Egypt 2014 Update 3

 

“Now FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]…..But without FAITH it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him….” Hebrews 11:1, 6a AMP

 The past two trips to Egypt held many remarkable moments, but probably the most significant for us personally was experiencing the faith of Sister Monira.  When Pastor Gamal and Sister Monira visited the United States in October 2012, Sister Monira shared a vision she held for a Pastors’ Family Conference.  She felt impressed that the Pastors families needed a significant time of encouragement,
Sister Monira with Pastor GamalSister Monira with Pastor Gamal

 

 

 

 

Egypt 2014 Update 2

A Raven Ministries Board Member's View...

Lynda, Michelle, Luan & Ron the Sunday before we leave for EgyptLynda, Michelle, Luan & Ron the Sunday before we leave for Egypt

On December 21, 2013, Pastor Ron and Luan called saying, "Hey Lynda, the pastor conference in Egypt has been moved from July to January, you wanna go?".   "Wha...Yes!...Are you serious?...Yes...no....I mean....I better pray...I can't do this, it's crazy".  Well, yes, it was crazy, and Halleluyah we went!

To back up just a bit, on November 2, 2013 the Raven Board met for a morning of Worship and Intercession to seek the face of Yehovah for Raven Ministries.  

Lynda with 2 Pastors' Wives and their daughters.Lynda with 2 Pastors' Wives and their daughters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 20, 2014

Egypt Update 1

Halleluyah!  Praise God in His holy place!  Praise Him in the heavenly dome of His power!  Praise Him for His mighty deeds!  Praise Him for His surpassing greatness!  Halleluyah!  (Psalm 150:1-2 CJB)

“So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth” (I Cor. 3:7)  It is so amazing when we get to be present when our Father brings increase.  The Word He gave Ron for our Mission trip in 2011 was “Prepare Ye the Way of YHVH”.  The Father dropped in our hearts to be faithful to go everywhere He gave opportunity because “everywhere the soles of our feet touched” He was releasing something.  Three cities in Egypt were included in that trip.  Last July (2013) we were invited to Egypt to speak at a Pastors’ Family Conference for the pastors we visited in November 2011.  We went but the Conference was postponed due to the political upheaval occurring at that time.  It was subsequently rescheduled for the 27th – 30th of January 2014, and again we were invited to speak.

Ron speaking at Conference with translatorRon speaking at Conference with translator

 

 We were in awe (maybe it was shock) that she was about to have 40 Pastor Families ($12,000+) start arriving within a few hours and they didn’t have all the money yet.  Where were they going to get it?  Wasn’t she worried?  Isn’t this a sign that God said “no”?  Hmmm.

On the final morning as we were preparing to check out we sat down with Sister Monira and asked how she thought everything went.  She was so excited about all YHVH had done and so very grateful that He graced us with His Presence in such a powerful way.  We finally asked, “Do you have all the money to pay for the Conference.”  She said, “Yes, we thank God.”  YES ?  YES!! The Father had honored Sister Monira’s amazing faith.  Despite the fact that the last of the money didn’t come in until right before it was needed, Sister Monira never wavered from the vision.  She kept going forward with what was her task and left the rest, including the funds, to Almighty God.  And, YES HE came through!  HE is ALWAYS FAITHFUL!   “We will sing about ADONAI’s acts of grace forever, with our mouths proclaim your faithfulness to all generations” Psalm 89:2CJB

 

 

 

Pastors, Wives and Children switching boats in the middle of the tour!Pastors, Wives and Children switching boats in the middle of the tour!

 

them where the rubber meets the road.So what does the future of Raven Ministries look like?  Only

Yehovah can teach us and guide us in the way we should go.  He is our ultimate encouragment, by keeping our eyes on Jesus and being obedient to his direction, living a life of worship and intercession in all we do.

Please join us in praying for Pastor Ron and Luan and Raven Ministries.  May Yehovah fill us with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.  Col. 1:9.  Amen.

Thank you to Pastor Ron, Luan and their daughter Michelle for including me in this great adventure and to Jesus for using me beyond my wildest dreams.

Lynda Converse,

Raven Board Member

Lynda in the Red SeaLynda in the Red Sea

 

Lynda teaching the Pastors' Children about worshiping with flagsLynda teaching the Pastors' Children about worshiping with flags

During the worship time which preceded the second session, Lynda asked Sister Monira if it would be alright to wave flags.  Sister Monira exuberantly responded yes and ushered Luan and Michelle out behind Lynda.  After Ron spoke the second time, the Pastors and Wives again worshiped YHVH even more lovingly and openly than the previous night.  On the third and final night, Lynda and Michelle had the teenagers and children flag during worship (this was one of the topics the LORD had given Lynda to teach them).  After Ron spoke the last time, the Pastors and Wives spontaneously worshiped YHVH: some of the men picking up flags and waving them and others dancing.  It was beyond our wildest imagination.  The Father released worship and it brought a tremendous visible joy to the weary hearts of His Stewards who have been weighted under such oppression this past year and a half.

  Pastors' Children flagging during WorshipPastors' Children flagging during Worship

 

 Sister Monira with her daughter LillianSister Monira with her daughter Lillianespecially given the tremendous pressure and increased persecution they had been under during the previous year.  Her dream was to have a retreat at a resort hotel so Pastors could have a time away with their wives and two of their children (given the expense she felt to limit it to 2 children per family).  She wanted it to be someplace very nice to express to them in tangible terms how much God loves them and is pleased with their sacrifices.  She also wanted the focus to be on the importance of not allowing ministry to be prioritized above marriage and family.  She asked us to be the speakers for the Conference and pray that God would provide necessary funds, hopefully through Raven Ministries (the economy in Egypt is terrible and not many other ministries see the importance of Pastors getting away for rest and to spend time with their families).  

The Conference was scheduled for July 2013 and the Father provided $6,000 through Raven for the Conference and also made it clear that we were to go.  As you know, the conference was rescheduled due to the upheaval occurring in the country at the time.  Approximately $2,000 was spent on a non-refundable deposit for the Conference as well as a couple small localized meetings to encourage the Pastors in the short term.  In October, Sister Monira shared that the new date for the conference was January 2014.  She asked us to pray about coming to speak, as was originally planned, as well as for financial provision.  She estimated they would need anywhere from $12,000-$30,000 depending on how many Pastor Families came, of which they had the $4,000 left from what Raven Ministries had given.We prayed and the Father told us to go but he didn’t provide any additional funds through Raven for the Conference. 

When we arrived we asked Sister Monira whether the money had come in.  She said they were charging the Pastors a small fee as they felt the Pastors should also invest in their families and she had raised money from Churches and individuals within Egypt, but she was still short.  This was the night before the Conference was to start!  In Egypt, they don’t operate on credit.  A deposit is required when you register and a percentage due at check in with the full amount to be paid prior to check out.  

 

 

 

 

Lynda and young people she taught flagging during Worship.Lynda and young people she taught flagging during Worship.

We worshiped God and sought his direction for Raven, including the future, the finances and for the Pastors with a Raven heart in Central America and Egypt.

During that morning, I saw Raven Ministries begin and end with Pastor Ron and Luan LaGatta.  When they retire, Raven is finished without someone to receive the baton of future encouragement to pastors.  I presented the thought of staying close to home to teach and pour into others who have the call for encouragement.  and briefly mentioned going with them sometime to get the whole picture.  Now back to Egypt...

For my first time ever to go over seas to a foreign country this was an adventure beyond my wildest dreams.  Because of the relationship Pastor Ron and Luan had built with Pastor Gamel and Monira Hanna, we found favor everywhere we went.  We were received warmly  with great honor by the pastors and their families to the staff of the resort on theLynda and Michelle with the Pastors' Children in one of the sessions Lynda taughtLynda and Michelle with the Pastors' Children in one of the sessions Lynda taught Red Sea.  The spiritual battle was great and good and it was won by the grace, mercy, and strength of Yehovah Himself.  What an awesome victory for teaching, encouragement and worship.  We even had fun together, Egyptian and American, with lots of laughter! 

Lynda & Michelle on glass bottom boat with Pastors and their familiesLynda & Michelle on glass bottom boat with Pastors and their families

Now that I have been an active part and hopefully a support, to the LaGattas outside the local ministry I see the great need for encouragement to pastors locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.  They need to know we are praying for them and we need to be that encouragement by sending ministers to stand along side

 

 

One of Raven Ministries’ Board Members, Lynda Converse, as well as our daughter Michelle came with us this time.  Upon arrival, we were informed that the individuals who were going to take care of the children during the conference weren’t able to come, and Lynda was asked to take them during the five sessions scheduled for the Pastor Couples.  Lynda graciously agreed and the LORD had already prepared her heart for the topics.  Michelle accepted the invitation to help.  As one of our intercessors said, “Humility is the word for this Conference.”  The humility exhibited by the team clearly created an environment for YHVH’s presence.

Typically, indiviSister Monira with two of the Pastors' WivesSister Monira with two of the Pastors' Wivesdual Pastors, Wives and/or Couples share that their lives have been touched by the ministry of the Holy Spirit through us, but only once before (when Ron spoke in Brazil) did an entire group respond to the LORD.  So, we trust that our purpose is usually to plow the soil, plant the seed or water.  Rarely, do we see the “increase” (results) on a broad scale.  It was both exciting and humbling this time that the Father allowed us to see the “increase” He brought forth. The first night Ron passionately shared many things from Joshua 1:1-9, but the primary point was that “I, the LORD your God, am with you.”  After the message instead of closing the meeting,  the Pastors and Wives spent time in reverent worship of YHVH (the response we long for).  The translator later said, “My people are a depressed people, you probably won’t see the emotional response you are used to but they were deeply touched.” 

 

.