One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.Philippians 3:13-14
Dear friend, I read this quote recently in a devotion – “If you’re still celebrating what you did last year – you’re not making progress.”
Praise God we must be making progress! I am deeply thankful for the multitude of powerful testimonies we experienced last year in and through the pandemic, but we do not have time to look back! This is an incredibly intense season of ministry and we are pressing on towards the goal. As one LUV leader said, “God is moving, this is not the time to sit back!”
Coming out of Covid, the common factor I see across the sphere of our ministry globally is that yes, the battle is intense but there is greater need and greater hunger to know God more deeply.
Martha, our leader in India, shared this week on one of our Zoom groups “although there has been much pain, suffering, economic hardship and the sad loss of many pastors during Covid, God is transforming believers to see the true purpose of the Church in India. He is bringing us out of this cocoon season as the true, pure Bride, longing for Him. Churches are uniting in prayer for the 120 million unreached in our state. Women are hurting from loss, abuse and economic hardship in lock down, but many have joined our Zoom groups on their phones and are beginning to believe in Jesus. We have started a Sunday fellowship for women on Zoom, but their families are also listening to hear the word and be strengthened in their faith. We have more opportunities to share Jesus and the Word than before.”
Angie, one of our leaders in Moldova travels six hours round trip every two weeks to disciple women in the villages who don’t have internet. She shared “Butterflies are multiplying in Moldova! There is such a need among women. This is not time to sit back. I see God moving. Before the pandemic, the women were not understanding what we were sharing with them. Many were active for God but living and working in the flesh because that is what they were taught. They had influence in the villages, but their gospel was dry – no real intimacy with Jesus. Now they are making great progress. As I lead them to know God intimately in the word their understanding is deepening. Their eyes are opening little by little. He is changing them.” Angie is also able to reach more women on Zoom now and has two more butterfly discipleship groups on-line. One of her disciples has started her own group – multiplication is happening!
Last week we received an order for Butterfly Story Books from Tenerife, Canary Islands, (a Spanish territory off the coast of NW Africa). The order was from a lady who attended a Butterfly conference in Tenerife 2 years ago with Marie Carmen, our French butterfly leader. This young woman is an amazing evangelist who as a young non-believer moved from North Europe to live as a hippie in a cave in Tenerife. She later had a dramatic conversion and four years ago she returned to the same area as a missionary where unknown to us, she has been sharing the Butterfly Story to bring the gospel to women. The conference leader wrote “She is a powerful evangelist and will use the Butterfly booklets well!”
It thrills my heart to see so many of our next generation butterflies, growing and multiplying around the world. Tanya, leader of our Jail ministry in South Florida, led her first LUV Let’s Get Real eventlast month. A few of us from Orlando went to support her. It was wonderful to see our butterfly leaders supporting each other. I was so proud to hear Tanya teaching the word in the power of the Spirit on the theme Bow Down – Rise UP! Many women were challenged, and came forward for prayer and ministry after the event.
In the USA, women in our groups, as in other countries, are dealing with deep pain in marriages, and children caught up in gender confusion and drug and alcohol addictions. Several of our team are experiencing cancer and sickness in their families. In the midst of it all, women share how the Holy Spirit is bringing them into deeper dependency and intimacy with Jesus in these trials;
“I came to the workshop exhausted. I needed to be in intensive care emotionally and that’s what the workshop was for me. I learned to talk with God and to let Him speak to me through the word.
“Through God’s word I was able to see more clearly how He is using my pain to transform my character. The darkest moments started making sense in the light of the verses in the lessons. My greatest struggle was intimacy with God because I was disappointed in Him. I realized God was teaching me to love and trust Him by getting to know Him.”
“I’ve been sober 3 years. The Holy Spirit transformed me and delivered me from drugs. Using drugs and alcohol to numb you just makes it worse. The only thing that can get you off drugs is Jesus!”
“I am emerging from the cocoon as restrictions are lifted, with a desire to reconnect with God’s people, with a burden for God’s people. I need to be strengthened by the Spirit and revived.”
In my last letter I referred to the “Wonderful and Terrible” journey we are on. There are so many terrible situations with deep needs for prayer, but also so many wonderful testimonies of transformed lives, and multiplication happening every day. I am thankful beyond measure when the good news of what God is doing overwhelms the bad reports of the world! And so with His help we press on to fulfill His upward call, building His kingdom, knowing Him more and making His love known to others!!
THANK YOU for continuing to pray for us, to support us and to partner with us in His call!