Friday, August 13, 2004

Hard to Say Goodbye

Report August 2004

Well, we've finally landed in Harrisburg, PA. After the most overwhelming display of support and help that I have ever witnessed, much less ever received, we were all packed up and ready when the moving company arrived on Thursday morning July 8th at 8:00am. It took them about six hours to pack it all up and the driver told us that he'd see us again on Tuesday morning, July 13th in Harrisburg.

We left St. Louis with a 5'X 8' U-Haul trailer in tow with the things we would need until our clothes and furniture arrived. Corn and Connie Robinson stopped by for one more bit of help. Pastor Ray and Brenda and their family along with Dad Green and Elder Jonny gave us the final send off with a family prayer.

I did a final memory lane slow walk through of the entire house (pictured above), our home for ten years, before heading out the front door and locking the door for the last time. Ariel drove up in a big rush to say good-bye. She hugged us and her cousins. Elder Jonny, with a very tearful good bye, hugged us and drove off so that he didn't have to see us driving away.

Finally we were on the road and heading east on I-70. We drove all night and arrived in Harrisburg and at our new home at exactly the appointed time to meet with our real estate agent. (9:00am EST)

She brought us doughnuts and juice to get our day started. We did a walk through of our new home and drove to the Title company to sign the official paperwork. After that, we went to see Carol's mother at her job and surprised her with flowers and the announcement that we had just moved officially. She proudly introduced her daughter and her family to everyone around us.

We spent the day unpacking, buying food for the weekend, and walking around in amazement at how smoothly God was making this transition.

There is still so much to tell and I can't put it all here so I'll post it in on the Fruitful Life Prayer Network. Once again we want to express our appreciation for everyone's help. You all went over and above the call of duty. We were blown away at the Appreciation Service. We were blown away by all the people who came to help us pack. We could not have made our dead lines without your help.


Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Harrisburg Report March 2004

We came to Harrisburg to minister to Bishop Veney’s congregation in his absence, meet the Nigerian pastor that I mentioned in last month’s report, look for a house, and make our appointment with Milton Hershey School for a job interview. God had His own plans in mind.

Carol and I met with a real estate agent on Saturday morning at 10:30am. She drove us around the area that we have in our heart for the school district that we desire the twins to be in. She gave us the paper work for the houses and told us we would be looking at four new construction developments. She asked us about ourselves and we told her that we were pastors relocating and planning to start a church in Harrisburg. Suddenly she said, "I just received a listing for some property that you might be interested in. It’s a television station and seems like that could be used as a great evangelistic and outreach for a church. We can stop by my office and I can give you the paperwork on it."

Carol and I just looked at one another. All I could think was, "O’ my God, You have got to be kidding me! Lord, you can’t really mean what I think is going on right now!" Then I thought what Bishop Veney keeps saying , "Let’s just see what God does." We went on to look at the four homes and then she took us to her office where she gave us all the paperwork including the floor plans of the station saying, "You take them because I can’t do anything with them." The last time we received floor plans before we purchased the property was at 3452 Potomac St in St. Louis, Mo. She gave us print outs of other buildings and churches, but I was still in a daze of having this whole situation switch from searching for a house to looking at floor plans for a television station. Saturday night. Pastor Ray called us. He said the Lord spoke to me in my prayer time and told me to tell you that the second offer that you received, I’m in it!"

"Pastor, "I sang, "Wait until I tell you what happened today and about the second offer that was made to us. First we were offered houses. Then we were offered a television station." Let’s just see what God does. The cost is 1.2 million dollars. We don’t have any money. We don’t have any jobs. We don’t have any income. But we have the Word of the Lord!

Finally that Saturday evening, Carol and I sat down to complete our job applications and paperwork for the interview at Milton Hershey School. There was simply no peace at all about it. I looked at Carol and said, "We can’t do it." She just shook her head. "I’m looking for security, but we’re not sent here to work jobs. We’re here for the purpose of God. We have to trust Him all the way." We put the applications back in the luggage. We just couldn’t do it. We know that we can never violate the peace of God. We have always regretted every time we did that.

Now hold on to your seats. This is where it gets good!!!

We went to visit the church of the Nigerian Pastor (Crusaders Christian Center). His congregation meets in a warehouse. They leased some of the space and converted it into a sanctuary, a fellowship hall, a kitchen and some storage. His name is Michael Odowgue (pronounced Oh dah who). We sat in a well lit room that seats about 50-75. It was carpeted with a small platform, some decorations and was very neat and clean. They were setting up for the 10:00am service when we arrived.

Carol and I were taken to his office where we met his wife. She was white. We later found out that he lived in England for six years and did not want to come to America. God told him to go and he came to Harrisburg where he met Bishop Paul Veney. He served in Bishop Veney’s church for 3 years as a greeter/usher. Bishop Veney released him into his own ministry four years ago.

He found this warehouse and leased some of the space. They worked on it and transformed it into a church. I sat there listening and thinking that we would probably follow the same kind of pattern and that God was using this pastor to confirm our path. He asked us about ourselves. We told him that we had met Bishop Veney through his daughter Lisa. We told him how we had been coming to Harrisburg to minister to Bishop Veney’s congregation and that Bishop wanted the two of us to meet someday because we were moving to Harrisburg to plant a church.

Suddenly Pastor Odowgue got very excited. He said, "Just last week I closed on a transaction to purchase a building for our congregation. Since we are about to vacate this property, my wife and I was just praying and asking God to send another church to take this warehouse space. We did not want it to be turned back over into some other use. We wanted a church to be here after we leave." Carol and I looked at each other. We had just walked into the doors of a pastor who just bought another building and he was praying for God to send another church to take the place they were occupying. It does not get any plainer than that.

"Since you are going to be looking for a place," he continued "let’s just pray about this and see if this is where God would have you." I calmly and casually agreed, but inside I was exploding. "God you are so awesome! You’ve done it again!"

But wait, the story doesn’t end.

Pastor Odowgue went on to say, "The property that we are purchasing is the building that Bishop lost last year. It’s the building in which I once served the man of God. I used to be a greeter there. I received my training there. When Bishop lost that building the devil thought he had won. One day I heard that some business men were going to buy that building and tear it down to make a parking lot, but I said the devil is a liar. That property belongs to the kingdom of God. We paid cash and bought that building back for the kingdom of God. When we hold our first service, I have already told Bishop that he is to preach the first service to prove to the devil that he did not win."
I cannot put into words how incredible this whole thing is. We’ve been coming to Harrisburg to minister to a congregation that lost its building and many of its members. One of the sons of that ministry has now redeemed that property . God has sovereignly and powerfully worked it all to His glory.

In the meantime, we have converted warehouse space that will be made available to us in 2 weeks.

In this endeavor, we are putting the church building and preparation of the House of the Lord, first. We are pursuing the building before taking care of our personal needs for housing and security. Pray for grace in taking such a stand. It feels crazy to do it this way, but the peace of God is present.

After the 10:00am service with Crusaders Christian Center, we rushed over to meet with the Greater Heights congregation. God gave us a powerful move and a simple word. "Resurrection Day has come. Why seek the living among the dead?" The congregation erupted into praise. I mean old school shouting and dancing. I did not expect such a move, but God knew what He was doing.

After the service, a mother in the church approached and began to pray for me. She did not know about the conversation with Pastor Odowgue. She did not know about the decision to put away the job applications. She did not know anything. She said, "Pastor Green, the Lord told me to tell you that you must pursue the work the way He said pursue it because it’s going to be a quick work with fast growth." I was immediately broken that God would confirm His word and our decisions so quickly.

Now, to the Intercessors for Fruitful Life
, please pray as we negotiate with the landlord, that we will have favor so that the enemy cannot change his mind to keep another church from moving in. I spoke to Pastor Michael Odowgue Tuesday morning and he will have the warehouse landlord call us directly.
Pray for favor in negotiating the lease. Pastor Ray wants us to consider an outright purchase, so we need wisdom for what to do and how to proceed.

Please review the prayer site because the other team members have been instructed to place their prayer request on the site also.

God bless you all and thank you really praying for us. We know that this GOOD report is directly connected to the intercession that has gone up on our behalf

Pastors Chris & Carol Green

Fruitful Life, Harrisburg, PA.

"…For the builders, for the builders, for the builders…. I’m seeing a breaking forth of expansion, now, of the work as under builders under the apostle of this house. And the word of the Lord is, ‘There will be children. There shall be children! And these children shall help you build and they shall help you establish, they shall help you stabilize and they shall help you groom the harvest that is coming in. For what has been laborious, my grace shall remove the labor out of it with these children.’ – Melissa Clayton Nov. 1999

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Harrisburg Report February 2004

"…For the builders, for the builders, for the builders…. I’m seeing a breaking forth of expansion, now, of the work as under builders under the apostle of this house. And the word of the Lord is, ‘There will be children.

There shall be children! And these children shall help you build and they shall help you establish, they shall help you stabilize and they shall help you groom the harvest that is coming in. For what has been laborious, my grace shall remove the labor out of it with these children.’ – Melissa Clayton Nov. 1999.

This was another special trip for us. Carol and I got a chance to spend a long Thursday evening with her brother, Chris Dennis. Even though he still has many struggles and addictions, he is definitely being affected by the Spirit of God. We look forward to being a part of his deliverance and discipleship as we are taking him through Encounter (A Time of Healing).

The next day, we were able to sit down with Bishop Veney and begin to work through some of the details of the transition. He is moving to Weldon, North Carolina in one week. He would like to dissolve his ministry (called Greater Heights Deliverance Center: formerly Abundant Life Ministries, Int’l.) and turn over the assets to us. He has 2 computers and 250 chairs in storage and we can have them when we make the transition. He also wants us to meet the pastor of Crusaders Christian Center. This pastor is a Nigerian brother who served under

Bishop Veney for 3 years. Bishop released him out about 3 or 4 years ago and he is the pastor of a congregation in "uptown" Harrisburg which is similar to north side St. Louis. Bishop was scheduled to speak at Crusaders Christian Center Sunday at 10:00am and then host us at 1:00pm at his own church (Greater

Heights) at 1:00pm. The next time we go to Harrisburg, we will try to meet with this pastor. Bishop Veney says that he is one of his true sons in the gospel and he really desires that we meet one another.

Sunday did not start out so well. Carol and I picked up her mother and her youngest brother Michael Dennis and made our way to church. There was no one at the church to let us in when we got there. " Greater Heights" , since losing their church building, has been meeting in the fellowship hall of an old Methodist Church. They have to wait until the Methodist Church service is over so they can’t start their services until 1:00pm. Well, no one was there and we discovered the Methodist Church had canceled their service because the boiler had gone out. The temperature was in the teens over night so it was very cold in the church when we finally got in.

Having been through this before in Metro, I saw instantly why God allowed so many things to happen to us in St. Louis. The emergency did not faze us at all. When the Greater Heights members arrived, they moved their equipment to the basement of the church into a small cafeteria where it was still warm. They set up a screen for me and I taught using our new portable projector with our presentation software on my laptop computer.

During the worship, the Lord had me to pause and, kind of, reset the atmosphere. We had rushed and set up everything and was rushing through the service. I stopped and we took our time to really focus and welcome the presence of the Lord. I remember seeing Carol’s brother, Michael, with tears streaming down his face. There is a lot of hurting and pain here in Harrisburg. God, why did you choose us?

The Lord had me to teach on what it means to have a Fruitful Life just to begin to introduce the heart and message of our ministry. Bishop Veney came in about half way into the teaching. He was all smiles right from the beginning. He loves seeing modern technology used in the house of God. He told his congregation, at the end, "There was something special between this couple and this church and we are going to pray and see what God does!"

After church, we went out to eat. Bishop talked Carol’s mother into going also which is a miracle. She’s very quiet and reserved. She never goes anywhere or does very much beyond her daily and weekly routine. As we sat at the table, other pastors who were in the restaurant stopped by to say good bye to Bishop Veney. They kept commenting how God has used him to establish them in their ministry. I was sitting beside him just marveling. Why was God honoring me that I would be sitting next to such a great man of God hearing the gratitude and appreciation of other pastors? As we finished the meal, it dawned upon Bishop that this was really finally happening. He began to cry as he said, "I’ve been with these people such a long time. I’m going to miss them all." I just placed my hand on his back as he wept. Again I thought, "Who am I to be witnessing this moment in this man’s life?"

We finally parted for the night making promises to return next month in March. We took Carol’s mother and brother home and spent a little time talking about what God is doing. We shared with Michael about his wife.

Already the enemy is at work. They separated a month after our Thanksgiving visit. We prayed together and finally made our way back to the hotel. As we returned to St. Louis, we did so with great anticipation of what God is doing. We haven’t done anything and already we have 2 computers and 250 seats waiting for us. Like Bishop keeps saying, "Let’s just see what God does!"