Entries tagged with “Secret Church”.

This weeks Secret Church conference deep in the interior bush of Kenya, was a setting surrounded by God’s creation from the plants, bushes, trees and flowers to the unique sounds of the birds.

This week’s Secret Church Conference

Yet, the greatest blessing was spending time with Gods people there.

People who have lived their entire life, toiling the soil for their daily bread. Living day in and day out surrounded in this peaceful part of Gods world.

In the years I’ve been serving here taking Gods Word to the remote areas, I’ve been told many times that I am the first missionary to come and stay overnight with the people in their villages. That other missionaries come and will only stay during the day, and then they return to a hotel for the nighttime.

I did not set out to be different from other missionaries. In all reality, I didn’t know I should consider whether or not to stay in the bush. I thought that was why I came to Africa, to reach those yet not reached.

Its not easy or the most comfortable thing to stay in the bush in a hut for several nights. Yes, you sleep with lots of different things around you; chickens, snakes, rats and lizards. You most often sleep light because of what might decide to spend the night with you.

You don’t shower the whole time you’re there because showering means you have to go outside to do so. Outside with some sort of shoe that doesn’t matter if it gets wet, yet, will expose your feet to things like the parasites I just healed from, although the parasites I had that made their home in my feet came from a mattress not the ground).

You don’t have clean water, so you eat only what you’ve brought and drink only bottled water.¬†You walk a very fine line in not offending by not eating the food prepared for you, as hospitality is a great gift from the interior bush peoples.

For those days, there is no toilet, only a hand dug latrine. Believe me, I have become very creative in ways to have privacy when needing to relieve myself. I’ll spare you the details ūüôā

Although as I’ve described it’s not easy, yet it has been one of the most rewarding things I have experienced as a missionary. You come to a much better understanding of the people you are serving when you sleep in their homes. The night hours before bedtime are wonderful as they sit around and share about their lives. It’s the most personal time of the entire week.

It amazes me that everywhere I have gone I hear the same words, “You are the only one that has ever come and stayed with us in our homes”.¬†Last year I stayed in this same village in the same home as the year before. I spent this week with the same people I spent time with last year. This is something we’ve been doing this entire year. Every Secret Church conference has been held back in the same area as it was last year. This was intentional on our part as our desire was to build on the foundation of the first teachings last year.

This was the story I was told this time.¬†While there last year, the villagers hearts were more open to the Secret Church teachings simply because I became one of them while I was there. In times past, other missionaries had come through and the villagers were polite and open to their messages, yet because they wouldn’t stay with them they did not take seriously what was taught. In the past year after our time there, sound doctrine from Pastor Platts teaching had been taken very seriously; much spiritual growth had taken place.

The additional words that were added on this week were: “You were the first to come and stay with us, and now you are the first to return to stay with us. No one has ever come and taught us, then returned to teach us more. The teachings from Pastor Platt that you have brought to us, changed our lives forever and will change the generations coming behind us.”

Friends, at this moment God wrapped His loving arms around me and I knew through His grace and His goodness I had accomplished what He sent me here to do.

For some time now I have known God was calling me back to the states once I finished the scheduled for this year. I’ve not questioned His directions, although there have been times when I’ve second guessed myself, wondering if I have accomplished His plans and purposes.

You see, when you serve in a dark place spiritually like Africa, you are constantly aware of the spiritual needs around you. It’s overwhelming to think you can truly make a difference because the need is so great.

Hearing those words that the generation we were blessed to bring the teachings to, committed to seeing the generations coming behind them be taught the truth. This was confirmation that my time here is coming to a close as there are hundreds of villagers now throughout Kenya coming behind our work here, continuing on.

Until just a couple of weeks ago I thought I would finish our Secret Church conference schedule, then as previously planned, work with an unreached group for the remainder of my time here this year. Yet, the door of working with this unreached group has closed completely.

In just a month, I will finish our Secret Church conference schedule and leave Kenya to return home, where I will serve my family and the Lord wherever He tells me to serve.

In the weeks ahead I would ask you to pray for me as each week at every conference I have to say good-bye to those I’ve grown to love here.

When you pray, please thank God for those who have made our work here possible. Pastor Platt and the entire Radical (Secret Church) team, as well as each one of you that have faithfully prayed and/or financially supported me these 3 years.

Pray that I will have godly wisdom and discernment in hearing/seeing and knowing God’s next steps for me once I am stateside. This season of my life is ending, but God is by no means finished with me.

This won’t be my last update, however I wanted to be sure and let everyone know of the upcoming changes where you can be praying.

Also, I have a couple of other prayer request. Please be in prayer for my son Bryan, grandson Stephen and the Blackshear Place team leaving out on a mission trip later this week to Argentina. This will be my grandsons first international mission trip.

Please pray for my lifelong friend that I grew up with, Deborah Mitchell Plott. She was diagnosed with breast cancer this week. As per her request please pray in agreement for complete healing; for there to be no cancer anywhere else in her body; for her blood pressure to regulate and for no anxiety.

Deborah is a precious friend, a godly woman that I’ve always loved. Please add her to your daily prayer list as well as your church/Sunday School prayer list.

As a reminder, don’t forget the Secret Church 13 simulcast is this Friday, March 29th. You are invited to participate at my home church, Blackshear Place, as well as First Baptist Woodstock, or check the website radical.net for other locations and listings. Pastor Tom and his wife Beatrice will be spending the night with me as we watch live from Kenya. Of course for us it will be 2am – 8am with the time difference!

Love to all,

Joy Breedlove

Missionary-East Africa

All of you who faithfully read my e-mail and blog updates know of my involvement with something called Secret Church. With a new simulcast coming up on March 29th, I thought it would be a good time to explain exactly what Secret Church is. How it has not only impacted my life, but also the lives of the people here in East Africa where I am blessed to serve.

First, some background information in how I became involved with Secret Church and why it is so important to me.

From December 2008 through March, 2009 God completed the last details in opening my eyes and heart to understand His calling for me to be a foreign missionary for the next season of my life.¬†It was not an easy journey simply because I didn’t understand the whole of what God was doing. God only revealed parts of His plans along the way. I had to trust Him, even though He didn’t put all the parts together, until He knew I was ready to accept what His will was.

Prior to and during those months I experienced a time of feeling isolated. Not isolated due to not being around people, but a feeling of being isolated and alone, as I didn’t have anyone in my life that seemed to be walking the same pathway as I was. It was difficult to explain to others something I didn’t quite understand myself.

During those months I began to listen to Dr. David Platts podcast sermons from the church services where he pastors, The Church at Brookhills in Birmingham, Alabama.

From the very first sermon I listened to, I knew God had placed Dr. Platts sermons in my life. Since my struggles began with trying to understand what God was doing in my life, I now had a resource that was helping me. Dr. Platt is a faithful servant of God in speaking truth about what a disciple of Christ is and every believers responsibility in fulfilling the Great Commission.

Secret Church is an event Dr. Platt holds on Good Friday each year at The Church at Brookhills. The evening event consist of 6 hours of in-depth bible study, including praying for persecuted believers in our world, with the prayer focus being a specific people group in a persecuted area.

On Good Friday in 2009 I made my first journey to participate in Secret Church in Birmingham. At this point I already understood God’s call to the mission field. Going to my first Secret Church event put that call into action.

As with each and every Secret Church event, there is a featured speaker mid-way. These individuals speak about their own involvement in serving in or near persecuted areas of our world. At my first Secret Church, the speaker was the only evangelical pastor in the Gaza Strip. He spoke to us about life as a persecuted believer; as a pastor in an area where persecution is intense; about those in his congregation that became Martyrs for standing strong in their faith in Jesus Christ.

When this pastor finished speaking to us, he led us in prayer. A prayer that I will never forget, as that prayer time helped me to see the world I live in completely different than I’d ever seen it before.

While this pastor prayed, my eyes were opened and into my heart came a deeper desire than I’d ever known to understand God and His ways the way this pastor did. I cried out to God, telling Him, God, I want in my relationship with You the depth this pastor has.¬†God very clearly spoke to my heart with His answer and told me that to attain the depth this pastor had attained with Him, it would take my total surrender of all I am, given over to Him completely.

I had already surrendered to His call to go to the mission field before that night. However, that night I gave Him permission to take me wherever He needed to take me, in order for me to have this intimacy with Him as I had seen in this pastor.

4 years later now, there hasn’t been a single moment when I regretted my surrender. God knew what I needed in order to fulfill the desire of my heart to know Him more intimately than ever.

That night not only did I surrender All of me to Him, I made a commitment to become a true disciple maker. I committed to God to do my part. I understood that the Secret Church Bible studies were not just for those who participate that night, but they were to be learned and then retaught. Fulfilling this commitment has been a wonderful journey for me since that night.

Once each Secret Church session is complete, the teachings in video, audio and print format are translated into other languages and sent into persecuted areas of our world. Missionaries like myself and other organizations that serve among persecuted believers are provided with this material where we take it to those we serve.

In April 2011, Lifeway simulcast its first Secret Church event. The Secret Church events had reached a point where The Church at Brookhills could no longer accommodate the thousands of people desiring to attend.

Since that first simulcast, more than 50,000 people from all over the world have participated in each of the Secret Church events.

The next Secret Church simulcast is March 29th. Churches, host homes, etc., are geared up to host the simulcast. Dr. Platts Bible study for this event is: Heaven, Hell and The End of The World. The simulcast is scheduled for 6 pm until midnight (CST).

Although I will be participating 9000 miles away here in Kenya, I would love to invite you to attend the simulcast at my home church, Blackshear Place Baptist Church in Flowery Branch, Georgia. Information is available on our church website at: http://bpbc.com/aboutbpbc/events (Remember that the time will be 7pm until 1am as our church is in eastern standard time zone)

Also you would be welcomed to join the simulcast event at First Baptist Church, Woodstock Georgia. The information about this location can be found at: http://www.fbcw.org/secretchurch/

If you are not in the area of our church or First Baptist Woodstock, please check out the Secret Church website for more information on other areas hosting the simulcast: http://www.radical.net/secretchurch/gatherings/simulcast.html

Now, I know exactly what just came to your mind when you read the time for the simulcast. You thought…oh there is no way I can attend a bible study until midnight! However, I want to encourage you to remember that this event is not about you. It’s about reaching out to and praying for our persecuted brothers and sisters in this world.

Your part is to attend, grow deeper in understanding the Word of God and learn about persecuted believers throughout our world. To have your eyes opened to the realities of what being a Christian is like in other countries. Then, stand in the gap praying along with those surrounding you for the persecuted believers you learn about.

Surely, you can commit 6 hours out of a year to learn, understand and pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who daily wonder if today will be their last day as they choose to serve God faithfully.

Love to all,

Joy Breedlove

Missionary-East Africa

Through all the battles the past few weeks, I am happy to let you know how VICTORIOUS our Heavenly Father has been. This will be a long post….there’s just no way to shortened it. I’m going to start with the most exciting news of all! This is 17 of our new brothers and sisters in Christ!

New Brothers and Sisters in Christ we’ll spend eternity with….

The very first morning I taught last week in Northern Uganda, I taught about salvation. Often here, there is not a clear understanding as many have combined different beliefs from different religions. As my teaching time ended I felt so strongly that some who had been listening might not truly be born again. I never could have imagined the harvest God was reaping.

One by one they stood up…then turned to those around them and shared that they were surrendering their lives to Jesus. What a VICTORIOUS moment as I watched God change them. The rest of the week as I taught, it was a wonderful experience to see them grow as they understood more and more about their new faith in Jesus.

The entire trip brought about much joy as well as much sorrow as I listened to their stories of war time. This is Pastor Julius whom I served with, he is pictured here with his Mother…a precious woman of God.

Pastor Julius and his Mother

Pastor Julius fled about 15 years ago when the rebels came through and were killing everyone. His mother and father stayed behind to try and protect anyone from taking their land. During the raids of the rebels, his Mother was attacked….beaten, put into a shallow grave and left for dead. By the grace of God she did not die and although she is crippled for life, she is happy and praising God for keeping her alive.

Not until last year did Pastor Julius return, he did so to start a church. Now he has 4 church plants up and going. As we drove the countryside, it was different than any other area I have seen in Uganda. One particular stretch we traveled down a dirt road more than 2 hours.

Land with no inhabitants…

All along the way there were no huts or homes, no indication that the lands were populated. I inquired of Pastor Julius as to why it was so empty. He shared that these lands used to hold many families…generations of families, but the war killed most of them and those who didn’t die, fled and have never returned.

He told me a story about this tree.

The rebels killings left many children orphaned

He said on one particular day many people had gathered here where this tree is for some event. The rebels came and slaughtered (his word as he said they slit their throats just like you would slaughter an animal) more than 300 people. They piled all their bodies up under this tree. The dwellings you can see to the right is a small orphanage that was built to house the orphans left.

I met some wonderful people who have suffered more than I could ever imagine surviving. The elderly people at the conference were a joy to my life!

Pastor Julius with one of his elders from his village

I could have spent weeks with them just listening about their lives.

Pastor Julius and his wife Margaret are expecting their first child in a few weeks.

Pastor Julius and Margaret

They are so excited…please pray for her as they have experienced the loss of 3 children in miscarriages. Pastor Julius will be 47 years old on his birthday. Because of the war and having to flee he decided to spend his life serving God in other places. He didn’t think he would ever marry….it seemed impossible because he couldn’t take his bride home. Yet, 3 years ago, God brought Margaret across his path and today they are serving side by side in the village where he grew up. She is a school teacher and her hope is that one day she can start a school there in the village.

In the past few weeks, not only did I make this amazing journey to Northern Uganda, I also had the great privilege of watching both of my Bible Skills Institute classes graduate from their first year. My Busia class excelled in all their work. The lowest GPA was a 80.9. I am so proud of them!

Busia Class

My Lake Victoria class worked very hard and also excelled.

Lake Victoria Class

Their grades were calculated differently and some of their grades were lower than the Busia class, but most importantly they all passed and are now eligible to begin their second year in January.

One of the pastors in the Lake Victoria area, Pastor John Minor doesn’t have legs that work. They hang aimlessly from his body and he walks with his hands. Every week to attend this class he walks with flip-flops on his hands for many miles to learn the bible. Oh what is awaiting him one day in heaven!

Pastor John Minor…precious servant of God….

Also in the past few weeks I’ve had the privilege to take Secret church teachings to the bush! The first time we arrived a little late…as you can see the van got very stuck!

Never a dull day when you’re traveling in the bush!

Oh but what fun we had! This little church had never had anyone come and do any teaching!

Secret Church goes to the bush!

How awesome that their first experience was an in-depth teaching by Pastor Platt!

This past weekend was filled with Secret Church activities. I arrived home from Northern Uganda late on Friday evening. At 2am which was 6 pm time in Birmingham I got up and watched the Secret Church simulcast. What a great lesson was taught. If you did not participate, please check their website as in the days ahead as the podcast will be available. Everyone should invest the 6 hours to watch this particular teaching. It will make a difference in your life and lives of your family.

At 8:00 Saturday morning I took my Busia Bible Skills Institute class with me and traveled down and joined our Lake Victoria class for a day of Secret Church.

Secret Church on the banks of Lake Victoria

The Lake Victoria class had never experienced a Secret Church teaching….now they are anxiously waiting for us to be able to do it again! There wasn’t much sleep for me ….but I was immersed with all that good teaching!

This week I teach Wednesday and Thursday to the Busia district churches. Friday, I finish last minute tasks…and then Saturday I am headed home to be with my family! My schedule next week cleared and there was nothing stopping me from changing my ticket and getting home a week early.

God has been so good and His name has been high and lifted up and I am not complaining….but I am running on empty and need time with my family. When I called Dana to let her know I was coming home early, she was picking up my youngest grandson Isaac from school. I haven’t seen him since he started pre-school and when he talked to me on the phone he spelled his name for me! I miss so much of their lives while I am away, yet I am most thankful to be able to serve the Lord full time and still get to see my family some as well.

This time here has not been as easy as before, and I truly am in need of a break. I look forward to a few weeks of being a Momma and a Mommaw. l will be home until the first of January, so I should be filled up with lots of love by then and be renewed and ready to head back to battlefields here.

Please keep me in your prayers this week as I go out and share Gods love. Also pray for my trip home to be safe. And one last thing I would like to ask you to pray about…my brother Paul is having a stint put in today. Please pray that all will go well and he will heal quickly. Can’t wait to see him when I get home.

Love to all,

Joy Breedlove

Missionary-East Africa