Vinesong ministers in Europe 2017

 

 

 

 

God's Timing

Following a five year absence, we returned to Germany for ministry. It was amazing that our tour in Germany took place at such a significant time for the nation, ahead of their elections. God always amazes us with His timing when we plan for these tours. When we first chose the dates we were unaware of the election and only found out much later.

 

Friends for decades/Family for eternity:

This year our tour began in the heart of East Germany, amidst a friendship that has united two ministries over many years. Many years ago, before the wall fell in Berlin, Pastor John and Pastor Gerhard would meet for what would be the beginning of a friendship that has lasted decades. 

 

Pastor Gerhard first heard of Vinesong over 30 years ago, when he attended a conference and purchased a Vinesong CD, which he subsequently played in the shower every morning, all the while he prayed for God to send the team to his church.

His prayer was answered when Vinesong planned a tour to post-communist East Germany, including his church as one of the first events. Since this time, the church bought and renovated an old factory into a beautiful sanctuary where they now hold their services. The church has incredible participation in outreach programs and a strong presence of youth and a growing number of families. 

With expectant hearts, we came to Lichtenstein, where we ministered on a Sunday morning in the church. The power and presence of God was so thick in the air that it was felt with every breath.

 

It was a massive catalyst to kick off the tour in Germany! We laughed together, had great times of fellowship and they prayed for us before sending us out into the rest of Germany. We left our family in Lichtenstein feeling refreshed, encouraged, and ready for what was to come.

 

Rührgebiet

Our next stop was in Herne, we spent 4 days alongside old friends, Johannes and Silke. They organized four meetings in several cities nearby, and were extremely helpful and supportive with anything we needed during our time there. 

Last time we were in Herne, two muslim men gave their lives to Jesus, and we were so blessed to see them again 5 years later still serving the Lord. During the first meeting, there were 6 muslims and 6 others who gave their lives to the Lord. As the Germans say, 'Es war Wunderbar!'

The next concert was at an Ebenezer event in Dusseldorf with Pastor Klaus of Jesus-Haus, who remembered Pastor John from years ago! Ebenezer is the organisation that Johannes and Silke are a part of and they specialise in supporting Jews in Germany and other European Countries who want to return to Israel. It was really quite an incredible night – there was such freedom in the congregation to worship – it was like an open heaven, the sound of revival in Germany!

 

Rhineland Platinate, Hessen and Baden-Würrtemberg

Inge Walla, who we met in Poland last year, was instrumental in organising all of the meetings in and around the Mannheim area, which included Frankfurt and Kaiserslaurten. She worked tirelessly and we are indebted to her for her support for the ministry throughout our time there. We were honoured to meet her husband Hubert who joined us for the first meeting in Frankfurt and every other meeting in the area.

 

Pictured from left to right: John, Hubert, Reuben, Charlene, Daniel, Zach, Rachael, Inge, Katya

Our first meeting in the area, was hosted by Pastor Kunle and Pastor Oye, Pastor Kunle's son-in-law and worship leader, in Frankfurt at an old factory building that hosted 9 separate churches. Here we held an evening concert before traveling to Mannheim, where we would minister in the city and surrounding area for the better part of the next week. 

 

That night, we were received by our hosts who lived on a farm just outside the city. Annella and her children, Julia, Isabella and Lukas, graciously received us into their home for the better part of the next week. From their home, we travelled to each meeting in the area. 

 

In addition to all the work that Inge did contacting the churches and arranging our food and accommodation, together, Hubert and Inge organized a concert in their town of Maxdorf, inviting business friends, clients, and colleagues, as well as putting up posters and giving out flyers to advertise in the surrounding towns. God rewarded their efforts when over 30 people received salvation for the first time. 

We can only thank God for what he did throughout our time there. By Hubert's own admission, though a believer, he had been luke warm in His relationship with God. He gave a clear testimony at the end of the meeting in Maxdorf in front of all his business contacts and clients of how God had changed his life throughout the few days that we had ministered there. He told them, that God simply wanted to set us free and that he had experienced God's freedom more and more as a result of the ministry he had received, which had drawn him closer to God.

Through Simon a Physical Education instructor at a youth prison and a member of Inge's church, we had the privilege of having a concert in the local youth prison, where inmates up to 24 years of age came to serve their time. It was surprising to hear that over 40% of the prisoners are muslim. We even spoke with a german-born inmate who converted to Islam because of the surrounding pressure. Glory be to God, this inmate – and every other inmate who attended our concert with the exception of one – gave their lives to the Lord. We had a chance after the ministry to really invest into some of these fine young men.

 

A few of the young men stayed behind after the meeting to help us pack up our equipment. They told us why they were in prison and we had a great time of sharing with them, laughing with them and encouraging them.

 

Munich

We were received in Munich by our new friends, Robert and Maria and their son, William. Working together as a family, they organised our final ministry event in Germany, in the city of Munich. They invited friends, family, coworkers and acquaintances, and then rented St. Matthäus Church, an evangelical church in the middle of the city. God rewarded every effort of Robert and Maria. After printing over 10,000 flyers, posters and handouts for the event, hundreds turned out for the concert. The Lord did wondrous things that evening in many people’s hearts. Of those who came, over 60 people gave their lives to the Lord! We are thankful for Robert and Maria for their heart to see people saved, their friendship, and for their tireless dedication in setting up such a successful evening.

 

 

Vienna, Austria

On Friday, the 22nd of September, we left Munich for Vienna, Austria, where we ministered at three events in the Redeemed Christian Church of God over that weekend. These meetings were very blessed, and we are grateful to Pastor Folajimi and the leadership of Chapel of His Glory for hosting us and caring for our team as we ministered in the city. We also want to thank Pastor Gbenga and the people of Maranatha Parish for welcoming us into their church. 

 

 

Whilst we were in Vienna, Kristy, Reuben's nanny up until July of this year, came to one of our ministry meetings with her parents. She came to see us ahead of her new missionary adventures with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) in Hawaii.

 

Kristy engaging the children during worship

 

 

Bratislava, Slovakia

Just one hour from Vienna is Bratislava, the capital city of Slovakia. Marek Krajčí, now a member of Parliament in Slovakia, hosted Pastor John over 20 years ago during a conference in Slovakia. Last year in Israel, we had, by chance, run into Marek in our hotel while preparing for ministry with David Hathaway.

Marek and Pastor John were able to catch up, and from this chance-meeting stemmed our journey to Bratislava. As Marek is now an MP, he arranged a visit to Parliament for us with a guide. Once there, what started as an educational and historical tour became a spiritual watershed as we sang a prayer over the parliamentary assembly chamber rendering our tour guide speechless but deeply touched:

"Releasing Your power, Lord.

Releasing Your power now

We declare the name of Jesus in this place.

Proclaiming all authority 'til all forms of darkness flee.

Release the mighty name of Jesus in this place." 

Marek introduced us to Pastor Cyril, a native Belgian, married to a Ghanain, and now a missionary-pastor in Slovakia for RCCG (a Nigerian based denomination). It sounded funny to us, too! 

Pastor Cyril hosted us and co-organised a Sunday morning meeting with his neighbour church, Otcov Dom. His heart is for unity as the Kingdom of God is reestablished in Europe and it was a joy to see the same heart shared by Pastor Vlado. We had a great time of fellowship over the course of 5 days, and ended our time together with a street outreach in Bratislava, where a couple hundred people came, stayed and were touched by the presence of God, ultimately resulting in many giving their lives to the Lord that night.

The street outreach was planned by Kresťania v meste (Christians in the City) and was the inauguaral event for a week of ministry and christian witness called "Milujem svoje mesto" ('We love our City"). During this event the churches of the city work together to show God's love throughout Bratislava through practical acts of love such as painting buildings, cleaning neighbourhoods etc.

 

 

TESTIMONIES

Saturday Night Fever?

Pastor Oye shared with us about one of his friends who was supposed to come to a Sunday night concert. He called his friend on Friday, and just by the sound of his voice could tell how unwell his friend was. His friend was running a fever, and at the same time feeling intense pains throughout his entire body. Pastor Oye encouraged him to stay home for the weekend and get some rest. However, his friend, who had seen us on television for years, was adamant that he would come and see us live. 

He came to the Sunday night meeting and afterwards he bought a CD, which he played throughout the night into Monday morning. When he got up that morning, he was completely well. There was no trace of a fever or any pain!

 

Blind eyes opened!

Our friend Hubert from Maxdorf was the one who invited many friends and business clients to a concert.

He had a clouded retina and was scheduled for a doctor's visit to have an operation to repair it. He stopped by our accommodation on the way to the appointment. When he left, 5-year-old Reuben prayed for his eye “to be new” before he arrived at the doctor's. When he got there, the doctor examined his eye and was shocked, remarking that it was like Hubert had a brand-new eye. Hubert said he could not explain what it was like to see so clearly. He said that his eyesight had been getting worse little by little, and it was only now that he could see clearly that he realised how bad his condition had become.

 

 

And finally……….

There is much talk of unity in the body of Christ, but seldom do we see such talking become fruitful doing. Our prayer for Europe is for churches to look outside the walls of a building and work together in unity. There is tremendous pressure to look inward and build a ministry, but in Matthew 28:19, Jesus says that our responsibility is actually centered on making disciples.

 

Earlier in Matthew 16:18, Jesus said that He would be the one build His church – He has claimed responsibility for building the church! Our calling is to reach out to the lost and broken hearted, and disciple them, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit. As Christians, it is so important to shift our focus from filling seats to saving souls! 

During our tour we were encouraged by those we met who are doing what they can to reach out to the world aorund them, focused on the salvation of souls. Through their actions, many came to Jesus.

  • Johannes and Silke in Herne not only supported us, but always do their utmost for the benefit of the body of Christ.
  • Inge Walla who, so blessed by our ministry in Poland, wanted to see her area of Germany blessed by the ministry and stepped out in faith, after working together with the churches, to host an event with her husband in their small town. The clients of their businesses and others around who had seen the posters were given the opportunity to know Christ personally.
  • Robert and Maria in Munich who reached out to those across denominational divides from Catholics, to evangelicals and pentecostals as well as those of no denomination and hosted an event at a prominent evangelical church in the city, making it accessible to all.
  • Pastors Cyril and Vlado who decided to do a joint Sunday morning meeting and not only gathered their own congregations, but were blessed by the addition of many others from neither congregation.
  • Marek Krajčí who was the catalyst behind our Bratislava visit and Kresťania v meste who moved to mobilise the churches in Bratislava to get behind the ministry for the benefit of the nation of Slovakia.

Much still needs to be done, but God is using the small and seemingly insignificant who have decided to go and make disciples regardless of the obstacles that seem to have been placed in their way. We pray that the Church in Europe rises up to take its rightful place. It is time for the demonstration of the power of God to be evident not only in our church meetings, but in our personal lives as we reach out to a dying world that needs to know Jesus. May churches suspend their programmes and self-centered numbers based church growth strategies to work together with others in the love and unity that commands God's blessing, for the benefit of His Kingdom.

 

THANKSGIVING AND PRAYER

Please join us in thanking God for:

  • Everyone who helped us to organise this tour
  • Our safe journey through Europe, particularly in Germany, Austria and Slovakia
  • All the lives that were changed for God's glory
  • Good health for the team throughout our time away

 

We are longing for revival throughout Germany – and we share this yearning in our hearts with our friends in Lichtenstein. They are praying for a certain property in the city as a new location for the church. This property sits in a strategic place, overlooking the city. The vision they have for this:

  • to have enough room to receive revival
  • to have classrooms and daycare for families
  • to have a prayer garden

 

Please pray for the church in Lichtenstein as well as:

  • The Church in Germany, that 500 years after the reformation there would be greater unity and true revival
  • The Church in Austria that they would be renewed in hope and unity
  • The Church in Slovakia, that they would work together in faith and see God glorified publicly
  • All those who gave their lives to Jesus during this tour, that they would be discipled in order to reach their God given destinies
  • All those who helped with the tour, that God would protect them from retribution and discouragement
  • The team as we round of the year with a tour of Wales, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Nigeria and England