March 2016 Partners and prayer supporters,
Here are our thoughts as we finish our fifth month here in Istanbul. Roslyn and I have been given the task of regional spiritual warfare around the theme of Ephesians 2. For he is our peace, the one who made both groups into one and who destroyed the middle wall of partition, the hostility, when he nullified in his flesh the law of commandments in decrees. He did this to create in himself one new man out of two, thus making peace, and to reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by which the hostility has been killed. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near, so that through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer foreigners and non-citizens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of God’s household, because you have been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. (Eph 2:14-22)
It is only in the Body of Christ moving in the fullness that the Spirit, as promised in Ephesians This power He exercised in Christ when He raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms far above every rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And God put all things under Christ’s feet, and he gave him to the church as head over all things. Now the church is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. (Eph 1:20-23)
That Christ will be glorified and the challenges in the world today can be overcome. We are not those who go around the world rebuking demons. When the Bride steps into her proper role, she displays the glory of her Husband and no demon can stand against her Husband. Until She is ready to do this in a region rebuking demons and principalities will only make things worse. Scripture is clear: a displaced demon will return with those seven times worse unless the people are ready to repent and call on the Lord. I know this from scripture and I have seen it walked out on the earth in places I have lived.
What is the Darrs’ calling and job with Christ? Our job in the Eastern Mediterranean region, as previously in the Eastern USA and in Cambodia, is to train prayer warriors and to pray with native regional intercessors. The focus of prayers is first to receive the Lord’s plans, then pray those back to the Lord, and finally to plant seeds to allow the Church to stand and to enter into those plans.
The Region of Ancient Roots that we are in Personally, I have always been a boots on the ground intercessor and the Lord speaks most clearly when I am walking the physical ground in a region. The intense roller coaster we have been on here in Turkey has driven home the intense needs in the region. Letting those needs flow through me to the Father has been a challenge, but has been clarifying the role of the His Body here.
Right now we are in Istanbul Turkey, an ancient power center for the middle east for thousands of years and today part of a nation that is a key player in the fleshly human battle for control of this region. This city and nation were the center of an empire that raised up an Islamic vision of justice and unity that bridged ethnic boundaries but also has left deep scars on ethnic groups from the Balkans to West Africa. It is also the scene of some of the most devastating conflicts within the body of Christ itself.
The conflicts and persecution of Eastern Orthodox and Nestorian Christians by Roman Catholics actually caused the Islamic takeover to be briefly welcomed in much of the middle east. After all Constantinople (the name before it was called Istanbul) only fell to the Ottomans after the Roman Catholic crusaders sacked and weakened it. The retaliation by those groups and the harsh treatment of protestants by both ancient groups opened similar wounds.
Moderate Muslims have no power, but do have a yearning for peaceful co-existence For the last 100 years Istanbul has been the center of a movement toward a ‘secular Islam’, since the founding by Attaturk. This city is full of the ‘moderate Muslims’ that the west hopes can restore peace. Most of the young professionals Roslyn teaches and those we meet every day on the streets are convinced of the value of peace and want to build bridges. They carry an ideology and theology very compatible with Western humanism. Yet, that ideology is just as powerless as Western humanism against the forces of Ethnic conflict, poverty, and lawlessness.
We see clearly the heart of the secularists and moderates to live at peace. We also see clearly the strong movement politically here to reject the changes of the last 100 years and the growing fears of the secularists that they are losing the battle. Those who would paint the Middle East with a broad brush would do well to understand this. At a human level there are in fact many Muslims who resonate with the humanist vision of secular unity and peace. We would do well not to ignore them since they desperately need help and support. The fact that they are powerless to stop the wave of violence only increases their need for understanding from the body of Christ. It is only through this empathy that we can open the door to the true source of power.
What is true of Turkey is also true of the region. Ethnic and clan conflicts are driving the civil wars in the region much more than Islam itself. Even the religious face for ISIL covers much deeper spiritual roots than Islam. (More on this at a later time.) At the same time these conflicts are showing many in this region that Islam itself has no power to combat these forces. Knowing what the enemy plans is a small start. The important thing is what the Lord has planned.
The light we have Now that we are here we have spent the last few months (trying to) learn Turkish, praying and seeking the Lord’s plan. Things have been difficult and much more stressful than Cambodia. We have been claiming that all things indeed work together for the good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). As we write this, we have only just this morning achieved victory in the most severe test. As a result, there is a clarity has been slow to come. It is not complete yet, but it is coming into focus and this update is part of that focus.
A start is our looking at the spiritual roots for the Asia Minor region of the early church. Eighteen years ago, when we were in Ghana West Africa, the Lord told me to pray that the ancient foundations would be restored. We are now in the region of Asia Minor where the ancient foundations of the body of Christ were laid in the early Church. Jerusalem is only a few hours away. The seven churches of revelation and Colossae are just an hour away from us by small aircraft. St. Paul’s base of operations in Antioch is only a couple of hours away. The Macedonian churches are also near by. Both Roslyn and I are strongly feeling the Lord’s prompting to walk and pray over these sites. We fully expect more clarity on His plan when we make that multi-city intercession journey here.
It is true that the Turks as an ethnic group were never a part of this foundation. That foundation was Roman and Greek. In fact the Turks were the Islamic weapon that destroyed the Christian empire based here. Still the Turks are in the place of the new residents of ancient Israel. It is interesting that Samaria was often the recipient of Jesus’ ministry. The mantles lost by those ancient Churches can be picked up and the anointings walked out today by a new people. Like Paul, when Saul, the enemies of the Church are often those the Lord chooses to redeem and do His work.
He will make connections here, as we obey that prompting for the prayer expedition. As we seek the Lord personally on these prayer expeditions, we also expect the Lord to open up doors to believers and leaders in the region. Roslyn had a powerful encounter in 2008 in the ruins at Ephesus when the Lord opened a door for her to testify to His true nature in response to a simple direct question from a Turk on the tour group. We fully expect these encounters to increase with those whose hearts cry for peace and justice and with those believers who are searching for vision.
We do not expect that it will be Roslyn and I who will receive the wisdom and grace and ideas to overcome ethnic conflict. We will not reject such wisdom should it come to us personally, but we expect to be able to lift up a vision of what is possible and stir up a hunger, to encourage and help train those who will receive such wisdom and perhaps to confirm it when it appears. The Lord has always impressed on me that, although He uses outsiders to stir the waters and train, it is the choices and authority of those with spiritual roots in an area that can truly change things. They have the authority to pray and receive grace to repent for past wrongs, they have the authority to pray and receive grace to forgive and be forgiven. Repentance and forgiveness will break the curses over a region and bind the enemy in ways that nothing else can.
The region has powerful intercessors already here and we know we are going to connect with them and with local believers. Whatever the Lord shares with us, it will only be part of the puzzle. The Lord intentionally spreads His plans across the Body. He does this to draw us together and make us dependent on each other. So, connections with others who are praying or even those who do not realize that their heart cries are the Holy Spirit praying through them is essential.
Roslyn’s background inside Islam during ethnic conflict is a definite positive factor. It is interesting that Roslyn’s perspective on Islam and Islamic people, having lived inside Islam for several years earlier in her life, has been recognized by some of the long term Christian workers here. The Lord has uniquely prepared her to understand the hearts of those who follow Allah. She has experience living in an Islamic civil war in the Philippines but she has also taught English to Islamic students in the USA, and now here.
In the southern Philippines, she experienced the attacks of radicals but also the determination of Islamic villagers to protect her. She knows the hopes and dreams of the students. These experiences give her a unique appreciation of the people the Lord would redeem. So what we see ahead is travel and meeting with people as the Lord begins to speak to us and others.
Roslyn’s voice is about to be released and her heart for the people will open doors on many sides of conflicts. We are a little unusual in that we do not feel a specific call to a people group. Ours is a call to a battle across many people groups. The next major battle for the Bride is to conquer Ethnic conflict within the boundaries of the Body itself. So often people who are about to turn to the Lord are rejected because of ethnic offenses and divisions within the Church which destroy the unity that, according to the Lord Jesus’ words recorded in John 17, is essential to the Church’s witness in the world.
With the Middle East in growing chaos, people are searching for answers and wisdom. The Church does have the answers; if she can walk them out, then the world will see those answers demonstrated. The enemy would love to destroy a people near to the Lord’s heart just when they realize how much they need the Lord. If the enemy succeeds in keeping ethnic offense inside the body, then the world will reject the Church as no better than them. If she fakes internal unity but rejects those the Lord brings in, it will block their way to the Lord. THIS IS SPIRTUAL WARFARE. This battle cannot be fought with human weapons. It is not fought with guns nor is it fought with education, ideology, tolerance, or human negotiation and compromise. It is only the Spirit of God that can overcome.
Roslyn received a strong word from a director of a Prayer Furnace just before she went to Turkey the first time, 10 years ago: he told her she had hold of two swords, the written Word of God and the rhema word, that she would wield effectively within the Spirit’s power. If the Bride worldwide who carries ‘the fullness of Him who is all in all’ cannot overcome this ethnic hatred demon inside, then the world is truly without hope. But the Lord is willing to release this grace! And John 17 is His ongoing prayer and declaration that the Bride will walk in the unity that flows from His glory.
Our travels and work in this region are our part in this battle. The Next Step is very dependent on financial resources. We are praying for financial breakthrough that will allow us to travel as a couple to the various sites mentioned and to also interact with intercessors that are currently on the ground. The key here is ‘as a couple’. This is all about unity. True unity in spirit and purpose. Unity in the body starts with unity in marriages.
The Lord told me when I was asking about marrying Roslyn, 30 years ago, that together we would be a sharp forged sword in His hands. Roslyn’s being tied down with a heavy teaching schedule makes it impossible for her to even worship with others,let alone pray and work with me. Her ESL work opened the door, but now that we are through the door, it is time for us to move into the real reason we are in the region. The Much Larger Resources Required for this ministry This intercessory expedition will require God to move mightily for financial resources. The financial needs to live here are only slightly less than they would be in Cyprus, and if Roslyn backs away from teaching full time, we will need to move into other housing since we are now in greatly subsidized company housing belonging to her employer.
I want to make it clear that we are and have been working as we can to support ourselves. Right now we are only touching outside funding for language study. We have no desire to stop providing as much as we can personally, but that provision needs to leave us free to travel and pray over territory here as needed.
After an eight year lull, I am even beginning to pick up new programming skills. They are not fully back yet and it unclear whether they will ever again give me the freedom I had earlier, but it is a start which may open a door later. We need a Minimum of $2,900 USD extra each month in order to live here and move into what we see ahead. We are seeing that this financial base needs to materialize by early June. That amount could conceivably come as a combination of flexible intermittent consulting work AND ‘a Much Larger than Current Base’ of outside funding for this ministry. One other option might be that we live in the USA and there begin to develop a teaching and intercession training ministry in churches, and then we make further trips to this region periodically.
Our role to many nations and our ‘coming and going to the nations’ was actually prophesied to us from the mouth of a child 10 years ago and from prophetic leaders repeatedly. We just have never seen how it would be fulfilled. BUT, “with Him, all things are possible.” Even that alternate living plan would require our making a beginning here in June of prayer expeditions to those ancient church sites.
The financial resources for us to be here during the 3 summer months of 2016– without Roslyn’s income– and obey His prompting to make this prayer expedition still requires a much larger base of financial resources than we have currently. What can you do? Pray! Pray for these large resources to materialize quickly by early June. If the Lord moves on you to be a part of this work, then we will make a way for that to happen.
Right now it is still possible for you to give through Christ’s Mandate for Missions. However, we are considering whether the Lord would have us be not quite so visible on a simple web search so that web page may disappear. If you are giving already that link should remain, but not be publicly visible. If you are just feeling He wants you to start to support this ministry, please send us an email letting us know and we will set you up with a link for donations