Vision & Prayer for 2012
I’ll begin by wishing you a very belated Happy New Year!
I had hoped to have this out much earlier, but the things I’ve been praying about and working on for 2012 for several weeks just began to take shape in the past few days. A lot is happening with much more coming. I’m rejoicing in victories and praying for greater breakthrough!
Two weeks ago we had our first gathering of 2012 with the Ojai group “Eagles Nest” that is focused on raising up prayer groups in each city in Ventura County and networking them for prayer and collaboration. I was able to bring a couple of new people from Simi Valley for the first time. We’re very encouraged to see how this has grown and expanded over the past year. In addition to our prayer gatherings in Ojai we’ve been able to come alongside Mayor Sylvia Munoz Schnopp in Port Hueneme, host a “God, Gold & Glory” seminar in Ojai with Henry & Grace Felany (who’s written a book about revival in California under that title), join Pastor Adelita Garza at the Puente de Vida Church in Santa Paula praying with her leaders & church as well prayer walking parts of the city with them. Several of the group also attended our Reconciliation in the City events in Ventura & Fillmore. We sense this will be a year of significant growth and effectiveness and we endeavor to see Jesus’ Kingdom expand.
Last week we had our first 2012 Regional IRC/YWAM Ventura County gathering with John & Julie Dawson. We had a great turnout and representation of Pastors, Ministry Leaders, Intercessors and Market Place people. J&J’s son David was here from Brazil and shared about their ministry with YWAM, Church Planting and networking leaders and ministries into more of a community model than a denominational or business model. There’s a growing overlap between the Ojai group, this VCG group and other networks in Ventura County and the same kind of community spirit of love & unity are beginning to emerge. At the same time many are going through times of real testing: One has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, two have peripheral neuropathy, one sister has just been diagnosed with breast cancer so we took time to lift them before the Lord.
At our last Reconciliation in the City event in Fillmore in November we divided up into prayer groups and spread out to pray for the different spheres of influence in the city. Our team was tasked with praying for the old migrant worker homes and the Sespe Monument aka the Kneeling Chumash. It started as a large dead tree that the city cut down years ago and was going to dispose of. When the local Chumash heard about it they asked if they could carve it into a memorial to the Chumash. We took our drums & bibles and sang, read scripture and prayed for the people of the land and the wounded history. We continued down the street to the old migrant housing camp and as we were praying there a young guy drove up, came over and asked who we were and what we were doing. His name is Ben and he’s full-blood Chumash and he had seen us drumming and singing at the Kneeling Chumash. He was guardedly open yet friendly and shared about some of what’s going on in the Chumash Community in our area.
Fern Noble (Cree from Alberta Canada – but lives in SoCal) prayed for Ben, blessed him and gave a small financial gift toward one of their upcoming events. In the past couple of weeks I’ve finally established email/phone contact with Ben and feel a new door is opening for reconciliation and healing with the Chumash. The next morning a gentle rain fell on the land and Fern felt it was a sign of blessings & fruitfulness to come. One team member, Jamey, a Foursquare Pastor, is on the Fillmore City Council. The monument is really run down and in serious need of a facelift. Jamey has received permission and some funding from the City to refurbish it with the assistance of Ben and the Chumash people. God is GOOD!
You may recall that in January 2010 I went to Ft. Wayne, Indiana for a “Restoring Ancient Gates” gathering focused on reconciliation between the Churches of Ft. Wayne and the Indiana Miami Tribe. Terry & Darlene, RainSong, were the ones who organized that. They’ve recently moved to Arizona and we’ve invited them to come in March to minister at CLC (they were here in 2009) but also to get acquainted with the Chumash people and help us prepare for a second, “Restoring Ancient Gates” type of event, which they would help us lead in September or October where the church in Simi Valley can begin to address this ancient wound through repentance & reconciliation.
The Simi Valley Praying Pastors, which I helped to start back in 1995, began as an effort to unite the Church to more effectively share the gospel with our community. In the first few years there was a lot of vision, and partnering together in prayer, worship and outreach. Over the years it became difficult to sustain. Some who were part of the core vision have moved on and, in one case, died and there weren’t enough hands to pick up the load. It’s a great group of guys who really enjoy praying together each week but no one was ready to take on another task. In recent months several new younger pastors have come to SV and joined the group and suddenly things are beginning to stir again. For some time I’ve had a desire to start a monthly Reconciliation Prayer Gathering with representatives of all the Churches & Ministries coming together to pray for our City & County but, until now, felt a check in my spirit – it just didn’t seem the timing was right. Yesterday I finally felt the release to share about both the Prayer Gathering as well as the “Restoring Ancient Gates” conference and I was about blown over by their enthusiastic response and desire to help and participate.
I continue to work with Shawn & Valoreena Moir planting a Messianic Congregation here in SV. Chazon (vision, revelation, Word of the Lord) began in October and we’re excited to be taking baby steps to reach the Jewish community. Deep End is weekly bible study which has been going for a little over a year. I’ve helped lead worship & the bible study on several occasions. We’ve had 2 people come to Yeshua, one a young gentile guy who got a good start but is now struggling a bit. The second is a middle age Jewish woman who’s had a true conversion experience, is growing strong in the Lord and the Word. She was baptized earlier this month! PTL!!
Since late November I’ve been in an intense spiritual battle. As all this began to come into focus the past few days I got understanding of the nature of the conflict. I’ve had a deep sense of expectancy for 2012 yet realize it will only come about with deep intimacy with Jesus and prevailing prayer. May Jesus be Glorified!
With deep gratitude for your love, prayers and support!
In His Shalom,
North American Coordinator
International Reconciliation Coalition