Upon waking on August 31, I received a gracious invitation to fast. It was a quiet word of faith accompanied with a peaceable assurance.
Because I had so much work to accomplish that day for my business, I soon found myself focusing on how best to go about getting everything done that I felt pressing upon me. In the distraction of the moment, I fixed my usual humble breakfast for strength for the day and then started in on the day’s activities. However, instead of being strengthened by eating, it seemed to take away my strength. In fact, by early afternoon I had to lie down for a moment to rest.
While reclining, the thought came to mind to review some headline news on my iPhone. One headline stood out. It was for an article which included a video link to an invitation to join a gathering of Native Peoples in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, in early October and then again in Washington DC in late October. The main organization calling for the fast is called All Nations North America, or A.N.N.A. Here is the link to the video:
After watching the video, I noticed these words written below it: “… 40 day fast starts August 31 to Oct. 8.” It was August 31. Their fast began that day, the same day I had been called into fasting and prayer! With this realization came a most wondrous assurance affirming that this was a movement of God’s Spirit and I was being called to join them in this fast.
I was both amazed and concerned. I had never fasted that long. Nevertheless, I refused to allow doubt to rob me of the assuring joy I was receiving; instead, I asked the Lord to grant me a fast so that I might join in the A.N.N.A. fast with full purpose of heart and with an eye single to His glory. God was faithful and He welcomed me into the fast.
Immediately, strength was returned to me along with an encouragement to get the word out to as many of God’s people as possible about this movement of God. The first email I sent was to my fellow laborers here in our home congregation. I included just the link to the video and a subject line without any explanation. I was given assurance from the Lord that He would bring a confirming witness to my brethren of its significance. That night at our branch prayer meeting, two of these brethren that were present stood and bore testimony of the witness they had received affirming the call to them; and with the witness they received, they too joined in the fast.
Early the next week, while continuing in fasting and prayer, I asked the Lord for further understanding as to why He had called me into this particular fast. My aim was to fully appreciate His call and to fulfill His purpose in calling me to do so. The answer came in the form of an image in my thoughts accompanied by an unmistakable assurance that with this image the Lord was answering my request.
The image that formed in my thoughts was of the morning Jesus rose from the dead. On that wondrous day the first person Jesus met was Mary, whom He had healed. Upon greeting her, Jesus told her to go tell His brethren that He was going to His Father and their Father; to His God and their God (cf. John 20:17). What this amazing message meant exactly I did not know, but I was assured I soon would.
During the first seven days of the A.N.N.A. fast, I just drank water. After those first seven days and for the remainder of the 40 days leading up to the weekend of October 8th, I fasted most meals, days, and all weekends with my prayers stayed on the gathering in Tahlequah.
One weekend while fasting, I worked outside all day replacing the trim and 4×8-ft by 5/8-inch thick plywood siding on our 10×12-ft shed. I was finding that the fast had not made me weaker but stronger.
When the time finally arrived for the solemn assembly in Tahlequah, my wife Pam and our daughter Naomi and I drove down to Oklahoma the afternoon of October 7. That evening, we were in awe of the many prayers of intercession offered by Native American women. They impressed me as the kind of mighty prayers which get work done, the kind that move heaven and earth through their faith in Jesus Christ.
At one point that evening, I stood near the stage to video a talk given by Chastity Sandoval, a Native American woman from the Navajo tribe. She was one of the key persons God had moved upon to bring A.N.N.A into existence and to carry its message all over North America to the native peoples of the land.
As Chastity spoke, she conveyed very clearly her love for the Lord and her passion for encouraging and lifting up “All Nations North America” unto Him. Her words of encouragement and counsel were definitely commendable and constructive.
When I finally realized that the majority of individuals we had heard from that evening were women, I asked the Lord where the Native American men were. Immediately the image of Jesus’ commission to Mary that I had received early on in the 40-day fast came to mind. I now understood that as Jesus had done that great day He rose from the dead, He was raising up many Marys among us to go to His brethren today – for they are all His brethren – and tell them that He lives and to go and meet Him.
Then a most incredible parallel filled my soul. Just as our Lord’s disciples were shut up in a locked room – afraid of the authorities and of the crowds – when Jesus rose from the grave, so likewise the Native American men are locked in despair and aimlessness – partly because of being beaten down over the years by government authorities, by illness, by substance abuse, by broken families, by the plague of suicide, etc. To these the Lord is now sending word in the same manner that He sent Mary, to lift up the call to His brethren – the message that He lives and He is calling them to meet Him and receive renewed life in Him. He is calling them to trust Him so they might rise unto the newness of life He gives to everyone who receives Him.
The beauty of this message overwhelmed me and caused me to rejoice greatly in the Lord. He is coming again to set the captives free (Isaiah 61:1-3 & Luke 4:18,19). Jesus Christ truly does live and ever intercede for those who come unto God by Him (Hebrews 7:24).
The next day, on Saturday the 8th, we again saw a number of women call upon the name of the Lord in mighty prayer and bear witness of God’s goodness. Here again I could not deny the tremendous assurance of their calling in Jesus Christ to go to His brethren and bring the marvelous message of how He lives and is arranging to meet them in power and glory.
At one point I felt drawn to go forward and share this testimony with Chastity. Although I wasn’t exactly sure what the Lord had in mind by leading me to share it with her, I soon saw that she was standing beside the left end of the stage talking with various people. The nudge came again to go and talk with her. I took a minute to pray and collect my thoughts. Then, as I walked toward the stage, I prayed Chastity might receive the word as God intended. To God’s glory, she received it graciously and thanked me for sharing it with her.
As I walked back to where Pam and Naomi were sitting, I felt as if I had met one of the appointments God had set for me at this gathering. While I did not know exactly what would be the outcome of my sharing this testimony with Chastity, there was a satisfying assurance that the Lord would prosper it for His own purposes. At the same time, I was left with an impression that there was at least one more person I needed to share a word with while there.
That same day a number of men also spoke and prayed. We were truly thankful for them calling upon the name of the Lord and for bearing witness of His workings among them. One young man especially caught our attention. He told of the great pain he had had in his life growing up under very difficult circumstances. It was while he attended college at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas, that this young man came to know and experience the goodness of Jesus Christ in his life. One thing that stood out to us about him was how he said the Lord impressed upon him that he did not understand God’s promises and covenants with His people and that he needed to learn more about them.
Although we looked for this young man throughout the day, we did not see him. Still, an abiding assurance remained with me in my thoughts that I had an appointment with him – to share with him several things the Lord had impressed upon my heart for him. Since Pam, Naomi, and I needed to drive back to Wichita that evening, we finally decided to leave at sundown (at the close of the day). As we walked under the darkening sky the considerable distance to where the cars were parked, in my heart I began apologizing to the Lord and explaining to Him how I felt I had failed to keep all of my appointments which He had given me that day. I could not shake the feeling that I needed to meet with that young man, even if but for a few minutes. Still, it was getting late and we were going to get home after midnight by leaving as late as we had, so I continued on to the car with my family.
Once we were in the car I offered a prayer of thanksgiving and of blessing upon those who were continuing to meet together. Even though I was thankful for having been there, again it seemed I had missed an appointment by not speaking with that young man. After I started the car, turned on the lights, and put it into gear, Pam asked, “Is that the young man who gave the testimony this morning?” I looked toward where she was indicating. It sure looked like him and he was walking with a young lady in our direction. (Interestingly enough, the young lady’s name was Anna, just like the name of the organization and event.)
As they were passing along the right side of our car, Pam lowered her window and asked if he had given a testimony earlier in the day. He said he had, and we began visiting. During the 15 minutes we talked together, I felt led to share with him what I had shared with Chastity earlier in the day –about how the Lord was now sending Native American women in a similar manner to when He sent Mary the day He rose from the grave to go tell His brethren that He was going to His Father and their Father, and to His God and their God.
With a measure of amazement, the young man then said the Lord had called him “Mary” on several occasions, causing him to wonder why the Lord would call him by a woman’s name. Now, to his obvious delight, he said that through what I had just shared with him he felt he understood the reason why. The young man went on to explain how he had had a desire to have a testimony of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Coupled with what the Lord had been revealing to him about covenants, etc., the testimony I had been given seemed to provide him with a witness that the resurrection is true and that he can now bear record of it to others.
Throughout the weekend prior to our conversation, the Lord had been impressing upon me that He is lifting up individuals among the Native Americans to take the gospel message to their peoples, in particular, a message of hope that Jesus is their brother and He has not forgotten them. The more we talked together, the more I became convinced this young man was one of these individuals. Like Mary, he is being called to carry to our Lord’s brethren the message that Jesus lives and is preparing them to meet Him in power and glory.
We parted in peace with warm wishes expressed toward each other. Then, as we drove away, my hunger for food returned, a hunger I had not known over the past 40 days.
Jesus Christ is returning soon. Although He may wait until what appears to be the last minute, like in our meeting with this young man, He will not be late. And as he showed us that Saturday evening, just because it may appear we have missed our appointments, our Lord is faithful and will guide us to our appointments if we will but follow Him humbly by listening to His voice.
Now I have a request of each of you who read this testimony. Please consider fasting and praying specifically for the All Tribes DC gathering on the Mall in Washington DC today and on into the days ahead. You can read about their gathering today on the following websites:
Again, it is being held today, Friday, October 21, 2016, from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM EDT at the Washington Monument.
The following video provides some background on this event and the people who have organized it.
The speaker in the video is Dr. Negiel Bigpond, one of the people featured in the first video linked above. In this and the related videos, he speaks of the call to gather for prayer and fasting today for the nation.
When my wife, daughter, and I traveled to Tahlequah, OK, October 7th and 8th my hope had been to see what God was calling us to see there – not what might catch our attention. I personally went there to look beyond my circumstance and to focus on His purposes in gathering these people to that place. This now is my request of you, that you would do the same. Go to God in prayer and fasting, fervently and justly seeking what God is doing and what He is calling you to do. He loves each one of us with an everlasting covenant love. Please don’t miss the movements of His Spirit by allowing your thoughts and minds to be distracted by differences in viewpoints, customs, or limitations. Let God be glorified in all His doings. We are living in the day of which the Lord has said He will show us He is able to do His own work (cf. Ephesians 3:20 with Hebrews 7:24). The gathering today in DC is not the end of their journey. It is part of the beginning of His movement among His ancient covenant peoples for the healing of the nations.
Blessings to each of you as you seek our heavenly Father’s will through faith in Jesus Christ.