ENCOUNTER – Day Seven & Eight

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Therefore, Go!

On Saturday morning we had our final devotional time together. With each day highlighting a different theme, it was exciting to dive into the final topic: ‘Therefore, Go!’ Based on Yeshua’s Great Commission of Matthew 28, we meditated on what it means to be sent out into the world as agents of revival. As we encounter God this week on the mountain, our desire to see His presence taken down to where there are many broken people in need of a similar touch from the Lord. Talking together in small groups, each young person was given the opportunity to share about their personal journey and reflections on the day’s scripture portions. Our team spoke life into the young people and prayed for courage to overcome areas of fear. May we be marked with an Isaiah 61 anointing!

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Football Tournament

On Saturday afternoon, the teams enjoyed one of their final opportunities to win points for their teams. This time they would be competing in a football tournament! Driving to a nearby football pitch, we had a short warmup playing Ultimate Frisbee before diving into the game with passion. With each match only lasting 10 minutes, there was only a small window to shine before the next teams would have a turn to step up. Extra points were appointed to individuals with the Best Attitude (Joshua from the Yellow team) and also to the Best Players (Arad from the Green team and Judith from the Yellow team!). During the football matches, those not playing competed to see who could keep a volleyball in the air for the longest time and which team could do the most kickups with a football. At the end of the day, we said goodbye to Joshua, Caleb and Louise as they left to fly to the UK – it’s been such a joy to have them with us! God is truly forming some deep and special friendships this year during Encounter Camp, as we have fun together but most importantly as we run after Jesus together. Friendships birthed in His presence can last a lifetime!

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Saturday Night Worship

Saturday night was our final big worship blow-out here in Moniatis! Packed into the worship room, it filled us with joy to see those gathered worshipping with abandonment. Shining faces and hands raised high bore witness to the many transformations that have taken place in only one week. As we worshipped, the Holy Spirit came and blew through the room, taking many to deeper places than they had been before. Standing under the waterfall of His love and power, we received another fresh touch from God on our final night together. As our team moved through the room praying for people and anointing them with oil from our land, it was clear to see the hearts that were being set ablaze and those who were being marked by His Spirit. After a while we began to pray for our families and particularly those who don’t yet know the Lord. Siblings came together to intercede for breakthrough in their families, and nationalities also stood with each other to ask God for an outpouring in their own land. The night came to a close as the young people were commissioned to return home carrying this fire of revival!

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Streams Worship Gathering – Limassol

We ended this year’s Encounter Camp with a Streams Worship Gathering in Limassol on Sunday night. Joining with everyone at Glory House, it was great to be reunited with parents, family and friends as we gathered together to worship and thank God! The evening began powerfully as Arad, Daniella, and George all came forward to share their own testimonies of what the Lord has done this past week. Everyone then made their way to the front as it was time to perform our group dance! Following on from the freedom we all received in worship during the camp, the team stepped up to inspire this liberty in others as they moved together strongly. Wearing our Cry Out t-shirts, the theme of the camp was shown again as the song’s lyrics declared “I’m going to sing out loud and let my voice be heard!” After a time of worship, Chandy shared a message about responding to every situation from the viewpoint of God’s love, challenging us to be set apart with His vision and Heaven’s perspective. As the meeting ended, the sound of a great cry filled the room as we shouted out the name of Jesus together – ‘we love Your name, Jesus, You’re the beautiful one!’

Truly this year’s Encounter Camp has been life changing for both the young people and also for our team, and we are so thankful to the Lord for how He has met us with His presence and filled us with His love. May we go on from this time into where God has called us with the sound of hope ringing out from our lives. May we never stop crying out!

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STREAMS REPORT: Encounter Camp 2016

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After a week of meeting with God in Moniatis, we ended this year’s Encounter Camp with a Streams Worship Gathering at Glory House in Limassol on Sunday night. 28 young people who had joined us from Cyprus, Israel, Egypt and Belgium were reunited with family and friends as we gathered together to worship and thank God!

The evening began powerfully as Arad, Daniella and George (all young people from the island who had attended Encounter Camp) came forward to share their own testimonies of what the Lord has done this past week. The whole group then made their way to the front as it was time to perform a dance they had been learning. Following on from the freedom they had all received in worship during the camp, the team stepped up to inspire this liberty in others as they moved together strongly. The theme of this year’s Encounter Camp is Cry Out, inspired by Isaiah 40. Wearing t-shirts with Cry Out displayed on them, the song’s lyrics confirmed this message by declaring “I’m going to sing out loud and let my voice be heard!”

After a time of worship, Chandy shared a message about responding to every situation from the viewpoint of God’s love, challenging us to be set apart with His vision and Heaven’s perspective. As the meeting ended, the sound of a great cry filled the room as we shouted out the name of Jesus together – ‘we love Your name, Jesus, You’re the beautiful one!’

Truly this year’s Encounter Camp has been life changing for both the young people and also for our team, and we are so thankful to the Lord for how He has met us with His presence and filled us with His love. May we go on from this time into where God has called us with the sound of hope ringing out from our lives. May we never stop crying out!

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ENCOUNTER – Day Five and Six

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Worship – Wild and Free!

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
Romans 8:15

During our times of worship together, it’s increasingly clear to see how God is touching lives and transforming hearts through the touch of His Spirit. As we receive the love of God in a greater way, we are stepping into greater freedom! With this, we cannot help by cry out with praise and adoration, the shout of thanksgiving overflowing from our lives.

It’s been a joy to receive a team this week from Caleb Company, based in Nashville, Tennessee. Caleb Company have been long-time friends of Gateways Beyond and have a vision to equip God’s people with His heart for Israel and the nations. Their team of nine is currently on a trip to the Middle East and have come to Encounter Camp to serve in any way possible – we are so thankful for them! On Thursday night the team led us into the presence of God through worship, singing out that Jesus is making us wild, free and full of fire! They then took time to prophesy over each of the young people in turn, sharing the impressions they felt from the Lord. It was amazing to hear the words of life, hope and destiny being spoken over everyone! We look forward to seeing how God will multiply these seeds in years to come.

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Beach Fun Day


Thursday was the Encounter Camp 2016 beach day! We all piled into the vehicles after dance practice with our picnics, sun screen and beach towels – our destination: Lady’s Mile beach in Limassol. After our lunch, Paul led the activities for the afternoon. This involved a classic game of British Bulldog (also known as Sharks and Minnows) and an Ultimate Frisbee tournament! After the games, the group enjoyed some free time to enjoy the sun, sea and sand before driving back up the mountain.

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Friday morning with Gustavo Manduca


Gustavo Manduca is a former professional footballer who also spent time playing for APOEL FC here in Cyprus. Most importantly, he loves Jesus! We were honored to welcome him on Friday morning when he came to share with the camp. Gustavo shared his testimony about how he came to know Jesus and he spoke of his personal walk with God in the midst of the limelight of professional sports. Challenging us to stand firm in our decision to follow the Lord, many received his words to heart as he said that “the decisions that we make can change our history … It’s always easier when we take the decision to choose God and walk on His way.” For all of us, it was such an encouragement to hear from someone who has walked humbly with God in a difficult place. God has called us to influence the environments we are placed in and be an agent of the Kingdom of Heaven – we are ambassadors. Everyone was encouraged not to foolishly chase after fame or what the world would call ‘success’ but to choose God, journeying higher with Him into love and peace. Thank you Gustavo!

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Erev Shabbat


It is our desire to enter into the rhythm of God’s design for our lives. One of His intentions for us is to enjoy Shabbat, a time set apart for us in the week to rest in Him. Shabbat is also a special opportunity to stand with Jewish communities worldwide and on Friday evening, at the start of the Shabbat day, we gathered together with joy to remember His unending covenant with us. For a few of the young people this was their first time participating in a Shabbat meal. As we broke bread together and shared in traditional prayers and songs, thankfulness filled our hearts and we reflected on how the Lord has brought us all to this place ‘for such a time as this.’ **EDIT

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ENCOUNTER – Day Three and Four

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Morning Worship


Our times of worship are quickly becoming the highlight of each day, as they should be. We love giving God our best! As we come together each morning to sing songs of praise and adoration, a platform is created for God to move and touch our hearts, bringing transformation. Over the past few days, the Lord has been moving and the list of testimonies is growing. Several young people came forward at the beginning of worship on Tuesday and Wednesday morning to testify of what God is doing in them already this week. Many have experienced more joy, peace and courage as a result of God’s touch. Someone shared how they had felt depressed and heavy for a few months before Encounter and didn’t really want to come – but after experiencing God during worship they felt the heaviness lift and were filled with joy! On Tuesday morning, it was amazing to hear from Ani as she shared her life’s testimony. Ani came to the second ever Encounter camp back in 2011 and has been back every year since. This year she is joining our staff team for the first time! It was so powerful to hear her speak from a place of breakthrough and authority about what God has done in her life, and we were all so encouraged to witness an ‘Encounter-teen’ a few years down the line, pursuing God with a passion.

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Hiking the Waterfall


Tuesday was our hiking day and the group excitedly made their way into the cars to begin! We drove to Foini, which is quite close to our base in Moniatis, and spent the afternoon exploring some waterfalls there. As the cars dropped everyone off at the bottom of the hill, it was a great warmup to make our way upwards – the sound of water getting louder and louder encouraged us to keep walking! The effort was definitely worth it as we reached the top and had a picnic lunch in a beautiful spot by the waterfall, underneath the covering of green trees. We began to climb higher, following the streams further up the mountain but unfortunately the weather then turned against us and we got caught in a huge downpour of rain! Forced to turn back, the group made their way down towards the cars – very wet but still having a lot of fun! Similar to last year’s Encounter hike, it seems that the forecast can be quite difficult to predict…
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Serving at Wellspring


On Wednesday, we had the amazing opportunity to send a small team to help out at RightHere, a second-hand store in Limassol which is part of Wellspring Association. Wellspring is a ministry striving to be a counterforce against injustice in Cyprus. Working with victims of human trafficking, sexual exploitation and other forms of abuse or vulnerability they have opened a drop-in centre in Limassol and also organize after-care, home visits and other activities. Our team of six made their way to the second-hand store and spent the day helping in any way they could. In a few hours they sorted through donations, labelled clothing and arranged a children’s window display. Margot, the store’s manager and one of Wellspring’s faithful volunteers, shared their vision with the group. She spoke about how many of the women dealing with crises in their lives have lost their sense of identity, hope and future. Wellspring desires to see their lives restored to a place of secure identity and hope-filled destiny! During our time there, God began to touch the hearts of those in our group in a powerful way – He was giving us His heart for justice and allowing us to feel something of what He feels. One of the girls shared afterwards that she felt she could give her life to working for a vision like Wellspring’s! May we be ready and willing to answer the call to be a voice in the nations for justice, mercy and compassion! May we cry out for those with no voice! We encourage you to find out more about Wellspring and the amazing work they are doing.
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Dance Practice


During Encounter, the teens are spending time to learn a group dance set to the song ‘On the Shores’ by Jonathan David and Melissa Helser. This is a great chance to exercise our freedom in worship through movement! God has used dance and movement a countless number of times to bring breakthrough in people’s lives and we are so expectant for this year’s dance too. The chorus of the song rings out with the lyrics “I’m going to sing out loud and let my voice be heard! It’s a song of victory and it’s ringing in the Earth” – another reminder of our heart behind this year’s theme “Cry Out.” Our prayer is that even during the rehearsals God would touch hearts with his love and power. We will be performing the finished dance on Sunday night at our Streams Worship Gathering in Limassol (join us at 16.00 at Glory House!).
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An Afternoon at Adventure Mountain Park


On Wednesday afternoon we drove to Adventure Mountain Park which is an outdoor activity center in the mountains. This was a great time of activities and fun for everyone, and the perfect opportunity to let off some steam. The camp split into two groups and took turns playing laser-tag and rock climbing. For many people, rock climbing was outside of their comfort zone – yet, in the process they learned how to step out in a new area and overcome fears and limitations. The laser tag game quickly became competitive as each team wanted to finish in first place. After an intense couple of hours, the Green team emerged as the overall winners!

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ENCOUNTER – Day One and Two

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Welcome to Encounter Camp!


Welcome to Encounter Camp’s blog for 2016! We are so expectant for God to meet us all in a powerful way and for lives to be changed over the next action-packed week in His presence. On Sunday morning, our staff waited in anticipation for the first arrivals of young people. Teens from Cyprus, Israel, Egypt and Belgium are joining us this year and we cannot wait to see what God does in these 26 revival-carriers! Gwen and Remi, our Encounter leaders, took some time to share the vision and theme behind this year’s Encounter – CRY OUT. Inspired by Isaiah 40, we desire to see an emerging generation finding their voice and crying out for the Lord! They then introduced our wonderful staff team and everyone was taken to find their bed and unpack for the next 7 days!

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Breaking the Ice


To help us get to know each other at the beginning of the week, we played a few ice-breaker games on Sunday afternoon, led by Alicia. Everyone is split into four teams and will be competing throughout Encounter to earn points (of course there is a prize for the winning team!). Teams chose their own name based on their assigned colour: the blue team became ‘Royal Blue,’ the Yellow is ‘Buttered Popcorn,’ Green is ‘Green Glory’ and Red became ‘Red-necked Spartans!’ At the end of day two, the competition is already growing!

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Devotional Time


Throughout Encounter Camp we take time each morning to open His Word together for a time of devotions. Our desire for this time is not only to see truth and revelation imparted to the youth, but to give each person the opportunity to seek God for themselves. To create desire in them to continue to seek God for themselves, long after this camp has finished. We began on Monday morning inspiring passion for the Word, highlighting that the foundational and first reason we open these holy pages is to encounter God. Each word is an invitation to know Him more!

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Evening Worship


To begin and end each day pursuing God and enjoying His presence is our greatest joy, and this year is no different. And so, we gather together every morning and evening to worship during Encounter. In His presence, everything changes: fears and insecurities fade and we truly come alive as the sons and daughters of the King! As we released our praise together on Sunday night, a song arose that “we are washed and liberated, loved and fully accepted.” What a beautiful truth to start off this week with! Remi made a declaration that Jesus is better than anything the world can offer – nothing can compare to the adventure of a life lived for God. He encouraged everyone to fasten their seat belts as we press in this week and ask the Lord to take full ownership of our lives.

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Wet and Wild Day


Monday was the perfect day to enjoy some water games outside! Relishing the opportunity to win more points for their teams, the young people energetically created chants to rally everyone together. Water Balloon Relay, Human Battleships and a game involving a large slingshot were all on the menu for the afternoon and soon some of the girls’ requests to “keep their hair dry” were long forgotten! The afternoon ended with a full-on water fight before everyone jumped in the dam for a swim before dinner.

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Monday with Youth for Christ


On Monday evening we were honoured to welcome a special guest and friend, Brandon, from Youth for Christ. Brandon is YFC’s director in Cyprus and it is such a privilege to partner with others who also desire to see a generation on this island set on fire for Yeshua. Brandon shared his testimony about struggling with anxiety and then spoke to us from Isaiah 40:30-31 that “they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Encouraging us to persevere with God, he also championed community by saying that “God never created us to do this alone.” Amen!

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GTS Graduation 2016

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Truly we never graduate from discipleship. We only begin a lifestyle of surrender to continue on as disciples, daily learning more and being ever changed into the likeness of Yeshua. With this in mind, it was a joy to celebrate what the Lord has done in and through all of us during this year’s GTS programs with a ‘Commencement Ceremony’ on Wednesday. Students, staff and community members came dressed to mark the occasion and, beginning this special day in a familiar way, we started by lifting high the name of Jesus in worship. Innumerable encounters have happened in our worship room here in Moniatis and this was no exception. As Preston led out songs of thanksgiving and praise, we reflected on the past months with overflowing joy and gratitude!

Matthew then took a moment to share a stirring word from Psalm 84. As many of us prepare to step into the ‘unknown’ of the next season, there is an invitation into His presence. The altar inside of our hearts pulls Heaven down around us and transforms our environment. Matthew encouraged us that especially during each transition, as we journey from strength to strength, we can find these ‘thin places’ of encounter. God manifests Himself in the time between times, in the moments of changing seasons. How we deal with these transitions determines how we will do in the next season. Students were also challenged not to buy into the lie that they had missed out on anything the world has to offer during the sacrifice of the past five months. They were not to exchange the precious deposit of Heaven in their lives for something of far less value, but instead were reminded that ‘a day in His courts is better than a thousand.’

One by one, the students and interns came forward to be honored and celebrated. The children of the community who have been a part of Mini Flight School this year were also brought to the front and each given a gift. For many of the students, the ceremony was a victorious moment as they had overcame challenges and difficulty to stand there that day. Greater than the certificate of completion they received, they each now carry the written Word of God upon their hearts and a testimony of transformation. The scripture which has framed this year’s GTS is Ephesians 3:14-21, and truly we seen a beautiful fulfillment taking place! Christ dwelling in hearts through faith, lives becoming grounded and rooted in love, together encountering the width, length, height and depth of the love of Christ and stepping into fullness.

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After the ceremony, we began to really celebrate! Tables were filled with an overflowing array of beautiful food, lovingly made by our GTS staff the day before (Homemade Strawberry Lemonade and Mini Pavlovas with Lemon Curd were particular favourites – well done Chef Krista!). After the feasting, our very own Scotswoman, Gwen, got people off of their chairs and onto the dance floor as Ceilidh dancing was next up on the order of the day. There was much laughter as many of us found ourselves skipping and spinning under the Cyprus sun!

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The transformation in the lives of the students is evident, and we are certain that this work of grace has only just begun. As students now fly home, we look forward to seeing their destinies unfold and hearing the shouting testimonies
of lives well-lived in His presence.


The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn,
which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.
Proverbs 4:18


STREAMS REPORT: Dresden, Germany – June 2016

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Last Saturday evening, both GTS I and II classes joined the Gateways Beyond Germany team for a Streams Worship Gathering at the Maritim Congress Centre in Dresden, the influential capital city of Saxony. Taking place at the very end of the GTS outreach trips to the nations, those gathered were full of expectancy for the Lord to move. We entered into a powerful time of worship led by members of our communities in Germany, Cyprus and Israel – a rare and precious moment. Our desire was to see a new sound being lifted up over this region, a song of hope arising in Germany. Believers had journeyed from across Germany to attend the meeting and we were also honored to welcome some of our brothers and sisters who were recently forced to flee their own nations. As everyone lifted their voices, passionate praise and worship was being poured out all over the room. Sounds of German, English, Arabic and Farsi uniting in a cry of adoration reminded us of the time that will come when everyone nation, tongue and tribe will worship the Lamb.

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During the event, Norm Frederick, leader of the Gateways Beyond Germany base in Herrnhut, shared his heart for the city and how God has been stirring this in him for the last ten years. The declaration that came forth was “Now is the time for Dresden!” He encouraged all those who attended the event to be a people not satisfied with what they have already seen, but to be continually seeking the growth and advancement of the Kingdom. He exhorted us to be carriers of the glory within, and believe for revival in the region. As the Spirit of God began to rest more heavily in the room, Norm made a call to expand our vision and ask for the impossible! The evening led into a time of prayer ministry over those who needed breakthrough, healing in their bodies or simply felt the urge to respond to the stirring of the Lord.

We have been praying for years, “Saxony for the glory of God,” and last Saturday we tasted some of the fruit of those prayers. As a family of communities we will continue to pray and intercede for Germany and believe for revival in the nation.


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Testimony Alert: One of the many testimonies from the evening took place during a time of prayer ministry at the end of the meeting. A young man had come forward for prayer who was suffering with depression: he had been experiencing some negative side effects due to his medication and desired a touch from the Lord. After praying for him, he was asked if he felt anything happening in his body. Faith rose as he said that all the pain had left his body and that he felt filled with peace. Encouraging him to go and soak in the presence of God as the worship continued, we declared over him that God would finish this wonderful work of healing and restoration!

Another testimony came as God moved upon a young man from the Middle East. As he was being prayed for, he became like a statue except tears were streaming down his face. After some time, without ever moving but continuing to weep, he was asked through the interpreter what was happening – the young man shared that when he began to be prayed for, he felt large wings embrace him and he could feel feathers on his arms. How amazing to know that there were angels of breakthrough present in the room!

GTS II Outreach Update: Berlin & Dresden

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Berlin


Arriving in Germany, we headed out for a morning of team-time where Gwen cast vision for our time in Germany. This led into a time of prayer where Sarah shared a powerful picture she had received from the Lord: she saw the ‘Harvest’ not as a picturesque golden field of wheat, but as an orchard with ripe fruit hanging in the balance. If not picked in time, it would fall to the ground. The weight of this hit us all as we interceded for souls in Germany.

That afternoon, we enjoyed a Shabbat dinner with Anica’s family. Many of the members of their house church joined us in the meeting room which had been transformed into a dining hall. Together we welcomed in the Shabbat rest with a variety of different cultures and languages represented!
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Global Outreach Day


Joining together with believers all over the world on Global Outreach Day, we took to the streets of downtown Berlin with a few local churches and poured out the love of God and the Good News of salvation through worship, drama, dance, personal prayer and preaching! We were given the opportunity to perform our team’s dance 3 times throughout the day, with loudspeakers projecting the message of redemption across the busy plaza that was consistently filled with a few hundred people. After each presentation, a team member was able to share the Gospel and boldly call for a response. A number of people responded throughout the day and we rejoiced in knowing they had stepped into a new life of knowing God. Throughout the day we also went through the streets in pairs, asking the Lord for ‘treasures’ and praying for healing. We saw many testimonies of the love and power of God invading individuals’ lives, and despite the refusals sometimes encountered, we were able to see how truly ripe the harvest is to laborers who respond to the call. That evening we joined a city-wide youth worship event, worshipping together with hundreds of passionate teenagers who are creating a place for God to move in their city and bring revival. At the end of a long day, it was refreshing to be in the presence of God with like-minded believers and just to worship – some of the team also received prayer during the prophetic ministry time afterwards, words of refreshment and encouragement. 

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Die Kreative

Livia, a GTS alumni living and studying in Berlin, invited us to join her at church, The Creative, and begin a connection with them. It was a new experience for most of us, as the church met in a cinema building! We were greatly blessed by the worship, and afterwards a stirring message was shared about growing in faith through God answering the deep questions of our hearts, and being brought out of false identity and into a place of full trust in Him and complete freedom. Again, at the end of the service several of the team members received prophetic ministry and soaked in the atmosphere of worship, while the others enjoyed coffee, refreshments and fellowship with the church members downstairs. In the afternoon, both before and after lunch, we went out for worship and evangelism on the streets and had many short but amazing encounters. Before heading back to our hostels, we found a grassy spot in the park and shared testimonies from our recent times on the streets, amazed and grateful for the Lord’s faithfulness. FROS7067

Serving at the Refugee Camp


Today our team split into groups, one of which went to a nearby refugee camp and served there for the day. In the morning they joined the bi-weekly devotionals held for the staff, and were able to pray over and bless the camp manager, who is a believer. Two of the team members also prayed over one of the refugees, who recognized them from the dance we performed several days previously in the city square! Between breakfast and lunch, the team was able to sit and hear stories of different people who had been seeking refuge. Seeing pictures on the news is one thing, but meeting people and seeing the longing in their hearts for home is another. We were so blessed to be able to sit with them and honored to pick up parts of their stories, despite language barriers.

The rest of the team came to a place where one of our leaders had worshipped many years ago as a GTS student, in front of Angela Merkel’s office. There had been a powerful testimony released from that time of worship, and we were excited to see what the seeds sown years earlier would bring forth at this time. We began with some team time and devotions, then led into worship and declarations over that place of influence in Europe. Testimony: As we were there, a young man stood near to us and listened intently almost the entire time we were there, leaving only a few minutes before we left. He was visibly touched and began crying as the Holy Spirit moved on him. One of the students engaged in conversation with him, and as he asked the man what was going on, he replied that he was “dancing with God in my heart”! It turned out this man did believe in God, but in a more New Age way, and asked for prayer that he would find “the way”, which the student was able to share is Jesus! One of the leaders was also able to share with and prophesy over a friendly police officer who came to check us out.

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From there we passed the Reichstag, the beautiful and historic governmental building across from the Chancellor’s office, and went to a memorial of the Roma-Gypsy people murdered in the Holocaust. After lunch, the whole team met back together for an afternoon of free time and shopping, then enjoyed Mexican food for dinner and returned to the hostel.

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Exploring Berlin


We began our day at the preserved site of the Berlin Wall. Walking through the outdoor exhibit, audio displays and picture boards told the stories of famous escapes, memories of family members, and destruction of the wall. From here our group split up, one group going to the refugee camp to play with kids and the rest went up to a high place where we worshiped for an hour and prayed for Berlin. From there, we split in to three groups, going to a youth meeting to minister and pray for the young believers at The Creative, another to the refugee camp to serve dinner and the rest went down a busy shopping street evangelizing.
Each group returned with testimonies. The youth group was a small group of young believers passionately pursuing God and encouraged through connecting with the team, the refugee camp touching the hearts of the those who were blessed to go and the evangelism team having encountered numerous people and blessed them. Germany is a changed nation and the people keep talking about how they are so filled with hope for a move of God across their land; people were open and willing to receive like never before!

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Dresden

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We departed from Berlin to Dresden, our final stop on outreach. Along the way, we stopped at Wittenberg, the village were Martin Luther lived. Though the famous church were he posted his 95 point thesis was closed for reconstruction, we were able to see the door (now a bronze memorial door with his 95 points engraved on it) and enter the church were Martin Luther was ordained. Gwen asked one of the workers if we could worship inside to which they said, “that is what this church was built for.” There, before an amazing alter surrounded by old paintings depicting Gods love throughout the Bible, we worshiped. As the sounds of our praise echoed through the centuries old domes and the presence of God filled the halls, we cried out for new reformation to sweep across the nation of Europe. In the end one of the employees thanked us for lightning their day with the sound of our praise. We then drove the rest of the way to Dresden, the capital city of the state of Saxony. UEIZ7367

A Day in Herrnhut


With great excitement, we filled up our vehicles on Thursday morning to drive the 1.5 hrs. to our Herrnhut Gateways community. Arriving in Herrnhut, we gathered together for a short time of worship together and then headed out for a tour of this historical town. Herrnhut was founded by Count Nicolaus Zinzendorf as a city of refuge for Moravians fleeing from religious persecution. A man of great importance and status, he lived a life of humility that inspires us all. Hearing of slaves who were counted unworthy of even hearing the gospel, he brought a slave to Herrnhut to share his testimony and inspired an entire community of people to be willing to sell themselves into slavery just so that they could share the gospel. The Moravians began a one hundred year period of 24 hour prayer and many were sent out as missionaries, sold themselves into slavery, packing their belongings in a simple wooden coffin, knowing they would most likely give their life for the Kingdom.
As we stood in the cemetery where these faithful ones were laid to rest (known as God’s Acre), we were inspired to consider our own lives and what we are willing to give to share the Gospel.

That night, we joined a prayer house in Herrnhut, The Jesus House, and took a one hour prayer and worship watch. As a ministry, they are visioning to rebirth the 24 hour prayer movement birthed in Herrnhut and see the ancient wells re-dug. We were so blessed to join them for one evening to re-dig these wells and to see a fresh move of God in the region. BMNE5435

Praying in Dresden University


Another GTS alumni we had the joy to connect with was Rachel-Ann. She now lives and studies in Dresden and leads a campus prayer group at her University. Two to three times a week, a few students gather together to pray for each other and their fellow students. We were overjoyed to join them for the morning, worshiping together and bringing encouragement to their group as they continue to press in for a move of God in their city and university. Following worship and prayer, we joined them for lunch in the school cafeteria, a fun experience for everyone!

Cafe Ministry and Proclaiming the Gospel


That night, we headed to the club street of Dresden to join a Christian cafe that is reaching out to refugees. They are seeing many come accept Jesus as savior, who then in turn bring their friends and families who also get saved. While our worship team did music inside, others stood on the street to invite people in and pray for people. The locals do a Bible story drama each week, which Elizabeth and Muriel joined in acting out. They put on a great performance and the message of God being mighty to save was received by all. Following the music portion of the night, we took to the street in front of the cafe to perform our drama. After the powerful drama, Mark and Sarah shared their testimonies and Paul shared the gospel, inviting people to come for prayer. Revival broke out as Jesus invaded the street! People came forward to receive Jesus as savior, others received healing and many seeds wee planted! One American girl we met in the street shared how she had never seen anything like it before and declared, “this is revival!” 
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Team Debrief


With outreach coming to an end, we headed to the Great Gardens of Dresden to remember all that God had done the past month. Sitting under a beautiful shade tree, we each took turns sharing about our highlights, what we experienced and what we had learned. It was a beautiful and precious time to recall the testimonies we had lived and to look forward to the coming season. With each passing year our gratitude grows for the opportunities God gives us to go and serve Him in the nations. It is a beautiful thing to experience the cultures He has made, to seek out the deposits He has placed in each nation and to come alongside of them to encourage them.

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Outreach Update: GTS I in Dresden

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With one more week of outreach ahead of us, we packed up the vans and made our way to the city of Dresden. This city is the capital of Saxony, a state in east Germany. For years the cry of our heart has been “Saxony for the glory of God.” What a privilege to end this amazing month in the city we have been praying so long for!

Prayer Over Dresden

Shortly after we arrived, we drove to a point that overlooks Dresden and met for a time of prayer over the city. Kristina shared her heart about her love for Saxony, the vision she has for this region, and how special it is for her to be home on outreach. After a time of worship we began declaring the purposes of God over this city and region.

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Work Day

One of the churches we connected to, Jesus Gemeinde, has recently bought a very large, old building. Right now they are in the process of restoring the building with the intent to have meetings that could hold up to 1300 people. So for a full day we came in to work on various projects to help them reach their goal. Before work began, they shared their desire for us to not only work practically but to bathe this place with prayer and worship. As we worshipped in the morning, the man in charge of the building project shared a picture about the structure behind us being torn down in a few days and how God wants to remove the negative things from our pasts to build us into something greater. We worked for a few hours and took another worship break during lunch, and before we left for the evening we worshipped again. We truly did bathe the place in praise! It was such a great reminder for all of us to set our focus on the Lord in the midst of every project or circumstance.

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Prayer Breakfast in Borlas

On Wednesday morning we drove to a village called Borlas to have a prayer breakfast with a long time friend of Gateways, Charlotta, and her ministry partners. She has a beautiful home that is dedicated to worship, prayer and discipleship. She has such a big heart for Dresden, to see Yeshua transform the lives of the oppressed there.
After our breakfast we moved into a time of worship together. The Holy Spirit was moving among us and different ones had prophetic words of encouragement for Charlotta and her team. What a joy to pour out all that we have received in this season on this ministry. After only a few hours, we left feeling like family with these precious people.

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Home Groups

After our prayer breakfast, we enjoyed each others company for a while before we split into small teams to attend different home groups within Jesus Gemeinde. Many of us were able to share testimonies from the school year and pray for the members of the group. Other groups were able to lead worship and minister prophetically. It was so great to hear about all of the ways God moved through our team when we all met back together that night.
One of those groups was specifically for business people but they all really wanted to know about our time in Greece serving with the refugees. As we shared together, everyone was mutually encouraged by all God is doing inside and outside of the church.

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Daytrip to Herrnhut

One morning we woke up quite early to hop in the vans and make the drive to Herrnhut. The whole team had been desiring to visit since we heard that Germany was one of our outreach destinations. When we arrived we were ecstatic to see the GTS II Team who had also come for the day. We gathered together with the Gateways Hernnhut team for a time of worship and prayer over the city and region. After worship Norm shared his heart about the Lord awakening hope in the region of Saxony.

After worship we were taken on a tour of Hernnhut where we were all encouraged to pull on the testimony of this city for our own lives. Here, Count Zinzendorf opened his home to those escaping religious persecution and ultimately helped establish a night and day prayer movement that lasted for over 100 years. Having a rich spiritual inheritance from his family, this man had such an influence on the missions movements in the 1700s. It was so meaningful to receive so much revelation out of one man’s life and sacrifice. At the end of our tour we went to a tower overlooking Hernnhut to pray for an outpouring once again in this village.

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Evening Service at Emmaus Church

Some of the team had the opportunity to go to Emmaus Church in Dresden for a service normally for youth but because we were coming to minister they opened it up to the whole congregation. After a time of worship, Iulian shared a testimony of the love of Yeshua healing his heart and overcoming the fear of man. Next, Alicia shared a testimony of her radical pursuit of the Lord and how through that He has given her the desires of her heart. Gabriel shared a powerful message beginning with sharing his heart for the nation of Germany and receiving God’s passionate love for the German people. He gave some of his testimony of how his life changed as he dedicated it to the Lord and how it brought him to a place of hope. He encouraged the church to look at their lives and called them to a higher place of rededication. Afterwards, people were invited forward for prayer and the students were released to pray over those God highlighted to them.

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Childrens Ministry

This outreach has been full of children’s ministry and we had one more very special opportunity this week. A faithful woman from Jesus Gemeinde has a beautiful ministry of reaching out to kids of various ages in a rough part of town. She explained that most of the neighborhood is primarily atheists and are not very open to the Gospel. Most of the kids come from single parent households and have had a difficult upbringing. This selfless woman has given her all to pour out every ounce of love that is in her to serve these children and their families. Usually there are very few to no volunteers so we came to add some strength to her program. For us we expected it to be two hours of games and crafts, but it was so much more. Some of us even got to share a little about our lives and connect with a few of the moms who hung around for a while. As we left we were very moved at the selfless act of one woman and how significant her work is.

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Erev Shabbat

With only a few more days of a very full trip, we sat down to a very nice dinner prepared by Kristina for Erev Shabbat. We invited many guests to attend and to share in the joy of entering His rest. As we took a deep breath and recited the traditional prayers, new life and refreshment filled our spirits again. We enjoyed fellowship around the table as we shared in the traditional German meal together.

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Sunday Afternoon Services

On Sunday we had one last opportunity to serve with Jesus Gemeinde. There are a few different locations that have recently been planted by the church. We had the opportunity to split into teams and be at three different services. Most of the time we spent was pouring into the children in their Sunday school classes. In one service we were invited to lead worship and in another pray for the core leadership team of that specific location.

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Debrief

To end the outreach trip we had a time of debrief together. Throughout the day we each shared our hearts about how the Lord has moved in our lives this month. Each one took time to share their highlights, challenges, and how they will take home what they have experienced. A common highlight was serving in the refugee camps and how perspectives changed towards refugees. As we ended our time of debrief together we lifted up our voices all together praying for the nations that we have ministered in.

Outreach Update: GTS II Lviv, Ukraine & Poland

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Sunrise Prayer in Lviv


After a night of worship, we began our first full day by waking up before sunrise to go pray at the top of a hill in the center of Lviv. This hill is special because it has a 360 degree view of Lviv and it was a place Norman, who pioneered a trip to Ukraine a few months earlier, had received a word of knowledge to pray on a hilltop. We climbed over three hundred stairs to the top where we began to worship and pray over the city as the sun rose, declaring open heavens and calling Lviv into its destiny. This led into releasing prophetic words over three young Ukrainian women who had joined us after hearing the invitation the night before at worship. Remi released a word about revival moving from the west to the east of Ukraine and only then discovered these three were all refugees from the east. In the midst of turmoil and difficulty, their hearts were encouraged and strengthened, touched by God’s love. After the time of intercession, we headed down to the city for some fun, exploring and spreading the love of God through smiles.

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Bethel Work Days


While in Lviv, we had two work days to serve the Blessings at their ministry house, ‘Bethel’. Gardening is a huge cultural aspect of Ukrainian village life, and after many years, this year the Blessings received their own plot of land that belongs to their house. Through gardening, they are able to be a witness to all their neighbors, who are amazed that Americans embraced the Ukrainian lifestyle. In the morning, the guys cleared the land of tree stumps and prepared it for planting, while the girls planted the flower bed and herb garden outside the house. Once the guys finished preparing the field garden it was a team effort to weed it and put the first seeds into the ground! Another job we were able to do was to re-vamp the game room. With the desire to eventually facilitate a youth group in their game room, our team  of artists livened it by adding character through twinkle lights, fun phrases and more.

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Walk of Faith


During our week at the house, we were blessed to begin each day with worship, joining with the family when possible. After worship one day, we were honored to hear Mr. and Mrs. Blessing’s life testimony of their walk of faith with God; from His calling them to Ukraine and the journey to purchasing and building Bethel house. The whole team was blessed and challenged by their relationship with God, that through the years was built on God’s miraculous faithfulness, and their unwavering trust. All the way down to the refusal of raises and ridiculous opportunities that were offered to deter them from God’s plan, they threw themselves into opposition and trial because they trusted in the words God spoke to them. They shared with us to wait for God to fulfill His promises in our lives, encouraging us through the vision God has promised them (Bethel house), a 21-year vision they have carried. It will now come to full fruition this fall, in the grand opening of Bethel house; a house of refuge and rest, first for the Jewish population making Aliyah, and second for believers in need of a place to stay.

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That afternoon we went to an orphanage where we acted out several Bible skits spontaneously for the 2-8 year olds, who were very responsive, open, and joyful!! We lead them though several kids’  action songs, played outside with them for a short while, and loved on them, but got even more blessed in return.

From there we went to Living Word church and ministered at the young adults meeting. The team led worship in English and Ukrainian, then Keturah shared her testimony about Jesus never leaving her even in her darkest time, and how with God life’s adventures are so much better and more exciting. Paul shared a message about that which is of eternal value in the kingdom – love and worship, for that is what will last for all eternity. He also encouraged the congregation of Living Word in their calling to be worshipers and to release praise in the city.

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Visiting the Jewish Community


On Friday, several team members had the opportunity to volunteer with the Jewish community, visiting the elderly as they prepared for Shabbat. They were greeted by the reformed rabbi of the city, an influential, interesting and educated man, who just had been promoted to be the assistant head rabbi of Ukraine. He was appointed based on his knowledge and connection with communities of other beliefs, such as Muslim, Buddhist and Christian, and had studied carefully the entire New Testament. His witness of the New Testament was very positive, saying he had gotten only good out of it and it cannot be separated from the First Covenant; both are connected and fulfill each other! The team then drove to an apartment where we were privileged to hear the stories of an elderly couple who survived WWII, traveled the world and were involved in the beginning of the Zionist movement. Two of the Israeli students sang in Hebrew and were joined by the couple as well. As we left, the wife tearfully expressed her desire to be in Jerusalem and asked the students to promise the next time they pray at the Western Wall, to tell the Wall that there is a woman who wants to be there but cannot. That evening at the Shabbat table we lifted them and the rabbi up in prayer as we lit the candles of shabbat, that the revelation of Yeshua would flood their hearts. With joy, we entered into shabbat rest and enjoyed a wonderful family dinner with the Blessings.

Youth BBQ


On Saturday, we enjoyed a rare opportunity on outreach: a slow-paced Shabbat. Beginning with a delicious brunch, we then enjoyed time in the sun, playing games together and personal time with God. In the afternoon, youth and young adults from Living Word church came and fellowshipped with our team outside on the lawn and in the newly updated game room. We re-charged and ended with a traditional Ukrainian barbecue dinner, leading up to our farewells.

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Joining Living Word’s Sunday morning service, our team led worship and shared testimonies. Muriel shared the testimony of God’s faithfulness in her life; she spoke of how she sees He was speaking to her even when she wasn’t pursuing Him and about how much more He will speak to us if we are walking with Him! Krista then preached a fiery message in Ukrainian, provoking the congregation to hunger for revival in Ukraine, to stand before the Lord and say “I am satisfied, but at the same time I’m not satisfied and want more of You!” At the culmination of our trip in Ukraine, a cry was released for the sound of revival, the scent of fresh water (Job 14:7-9) to spread in Ukraine. After the service, the Blessing family treated us to coffee at Lviv’s best coffee shop and made us dinner, sending us off fully satisfied and grateful for all the Lord did in Ukraine.

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Arriving in Oswiecim, Poland

Upon arrival in Poland after an overnight bus, we were met with unexpected complications and obstacles in our transportation. While spending the morning in the train station, the students decided to take time in prayer together as a class, repenting to one another and calling one another up to a higher place in vulnerability and accountability to each other so that we can see greater works released through the remainder of outreach. Once breakthrough came, both spiritually and physically in our transportation, we drove to Oswiecim, where we stayed at a large Catholic boarding school and met our contact Roman, a local pastor who shared with us the vision of their ministry in Oswiecim to bless Jewish communities in Poland and Ukraine. That evening we worshipped together and as Heaven opened above us we stepped into a place of sweet ministry over their team. Following that morning’s prayer time, the students stepped into a new place in ministry and spoke out God’s heart over Roman and his family.

The next day began with a tour of Oswiecim, starting at the house where Roman(our contact) experienced revival when he was in his early twenties. He shared that,”the revival was one like Azuza street”. The testimony of that time is a testimony he’s still receiving from, and longing to see released again. From there we moved on to the only synagogue that was left standing after WWII, hearing about how active Jewish life was before the war in a city who’s Jewish population was around 70%. We ended our tour in a castle museum with a tower that gave a 360 view of Osweicim. Here we lifted God’s name high above the city and prayed for revival and restoration between Israel and Poland.
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Life Mission Ministries


That same night, we drove to Ustron and met up with a ministry called Life Mission Ministries, a church with an amazing heart for Israel. They gathered their youth together for a special youth service with our team and gave us freedom to lead the service. From the moment we began worshiping, we could see these youth were not ordinary youth and carried a passion for God that isn’t seen every day. Elizabeth shared her testimony, followed by Peter giving a word of encouragement to ‘Believe the Gospel!’ Rachel Dirrol brought a message recounting how God has used young people throughout history; the heavens were opened for us to release prophetic words over each one of the youth that were there. Much to our surprise, in the end the youth turned and blessed each one of us with prayer, pouring their hearts out before God.

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Auschwitz-Birkenau


Today we visited the concentration camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau. The team was silent as we walked though the different barracks where people had lived, and then were lead through the gas chambers, listening to the atrocities carried out there, God working in each of our hearts so tenderly in different ways. As we pondered the history of what happened and the questions that were stirred in the hearts of each individual, one thing remained the same: God is good! No matter what your circumstance is there is always hope in the living God. At the end of the tour, our team stood in the Birkenau cross roads at the selection point, there we lifted Auschwitz, Birkenau and all that happened there up to God and repented for generational and national antisemitism. We worshiped and took communion together with Roman and his team. At the end, Roman poured the wine from communion out on the ground and declared that Yeshua’s blood cries louder than the blood of Abel and brings redemption and victory in the place of death! That evening we took time as a team to process what God was doing in our hearts and allow Him to continue to work within us. We then joined Roman’s team in the town square, a place that had at one time been dedicated to Hitler, there we stood to worship God and declare His name and love over that place. We ended our evening fellowshipping together over dinner and prepared to board a bus to Germany the following morning…

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