Barbados April Trip Update
From Bruce & Ruthie Lengeman
Traditionally we wouldn’t end up at the beach the day we arrived on any of the Caribbean islands.
But that day happened to be Easter, and the beach was in the heart of Phoebe, our host, here in Barbados.
You can see the beach from the hill where the base is planted, a few miles off to the south, a few minutes drive.
The beach was packed with holiday-goers. The colors of the water every shade of blue-green and blue.
We all hit the water moments after casting our towels down. The challenge of the beach was the waves.
I knew what I was supposed to do here in Barbados. Of the ten week-nights Ruthie and I would be here, eight of them would be speaking to the locals—a seminar, to the youth, to the pastors. In addition there were people that needed counseled during the day. But that is only what we were supposed to do in the natural.
But why were we really here? A question Ruthie and I kept asking ourselves.
Our times in the Caribbean have been very fruitful experiences—divine encounters—God going before us, and we coveted nothing less for this trip to Barbados.
Ruthie stayed back where the waves had broken and were only traces of what they were just two seconds previously—as if to pray for Roger and I who trekked out to challenge the big ones. Standing in waste-to-chest-deep water a wave would form. I forgot my measuring tape, but many of the waves were higher than if you were to stand another me on my head—10 to 12 feet average—easily. Those are big waves.
The waves would knock me off my feet, sometimes dragging me against the sandy bottom for several yards. I’d get up and wait ten seconds or so to joyfully challenge the next one.
As I stood there experiencing the waves it was as if God was showing me what He wanted to do in Barbados. The waves were not the assault of the devil—oh no. They were the waves of God. And that’s what I wanted in my heart that first day—Easter—for our two weeks here. I didn’t crave nice, feel-good streams of the Holy Spirit. I wanted God to bring it on—I wanted to ride the big waves.
But riding the waves, I’ve learned, is not always easy. It is not always fun. It’s serious. Twelve-foot waves challenge the kingdom of darkness, and when the waves are blasting you in the face, there’s a readiness that must take place. A big part of the preparation is prayer, and listening to God. Valker and Naraleska arrived two weeks ago to staff Barbados. He’s German, she’s Venezuelan—late thirties. They have a similar heart as Ruthie and I. We spent six weeks with them in Kansas City—deep conversations there every day. Except for the couple of hours riding waves on Easter, we caught up with Valker and Nara at 100 miles per hour. Nothing surfacey all day, pure koinonia, the revealing of purpose.
They put their four kids to bed and then the four of us prayed for the purposes of God—for the waves, the open doors, the divine appointments, not only for our time here, but for the team from ACTS arriving the next week, and for the future of the base. We wanted Isaacs, not Ishmaels—waves, not comfy religious strivings.
The flight from JFK to Barbados was sober. More, Lord, more! But I tell you the truth, we had not left the Barbados airport to head to the base before something happened that revealed our purposes. The person who met us at 2 am to assist us to the base told about a pastor that I had established relationship with the last time on the island who was not doing well. In a few words they cried, “Help.” I knew God was saying to me, “This trip is MY agenda. Watch what I will do!”
Then later on that Easter day, the waves.
Bricks and Treadmills
So often in the church—universal—we get excited about bricks.—we get thrilled with treadmills. We lay a brick in a wall of a building and we rejoice. No problem! Except after a few years, we may only have one wall, and then it’s time to go back over and do maintenance. And treadmills…”Look at all the energy we’ve expended. We must be doing something good!” Problem is, we’re at the same place we began, feeling good about ourselves because of how much sweat we invested.. That works with the physical body, but it’s a sad kingdom mentality—yet so prevalent.
Though laying bricks is a part of building walls, I want to see the walls…the buildings, the habitations, that come through His miraculous work, not our treadmilling. But we must believe for the fulness of God, expect it, or we will not see it. We will acquiesce to something less than His power, less than His best, less than His heart.
Ruthie and I will lay bricks here, but we are believing that exceedingly abundantly beyond us that God will build mansions of glory. Believe with us.
Three evenings at Carrington Wesleyan Church were so fulfilling. Each night three-quarter of the congregation stood or came forward to renounce things that were standing between them and direct contact with holy ground—shame, fear, low self-worth, and a host of other things. A new beginning for the church, and a new vision. They loved Roger. The pastor honored him at the end of the meetings with a gift and a thank-you card. Roger wept. The pastor gave him such value. One evening before the service Roger and I sat with the pastor, and for about twenty minutes the pastor listened to Roger’s testimony and asked questions. It spoke well of the pastor’s heart. Honestly, I felt as if God used us to make a difference at Carrington.
The team arrived on the base Sunday morning around 4:30. Carmelo was up to go to church with Roger, Ruthie and me at Shekinah Wesleyan Holiness. The other’s, well, they slepteth instead of coming into the sanctuary with us. But, lo and behold, we all trekked back Monday thru Wednesday to Shekinah to have some wonderful times with the people. Each night so far (I am writing this on Wednesday) the altars were filled with those seeking prayer. The team from ACTS gave insights, words, and people lined up at the end of the service to get prayed for from each person on the team.
Tuesday was a bit different. After a short message we demonstrated the Spirit and power. We gathered around people and prophesied over them. The people on several occasions clapped and shouted amen as they heard the revelations coming from the team. Then it was their turn, and they gave words and called people to life. We could have gone on for hours, I’m sure, but alas, it was already past 9:30 and people had to get up for work the following day.
All I can say is that things are happening on every front, with each other, with the staff, with the prayer ministry, at church, and personally in individuals. It’s a good, good, time with a good, good, Father. Daryl is leading out in the humor department, but I and some others are doing our share—yes, we are laughing much, and having wonderful “koinonea” from morning to evening. We work from 8 till 12:30, have lunch. Every day we join the staff in an hour of prayer, prophecy, and worship. A really perfect and life-giving week—bonding with others, God, and each other. Most of us are up well before our seven o’clock breakfast enjoying the sunrise over the ocean, and stalking monkeys—and we sit on the porch of the Great House after church processing the good stuff God is doing.
We are thankful to Alice for all the work she did to organize the trip, and she is doing a perfect job overseeing the logistics here also. On Saturday we chill with a local market in the morning and then after returning we go to the beach for the day. We leave for the airport around eleven, get to JFK around eight, and then back in the county early afternoon.
Thanks for your prayers. Thanks for your financial support. Thanks for being an amazing family of God.
Ruthie and I send you our greetings and love!
Ruthie and I know to get up because every morning at 5 am the beautiful bandy rooster crows exactly at 5 am. But then it also crows at 5:31 and 5:32 and 4:40 am, and every minute between 8 am in the morning and 7:59 the next morning. The thing is nuts! Insecure! Wounded! Oh well!
Ooops. I was so into writing this that I forgot to put the egg casserole in the oven that was supposed to go in a half hour ago. Sorry. Late breakfast.
Bruce & Ruthie