3 – 9 October
First of all, I would like to thank God and give Him all the glory for this week.
It was His idea, He initiated it, decided where it should take place and called those who should participate in it together and brought unity to the group. And He acted, led us, showed us things, caused change, and spoke to us. Personally to each of us, but above all collectively to us as a group as a part of the body of Christ in Switzerland. When we deliberately spend a whole week, day and night, in the presence ot the Lord, without food and other distractions, then each and every participant is able to write a many-sided report of their experiences. I would like, with God’s help, to record and pass on what I personally believe is very important for the Church; simply because it was God’s intention or purpose to convey this to His body through this fasting and prayer week!
I want to divide it into three areas: Where, What and When.
Why did we have to go to Andermatt?
Why to this particular guesthouse, guesthouse Altkirch?
God often allows us a glance into the supernatural world through what we can see in the natural. And what can we see, at the moment, in Andermatt? It is one of the biggest building sites in Switzerland. Change can be seen everywhere we look! And that in the heart of Switzerland, in one of the three founding Kantons (counties), Uri! And that is also true of guesthouse Altkirch, where we stayed. These are the last weeks of its originally planned purpose as a guesthouse, before it will undergo renovation into a „House of Hope“, as a retreat for people who are seeking and needing help. Everything is ready (the hearts of those responsible are being formed and prepared). Here also change can be clearly seem.
Today God’s church is also a building site.
„See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, (WHY?) to build and to plant.“ (Jer. 1:10 NIV)
So when your personal life, or the life of your church or fellowship looks like a building site, then judge it from this perspective! And rejoice. It would be dreadful if God would simply leave it like it was or is.
The word, which God gave us for this week was Joel 2:12-13!
„Even now,“ declares the Lord, return to Me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your heart and not your garments, Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and He relents from sending calamity.“
In this passage our heart is referred to twice:
Obviously we can see here that God was concerned about our hearts and that is still the case today! Jesus prophesied that a sign of the endtimes would be that the love in many would grow cold. And He didn’t just mean the world but people within the church. We literallly experienced this in Andermatt: God let us feel – and I mean all of us- basically how cold, loveless and hard our hearts are in reality. Although we were appalled and shocked over this discovery we were not able to change this condition through our own efforts. To emphasise this: God not only revealed to us the state of our own individual hearts, but He showed us the heart condition of His church. Dear brothers and sisters, I am speaking about us all! The criterion for this love is 1 Cor. 13.! We desperately need change! Let us allow the Holy Spirit to turn our hearts into a building site, where He is able pull out and demolish in order to plant and build. As we were confronted on this remarkable night with the coldness and hardness of our hearts, whether we were sitting, kneeling or lying down, we suddenly heard an alarm go off! Dear brothers and sisters , listen to God’s alarm, hear His calling, you, hear the sound of His trumpet call! We also needed some time before we looked for, found and realised the reason for this alarm. It came from the walk-in refrigerator, whose door had sprung open.. A sack containing bread had fallen down and had hit the latch on the inside of the door with such force that it caused it to open. By the time we got there the cold room had already warmed up by 8°C. What a picture that God through His grace painted before our very eyes. The bread,, representing Jesus, who Himself demolishes the latch to our cold, hard heart, so that He and His love is able to be spread abroad. The coldness oozes out and disperses. What can we, should we, must we do in order for this to happen? Show our willingness. „Yes, I will! Come, Lord Jesus! Help me. I need you, because I can’t do it without You!“
At long last we should stop tearing our clothes and, instead, give Him access to our hearts! God gave us another picture, e.g. example, to illustrate that He is willing to do this. Someone in our group (from the Kanton of Uri) suddenly felt a hard lump in her breast. Another illustration of the hard condition of our heart. Our Heavenly Father changed this condition in our sister and the lump disappeared, everything was soft once more.
Another word that God spoke directly to the church:
„Don’t allow your heart to be attached to anything or anybody else other than Me. Be prepared at any given time to let go of everything and everybody!“
Dear brothers and sisters, I am totally convinced, that the timing of our gathering was not simply chosen to fit in with our Agenda. No, God had arranged it to coincide with Yom Kippur, which was also being celebrated during this week.. It is the highest and most important Jewish holiday (Reconciliation Day). Also here I am convinced that God wants to say something to us as His church. on the one hand it goes once more to the basic message of the Gospel: „Be reconciled with God! “ We always think first of all of the people who do not know God. But that is not the case, this call is first and foremost directed to those in His church, to us! When we do not allow our hearts to be changed and continue only „to tear/rip up our clothes“, when we are not prepared to change and turn around, then we are not reconciled with God.
A further aspect is the reconciliation with our roots, with our Jewish brothers and sisters. According to Eph. 2: 11-12 Jews and Gentiles are one in Christ. Unreconciled, whether in relationship to God or the Jews, results finally in death!
And we don’t want to belong to those, who call themselves Christians, although they are in fact dead (Rev. 3: 1-2), but He should be able to live in and through us.
We are totally convinced that God wants to bring forth „a new era“ in His body in Switzerland. This concept came about because onr of those present celebrated his birthday during this fasting week. As he fastened his new watch on his wrist, he said: „Today a new time is starting for me!“. We took and take this as a prophetic word and a sign for the church in this country!
Therefore, this urgent plea:
„Today when you hear His voice, harden not your hearts!“
And how was the week of fasting? How did the fasting week go?
It was like a mystery coach tour, where one had no idea where the journey would take us, or what the planned route was, only that one had complete confidence in the travel guide, because of previous experiences made where he had everything under control (even in the most difficult of circumstances).
And that was our experience during this week as well.
We proceded with singing and being exhilerated over highs (mountain top experiences) but also went patiently through the dark valley: all the while being amazed at how creatively He was leading us; day and night, step by step, with His word as the guiding light for our feet.
I was once again totally enraptured, and, at the same time, deeply touched in my heart, by the power generated when we all read His word aloud together. It is impossble to describe the power and strength that is set free in both the natural and invisible world. Especiallly when it causes a small group of people to be led word for word in prayer! A phenominal experience! One could almost touch the presence of God with ones hands!
It was very impressive in how many different ways the Lord spoke to us:
through His word, (prophetical) impressions, the weather, illnesses, the presence or absence of those taking part, unusual occurences / happenings in the house where we were staying, posters, discussions, songs, pictures etc,, My heart was moved that we have a Lord who wants to converse with us, Halleluja!
He who has ears (and eyes) to hear, let him hear!
It also amazed me how God took us, a complete mixed bag of individuals, and managed to form us into a harmonious group, which then moved forwards at the pace He set! (Heartfelt thanks to all of you who came ? we love you!). He accepted us as represetatives for the body of Christ in Switzerland and then revealed to us a part of His heart ? that was really something quite extraordinary. But it was also difficult for us to persevere, sustain and endure. Not because it was so painful, no it was the indifference the cold hardness in our hearts which was revealed. That couldn?t care less attitude; I couldn?t care less that I couldn?t care less….is there anything worse?!?! This numbness affected the whole group and left us paralysed; nothing worked anymore! How could we continue to pray? We waited for many hours to hear from the Lord ? sometimes with physical pain. Nothing happened. Then suddenly the sound of an alarm going off broke the silence ….. in the middle of the night, bread and meat fell from the shelves inside a walk-in refrigeraror onto the door latch causing the door to open and allowing the frostiness to flow out of the room. The temperature in the room increased by 8°C. What a picture, what a comfort: Jesus had through His death on the cross broken open the restraining latch! The door to our hearts is open ? the coldness is yielding and giving way, our hearts are melting = all hardness of heart and indifference will lose ground! We will receive a heart that will cry when the Lord cries and laugh when He laughs; that perceives everything that is important to Him is important to us ? that adopts for ouselves the very things that move Him! And not just us, who were present. No, it is valid for the whole of the body of Christ! Thank you Lord!
This time we spent up in the mountains with You is life-changing. I love you, Lord!