Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (129)

(a novel continued)

“Why aren’t we asking God what He thinks about these decisions?” Shirley said.
They all looked at each other. “We should,” Minnie said.
The women folded their hands and bowed their heads. Nan began, “Dear Lord, you’ve heard our plans. We don’t want our plans to not be your plans. So let us know if you want us to go in a different direction.
They waited.
“I see a peacock,” Hannah said.
“I hear don’t get too proud,” Sue said.
“I hear follow me,” Melissa added.
“Lord, forgive us for going ahead. We want to follow you...lead on O King eternal.” Minnie prayed.
“I heard I am leading you. Those plans are my plans.” Hannah said. “I see. Those were His plans all along. It is pride that makes us think they were ours.”
From there everything snowballed, including the weather. November turned into the snowiest month ever. A beautiful white blanket covered the city. Fresh snow fell every day. The 120 new people went out into the streets designated and filled their notebooks with prayer requests. People in each of the churches sincerely prayed about each request. Prayers all over the city were getting answered on a daily basis. It got so people would look for the prayer teams. Healings were commonplace. Almost everyone thought about prayer before they thought about the doctor. More people joined the teams. By December the Tuesday team meetings filled the gym at the cathedral to capacity.
The newspaper carried more good news stories than bad. Christian terminology was no longer politically incorrect. Instead of Happy Holidays or even Merry Christmas, people were saying, Have a Blessed Christmas. Angels from the Realms of Glory became the number one hit on the radio.
Then a team of young people visited the hospital. They walked down the halls singing, Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring and as they sang and walked people were getting up out of their hospital beds, totally healed.
The hospital practically emptied overnight.

Of course this hit the national and then the international news. People began trekking to Haven to see this great thing that had taken place. The cathedral in the middle of town became a shrine of sorts. Sick people came by the busload. Many were healed when people from Haven prayed for them. Many more gave their lives to Jesus when they saw the great miracles. Life in Haven was good. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (128)

(a novel continued)

That Sunday the invitation went out in every church in Haven. In some congregations they handed out flyers at the door. In others, team member gave a short testimony. In every church at least two people responded. At Rockwood fifty people wanted to be part of the venture. Most of these were men. The entire youth group at Minnie’s church volunteered. All told by Monday morning the discipleship group had 120 new volunteers.
Monday evening Minnie and John pulled out their set of maps. They prayed that the Lord would direct their decisions. Then they went to work. They decided to assign three new teams to each area. They gave the youth group from First Church, which was Minnie’s church the downtown. They put married couples together. There were at least four of those. Beyond that they put women with women and men with men. “Better not give the devil opportunity where there wasn’t any before,” Minnie said.

The next evening at their regular meeting at Nan's Minnie showed the discipleship group the breakdown. They prayed over it, approved it and each took the names and numbers of the new volunteers in their areas. Then they spent an hour assembling packets for the 120 new volunteers with material that Minnie had gathered that morning. They put bags, pens, markers, notebooks, and maps of the entire city on the table and circled round each picking up a bag and filling it with the other items as they walked around the table. When they had 120 packets, each one took six of these and added a map of their specific area to each. Then they tagged the bags with the names of the new volunteers. Jill took packets for the youth group assigned to the downtown and promised to deliver them to the church in time for their Thursday night meeting.
When all the work was done, the group gathered in a circle and prayed. Nan began, “Dear Lord, thank you for all these volunteers. Give us all courage and boldness and protect us from the works of the enemy. We pray it in Jesus name.” Others followed with specific requests for their areas, requests they had written in the notebooks.
After the prayer, Shirley piped up. “I thought we were going to give these requests to the churches to pray over.”
Minnie felt convicted. It was beside the point that her notebook was still blank. In her spirit she heard ‘follow through.’ Out loud she said, “That is something we should be doing. Any ideas about the best way to go about it?”
“Obvious,” Jill said, “The representative from each church should be collecting the requests from each team member in her area and reporting them to her church.” They opened up the bags again and wrote a note on the front of each notebook with the name and phone number of the church representative.
“Really, the church representatives should be at these meetings,” Jill said, “It would make it so much easier.”
“We don’t want to overload anyone,” Minnie said, “We might lose them.”
“Well we are all still here,” Amie said.
“For one thing, we couldn’t have the meeting in my house if there were 32 of us,” said Nan.
“Maybe we should just meet at the cathedral every Tuesday. Then we could invite as many people as are involved,” Melissa said.
“What and miss out on Nan’s tea?” Hannah said.
“Small sacrifice,” Nan said.
Minnie said she would ask Father George. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (127)

(a novel continued)

“Anyone else with a testimony,” Minnie asked.
Mary and her prayer partner, Marie stood up. “We have a story,” Mary said. 
Minnie was taken by surprise. At home Mary hadn’t even hinted about any adventures in prayer. 
Mary looked at her mom. “I didn’t want to share this earlier because I felt bad that you couldn’t actually be walking around meeting people in your area.”
She proceeded to tell how Marie and she had been walking down a street two over from St. John’s United. They came across a group of ten-years-old's or at least Mary guessed them to be ten years old. They could have been older or younger for that matter. These kids were looking down a sewer grate. “What’s the matter?” Mary asked.
One of the children pointed at the grate, “I lost my money down there. I was supposed to buy some stuff for my mom at the store and it fell down the grate.” 
'Not true,' Mary heard in her spirit.
“How much was it?” she asked.
“Ten dollars,” he said boldly.
Mary looked at Marie and then back at the boy. “Do you know that when you lie, it makes Jesus very sad?
“Who’s Jesus?” one of the kids asked.
“He’s only the most amazing guy who ever lived.” Marie said. She proceeded to give the most spell-binding Sunday school lesson Mary had ever heard. 
Marie concluded with an altar call.  “Who wants to give their life to Jesus?” she asked. All the kids, all 11 of them, put up their hands. “Okay, repeat after me: I, (now say your name) give my heart to Jesus. I confess that I have done many bad things. I am sorry. Please forgive me Jesus.” Marie stopped after every few words so the kids could repeat. “Jesus I want you to be the king of my life.”
Then Marie invited them to join her for church school at 10 at St. John’s Sunday morning. They promised to be there.

All in all, the women were greatly encouraged at the meeting. Several of them were scheduled to give reports at their churches. Father George who had stayed in the room throughout, said he would be talking to his parishioners about what he had heard, “Would you be interested in a few more volunteers?” he inquired.
 “Would we? Our areas are much too big to cover with just two people,” Minnie said.
“We could use some men,” Nan said.

“We can each recruit from our home churches as well,” Jill offered.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (126)

(a novel continued)

Bea had been out in another part of West New Haven with Daliah from the Methodist church.
“We had an awesome time,” Bea said. “I sort of didn’t know what to do, but Daliah took right over.”
“Correction,” Daliah said, “Jesus took over...He really did.”
They had been walking along Main Street out by the mall on the outskirts when a car pulled up alongside. A big guy on the passenger side rolled down the window, “Which way to the hospital?” 
Bea started to tell him, when Daliah said, “Who wants to know?”
“Look lady, we got a guy in the back seat, badly injured—hunting accident.” 
Daliah peered inside the car. “We’ll pray for him,” Daliah said. She began to pray right there at their car window.
“Look lady, we don’t have time for this. Where is the hospital?” The guy looked at Bea. 
Bea tried again, “You’ll see the blue “H” signs, like the one up ahead, more often once you get to the other side of town,” she said pointing at a small sign way up the road.
The car sped off as she pointed.
They continued walking up the street. Not ten minutes later the same car pulled over onto the shoulder of the road ahead of them. It had come from behind, crossed the road and parked in front of them facing into traffic. Three men hopped out. One of them had dried blood all over his legs and one of his pant legs had been ripped off. He walked normally. “That was one powerful prayer,” the bloodied man said. “The pain just left and the next thing I knew I could use my leg again.”

“That’s our Jesus!” Daliah said. She went right into a salvation message. Those three big hunters fell on their knees and accepted Jesus right there beside the road.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (125)

(a novel continued)

“You mean to say that not a single one of these families go to Rockwood?” Minnie said.
“I was looking through our church directory on Sunday night after we left your place and of all the 400 addresses I didn’t find a single one that corresponded. Our people are mostly in Old Haven with a few in West New Haven.
“I wonder if any of the other churches have people from here?”
“We’ll probably find out sooner or later.”
“Wouldn't it be great if everyone living here all became Bible-believing, church attending Christians? Maybe they’ll build a church here, right by the stream on that knoll we keep driving around.”
“That’s pretty well the only logical location.” Judy said.             
Minnie could practically see the church. She prayed there would be a church there.
Every morning except Sunday for the next 11 days, Judy and Minnie drove around and through their area always praying and trusting the Lord to guide their prayers.

Then Judy had a seven day stint of night shift at the hospital, so they spent an hour or so in the early evening prayer-driving through their area.
A month after the kick-off rally, the teams got together again. Father George was more than pleased to have the prayer teams meet in the room at the cathedral. He had four round tables set up for them.
Everyone was there. Each team in turn reported. The strategies varied. The teams in Old Haven invariably met up with Christians who offered to partner with them in prayer. In parts of New Haven several of the teams reported miracles.
Nan and her partner from the Seventh Day Adventist church were out in West New Haven. They had met up with a man in a wheelchair. Nan’s partner Jean asked him if there was anything they could pray for him. He looked at them sideways and asked if they were real. Nan pinched herself and said “Ouch.” He laughed at that. They got talking and he told them about the car accident that had put him in the wheelchair. “The doctors say that there is zero percent chance I will every walk again.”
“Do you believe that?” Jean asked.
“I don’t want to, but doctors usually know what they are talking about.”
“Well, we know someone who always knows what He’s talking about and He can heal you.” Nan said.
“Take me to him,” the man said.
“Jesus can heal you.” Nan said.
“I haven’t been to church for years.” 
“That can’t stop him from healing you. I stop going to church for about twenty years and He still got hold of me.” Nan said.
“Do you want us to pray for you?” Jean asked.
“Okay, it can’t hurt.”
“Let’s just do it the way the disciples did it,” Nan said. She grabbed one of the man’s hands and motioned to Jean to grab the man’s other hand.
As Nan told the story to the women at the team meeting she stopped here and looked around the room. “I can’t explain what came over me. At that moment I had so much faith that man could walk if I only obeyed what Jesus was showing me to do inside, that if I didn’t follow through right then, that man would lose a miracle.”
Jean did grab the man’s other hand. Nan said to the man, “In the name of Jesus Christ who died for all your sins, to save you from hell and destruction, stand up and walk.” They pulled the man up to his feet. He started walking, then dancing around his wheelchair. “Holy crow,” he said. He sat down in the wheelchair and began to cry. “Thank you, thank you,” he repeated.
“Don’t thank us, thank Jesus,” Jean said, a big smile plastered across her face.
The man stood up again. “I can walk. I can really walk, thank you Jesus. Wait till my wife sees this.” He took his chair by the handles, turned it around and headed up the street.
“That was yesterday,” Jean said. “We haven’t seen him since. We don’t even know his name.”

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (124)

(a novel continued)

They decided, rather than pre-planning a route, to walk through their area listening to the Lord's direction along the way. Judy pulled out her nursing schedule. “I actually have a pretty light month coming up,” she said. “I’ve put in a lot of overtime lately and they’ve just hired a few new part-timers to fill in the gaps. I’ve got twelve free days after tomorrow.”
“I wonder when's the best time to go,” Minnie said.
“Lord, we want your timing on this,” Judy prayed.
“Let’s just go out first thing Tuesday morning and we’ll plan day-by-day from there,” Minnie said. “The more we’re out there, the more He will be able to use us.”
On Tuesday morning Judy called Minnie, “I’m so sorry, I have to work today, someone called in sick.”

Minnie decided to go alone. She could at least walk and pray the area. She drove out and parked on Kerns Street which was the most southerly street in their section. When she stepped out of the car, her left foot missed the curb and twisted into the gutter. “Oh crap.” She tried to walk on it, but couldn’t go beyond a hobble. Minnie hopped back to the car. “Now what, Lord?”
If she didn’t put weight on her foot, it didn’t feel so bad. She decided to drive the area. She drove the perimeter praying peace and blessing to every household. She wondered how big the area actually was so she checked her odometer and drove around once more. Her odometer measured 12 kilometres. There was a stream with a bit of a woods running through the centre of the area with designated parkland on both sides. Then she drove up and down the streets first on one side of the parkland and then on the other, always praying for the Lord’s peace to rest on each household.
By the time Minnie got home a few hours later her ankle was throbbing. She put ice on it and prayed. “Lord heal this ankle.”
The next morning when Judy came to the house, Minnie hobbled to the door. Judy took one look at the ankle and said, “You shouldn’t be walking on that. Wrap it, apply ice and rest it as much as you can.”
“We’re supposed to be praying for our area,” Minnie said. “I’m not letting this get in the way.”
“Well, sit down,” Judy said. “Do you have a tensor bandage?”
“There might be one under the sink in the upstairs bathroom.”
Judy went upstairs and came back with the bandage. “What did you family say about this?”
“They were concerned, but they know better than to try to tell me what to do.”
Judy wrapped the ankle. “You should not be walking on this.”
“We could drive our area. That’s what I did yesterday.” Minnie said.
“I’ll drive,” Judy said, “You sit in the back with your leg up.

They drove up and down the streets of the former Christmas tree farm praying for each family as they felt led. 
“I don’t know a single person living up here and yet I'm feeling very connected,” Judy said. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (123)

(a novel continued)

The discipleship group had put together packets for every team member. Each packet included a laminated map of the team’s area with the streets clearly marked, a marker for writing on the map, a simple list of instructions, a spiral notebook for taking prayer requests, a pen and a small Gideon Bible.

Mary partnered with a woman from St. John’s Presbyterian Church. Their area included the Beeky home. Minnie’s territory was up in New Haven with Judy from Rockwood Gospel Tablernacle. She was totally delighted when she found out that the person who had volunteered from Rockwood was none other than the nurse who had helped her at the hospital.
Judy and Rex came over Sunday afternoon to visit the Beeky’s. They talked as if they were old friends. “I don’t know why we haven’t gotten together sooner,” John said. “I like you people.”
“It’s actually feels good to just be me and not have to constantly beware if something I say can be misconstrued as something else,” Rex said. “I’ve learned to choose my words carefully and not always say what I really think.”
“You can trust John to keep what you tell him as confidential,” Minnie said.
“Mostly because I have trouble remembering who said what,” laughed John.
John turned on the TV. “Are you into football?” he asked.
Rex nodded. “Love to watch a game. I’m a Ti-Cat fan.”
“They just happen to be playing this afternoon,” John said.
Judy and Minnie sat at the dining room table with their map, planning their strategy.
“Let’s pray first,” Judy said.
“Dear, God,” Minnie prayed as she remembered sitting  in His lap, “You want this more than we do. This is your plan from the beginning. Dear God help us to follow you, to listen to your direction as we walk these streets. We pray that for everyone on the team. We pray for unity, your guidance and a fun time as we go out into this city and put your name on it. Turn each heart toward you. You are worthy.”
“You are Almighty, the Beginning and the End. Lead us and guide us by your Holy Spirit and in the name of your son Jesus,” Judy added.
“Amen,” they concluded.

They looked at the map in front of them. It was of a relatively new area in the city. “I can remember when that was a farmer’s field,” Judy said. “We used to get our Christmas trees there.”

Monday, July 22, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (122)

(a novel continued)

“When would you need it?” Father George asked.
“We haven’t even thought of a date yet.” Hannah said.
“Get back to our office when you know. I’ll tell them to let you have it when you need it. Hopefully there won't be a conflict. As long as you don't pick a Wednesday or Thursday evening, you should be fine. The room holds up to 300 people and by all means fill it.” Father George smiled as he shook their hands once more and directed them to the way out. “We’ll look forward to receiving that prayer list.”
Minnie and Hannah could barely contain themselves. Once outside, Minnie said, “That was so God.”
They arranged the kick-off rally in short order. It would be held the second Friday evening in September. Each member of the discipleship group connected with a volunteer from their assigned church.  
Everything was working out.
“You know what’s bothering me,” Minnie said to Mary and John one evening as they were drinking coffee and watching the fake fireplace in the front room. “There aren’t any men in this plan.”
“You wait,” John said. “Once this ground work is done, the Lord will have lots for the men to do. You watch.”
“What are you thinking, Dad?” Mary asked.
“You just wait. You’ll see.” He took a sip of coffee and looked at Mary with that look that said she wouldn’t get anymore out of him.
The rally went off without a hitch. In an attempt to follow Father George's instruction to fill the room, prayer partners invited friends and family.
Thus, about 300 men, women and children listened to Minnie give an inspiring message on the importance to God of each person in Haven. “He loves each one of us. This is our chance to show His love to every person in this town. We’ll listen to the requests of any and every person who wants to make a request. We’ll pray God’s heart into every requested situation.”
The catholic women’s guild surprised the group by offering up a spread of cookies and squares and sandwiches, with a choice of coffee, tea or juice. When Minnie wanted to pay them, they wouldn’t to hear of it. “We’re doing it for our dear Lord and the Blessed Mother Mary,” a spokeswoman said. “She waved her hand and refused to hear any more about payment.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (121)

(a novel continued)

The next morning Minnie called the Catholic church office. 
"Just come right over," the secretary said. "Our priest, Father George, will be happy to talk to you. He'll be  in the main sanctuary taking confessions all morning." 
Minnie got in touch with Hannah and they went over together.
"Feels holy." Hannah whispered as they entered the sanctuary. Sunlight filtered in through the stain glass panes of the four windows on each side of the church. Each window depicted a different scene in Jesus life on earth. 
They saw a priest over at the far side of the sanctuary in front of a bank of candles and a woman kneeling in a pew close to an ornate altar at the front. Minnie and Hannah walked quietly over to the priest. They introduced themselves.
“Yes, I’ve been expecting you,” he said. “I’m Father George.”
“I’ve never been in here before, it’s beautiful,” Minnie said.
Father George led them to an office down a hallway off the side at the back of the sanctuary.  Once they were seated in two small chairs in front of the desk in the rather small office, they explained what they were after. They surprised themselves with the detail they were able to relate. Father George had a way of making them totally comfortable. He listened with great interest.
“Let me summarize,” he said, “just so that we know we are on the same page.” He smiled a benevolent smile. “You girls have gathered volunteers from all the churches in town to listen to the needs of all the people in town and pray for them. You want this cathedral to be involved as well so you are asking if you can have your ‘kick-off’ rally here in this place. Did I get that right?”
“And,” Minnie said, “we’re wondering if the people of this parish would want to take part as well by praying for the needs that we find out about. We would put the needs on a list every week and send them to you.”
Father George stood up. “I’ll show you a room you could possibly use. How many people did you say?”
“About 32,” Minnie said.                                                                                 
“Perfect,” he said. He led them further down the hall and around a corner, down a stairway to a large open space about the size of a small gym. “How’s this?”

“Perfect,” Minnie said. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (120)

(a novel continued)

They all looked at Mary. “That must have been one nightmare of a place,” Nan said. She had heard stories from Minnie over the years.
“Sorry for bringing my junk here.” Mary said. “It’s sometimes hard to make the adjustment into reality. My counsellor has been helping me see truth, which is a big job after I’d been so brainwashed.”
“Do you want us to pray for you?” Brenda asked. Brenda, always very quiet, had the gift of compassion.
“I don’t want to take the meeting off track.” Mary said.
“Nonsense,” Hannah said. “We’re about Jesus and Jesus is about salvation which includes healing people.”
The women gathered around Mary and prayed for her. Brenda saw a picture of Mary the Mother of Jesus when she was pregnant with Jesus. Brenda prayed that the Lord would be able to use Mary to bring Jesus to the world as He had used the first Mary to bring Jesus into the world.
They prayed that Mary would experience the peace of Jesus Christ and know the truth, that she would be blessed with discernment and wisdom. While they prayed, tears streamed down Mary’s face. Nan put a box of tissues in Mary’s hand. At the last ‘amen’ Mary smiled peacefully. “Thank you,” she said.
“The Lord did something totally amazing just now,” Hannah said. “While we were ministering to Mary, He was talking to me about the Catholic Church. We definitely should have the rally there.”
“What did He say?” Jill asked.
“It’s hard to explain exactly. I always had a big problem with the way they give so much attention to Mary and here we were giving all our attention to this Mary and the Lord said in my spirit, ‘you are all my children, every one of you.’ I know he was talking about the people in the Catholic church as well.”
“But, would they even let us have a rally there?” Amie asked.

“We can ask,” Minnie said. After a bit of discussion, Minnie and Hannah volunteered to follow up with the priest at the cathedral. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (119)

(a novel continued)

“So, who signs the letter?” Jill asked Minnie when she read it to her over the phone. “We don’t even have a name for our group, no letterhead, no credibility....”
“We’ll just let the volunteer who is doing that area, sign the letter and bring it to the church.”
By the end of the week each church had been visited. And, within two weeks they had a volunteer from every single church.
“We should have some kind of kick-off rally.” Minnie said at the next meeting at Nan’s.
Nan looked around the room. “Where should we have it? Can’t fit too many more bodies in this place.”
“How about at the centre of town?” Melissa said.
“That’s where the Catholic Cathedral is,” Jill said.
“Exactly. The Catholic Church is the only church in town not involved yet.”
“Besides the church out at the compound.” said Mary, who had decided to join the group for this meeting seeing how her mother had wangled her into being part of a prayer team, not that she minded. She actually was excited about this project. Mary had a heart to see people come to know Jesus. That was how Brandon had captured her attention in the first place. He had made it sound like his church was the beginning of a countrywide revival.
“You can’t really call that a true church, the church on the compound, I mean,” Minnie said.
“I’ve got issues with the Catholic Church as well,” Hannah said.
“Well, if we waited for every church to get their act completely together we would have to wait until everybody was burning in hell.” Shirley said. She blushed. “That’s what the pastor at my new church told me.”
“The litmus test is ‘does this church teach that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the world?’ I believe the Catholic Church does, so we should include it.” Jill said.

“At the compound, Brandon is the saviour of the world,” Mary said to no one in particular. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (118)

(a novel continued)

“I know” Jill said. “I get it. What He is telling us, I get it. It’s like He just downloaded the whole plan. We each take our district. We ask people we meet in our area if they want prayer for anything. We take the prayer requests to the church designated for that area. They take ownership of it. They pray about it. God answers. We do the follow up and report to the church what He did to answer the prayer.”
“If that works out,” Hannah added, “Then the church gets all excited about what’s happening and people from the churches go out into their areas and do exactly what we did. The whole thing just multiplies all over the city.”
“Wow, wow, wow. Thank you God,” Minnie said.
“Tea anyone?” Nan asked.
“I’ve got a question,” Bea said, “If when Jesus sent out the disciples they went out two-by-two, why are we going out alone?”
Everyone looked at Bea.
“She’s got a point,” Jill said.
“It probably is better to double up,” Minnie said.
“And more fun,” Melissa added.    
“If we double up, each group gets two areas,” Minnie said.
“Or we could recruit more people,” Jill said.
“We could go to the churches designated for the area and ask for one volunteer?” Amie said.
“That’s a great idea,” Minnie said. They all nodded in agreement. Jill volunteered to write up a letter to take to the churches. They prayed for wisdom, favour and success. 
Then they had tea.
Jill wrote a simple letter.
Dear __________________ church,
We are a group of Christian women from various denominations here in Haven. We are praying for the needs of this city. We have one volunteer willing to pray for the area shown on the enclosed map. Would your church be able to supply us with a volunteer to make it a team? The team would pray for the area and visit the area asking people for prayer requests.
Thank you for your consideration.
In Christ

Monday, July 15, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (117)

(a novel continued)

After that things in town began to change. First, Amie and the rest of the group who hadn’t been at the baptism were baptized. 
Then the group got down to serious business. Sixteen women including Shirley and Bea and Minnie's daughter Mary went to Minnie's dining room table to look at the maps John and Minnie had colour-coded almost two years earlier. There were 16 areas. 
“Originally we were thinking each church in town would get one of these areas to pray over.” Minnie said. “We even made maps of the individual areas to give to the assigned churches. 
“What happened?” Shirley asked.
“Nothing! We just never followed through,” Minnie said. “Now, if we each pick an area and saturate it with prayer, by praying over the map and walking the streets praying and doing whatever the Holy Spirit leads us to do and pray, this town will be filled entirely with people who know and love Jesus. No one will have to go to hell.”
“What about the churches? Aren't they supposed to be praying for these areas?” Bea asked.
“That would make it a lot more doable,” Nan said.
“It would,” Minnie said. “How do we get them on board though?”
“Let’s ask Jesus,” Amie suggested.
So they did. They prayed. They praised God for who He was and Minnie asked Him specifically to forgive her for not following through with this plan earlier. They thanked Him for everything He had done for them. Then they asked Him how to go about getting all the churches in Old Haven and New Haven involved. 
Then they sat quietly listening.
They waited.
And waited.
And they waited.
Finally, Shirley said, “I don’t know what this means, but I smell a rose.”
“It could be because there are roses on the sideboard behind you.” Nan said.
Shirley blushed. “I guess that explains it.”
“Anybody else, get anything?” Minnie asked.
“I see a man with his hands folded in prayer and he’s crying.” Amie said.
“I see a little girl in a hospital bed,” Brenda said.
“I see a woman standing at a tombstone,” Melissa said.
Bea said, “I see a man beating a boy.”
“A woman having a miscarriage,” someone added.
“A man having an affair.”
“A car accident.”
“A plane crash.”
“Lord, what do all these pictures mean?”
“I hear Him saying I am the Lord of all. Tragedy is tragedy for everyone,” Jill said.
“True,” Minnie said, “but how does that bring everyone together?”

Friday, July 12, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (116)

(a novel continued)

“We’ll start with your testimonies,” Minnie said.
“Testimonies?” Bea and Shirley looked at her blankly.
“Why do you want to be baptized?”
“We saw a miracle and then we read some of the Bible and now I want to be baptized because that's what the Bible says to do.” Shirley summarized.
“That’s it for me too,” Bea said. “When that water changed to wine, I decided Jesus is real.”
“So,” Minnie said. She put one hand on each head. “I baptize you both in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Put your heads under the water.” Both, girls bobbed down below the water and popped right back up again. “Now, you are baptized.” 
At poolside, Nan and the others clapped.
The three climbed out of the water and wrapped themselves in towels. There weren’t enough chairs on the deck so they all sat around the edge of the pool with feet dangling in the water. They passed bags of chips and cookies. Nan poured the juice she had brought. “So how does it feel?” Melissa wanted to know.
“Great,” Shirley said. “I feel unnaturally happy.”
“Peaceful,” Bea said.
“I’ve never been baptized,” Melissa said.
Sue, Hannah and Brenda admitted they hadn’t been either.
“I’ve only been baptized as a baby,” Nan said.
“That goes for me as well,” Jill said. She looked at Minnie. “I bet that goes for you too.”
“Actually I was baptized in heaven,” Minnie said.
“Does that count?” asked Nan. “You said the whole thing could have been a vision.”
“It felt real at the time,” Minnie said. “I suppose I could get baptized again, just to be sure.”

So it came to be that Bea and Shirley baptized everyone else at the pool that day.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (115)

(a novel continued)

“We have a pool at our house,” said Bea. “You could baptize us in the pool.”
“I was thinking of just sprinkling some water on your head,” Minnie said.
“They didn’t do it that way in the Bible,” Shirley said.
“I guess not,” Minnie said. “We’ll do it the way they did it in the Bible.”
They agreed to meet the next afternoon at Bea’s house for a swim and a little baptism.
Is it okay if I invite a few friends?” Minnie asked. She was thinking of the discipleship group. She knew some her friends hadn’t been baptized either.
“Sure,” said Bea. “The more the merrier.”   

The next day seven from the discipleship group showed up at Bea’s with their bathing suits, towels and an assortment of snacks. The others from the group had previous commitments such as jobs or they would have been there as well.
The women gathered up on the deck at the edge of the above-ground pool, talking excitedly. Minnie touched the water with her toe. It felt cold. ‘O Lord, help me.’ Minnie hadn’t been swimming since her swimming lesson in heaven. “How deep is this?” she asked.
“Oh, not very, up to your chest maybe.” Bea said.
Minnie grit her teeth as she let herself down into the water. She shivered, “This is cold.” 
“You get used to it pretty quickly,” Bea knelt down on the deck and pulled a thermometer out of the water, “It says here the water is at 78 degrees, or 27 in Canadian.”
"That’s not so cold," Minnie watched the goosebumps form on her upheld arms. “Okay, who’s first?” she asked as she bounced around on the bottom of the pool.
Bea and Shirley jumped in together. “Can’t you do us at the same time?”
“I don’t see why not,” Minnie said.

The discipleship group quieted. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (114)

(a novel continued)

“That was such good wine...” Shirley said. “Too bad it’s all gone. Would you like a coffee?”
Minnie sat down at the table as Shirley poured her a cup. “Bea and I were wondering if you could give us a few Jesus lessons. We’ve got Bibles.” 
They showed her a couple of little red Gideon New Testaments.
“Start by reading the first four books, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They are all about when Jesus walked the earth. Just pray that the Holy Spirit will show you the meaning.”
It turned out they had already read all of Matthew, Mark Luke, John and Acts and were impressed by Jesus’ first miracle. “He did that same miracle for us. We feel so special.” Shirley said.
“And we decided we want to do what Jesus says to do right here.” Bea turned to the end of the book of Matthew. “It says, Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
“I think we have to be baptised first,” Shirley said.
“That’s important,” Minnie agreed. She remembered her baptism in heaven, which  seemed so long ago.
“I got baptised as a baby in the Catholic church. Does that count?” Bea said.
“It must count for something,” Minnie said. “Actually there is a bunch of theology separating different churches when it comes to baptism. Some say babies have to be baptised by their parents. That’s what my church practices. Other churches say that when you become a believer, that’s when you get baptised  It has to be your own decision. Then The Holy Spirit comes on you and then you go out preaching and teaching in power.”
“That makes sense,” Shirley said. “We want to get baptised, don’t we, Bea?”
“I’ll talk to my pastor about it.” Minnie said.
“I thought you said that your church baptised babies. We’re a little too wrinkled for that category,” Bea said.
“Our church also does adult baptism for those who haven’t been baptised as babies,” Minnie offered.
“But I was baptised as a baby. Maybe they won’t baptise me again...” said Bea.
“We want that power of the Holy Spirit to fall on us.” Shirley added.
“Why don’t you just baptise us right now?” Bea asked.
‘Lord help me.’ Minnie prayed.
‘Do it.’ she heard.

“Okay,” said Minnie. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (113)

(a novel continued)

Several days later on her walk through the neighbourhood, Minnie heard a buggy coming up behind her. She stopped and looked around. 
“Hello prayer lady.” Carol said.
Carol told Minnie that her husband had come back the evening of the day they had prayed. “He’d been gone a whole week and suddenly he showed up back home. He said he was sorry. He said he had to work through some stuff. He said he realized I shouldn’t have to go through this alone. And—this is the big one—he said he loved me. He’s staying.”
“And the cancer?” 
“I see the doctor tomorrow. I know you prayed for healing, but even if I don’t get healed, it is so much easier to face this with my husband around.”

Then on the next street over Minnie came across a group of boys playing road hockey on roller blades. They were using a small black ball as the puck. As Minnie walked by the ball hit her hard in the side of the head. She saw stars. 
“You alright lady?” one of the boys asked.
“I don’t think so,” she managed as she sank to the sidewalk. The boys crowded around her. “Maybe we should call 911,” one of the boys suggested.
 “I'll  be  okay,.” Minnie slurred. “Maybe,  just  pray  for  me...”
One of the boys took her up on it, “Dear God, make this lady well. Amen.”
At once, Minnie felt her head clear, “Wow,” she said, “Help me up.” Two of the boys took her hands and pulled her up. “You sure you’re okay?”
“Yes, thanks, and thanks for praying..”
The boys went back to their game. Minnie walked on. Her head felt perfectly fine. ‘Thank you Lord.’ 

She stopped at Shirley’s house. She knocked on the door. Shirley invited her in. Bea was sitting at the table. They were having coffee. “No wine today?” Minnie joked. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (112)

(a novel continued)

Minnie took the bottled water and prayed the shakiest prayer she had ever prayed, “Dear Jesus, please, please Jesus turn this bottle of water into wine so that these precious ladies will believe in you so that they too can go to heaven and spend eternity with you rather than be forever separated from you.” She looked at the bottle. The water was still very obviously water. She stared at the water. She was afraid to look at the women. She willed the water to become wine. It was still water.
“Well...” the first woman said. “How long is this supposed to take?”
‘Jesus?’ Minnie prayed.
‘Talk to it.’
“Water,” Minnie said, “Water, turn into wine, I command you in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.”
A bubble floated up through the water, then another bubble and then four bubbles. Then nothing. “Water, change to red wine,” Minnie commanded.
The water started turning pink, then red and then a deep burgundy.
Minnie held the bottle high, “Wow, this calls for a drink.” She laughed with relief.
“Come on into the house,” the second woman said.
They filed into the kitchen where the second woman took out three wine glasses.
“I don’t even know your names,” said Minnie.
“This is Bea, and I’m Shirley,” said the first woman.

"I'm Minnie and you've just met Jesus." They sat at the kitchen table drinking the excellent wine and talking about Jesus. Before they finished, Bea and Shirley accepted Him as Lord and Saviour. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (111)

(a novel continued)

 “Wait, I know you,” one of the women said. “I thought you looked familiar. You are the one who had the car accident and went into a coma and came back talking about heaven. I went to that church service.”
“That’s me.”
“Well, I don’t believe any of it. I figure you just had one long dream under the influence of all the drugs they put into a person in the hospital. Like, if you really went to heaven...why on earth would you come back here?”
“I figured God could use me here. There are so many people who are going to spend eternity in hell which is a way worse place than here and I figured if I could help just a few of those people change the direction they are going in, it would be worth it. Heaven can wait. Do you ladies know where you are going?” 
The two women looked at each other. The second one said, “We’re pretty good people, so if there is a heaven and that’s where the good people go, we’re going to heaven. If there isn’t a heaven then we’ll just die.  The end.”
“So you don’t believe in God?”
“I do,” the second woman said. “But, He’s different for everyone. Everyone should be able to believe the way they want. All roads eventually lead to the same place.”
“What if I told you that Jesus is the only way to God?"
“I would say prove it,” the first woman said.
‘Now what, Jesus?’ Minnie prayed, quietly.
‘Prove it.’
‘Ask for a miracle.’
“Okay,” Minnie said, “If Jesus did a miracle right now would you believe He was real?”
“What kind of miracle?”
‘Jesus, what kind of miracle?’
‘The kind I did while I was on earth.’
“Like turn water into wine?” asked Minnie.

“Sure, I’ll just get a bottle of water,” the second woman said. She headed up the driveway. Less than a minute later she was back with a plastic bottle of spring water. “Here,” she said as she handed the bottle to Minnie.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (110)

(a novel continued)

Minnie walked on along the street, anticipating, then doubting, Carol's healing. 'O Lord, please heal her.'
She was still praying when she turned a corner and practically bumped into a little girl in the middle of the sidewalk staring up into a maple tree. “My cat is stuck," the little girl said. “She’s been there a long time. She won’t come down.”
 “She’ll probably come down when she gets hungry.” 
“I don’t think so. She can’t turn around. She is shaking.” The girl began to cry.
“We can pray,” Minnie said.
“Will that work?”
“Of course,” Minnie said with assurance, more assurance than she felt. “Dear Jesus, this little girl wants her cat to come down the tree safely. Dear Jesus, please help her cat come down. Amen.” She looked up at the cat, “Now cat you come down from that tree.”
The cat swung her tail up, turned around and scampered down.
“Thank you, Jesus,” Minnie said as she walked on down the street.
This could be fun. 

Next Minnie noticed two women standing at the end of a driveway. They stopped talking, waiting for her to pass.
In her spirit she heard, ‘They need help.’
‘What kind of help?’
‘Ask them.’
As she came alongside them she asked, “Do you need help?” She fully expected them to tell her to mind her own business.
“No. Do we look like we need help?”
“Not really.” Minnie was beginning to feel very foolish.
“Why did you ask?”
“The truth is, well, the truth is...”
The women waited as Minnie formulated her thoughts.
"Well you might think I’m crazy, but here goes...the truth is I’ve been listening to Jesus in my spirit and He asked me to ask you so I did.”

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (109)

(a novel continued)

They all bowed their heads, closed their eyes and started praying, first one then another. The words began coming out in tongues. Pretty soon they were all praying different words in different languages and nobody understood anybody. They sounded like ocean waves, a strange melody ebbing and flowing on and on. Then, after half an hour, the room quieted. The women knew something beautiful had happened.
Jill broke the silence. “So what did we just pray?”
Sue had the answer. During that I heard the Lord say in my spirit, “Go pray for people. Love people. Meet their needs in my power and authority. Have compassion—my compassion. I give you my compassion.”
“Wow,” Minnie looked around at the twelve women in the group. “That is so simple.”
They all nodded.
“Let’s pray that we do this, in His power and His authority.”
“Isn’t that what we just did?” Sue said.
“You’re right.” Minnie said.
“Tea anyone?” asked Nan.
That week Minnie didn’t go anywhere before praying that God would open her eyes to be used by Him. She walked the streets in her neighbourhood praying for blessing and peace and salvation to come into each home. She prayed that everyone would have an in-your-face encounter with Jesus. She walked up and down the streets. She nodded at the people she met. 
One day on one of these walks as a lady pushing a baby buggy approached, Minnie heard the Lord say, ‘Ask her if you can pray for her.’
So, instead of stepping aside to let the woman pass Minnie stopped in front of the buggy. The woman looked a little sad and a lot like she might want to beat someone up. 
Minnie blurted, “Could I pray for you?”
“That’s probably the only thing anybody could do right now.”
“What do you need prayer about?”
“Everything. My husband just left me. I’ve got cancer and he can’t handle it.”
Minnie felt like she was in above her head. She shot up a quiet prayer, ‘So Lord, you want me to fix this.’
‘No, Minnie, I want to show myself.’
‘Right. Give me your compassion, Lord.’
“Well, you gonna’ pray or get outa the way?”
“I’ll pray.” Minne bowed her head. “Dear Lord.” Minnie stopped praying. “What’s your name?”
“Dear Lord, please heal Carol of cancer.”
In her spirit she heard, ‘And...’
“And,” she prayed, “Dear Lord soften her husband’s heart. Give him compassion for his wife. Fill his heart with love for Carol. I pray in Jesus name. Amen.”
Then Minnie felt boldness come on her. “Where is the cancer?” she asked.
“All through here,” Carol pulled her arm across her waist.
Minnie spread her hand out just in front of Carol’s waist, without actually touching her. “Cancer, I tell you to leave in the name of Jesus Christ.

“That should do it,” she said with more conviction than she felt.