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Wow, this answer reflected Joshua 1:9 so well – a verse that has come my way for quite a while: Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
The same day I found a newspaper in the dining room of our company in which one of the headlines read: Should I stay or shoud l grow? I took a closer look and then found out it actually said: Should I stay or should I go NOW? To me, this was another confirmation.
Vision for MissionIn the end of January, I attended the Vision for Mission weekend in Lüdenscheid. An awesome weekend in the presence of the Holy Spirit that unveiled more details about the outreach. What I learnt tore me out of my comfort zone …
Flying from Germany to Ulaanbaatar alone, staying at the hotel alone, exploring the 1.5-million-metropolis alone without speaking a word of Mongolian or being able to read words, having to go from village to village by bus in Ulgi, sleeping on an air mattress in a ger (Mongolian tent) without running water. Honestly, I was done and wanted to cancel the outreach.
Right before that weekend, I asked Jesus where he was going, for I wanted to follow him. I saw a picture of Jesus in my mind’s eye. He was going from Germany to Ulaanbaatar and from there to Ulgi. Everywhere he went small yellow dots sprang up which formed a huge yellow patch in Ulgi. Well, was was about to do something in Mongolia.
When checking on HELP Germany’s website, I came across Anna Renner’s painting that matched my picture – well, hers was beautifully painted and had a poem - »Let us run«.
Let us runHow exciting, I thought. That was exactly the picture I had and again I asked Jesus what I should do. I opened my English bible and came across Jeremiah 2:2, I remember the loyalty of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown.
On top of this, there was this incident at the library ...
At the LibraryMy husband Ralf has gone to the library and looked for travel guides on Mongolia for me. We stood in front of some magazines and he said to me, »I have never ever seen a travel magazine on Mongolia.« The very moment, I opened one of the boxes, and looked at the front page of a magazine, which read Mongolia. »Look here … what did you just say? The table of contents says Mongolia’s West. Look, the west – Ulgi is in the west of Mongolia.« I opened the magazine, found the report and looked at a map of Bayan Ulgi with Ulgi right in the center. Goodness me … if that’s not God, then what should it be ...
UppsThe shock went right through my body. Back home, I opened my mail and found a message from HELP:
»Dear Anja, the team in Mongolia has considered the outreach once more and thought about shorten its duration hoping and believing for more people to join who would also prefer to come for a shorter period of time. However, it hasn’t happened. Furthermore, while planning the outreach they found that it would be too difficult for individuals to shorten the outreach as the team is going to very remote areas. Therefore, the team has decided that it’s impossible to take someone along who cannot stay for the full period of time.«
Uih, how can this be? Now, that I am certain to go to Ulgi. This completely overthrows everything of how I know God speaks to me. I called my sister Martina after listening in the evening to a sermon on obedience.
Martina is so cool and simply said, »Well, quit your job if your boss doesn’t grant your four weeks of vacation.« Okay, I didn’t actually wanted to quit, however, after explaining my situation my supervisor said, »Good – I am going to make an exception.«
Mongolia - here I come!I went to book my flight. Goodness – only three seats left. My passport has expired, however, to book my flight I need a new one. With only three seats left, I simply couldn’t wait for four weeks until I finally got my new passport. I was panicking, however, in the end booking my flight was simple as that. When I am stressed, God says to me, »You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you.« (Isaiah 26:3) That’s it … I don’t want to panic and get stressed out. I want to fix my thoughts on HIM and trust in HIM, thus resting in his PERFECT PEACE – no matter the situation and circumstances.
There is one last doubt: I have never gone on outreach. His immediate response, »Until now you haven’t done any of this. As in my name and you will receive and your joy will be perfect.« (John 16:24)
And Acts 1:8, »When the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will receive power. And you will be my witnesses – in Jerusalem, in all of Judea, in Samaria, even unto the ends of the earth.«
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Presently, I am in the Philippines doing a three-months-internship at the Father's House in Manila. The Father's House is a mission branch of HELP Philippines. We are having 12 children in the Father's house, who either have come straight from the street with no parents anywhere, or children that come from difficult family backgrounds whose parents are not able to take care of them.
When dreams come trueI enjoy and have fun spending time with the children. As for me, a dream has come true that I have had since I was a teenger. I have always wanted to live and work with children. These kids are desperate for family, however, we as staff are limited in our ability to provide family for them. Therefore it's so wonderful that we may pass on the Father's love to them. »God has poured his love into our hearts. He did it through the Holy Spirit, whom he has given to us.« (Romans 5:5)
Out of TondoWhen I was little, I listened to a radio play entitled Out of Tondo. It's a true story of a streetboy from Tondo who had an encounter with Jesus which changed the whole course of his life to the best. Tondo is a part of Manila which is the poorest in this world. We went for a three-day-outreach. Suddenly, I found myself to be in the place that I heard about for the first time 30 years ago. We visited many places in this huge area and got to know so many wonderful people for whom we prayed and shared Jesus with.
However, may highlight in Tondo was meeting a group of kids from a small slum area at the harbour. I told them a story about God's love for them. When we prayed together, the kids asked Jesus to show them how precious they are in his eyes. I was deeply impacted and moved by that.
Next stepI have come to the Philippines to find out if God has a place for me in Manila. My greatest desire is that God shows me my place in life and that he uses me to share his love with people.
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A future and hope?! These words sounded strange to me when I came to Lüdenscheid four years ago.
My name is Christiana, I am 26 years of age and was brought up in a normal Christian home. I never questioned the existance of God, for it seemed to me very clear that God was everywhere. I loved reading stories of missionaries, especially the story of Jim Elliot, and at the age of 10 year, I was determined: »One day I will go to the nations for God.«
Looking for freedom?However, school and everyday routine pushed this desire aside. At age 16, our youth group went through some dramatic changes, for we had a new leader who was convinced that women don't speak up in church and should only concentrage to become good wifes. I felt cramped in my personal freedom which led to a good deal of rebellion mounting up in my heart. I rebelled against anything in church!
Furthermore, my rebellion started to also rise up in school. In all this I didn't realize that I locked up my heart for Jesus and went away from him further and further.
Major ShockIn 2011 (I had turned 19), I learnt from my father that my mother had a celebral tumor. The doctors only gave her five more months to live. This message came totally unexpected, it hit me to the core and I still remember that this was the moment when I said to God: »God, I don't need you anymore. You don't help me and now you are even taken away the people I love!« That moment I decided to live life my way. It didn't take long and I started to expose all my frustration and disappointment at parties thinking: »Finally I am free!«
On my way to the dogsAfter a couple of months, parties became boring to me - I looked for more. I came across Marihuana, Extasy and other chemical drugs. From a once-a-week fun to pimp parties, they became indispensable remedies which became vital for me to cope with everyday life. I lost my job, because I just didn't turn up anymore. On top of this my parents chucked me out on my ear after they found out that I had stolen money from them. Bit by bit I lost everything that used to be important to me.
I didn't realize what happened and that I was trapped in a vicious circle where I couldn't get out by myself. Being trapped in my world, I believed that I was in control! I headed more and more for the drug scene and met more people who moved about this scene. I constantly had to be with people, for I couldn't be with myself and my thoughts for one minute. Every time I was by myself, I realized that I had thrown away all my good intents and goals in only three years and now I had nothing!
The DecisionAs usual, I met with my girlfriend to buy the amount of drugs we would need to make it through the day. On our way to the dealer, a thought crossed my mind that revealed to me where I was at: »If you don't stop abusing drugs and change your life, you will still sit here at the age of 30 with the same people and do the same.«
Today I know that in that moment the Holy Spirit spoke to me. However, back then I was so shocked by the idea that at age 30 I might still be in this condition. I knew that I had to do something ... now, because at age 30 I wanted to stand with both feet strong in life and not in this drug swamp.
Everything newI decided to go for a Christian rehab. That's how I came to House Wiedenhof in Lüdenscheid. Everything in my life became brand new! That's where God gave me a new life and revealed to me that he truly has hope and a good future for everyone.
I experienced forgiveness in ways as never before. However, the greatest was this: I got to know the Holy Spirit and he gave me a vision for my life. Over a period of time a new love for the nations came into my being, and this love made me go to the Revival School one year later.
The nations are waiting!God provided me with everything I needed. Not only in Lüdenscheid - I could even do an outreach to Manila which was one of the biggest miracles for me. Two years before that my life was one big mess and I didn't have anything ... and now I experienced that nothing is impossible with God!
On this outreach God spoke to me that he wanted to send me to missions that it wasn't the last time that I had gone to the nations. I experienced his guidance in every single situation and everything that I have ever dreamt of as a child suddenly became real. The year after I moved on. God sent me to the Revival School on the move where I spent six months in the nations (Mongolia, China, Philippines) and he gave me an even greater vision for my life.
God's love overwhelms me over and over again and he shows me that he has made EVERYTHING new. He showed me that his ways and plans are so much better than mine! He has called me to go to the nations ... and I will go.
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How to get to the mission field?»We do not need to pray any longer »Lord, send me!« - for he has sent us already. Rather our prayer should be, »Lord, where shall I go?« The nations are waiting for you! When are you going?« After Walter Heidenreich made this altar call at Burning Hearts, people ran to the cross willing to surrender their lives to God in order to fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus: Go into all the world and make disciples in all the nations ... (Matthew 28:19)
Among the 2,000 participants in the conference were some 100% determined to immediately get the hang of it. »There was power. I couldn't but run to the cross. Back home from the conference, I asked myself of how I should into practice what I said Yes to«, shared Harry. Suddenly he came across the Manila outreach. He talked things over with his family and employer and then saw miracle after miracle happening.
Werner & Karin knew that God wanted them to go to the nations in 2018. »We talked to our emplayers and colleagues and slamed open doors.« Well, actually their annual vacation was already over ... but God ... doors opened wide for them. In Werner's case, his colleagues collected their overtime and put them in his favour.
Leos and Jana are from the Czech Republic and were deeply impacted by thw power of God and the work of the Holy Spirit at the venue. The alter call was like an initial ignition, for their hearts have been burning for missions for a long time ... only they didn't know what to do with this fire.
Janika was so captivated by Jesus' love for the Filipinos. Her original plan was to do the outreach and then stay on for a couple of months in order to do Mission live. But then everything changed ...
Click here and watch the review of Burning Hearts 2018 or click to this link and watch indivisual sessions on God TV on demand.
»God, what are you doing with us?«We asked this question on several occasions. Outreach started the first night - we went to a college. So many young people:
»I talked to a girl who wasn't really open. However, God had given me something for her thus I continued to talk. A young man joined our little group, stood there and listened. When he heard me speak about the Holy Spirit, he burst out with the question, »Do you know the Holy Spirit?« He had a thousand questions. They just bubbled out of him. That night he had an encounter with the Holy Spirit and surrendered his life to Jesus. We were in awe ... such hunger for the Holy Spirit. It was so easy, so beautiful of how this young man as well as others gave their lives to Jesus.« (Ilona)
Two days later we set out for a mountain outreach. We went to a tribe that lives very primitively and disclosed. The people are poor, many are sick. It took us two hours by car, two hours of hiking up and down mountains, we walked through mud, climbed over trees and walked through troubled waters ... and then we finally arrived. What an adventure! When we entered the village, two little children came our way. Upon seeing us they started to cry and ran off. Never before have they seen white people ...
Like in the movies
»We had a powerful worship time in that village. The presence of the Holy Spirit settled in and we prayed for the people of Amipas that were around that afternoon. What God has done here, can only be seen in Christian documentaries. The Holy Spirit touched almost everyone. I prayed for a 40-year-old man who had a stroke and was since hemiplegic. Over the years, he has developed a technique to drag himself along by means of a cane or stick. Besides being hemiplegic, his hands and feet were bent inwards. Kuya F and I laid hands on him - we prayed for healing and a miracle ... And then we saw what seemed to be impossible: The man started to move his limbs. Strength flooded his body, he could lift his paralyzed arm and bring his inwardly bent hand and food into a normal position again. He walked without a stick, and was able to feely move his limbs ... and he said good-bye with a strong handshake. When I turned around on our way back, I saw him walking very fast - WITHOUT a stick.« (Harry)
The deaf hear, the lame walk
One week later in the park: We worshiped and it seemed that the Holy Spirit was hovering over the place. People were so open. Suddenly, Harry ran after a man who was walking on a cane ...
»This man had a broken ellbow in a cast. He was in pain. When praying for him, the pain left and in addition his damaged hearing got healed, too. Another elderly man was in pain and had arthrosis in his knees, and he also had a damaged hearing. Again, when we prayed the pain left and he could hear again. However, then I had this one special encounter: Since she was little, this woman was sitting in a wheelchare. Her legs compared to the size of her body seemed to be too small, too thin and powerless. To this day she never stood on her legs. Why? She didn't know ... It seemed to me that Jesus wanted to touch her as a testimony for others. I prayed several times over her and all the time she sensed that something changed in her. »Get up from your wheelchair.« She looked at me with bewilderment, but then she took a bold step out of her wheelchair. For the first time in her life she stood for 10 seconds on her own legs ...«
Outreach with Consequences
God is good - God is simply good - God is always good! So what shall we say? We could tell you testimonies on end of what God has done throughout this outreach ... However, the best part of this outreach is that six of the nine participants are taking steps to go to missions alongside the Holy Spirit to bring in the harvest:
During the outreach, we also went for three days to Tondo - the most conjested area of this world. Poverty, sickness and crime prevail here. This is no place that Europeans would choose for a living. »When walking through Tondo and seeing the needs of the people, we strongly sensed that his is holy ground. God has graved this place into our hearts and we will go back there.« Werner & Karin are getting ready to go to Manila and share with everybody where they go, what they are about to do and why they are doing this.
»Right from the start of the outreach, someone in Manila said to me: Janika, you should attend the REVIVAL SCHOOL in Lüdenscheid. Well, that wasn't my plan. I wanted to do the outreach and then proceed with Mission live. I followed my plan, however, suddenly God clearly spoke to me about going to Lüdenscheid and doing the REVIVAL SCHOOL on the Move.« In the end of January, Janika packed her staff and departed from Manila at +25°C, arriving a couple of hours later in Germany at only -5°C. From the airport she went straight to the Wislade in Lüdenscheid ... and from here she will go to Mongolia, to the Philippines and to another nation in the beginning of May ...
Leos' and Jana's spouses and families are very good friends. They visit the same church, spend vacation and weekends together and they harbour the same passion to go to missions. Both families came for Burning Hearts 2018 to Lüdenscheid. Back in their homecountry, they quit their jobs and went on outreach. Unfortunately, they couldn't go as families, thus Leos and Jana were sent by them. In Manila, the mission fire was poked and their hearts were burning with love for the Philippines ... Now, they are looking for options to go to missions as families. Next steps are already in the making.
And Harry ... »I don't know which path God is leading me ... Since this outreach, God have become more alive for me. I experienced him as a loving, givin and real Father. I sense that he wants to make his kingdom visible here on earth. All glory and honour is unto Him. Thank you, Jesus.«
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GET READY»In 1996, I was one of thousands of participants of the GET READY conference in Switzerland (hosted by HELP International and a Swiss church movement). At some point in the conference, an altar call for people to go to various nations was made. Well, I have never had anything to do with missions or foreign nations and thought that it had nothing to do with me. I was sitting amidst the conference with an open heart. Nation after nation was named, and I was just sitting there listening ... until someone said: »China!« Immediately I started to tremble. Back then, Dennis Balcome gave us following advice: »If you have heard a nation and your heart trembles, however, you cannot go right now due to your situation, then start to get involved with that nation, start to pray for that nation. Don't skip everything that you are doing at the moment. Don't quit your training and don't deny your qualifications and talents. Be faithful in the here and now and walk step by step towards your destiny.«
Divine Business Plan»In those days I studied BA (business administration) and conciously decided not to suddenly quit everything and become a missionary or change to studying social work. Rather, I focused my BA studies on China (Management in Asia). God miraculously made a way for me to do my Ph.D. in China's banking system, and over a period of three years I was lecturer for East Asian studies at the university. During that time I went twice to China for study purposes. At Beijing Airport I promised God that I will take his calling over my life serious and that I will go back to China.«
About closed ...»My life's path took many curves and I had to face many challenges. It seemed that my dream to go to China, my vision were buried. Over a couple of years, God allowed my life to be shattered, I went through crisis after crisis, suffered rejection, but I also experienced guidance and healing, God shaped my character and divinely provided for me. I accumulated lots of experience in all kinds of areas. I learnt to listen to the Holy Spirit's voice, to trust in him and experienced that he empowers and comforts over and over again. Even though China was still on my heart, it felt like the doors were firmly closed.«
... and open doors»In the beginning of 2017, I hit bottom of my life ... and it was just then that God highlighted my dream to go to China. I literally woke up from a lethargy and started to focus on where to find a job that evolved around China. Well, no chance if you cannot prove job experience in China. After a short while I found an employment ad of the GIZ in Beijing. They accepted my application - it was as if God himself pushed me in and gave me favor. Only a couple of months later I started to work in my new job. I believe that God has a commission for me ...«
Seed and Harvest»This whole thing is still a miracle to me - I can hardly believe that all of this actually happened. In Beijing, I attended an international service and had the impulse to donate this money to you as a »first fruit«, because you initially sowed the seed. I am so thankful to you all! This seed sprouted 21 years later ... it took a while, but I believe that every single step in my life was meant for preparation!«
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After my exam as a nurse I asked God for the next step in my life. For a long time, India has been on my heart, so I decided to do an outreach after my exam. However, before going to India I wanted to go for three months as volunteer to HELP in Manila and work among children, for my vision is to serve street kids in India. Thus, I planned to go for three months to the Father's House in Manila and after for three weeks to India.
SurpriseI learnt a lot about missions during my time in the Father's House, and I also asked God to lead me into the next season. To my surprise, God spoke to me about Manila becoming my new home. I was really surprised and asked God again and again if this means he wants me to serve him in Manila for a longer period of time. Whenever I asked him, I had peace in my heart. But I really wanted to know for sure. Therefore, I asked God to confirm this important step through words from people, but I didn't talk to anyone about this. Two days later, the leaders of the Father's House asked me if I want to become staff. To me this was the confirmation that I asked for.
India is still on my heart, but seemingly God's ways are different from mine ...
Walking on WaterIch darf lernen, Dinge, Freundschaften, Familie loszulassen und mich ganz abhängig von ihm zu machen. Während eines Gottesdienstes schenkte Gott mir ein ganz neues Bild von Mission. Mission bedeutet, voll Sehnsucht ihm hinterherzulaufen in das Erntefeld der Nationen.
Back in Germany, I miss the Philippines very much and I know, that this is the nation that God calls me to in this coming season. Right now I am getting ready to go - I want to follow Jesus walking on water. I am privileged to learn to let go of things, friendships, family and to totally depend on God alone. During one worship service, God showed me a picture that broadened my view about missions. Missions is to love Jesus and to pursuit him, to run after him into the harvest field of the nations.
Picture and PoemAlongside the picture, I also wrote a poem:
Let us run
Over the waters, into the unknown,
until the ends of the earth,
she follows HIM.
Wherever HE goes, she will follow,
close to HIM,
to be with HIM.
HE runs from city to city,
from country to country,
from nation to nation - she follows.
For without HIM she dosen´t want to be,
without HIM she can not be,
So she runs faster and faster
to reach and get hold of HIM.
What HE wants, she wants
Bringing nations to the Father
is her heart cry
Therefore, she runs faster and faster
and leaves footprints of love,
because it's love that makes her run
She is longing for HIM,
and never stops running.
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A country that was at that time undeveloped, hygienically suspicious, and for a small child like me rather unsafe. Who would have thought that only two years later my parents and I would be sitting in an airplane again with nothing but a one-way-ticket to Mongolia? In winter 1998 at -43°C we arrived in Ulaanbaatar (the capital of Mongolia). I had the privilege to grow up as a missionary child.
»Lord, here I am, send me!«Already as a child I was decided to follow Jesus and was baptized at the age of sic. For me it was clear: I will go to mssions one day! A normal life, in the sense of getting married, buying a house and having children was not an option for me. One question I kept asking God was: »Why do I have to go to school?« I had heard a story of a man who was used by God in mighty ways without being able to read nor write. I was convinced that God could use me without me graduating school. I am still convinced that God is not dependent on our skills and knowledge ... Hallelujah!
The feeling of having to wait for so long, even though there was this deep desire to go to missions made me frustrated. I was determined to follow Jesus but especially during my teenager years this decision was tested. Yes, I wanted to follow Jesus, but on the other side the world seemed to have more adventure to offer.
Jesus or the world?After finishing high school in Mongolia, I went to Switzerland to get a high school degree that is accepted in Europe. So I moved to Switzerland at the age of 16 without my parents and my younger sister. A complete new life started - new friends, new culture, new school system. I felt like a complete foreigner in my own country. Where was God in all of this? Had he left me as well?
I started asking myself if God really existed or if it was just a nice fairytale my parents had told me? I was pulled back and forth. I knew I had heard the voice of God as a child, however, I was now standing in front of making a decision: Jesus or the World? How was I supposed to know if Jesus was really alive and the only true God if I never tried out anything else? I started going my own way, started drinking alcohol, smoking and going to parties with friends. There was such an emptiness in me. I tried to fill it but fact was that it got worse and worse. I had lost hope and all vision, but I didn’t want to come running back to Jesus only because I didn’t feel well. No, I couldn’t continue the way I was living with one foot in the world and trying to believe in Jesus.
I decided that I didn’t want anything to do with Jesus anymore, at least I thought so. I decided to tell my parents my decision after Christmas (2013), since I didn’t want to ruin the peaceful Christmas time. However, it never came to that point. During the Christmas service at church I encountered God and he gave me such a deep peace. I knew that God was not a fairytale but that he was real and that I wanted to follow him radically and without compromise. Jesus gave me new life, life that only he can give, life that comes from the inside out.
»Never say never again!«A year later I came to Lüdenscheid to join the Revival School. My plan was to stay for three month, however, I ended up staying two years. During that time God started speaking about nations and missions again. At a certain point the Holy Spirit asked me: »Salome, do you really believe that I have called you to go the nations or is it just a phrase for you?« I had to admitted that I didn’t really have faith that I would ever go to missiona, it all felt so far away. I told God my issue and was able to experience how he changed my heart. Today I can say full of faith that I know that God has called me to go to the nations, to bring hope to those who have no hope, to be a light in the darkest places of this earth.
Yes, you and I are called to go to the ends of the earth. We are called to be people who bring hope. We are the hands and feet of Jesus to a hungry and broken world.
During my time at the Revival School, God stared speaking about Thailand, a place I never wanted to go. But God gave me a heart and love for the Thai people. Right now, I am still in Germany. I have started studying »Social Work«, something I never would have chosen to do. »Never say never again«, because when God comes into your life, he turns our planes and ideas upside down. My focus hasn’t changed, I see this time as a time of preparation to go to Thailand.
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