Wholeness Ministries 20 Years
August 24, 2014
It’s hard for me to believe that as of July 2014 we will have been at this for twenty years. I guess it’s because we have been having so much fun that the time flew by. To think all of this started with my attending a healing conference in 1984. I was on staff at First Baptist Church in Bakersfield, CA. My boss and Senior Pastor Dr. John Lavender insisted that we go to a healing conference conducted by John Wimber in Anaheim, CA. Due to my early exposure to the healing ministry I did not want to go, but because I dearly loved and respected Dr. John I agreed to go with him. If you knew John Lavender he could be a bit insistent.
What I observed at that healing conference and the encounter with God that I had, left me a changed man. I came back to First Baptist Church and began forming prayer teams to pray for the sick on a regular basis. Over the next ten years I went to every training event, and healing conference that John Wimber conducted. I read every book I could get my hands on that had to do with healing. This led to writing our first training manual, Learning To Do What Jesus Did.
From 1984 until early 1994 the ministry at First Baptist Church was running along fairly smoothly. In 1994 while up in Kern Canyon sitting by the Kern River God clearly said to me, “Michael, I want you to resign your position at the church and take this ministry out on it’s own. You can no longer do here what I called you to do.” That was a defining moment for me because I did not know how God was going to provide for our family. At that time I had a wife and three young children at home and from where I was sitting this was scary. A few of my friends even thought I was crazy.
However, I had enough faith in God that I was willing to jump out and give this a try. I went back home, talked this over with my wife and after much prayer handed in my resignation at the church. We then officially formed Wholeness Ministries Inc. and the rest is history. It has been an amazing journey and I expect it to continue for many years to come.
A man that God brought into my life early in this journey was Francis MacNutt. When we first met he took me under his wing and not only became my mentor but Francis and his wife Judith have become dear friends. Francis opened doors for me into the Catholic Church by taking me for thirty days on my first ministry trip with him to England and Belfast, Northern Ireland. That was a learning experience! Our friendship has continued over these many years and I treasure our times together. I remember thinking how God has taken this boy raised a Southern Baptist, then in his early thirties placed him in an American Baptist Church under a man who was a tremendous teacher, visionary, spiritual father and personal friend, Dr. John Lavender. He exposed him to the teachings of what I considered a radical charismatic, John Wimber, and then placed him with a former Catholic Priest to mentor and father him. This has been part of my personal journey during the last forty years!
Belfast, Northern Ireland
While in Belfast, Northern Ireland I met David Jardine who was at that time an Anglican Priest connected with the order of St. Francis operating out of St. Ann’s Cathedral. He now has established Divine Healing Ministries with headquarters in Belfast. David is a gifted teacher and a man of peace and reconciliation. In addition to the healing ministry his passion and heart is to bring together the Protestant and Catholic Churches in Northern Ireland. We became fast friends over the years. I have been invited back several times to minister alongside David and conduct training workshops and healing conferences in both Catholic and Protestant churches, with people from both denominations attending.
This was significant because when I first went to Belfast in the early 90’s it was a dangerous place to be due to the anger and hatred among various groups. Over the years I’ve seen significant change as reconciliation and peace has come to Northern Ireland. Now I would feel comfortable taking my family there. Over the years I’ve seen many miraculous healings and know that David, partnered with God, is doing a great work there. The Irish are a gracious and fun people to be around and it has been my good fortune to have been exposed to them and I look forward to future trips back to Northern Ireland.
The next significant point in this journey was in 1997 when I first went to Budapest, Hungary at the invitation of Bishop Robert Wise. While I was there I met Adam Balogh who was my interpreter and transportation. That gave me an opportunity to spend time getting acquainted with him and time to listen to him share his love for the Lord and his heart for ministry. Before I went to Hungary I was receiving prayer from our intercessors. During the time of prayer one of them shared with me this word regarding my trip to Budapest, “The Lord has shown me that while in Budapest you will meet a young man who will be the key to the doorway to what I am going to do in Eastern Europe.” So the whole time I was in Budapest I am asking the Lord to show me this young man.
On the last night just before I left Budapest, Adam and I had an extended opportunity to talk and pray together. While we were praying I asked the Lord, “Is this the man?” and He said, “Yes!” I shared this prophetic word with Adam and he had this stunned and surprised look on his face. After a moment he said, “Five years ago when I became a Christian a man spoke a prophetic word to me that was exactly what you just said, which was, “You will be the key to the doorway to what I am going to do in Eastern Europe.” Through Wholeness Ministries we have been helping to support Adam since 1997.
Adam is now married to Orsi and they have four beautiful daughters. I have been back to Budapest four times and over all these years we have been supporting them I have watched this prophetic word work out. Adam has traveled all over Eastern Europe evangelizing, training and equipping people in evangelism and how to pray for the sick using our material Learning To Do What Jesus Did, which is translated into Hungarian.
Adam exposed us to others involved in ministries that had very little exposure here in the United States but were having a significant impact on people’s lives in Eastern Europe. In 2006 through Adam we met Eduard and Ibi Rudolf who live in Cluj, Romania. Eduard and his wife Ibi work with orphans, gypsies and children in the various villages around Romania. They have four children of their own. In addition to the outreach to the gypsies in many villages, they have established a significant work at the orphanage in Cluj and a children’s ministry in over 10 villages that reaches hundreds of children each week.
Not only are they bringing them the Good News but they are giving them hope and love and providing in tangible ways exactly what Jesus would do if he were there among them. After visiting Romania and seeing their work we felt that we also needed to help provide support for Eduard & Ibi and their work in Romania.
Father Ed Fronske works among the Apache and Navajo Indians on a reservation in Whiteriver, Arizona. Until 2007 I had never been among the Native Americans on one of their reservations. Fr. Ed invited me over to conduct a 3-day training and ministry work among the Navajo and Apache tribes. This man has been at St. Francis Catholic Church for over 26 years ministering among these people he so dearly loves. As I taught, it was exciting to watch the Holy Spirit move among them and bring them to a place of not only openness to Him but also an eagerness to take what they were being taught back to their homes and use it among themselves. Fr. Ed has an ability to meld together the traditions and teaching of the Church with the Native American culture. He has been able to speak the Good News in a language they understand, honor their traditions and be an example of Jesus that exemplifies love and humility.
Pastor Jae One Kim of One in Christ Healing Ministries has a heart for the Korean people and is the man responsible for my invitation to Korea. Pastor Kim is the man who translated our book, Learning To Do What Jesus Did into Korean. He is an excellent translator and great man to work with. We have become good friends and I look forward to other trips to Korea ministering together with him. Besides English, Hungarian and Korean the training manual is also available in Spanish.
I have done a great deal of traveling but nothing prepared me for India! The culture shock hit me when I walked out the door of the airport in Chennai, got into the car and rode into the city for the very first time. Chennai is a city of 7 million people. The sheer numbers of people I saw on my way in from the airport was mind-boggling. The traffic, the noise, the smells, the poverty, immediately had all of my senses on overload. Bill Chaney traveled with me to India and for both of us it was overwhelming. Not only the sheer numbers of people and the poverty, but also the miracles that we saw God do.
As you can see from this report God has opened many doors for us in various denominations, ministry streams and other countries outside the United States. This is just a glimpse of what we have been doing for the last twenty years. In addition to what is reported here there have been trips to Qatar, Kuwait, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Serbia. Plus we have been to numerous churches around the United States.
Looking back on these last twenty years God has been faithful in providing for all the needs of our family. Not once have we wanted for anything that we needed. Admittedly, I didn’t know how God was going to provide, but He always did. In addition, along the way He surprised us with gifts that went far beyond our needs. Much like a loving father would do for his children.
I would not trade this last twenty years for anything. It has been an exciting journey and I cannot express how grateful that He chose me to walk this journey with Him. Indeed I want to give God all the glory and I look forward to many more years in this exciting journey. Thank you for your continued support. Without you we could not have done all this.