After our last ARME Bible Camp, we've had a flood of invitations and requests, for more camps, for more locations...and especially for the Prayer team, to come and assist with different events around the country. Andrews University with Dwight Nelson's team at Pioneer Memorial Church collaborated with us to assist them in hosting a 10-day (all day) Prayer room during Lee Venden's revival series, "It's all about Jesus." Then after we started planning that, we got a request from Jerry and Janet Page (Jerry is now Ministerial Association Director at the GC), to come and do a Prayer Room during this year's GC annual council. At the same time, we also got a request from Amazing Facts to assist them with their MIQ Youth Revival series that Doug Batchelor was doing.
To back up and give some history, our ministry team has just been blown away as we are seeing God's spirit poured out more and more as we've bonded together in united prayer. We're seeing marriages healed, people freed from years of bitterness, children falling in love with God and with prayer, parents praying for their children and seeing answers...and on and on. It's just like the flood gate of Heaven has opened and there is not room enough to contain the blessings!
Anyway, several weekends ago - Oct 2nd to be exact - my friend Kim and I were attending some meetings in Southern Oregon. In a break between sessions, I started talking to Kim about prayer and about the amazing things we've been seeing happen in the prayer room at ARME. "Kim!" I said, "Wouldn't it be sooooo amazing and wonderful if we could get our entire church into this kind of united prayer...where they made it a part of every church service, and a part of every prayer meeting! Just imagine the blessings God would pour out..."
Well 2 days later I got a call from Janet Page at the GC, my friend and prayer mentor that has hugely impacted my life over the last few years. It was all rather last minute by now, but she said she felt impressed by God to ask anyway! So she asked if there was ANY way our team could come lead a prayer room at the GC. (And it wasn't just her that was wanting it, even Ted and Nancy Wilson - our current GC president, had said they wanted us to come!) She had asked our team earlier, but at that point, it was unclear on the dates, or we thought it might be the same time as the Andrews event we were already scheduled for, and we didn't think we could send anyone. However, as she called again, expressing the need, and that she needed people NOW - I knew it was something we had to make work. So, the plan was formed, tickets were purchased, and within 24 hours I was on a plane to Washington DC to our church's world headquarters. What I didn't realize was, that these meetings she was asking us to help with, were NOT just normal church meetings. They were the yearly Annual council where the leaders of the entire SDA church from all over the world come together! (About 300 delegates, presidents, and conference officials all in all! We are talking about what most people would call "all the big guys!") She wanted us to lead a joint morning prayer time for about 40 minutes before each morning session, and then host a prayer room that would be open all day. So, still very naieve and not comprehending the full scope of things, I arrived and set to work to organize and help her get things going.
The first morning prayer session, we had over 80 people in attendance for the prayer time. And while people didn't flood the prayer room (after all, they had many important meetings going on), they did come. Leaders, presidents, church officials, even the local janitor and GC staff. Sometimes they stayed for the full hour, sometimes only a few minutes, but there was much confessing, weeping, and pleading for the Holy Spirit. It was beautiful! Some came back again and again!
On top of this, I was asked to interview with Mark Finley on Sabbath and share about how God had been blessing the prayer room. This was Sabbath morning, right before Elder Ted Wilson gave his Sabbath address. I not only got to share about the miracles God had been doing, but I got to share our vision for the leaders to be united in prayer...it was amazing. Afterwards, many told me how much they'd been touched...even Mrs. Paulson. However, it wasn't until it was all over that the reality of what had just happened sunk in...and I realized that the "vision" I had shared with Kim the week before, about getting our church excited about prayer, was actually taking place before my very eyes! And God had allowed US (of all people) to be part of it! Wow!!!!
As the meetings continued we all got to witness as Ted Wilson's Revival and Reformation team shared a document that I believe will forever change the church. It was a document calling people back to repentance, back to true humility, and back to the original purpose God has given all of us in His Word. As Elder Wilson kept saying, this is not to criticize leadership that has been before, but the simple truth is....Jesus has not come back yet. It's time we did something different and really got serious about putting ALL on the line for Him!!!!
I couldn't stay for the entire event, but God blessed us with a wonderful prayer team. Sarah Rouse and her mom, plus my friend Kim (who I mentioned earlier) were able to join me and were a huge support as part of the prayer team at the GC. Dave Steward joined as well. Unfortunately, I could not stay to see the event finish, but after being at the GC for 5 days, I had to leave and fly to Andrews to assist with the 10 day prayer event that was already taking place there. Martin and Melissa and their team had already been doing a wonderful job, but Melissa had to fly to Philippines to start more Prayer Events there....so I took her place. So....wow....from one prayer room to another, across the country we go! (Below is a picture of our prayer team at Andrews.)
Andrews was a great experience as well. We had the prayer room open 14 hours a day, and each hour we would start a new session. Many stayed for hours at a time. One girl, Kandi, we saw changed from a spirit of absolute enragement at God to actually praising Him and seeking Him. She was a complete miracle!!! Many other miracles occurred, as people joined together in prayer, praising, confessing, and seeking God with all their hearts. Over the course of this event we saw over 1,300 people come through the prayer room....and many decisions for Christ were made. All the glory to Him!!!!
Finally, it was over. There were tears as many did not want to see the prayer room closed. We didn't want to leave. But most of our team lives all around the country, so it has to lay in the hands of the Andrews Community to keep things going. And as a result, we did see other prayer groups and teams formed. Praise the Lord!
I thought I was coming back to Oregon, to finally catch my breath, be available for my famiLEE, and actually enjoy living in my new apartment. But while in Chicago, mid way home, I got a call from the president of the Southern-Africa Indian Ocean division. His is the fastest growing division in the SDA church with already 2.5 million members. And it's no wonder because he and his team are people of prayer!!!!! Anyway, we had met at the GC, and he was really excited and supportive of what we are doing with the prayer team as they have been doing similar things in his division. But he wants MORE of it! And so he was calling to ask me if I and a prayer partner, could come to South Africa to do the same thing we had done at the GC for their year end meetings. Evidently they have the leadership representing about 23 countries coming together to make decisions and plans, and he is in earnest that prayer be even more a part of things. As he talked, I knew it was a great opportunity with the possibility of impacting MANY more people with the importance of united prayer. However, the hitch was...the meetings are next week!!! Gulp, swallow..."God, I don't know if I can afford to take off again so soon! I need strength, I have familee obligations and needs I should be here for, I'm already behind on so much with ARME....I haven't worked in weeks, I need money to pay bills!" At first I told Pastor Paul that I didn't see how I could do it, but I told him I'd pray about it. After talking with our team, and a prayer mentor, I felt convicted, regardless of my personal needs, plans or inconveniences, we needed to put these things aside and just go!!! Deep breath!!
So….in less than 3 days, I will be flying with my partner team for Johannesburg South Africa. With travel time, I will be gone almost 2 weeks...
I can only shake my head and marvel...and I'm reminded of my teammate Melissa's words from a few weeks back, "Melody - God is telling us... Catch up to me, catch up to me! You are on the right track, but I have so much for you to do! You are behind, catch up to me!" Wow - what more God?! Where are you taking us, where are you taking me?
On the flight from Chicago back to Portland, after we got out of the city lights, I looked out my airplane window and was awe struck to see the constellation of the "Big Dipper" right out my window over the airplane's wing. It was HUGE...so HUGE, it was as if sitting on the airplane's wing! Bigger than I had ever seen it before. It was beautiful....as I looked in amazement, a shooting star came out of the sky overhead and shot right into the big dipper. It was such a beautiful site, I continued to stare...and as I did, it's as IF I heard God's voice in my ear... "Melody...if you trust me...if you keep walking with me, if you and your team continue to follow me with surrendered hearts and on your knees in prayer...I have heaven's blessings that I will pour out upon you. You see how much this Big Dipper holds? It's only a small portion of what I want to pour out of heaven upon you!"
My mind ran wild with what this means to God...cause if you think about it, if you hold up one finger against the night sky, you are shutting out "supposedly" about 10 billion galaxies. Just imagine the billions and trillions and qua-trillions of galaxies contained in the spanse of the Big Dipper...?? It's un-comprehendable...
My mind went back to a couple of my favorite verses:
"Ah Lord God, behold thou hast made the Heaven and the Earth by thy great power and stretched out thine arm, and there is nothing too hard for you." Jer 32:17
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways. For as the the heaven's are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isa 55:8,9
"Prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of Heaven and pour out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it." Mal 3:10
The whole 4 hour flight back to Portland, I kept resting, then pressing my face back to the window to see if the Big Dipper was STILL there. I couldn't sleep....my mind was so filled with worship and praise to my King. The Big Dipper stayed there over the right wing, unmoving, the whole flight home! It was amazing...
So...it's been three weeks now since I made that simple statement, sharing my vision (God's vision) with Kim to get the church into united prayer. And in these past three weeks God has opened the doors for us to work with the entire church leadership at the GC, with Andrews University, and is now opening the doors for us to work with multiple countries and conferences all over the world. Even as I type this...our own Melissa is in the Philippines leading prayer rooms and seeing many lives changed!
It's only been a little over a year since ARME began, and 6 months ago that we started the "all day Prayer Room" - and yet...as our prayer team has spent this past summer traveling to churches, camp meetings, done training at Amazing Facts, and worked with youth groups all over...God truly is saying, "You think you are going fast, but actually you are slooooow! Catch up to me! Catch up!"
Honestly, I don't even understand WHY He's giving us the honor to be used in such ways for Him. We are nobody's in human perspective, just Christians on a journey...seeking to get people into the Bible and into prayer...and yet I feel like we have touched fire to dynamite! And I'm realizing our God is big...and He is up to something BIG...much bigger than us...much bigger than any of us dreamed, envisioned or planned!!! And why? Because He is coming soon...
I'm just so thankful to be on this journey with Him! "HOW GREAT is our GOD!"
*Endnote: As you might have noticed, we weren't able to get a team together to assist with MIQ, but are hoping as we get more prayer partners on board, we will be able to send out multiple prayer teams all over the country at the same time in the future. So continue to pray for us. And pray for me and Shanter, my prayer partner, as we travel to South Africa. And pray for Melissa and her partners, as she continues to reach people in the Philippines!
To see more pictures of our Prayer team's time with the GC and Andrews, please click HERE! To see my interview at the GC with Mark Finley sharing about the prayer room, click HERE! :-)