måndag 23 januari 2017

Sound the Trumpets in Antarctica

Sound the Trumpets in Antarctica
December 17 – 24, 2016

What a challenge! What an adventure! What a privilege! After 7 years and over 100 missions in 80 countries, this „last“ region wouldn’t be anything special – one could think. Totally wrong! It was and is unique and breaks up every accustomed framework! What made this region so special for us?
– In every other region on earth I can buy a plane ticket as a private person, can book accommodations and can set out.
This is not true of the Antarctic region. You can get there only in the form of an expedition, that is, only through a few specialized providers and only with a group. There are no hotels, no guest houses, no youth hostels – no lodgings or restaurants.
– In every other region of the world (including Greenland) we had contacts and relationships with Christians who planned and carried out the meetings with us.
In the Antarctic there are no cities or villages, thus no Christian congregations, either. There are only individual research stations belonging to different nations. But they are not always used and open.
– In every region a person blew the trumpets with me.
In this sense the Antarctic „belongs“ to no nation, to no one at all except of course the Lord (Ps. 24:1). So there was no one who could blow the trumpet with me.

All of this makes it special, but when God calls, equips and sends he also paves the way and sees to it that HIS will can be done! Already at the beginning of 2016 God gave us the impression that we should blow the trumpets on King George Island. We knew that there at the Russian station the southernmost church in the world stands. That’s where we wanted/had to go!
Already when we began gathering information, planning and preparing we had a big surprise. Through our son, who is on the Abraham team and works for a travel agent, we wrote to two Antarctic travel companies. For over a month we heard nothing from one of them. The other offered a one-day flight from Punta Arenas (Chile) to King George Island, with a 4-hour stop there including a visit to the Russian station. We were beginning to think we would take this offer and made a temporary reservation. But they required at least 4 and at the most 6 persons. Several others were also interested in joining us.
At the last minute the other company contacted us, after all, offering a combined ship/plane trip. That sounded considerably more interesting than just a flight – and for nearly the same price! There was only one problem: Time was running out and there was only one free double cabin on the ship for a somewhat (haha) „affordable“ price. The next higher price class would cost almost twice as much. We had to decide very quickly.
Jonas was one of those who had expressed interest in joining us. On all the other trips my wife Regula was with me, in addition to further team members or believers. Although Regula had always come along, she had the impression that this time Jonas and I should travel alone. She would remain at home, with a heavy heart, but convinced that it was God’s will. I had quite a problem with this idea even though I was of course also very happy that Jonas wanted to come. This was in spite of the fact that he had to overcome several hindrances… (unpaid vacation, postponement of military info day).
Then God reminded me of a  word Regula gave me early in 2016 for the year; it helped me and gave me clarity at this time. We booked the cabin for Jonas and myself. Then we explained the circumstances to all the others who were interested and informed them that they could not join us. We were able to cancel the pre-reservations at the other company without any consequences. Jonas’ hindrances were of course overcome and there was nothing else to prevent him from going with me. So we flew from Zürich to Ushuaia, where we arrived in the morning after 36 hours and 3 plane changes. In the afternoon we boarded the ship on which we would spend the following 4 days and nights, along with about 60 other passengers.

The ship took us through the Drake Passage with a stop and landing at Puerto Williams. The following stop was Cape Horn, which I hadn’t realized is an island. It even has a small chapel with a cross and 3 Bibles! I read Psalm 24 out loud from the German version!
It was fascinating to see how God led and encouraged us through his word.
In Isaiah 42:4 we read „He will not grow faint or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his law.” We where on the way to bring the coastlands (islands) Gods law! Wow! This touched me deeply. They also have to hear the trumpets.
The day before we planned to blow the trumpets God gave us this verse, „See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut“ (Rev. 3:8). What a promise! We had asked the expedition leader if we could go inside the church, since that was the reason for our trip. He promised to speak with his Russian friends and was confident that the church would be open. Following our Lord’s promise, we didn’t doubt this in the least!

King George Island. We have arrived!
I stand with Jonas in the little Russian-Orthodox church – which of course was open. We pray and blow the trumpets. Father and son! Two generations. By now we had realized that Jonas had to join me for this reason. Here from this unreal, raw, beautiful, wild and most remote place on earth we blow the trumpets in the spirit of Elijah and thus pray the last verses of the Old Testament: „See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse“ (Malachi 4:5-6).
After blowing the trumpets twice a man suddenly appears and said we weren’t allowed to do that here. It was a place for prayer, not for music. I apologize and try to explain that what we’re doing is a form of prayer. I  quote a few Bible verses to back this up but he remains obstinate. So we have to/are able to blow the trumpets the third time outside the church. We see it as a prophetic sign that God’s message must ultimately be carried out beyond the churches! Here we also pray Ps. 24:1 and bless Israel and the Jews from this pace at the end of the world. We pray for God to gather his people right here in the south.

We have actually done it! I didn’t even experience a particular, impressive, emotional firework during or following the trumpet call at this place. It was very sober. No heavy burden fell off. No great euphoria. But a deep, humble and marvelling gratitude filled us.
We also had daily opportunities during meals to speak with the other participants and staff, explaining why we made this trip. This of course generated questions and led to good conversations. Thank you Jesus!
„Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession“ (Ps. 2:8).

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