darjeeling my friend shared a word about them having swords in their hand. It just so happened that this day I was wearing my prophetic warrior sword necklace and just before, during the worship, God had said to me “put your hands out”. My eyes were closed and I saw in my hands a gold sword. I saw dragons and snakes all over the region and as I whirled the sword around they were chopped into tiny pieces and I felt the spiritual atmosphere was cleared. I only realised this was significant enough to share this with the church after my friend had shared her word. Afterwards the pastor’s wife approached me with tears in her eyes and said that there was a Buddhist monastery on one side of them that worshipped dragons and a temple on the other side that worshipped snakes and this had really helped her! Wow, I had no idea! God really was doing something powerful. During the afternoon meeting a couple of people gave their life to Jesus, two girls were healed as Trevor spoke and about 10 people spoke in tongues for the first time. Afterwards we were praying and prophesying over people and I gave a word to this pastor’s wife, which to me did not seem very significant. She started crying and later said that I had answered something she had been talking to God about and that she had been so blessed. She had actually served me lunch two years previously and so it was great to be able to be a blessing in return.

We spent an afternoon at an orphanage that Trevor and Sharon set up in Siliguri and were able to play with the children, paint the girls’ nails and take them gifts. It was great to see them and spend a bit of time with them and the family there whilst fighting off the mosquitoes!

The morning that we flew to Calcutta I saw a pair of scissors cutting bondage over the area and breaking chains. I saw a layer of covering over the area being cut open. It was like a protective layer, such as a plastic covering when you buy something new or the skin that forms on milk. Underneath it had been forming, like being in a cocoon, but it was now ready to break out and blossom. It was timely being there as they were in the middle of their Durga Puja festival and every night the streets were full of noise and music until very late, lined with people visiting temporary temples to honour this Hindu god and taking money before transporting these statues into the river on our last night. It was sad to see and we could instead bring light and the few days we spent there were full of lively worship, dancing and singing. People gave their life to Jesus, were released into their gift of tongues and were all prayed for. One night many of them were just desperate for a hug and circled all around me waiting their turn. One older lady clung to me for about five minutes on one side whilst I carried on hugging people on my other side, just so in need of that physical touch. I could relate and so knew what she needed and was able to give that to her. I felt like I received hug therapy from them all too! The following night several hundreds were lined up for prayer. I went along the lines praying for each person until I lost my voice and started whispering! A couple of them fell onto me, so touched with the power of God and we prayed for one who was screaming loudly to be released from a demon. At the end I was surrounded by over 20-30 people grabbing at me from all angles to pray for them although I still could not speak! One lady who had been in pain kissed me whilst crying as she felt so much better after receiving prayer. Another lady was unable to see. I put my hands on her eyes and prayed. She started swaying under the power of God and I caught her as she fell to the floor. I had to turn to the remaining people still tugging at my arms but left believing she must have been healed as she was so touched by God.

It was such a privilege to be a part of bringing a touch of God into these people’s lives, whether that was in the message, giving them a prophetic word, seeing them healed, giving their life to Jesus, praying in tongues, receiving the Holy Spirit and being drunk, laughing or falling over, or simply just giving them a hug of love that they needed. Our trip may have been short but I have no doubt it would have been very significant for many of them. We travelled a lot and it was great for us to often see such beautiful surroundings and to have their wonderful curries two, sometimes three times per day!

Thank you to anyone who prayed for my requests! It definitely felt that we were well protected at all times, even when we had a puncture, I mostly slept OK, I did hear a lot from God and we had wonderful peaceful team relationships and laughed lots! I was reasonably ill but I was able to mostly ignore it and it did not get much worse until after I got home! Praise God!

“Did I write that?”

“Did I write that?” I wondered as the choir sang.  “Wow! It’s better than I remembered. Unless they’ve added something …

July 14th, 2018 was a day to celebrate – doubly!

First: a concert production of Rock, a musical about Simon Peter, with the CMM choir at St John’s. “You could sense the Spirit’s power!” people told me, thus explaining that “added something”. It’s 10 years since Roger Jones and I wrote Rock but we’d hoped one day to have such an evening here, where you’ve so long supported me and Christian Music Ministries.

Second: the publication of ‘With all the Trimmings’, my new collection of poetry, exploring Christmas sacred and secular, serious or lighter.

We’re already using it, with an interview/testimony and poems recorded for broadcast in September on Heart and Soul on South Birmingham Radio (online 6-8pm Wednesdays, with catch-up podcasts).

A similar format was well-received at a residential week in Derbyshire, and may be used elsewhere, including –

Friday November 23, 7.30pm
A pre-Christmas CMM evening at St John’s

Save the dated and invite your friends!

Please pray for:

  • The Spirit to continue what was started, with Rock and similar concerts
  • The new book to bless individuals, groups, services or concerts, beyond expectations.
  • For wisdom planning November 23rd and inviting friends and neighbours to meet Jesus this Christmas.

Thank you especially to those who came to Rock, asked for updates, or even bought copies of ‘With all the Trimmings’. Writing can be lonely, and your words are a great encouragement to trust God and expect his “added something”.

‘The blind were given sight, children could walk again and women regained their dignity…’

This month I will have been with Mercy Ships for one year – and it’s flown by. In that time I’ve learned so much and come to think of this as a dream job. In July, I actually set foot aboard the ship itself – the world’s largest floating charitable hospital – which was such a privilege. I met some of the crew and saw with my own eyes the narrow corridor that houses five operating theatres. Last year we performed over 2,700 surgeries – every one was offered free of charge, as we follow the model of Jesus to show love and share hope and healing with the poorest people on earth. The walls were full of smiling faces – patients whose lives have been utterly transformed; the blind who were given sight, children who could walk again and women who regained their dignity and were no longer outcasts.

At the moment I’m preparing for the Spring Harvest Local Church Tour, where I’ll be on stage talking about Mercy Ships. Please pray I do this well and God is with me.

Recently, I took on a number of additional responsibilities. I now manage a team made up of Christine, Gary, Mike, and Lisa, our amazing administrator.

Christine is the Community Fundraiser, she supports people who do sponsored challenges and fundraising events.

I also oversee our network of Volunteer Speakers, who tell churches and other community groups about our work. As part of this, I manage a great guy called Gary, he and I decide which Conferences Mercy Ships will exhibit at. I’m kept busy!

Mike is a volunteer who is helping to write the training for our first ever ‘Speakers Conference’ that we’re running on 3rd November (Manchester) and 17th November (London). Please pray for this, and for my whole team.

Please pray too for Val and the other volunteer crew on our ship. They’ve just arrived in Conakry, Guinea – which lost many medical professionals in the Ebola crisis a few years back. On the first day of ‘screening’ 6000 people queued up, each hoping to get the surgery they desperately need.

Thank you, your prayers and support make such a difference and mean the world to me.

Reporting back…

Caroline Harvey, who grew up at St John’s and is currently back with us recently travelled to different parts of the world in Christian service. Here is what she reports from her trips.

Cambodia

I have never come across a country more in need of love and support than Cambodia, with the majority of the population extremely young and uneducated, because the older and more educated people were killed by Polpot’s regime. Many cannot read or write and feel their only choice is to turn to prostitution or sell their children into trafficking. XP Missions helps to prevent and rescue victims of trafficking and to care for people afterwards, providing opportunities for work.

I spent a month doing an internship with Patricia King’s team and ministry in America and then nearly a month with their mission’s team in Cambodia. Each day there in the capital, Phnom Penh, was completely different praying for people, telling them about Jesus and showing them God’s love. We visited many slums; washing people’s feet, taking children a hot lunch, teaching Bible study and English groups, leading people to Jesus and praying for healing. One lady, Im, received healing for backache and headache and then received Jesus. I was so amazed to see what some of the young children from one slum, who met each week for a type of Sunday school, were capable of. They were so young yet had visited 3rd heaven, spoke in tongues and clearly heard from God. The team had done an amazing job of discipling and teaching them. In the hospital we prayed for each patient and took them food parcels. Many reported feeling much better. One 80 year old lady had just received surgery. She felt so great after receiving prayer that she wanted to go home and never having heard of Jesus before, welcomed him into her heart.

One day we walked down a busy main street, stopping at businesses and offering to bless them. People were also healed and 2 young girls and a lady working in prostitution gave their lives to Jesus. Her name sounded like ‘Alone’. Such joy filled her eyes and I assured her she would never be alone. I did not want to leave her! One morning, we walked around the local area, handing out food to many girls working in prostitution who were still out and prayed for the people we met. One man had severe pain in his teeth, but after a couple of prayers said the pain had gone by 95%! One night we hired a karaoke booth, usually hired by men, for around an hour and a half, which came with 3 girls, none of whom wanted to be working there. We just loved them! We sang and danced with them, gave them gifts and told them through interpreters how much Jesus loved them. At the end the girl I was with would not let go of my hand and kept hugging me, kissing me and telling me she loved me. She was so touched by God’s love; we did not want to let each other go. Visiting a local silk farm, we prayed for a lady working there, over 80 years old, who relied heavily on her eyesight for work. Her eyes were healed and we could visibly see the difference. We also led a Bible study group for women who had left the sex trade and are now employed by the team over there. They have been taught to sew the most beautiful bags, which are for sale online. We all shared testimonies and it was great to meet them. XP Missions also set up a children’s home, where a few children who were severely abused and neglected are cared for 24 hours per day. It was a privilege to visit there and meet the children.

2 overnight bus rides gave us 1 day in Poipet, on the Thai border, where lots of trafficking occurs. We walked up and down the border praying, joined with local teenagers to feed some street children and prayed for a family with a very unwell baby in the slums. Just after praying at the border, in a casino bar, just before a Thai lady sang, the usual music was suddenly interrupted when ‘No Longer Slaves’, a Christian song, by Jonathan and Melissa Helser came through the speakers. We could not believe it!

Vietnam

We visited Vietnam for a few days, where you are not allowed to talk about God. We prayed over the waters in a boat and around a government building, saw the effects of the Vietnam War and Agent Orange at the museum and the actual Chu Chi tunnels, close to Ho Chi Minh City, which were all pretty shocking. People there are still affected by this today. In the red light district, we prayed walking up and down and had foot massages with some of the girls and guys working there in prostitution, with the premises doubling as a ‘massage parlour’. We smiled God’s love to them and prayed blessings over them. They seemed really touched and it was good to be a light in such a dark area.

America

Previously, I spent a month in Maricopa, Arizona doing an internship at Patricia King’s church, mostly a media church online, and organisation, XP Ministries, with 13 other interns and their lovely team. We were mostly at the church building 8am-4/5pm each day, joining with their staff for team prayer time, sometimes praying in tongues for the whole hour and then often in teaching for the day on topics such as extreme prophetic evangelism, accessing 3rd heaven, practicing different prophetic exercises on each other, etc. We each preached for a few minutes and we spent 3 days serving at their huge Women on the Frontlines conference in Phoenix with Patricia, James Goll, Gloria Copeland and many others speaking.

One afternoon we took to the streets of the local area in Maricopa. Our group felt led to speak to a group of teenagers. One of our team heard from God that many of them were being abused and prophesied over several of them. Being from England, I stood out and one guy said to me “I knew I was going to meet someone from across the world today”. I told him that God had sent me to him to tell him how much he was loved and how God wanted a relationship with him and what this could be like. He was completely fixated on every word. I asked him, “How does that sound?” He said, “It sounds like just what I wanted to hear!” We prayed for Jesus to come into his heart. It turned out he had just got out of prison for a very serious crime but looked so happy and full of joy next time one of our group members spotted him!

I found myself praying for people in a swimming pool and a supermarket. Most people were so eager to receive prayer for themselves or their friends if you stepped out and offered. Many testimonies were shared about the huge impact of just telling someone that God loves them. People working at a checkout burst into tears on hearing this. I learnt to hear more from God and have more of a constant communion with him. Each time I asked someone for advice the answer was often “Ask Holy Spirit”! So I had to learn to do that more!

Personally, I was met with such love by all of the team, in America and Cambodia, the people who welcomed me into their home and the other interns. People were telling me they loved me when they had only known me for a week or two and they genuinely meant it. Their aim as a ministry is to make love their highest aim and they definitely achieved that and touched my heart. How many people can we reach and touch with that as our aim?

Thank you to anyone who prayed for me. I had typhoid and worms but other than that all was fine!

www.xpministries.com

www.xpmissions.com

Building bridges and relationships for mission

Darren Richards Youth for Christ are committed to reaching every young person for Christ. Over half of the UK’s ethnic minority population is under the age of 30.  In fact, one in four children in the UK (under 10) are from an ethnic minority community. As Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Darren is looking to diversify Youth for Christ’s national team, to better reflect and represent Britain’s young people, and to build bridges and relationships for mission.

St John’s Living Stones recently sponsored a significant event that Darren organised in
Birmingham called ‘Cohesion Network’.  This ‘TED talk’ style event brought together over 60 Christian leaders and youth workers from 30 organisations and denominations – representing a range of ethnic backgrounds – to share ideas, pray and dream together around reaching and discipling young people.

Darren opened the night with some remarks about the diverse birth of the Church (Acts 2:5-11). The evening also launched a new region-wide network to help connect youth workers who might not otherwise do ministry together. At a time when minorities are suffering from increased xenophobia and hostility, there’s never been a more
important moment to be working together.

Darren feels called to help provide fathers for the fatherless and also to release Christians of all ethnicities to use their gifts in the pursuit of God’s purposes. Alongside this event, he has been writing for the Christian magazine ‘Youth and Children’s Work’, commissioning new training videos, visiting Christian organisations that help marginalised youth, and creating new strategic plans for YFC.

To watch the Cohesion video visit either:
https://youtu.be/QbNxhe1hkxE  or https://www.facebook.com/BritishYFC/videos/10155034980242156

 

‘An amazing spread of food…’

Jeremy Thompson

Jeremy writes:

“The world is not just on our doorstep in this multicultural city, it’s been in our church building!  Restore is extremely grateful for the Christmas Party for adults and the Family Party in February half-term, both hosted here at St John’s.  Thank you to all those who volunteered at those events and to everyone who baked cakes or made puddings. On both occasions there was an amazing spread of food.  At the February party guests included refugee families from Syria, Iran, Sudan and Ethiopia. There were three families there who have been reunited in the past few months and it was great to see them enjoying themselves after all the upheavals they have experienced. The welcome, hospitality and entertainment they receive is hugely appreciated and it is wonderful to partner with St John’s in this way.  Please give thanks for these opportunities.

“Restore is going through a period of change and review.  For the past 12 months, due to one-off funding, we’ve had two additional part-time befriending workers which has helped us to support more refugees and make more befriending matches than ever before. (88 new befriending matches and our previous highest annual total was 55.) That funding has come to an end, so we now need to look at what is a reasonable workload for a smaller staff team the rest of this year.  Please pray for Restore staff and the Restore Management Committee as they consider the way forward.”

 

 

Prayers appreciated for an Easter Outreach…

Chris and Lorraine have been with Operation Mobilisation (OM) for six and a half years. They returned in 2013 from working as missionaries in Kosovo, and joined the OM team based at the missions training centre in Halesowen in September 2013. Chris is the newly appointed short term missions co-ordinator. He plans, co-ordinates with churches and leads short term out reaches throughout the UK. Lorraine is the training centre hospitality/housekeeping manager.

Pray for Chris as he is preparing for an Easter outreach. Pray for strength and energy for both Chris and Lorraine in their different roles. Pray for the OM community based in Halesowen, for OM colleagues and current ELCO students (English Language Cultural Opportunities) who are living and studying at the base.

Pray with me for the many victims of modern day slavery

Rezi Kardellemaj

Rezi Kardellemaj

I am finally back in Birmingham, after a year of travelling in the UK and Europe.  I am working in Agape headquarters, and locally.

The Global Humanitarian Aid Network is now set up and running. Thanks to generous donations for the Iraq appeal, many Syrian and internally displaced refugees were helped with their basic and vital needs.

In the last six months, in collaboration with different partners, ten lorries full of winter clothes, blankets and goods were sent to Iraq.  Praise be to God.

I am praying and asking God the fundamental question of what it means to be really generous in love for the little ones, and especially to love my brothers and sisters, generously and practically, who are persecuted because of Jesus.

Please continue to pray with me for the many victims of modern day slavery, that God will give us wisdom and courage and ideas; that we might fight against slavery and stop it all together.

I am struggling at the moment to connect with the victims, as everything is driven underground with the new rules and regulations.

Please pray for the eight people that I am currently mentoring, that they will find God and hope in Him.

Pray that God will open doors to meet survivors of trafficking and bring hope.

Please pray with me that the Kingdom of God will be more alive than ever through these difficult times.

Recently one of the church partners has stopped their funding, and by the end of May I will be short of £500.  Continue to pray for new people to support this ministry, and that I may be able to carry on with the work.

 

Rezi works with Agape, Birmingham.  

 

 

 

 

It is about 25 degrees and not raining!

Photo of Victoria

Victoria Parsonson

It was a pleasure to be able to share at St Johns and to know that people are praying.

I am now back in Madagascar, in the capital, flying out to the bush with Mission Aviation Fellowship tomorrow morning (17th Feb). It is about 25 degrees and not raining!!

This morning I went to church in the capital – all in Malagasy, and it made me miss St John’s and this past month that I’ve really valued being able to worship in English and understand a sermon properly!

I have already applied for a job – this was the main reason I was back for a month, and have been offered a training job in paediatrics in the West Midlands (not sure exactly where yet) starting in September – God is good!

Victoria Parsonson was at St John’s on Sunday 10th February and shared news and inspiring testimony of her work as a doctor in a remote rural hospital in Madagascar.
She returned to Madagascar on Wed 12th February for a further six months before returning to UK for further training whilst also considering eventually returning to Madagascar long term.

‘the most remarkable place with the most remarkable people’

Photo of Mark and Jo

Mark and Jo Roper

And Finally…Part 1
The Ropers report on their trip to Cambodia

Written 31/7/13

Apologies to all that it has been so long since we have given a proper update.

Last Wednesday (24/7/13) evening after a smashing two weeks resting, relaxing and having some adventures in Vietnam, and after a very very long plane journey as the air con had broken, we arrived back in the UK after what has been the most remarkable four months.

We left Cambodia exhausted and can see just how blessed we were to be able to have a Mark and Jo with youthholiday. The youth work at the team conference went so brilliantly, we had some wonderful feedback from the youth and their parents and we were so amazed by how wonderful that group of young people were, despite so much disruption and transition in their lives. Our last week of work at MMC was tough as we were working everyday and also trying to pack up and say goodbye to all those who we now miss terribly. We left, more exhausted than I think we have ever been.

Since we have been back we have been asked many times “how was it?” and “what was your favourite bit?” and we have found it so very difficult to put into words exactly what we feel about our adventure in Cambodia. Our heads are still a bit of a mushy mess when it comes to processing everything, but there are some things that we know with complete certainty, and these are what I will focus on now.

Firstly

We love Cambodia
It is the most remarkable place with the most remarkable people, it has amazed and captivated me for the second time and Jo for the first. Eight years ago I made a promise to myself that I would never come back to Cambodia short term, as leaving after 4-6 months is just so incredibly hard – leaving just as you are getting very close friendships and just as you are getting to grips with the language.

I had largely forgotten about this until about three weeks before we left when it hit me and I realised again just how hard it would be to leave this wonderful place. This place that has had such a messy, painful, tragic, appalling history and yet its people are so friendly and open and full of warmth and grace.

This place that is filled with the most remarkable missionaries who have devoted their lives to serving and loving anyone they can despite the cost.

This place with the fiercest heat that follows you everywhere all the time, with occasional torrential downpours and dust that saturates your clothes, books and lungs.

This place where every single little thing that you do is an outrageous adventure, whether it’s nipping down to the shop for some bread, filling up your bike with petrol or driving to work.

Everything has the potential (and often the likelihood) of taking five times as long as planned and wading through three foot deep water or arguing with the police about why you are not going to pay them a bribe.

You cannot rush or stress in this beautiful place as it is so fantastically unpredictable you would never get any sleep. The pace of life is so different, but after time it seeps into you and you find a mellow relaxed approach to everything.

And Finally… Part 2 will follow