A Summary of Our Grace and Peace Tour – Part 1

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

A Summary of Our Grace and Peace Tour – Part 1

As you are all aware, the Lord laid it upon the heart of our sister, Michelle Grace and her son Anthony Grace, in Brisbane Australia, to ask Sandi and me if we would be willing to take a trip around the world visiting all the brothers and sisters who we have never had the privilege of meeting in the clay. I was simply not able to absorb what I had read, so I called Sandi in to my office and asked her to read the e-mail. Sandi confirmed that what I thought I had read was really there on the computer in that e-mail. I still was not at all convinced whether Michelle and Anthony had really given their request the depth of consideration it deserved.

Without even looking I knew this was a very expensive proposition. I had Sandi to check to see approximately how much the tickets for such a trip would cost. It was not cheap, and I simply could not process the fact that there was someone out there who appreciated the gift of the Word of God to that extent. So I wrote Michelle and told her the figure Sandi had come up with. Michelle did not bat an eye. It was as if she and Anthony really had given this a lot of thought before making her request, so Sandi and I had to conclude that it was a work of the Lord in our sister and in her son.

While I was convinced this tour is and was, without a doubt, the work of God, there were many expenses Sandi and I had no way of calculating. There were hotels to book, meal and tips to consider. All of this was provided by other brothers and sisters, several who have asked not to be named. So I will not name all the people who contributed to the success of our ‘Grace and Peace Tour’. But I will tell each of you who helped us that Sandi and I are very grateful that you realized we would have expenses, and you each ministered to that need as the Lord laid it on your heart. Sandi and I have expressed our overwhelming gratitude to each of you privately, and I want to do so now publicly. Without your help we would never have made it through this tour. You and I and our Lord and our heavenly Father know who you are, and you have your reward in the heavens. I quote these verses to all who have ever helped us and who have helped others in the body of Christ over the years:

Mat 10:40 He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.
Mat 10:41 He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.
Mat 10:42 And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.

Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

By receiving us you are receiving Christ Himself, and as we receive each of you we, too, are receiving Christ, and in doing so, we are “diligently seek[ing] Him”. I thank our Lord and His Father for the work they have performed in each of you, His body.

It was Sandi who noticed that Paul opened several of His epistles with the words ‘Grace and peace’.

Rom 1:7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

1Co 1:3 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

The apostle Paul opened the epistles to the Galatians, the Ephesians, the Philippians, the Colossians, the Thessalonians, Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, one and all with the words “Grace and peace to you from God…” So we were off to repeat that greeting to everyone we were granted to meet with.

Our first stop was in Albany, New York, where we were blessed to meet with Dave Rogers who drove from Rochester to be with us. Jim Carnevale and Brian Hickey came over from Massachusetts. Steve Lozo who lives near Albany had intended to meet Sandi and me at the airport and take us out to dinner if the Lord had given us to arrive according to our plans to arrive about 2 P.M. But the Lord constantly reminds us all that we are on His schedule. He is not on our schedule, and to make a long story short, our plane from Charlotte, North Carolina to Albany, New York was first delayed 15 minutes, then 30 minutes, and then an hour. After waiting an hour and 45 minutes, we were told the flight was cancelled, and we were forced to take another flight through Washington, D.C., as there were no more direct flights. In Washington D.C. we had another layover of about two hours. It was midnight before we got to Albany, New York. We were ten hours late and very tired. But the night was not yet over. We were told at the airport that one of our two pieces of checked luggage had accidentally been returned to Charlotte, North Carolina. We were assured it would be delivered to our hotel room before noon the next day. (It was!) We finally checked in at the desk, and were given the cardkey for our room. But the Lord wanted us to know that our trust needed to be in Him and not in our own efforts. So He saw fit as the final touch on our first day on the road to find that the room we had been given was still a total mess. We had to go back down to the desk and get another room. It all served to prepare us for what would happen just a few days later in Ottawa, Canada.

But I am getting ahead of my story. We spent the next couple of days in sweet fellowship with the brothers mentioned above, and we were also all granted to meet our brother Michael Hasenbalg, after several years of writing to each other. Such encounters are so very gratifying, and it is my prayer that Michael was edified by the fellowship of those couple of days. The message I shared on every stop was that we are living in the last of the last days, and we need to conduct ourselves accordingly, as Christ and all of His apostles tell us.

Here are but a few of the verses we quoted over and over on this tour:

Luk 21:22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.
Luk 21:23 But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.
Luk 21:24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
Luk 21:25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
Luk 21:26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
Luk 21:27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
Luk 21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

Christ will literally and physically return to rule this earth a thousand years with a rod of iron, via the agency of His elect, whom He has sent for the very same purpose for which His Father sent Him:

Joh 20:21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

Yes, that is right, those words were written 2,000 years ago, and they have had a spiritual application all along, but those words also have a climactic end-time application, and 2,000 years ago the holy spirit warned us against thinking otherwise:

2Pe 3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
2Pe 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

Rom 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
Rom 13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
Rom 13:13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.
Rom 13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

This has always been the mindset of God’s elect. The Truth does not engender any sense of complacency. Knowing the Truth always produces a sense of diligence, vigilance, and a sense that “it is high time to awake out of sleep… walking honestly, as in the day”.

There was a time when the Islamic world was an even greater threat than it is at this moment. There was a time when most of southern Europe, all of North Africa, and all of Spain were under the sword and crescent of an Islamic caliphate. The conquest and occupation of Europe and the Middle East lasted from approximately 700 to 1400 A.D., and it was accomplished with the same terror we are witnessing today. The heads of the men of every city taken were in piles sometimes higher than a man could look over while sitting on a horse. Yet all any of us have heard is how the Crusaders occupied the holy land for a few years, while in reality, Spain was occupied by Islam for over 400 years, and the Crusades were nothing more than a feeble effort to take back Jerusalem and the so-called ‘holy land’.

But the clash of the daughters of Babylon we are once again witnessing today is but a part of the climactic end-time “days of vengeance, [so] that all things which are written may be fulfilled”. Even the ministers of Babylon are aware that time is short and that we are on the cusp of something very big and very important. But they are spiritually blind and are placing great faith in the false doctrine of a “secret rapture”. How shocked they will be when they are forced to acknowledge they are the shepherds of Israel spoken of in Jeremiah 25:

Jer 25:34 Howl, ye shepherds, and cry; and wallow yourselves in the ashes, ye principal of the flock: for the days of your slaughter and of your dispersions are accomplished; and ye shall fall like a pleasant vessel.
Jer 25:35 And the shepherds shall have no way to flee, nor the principal of the flock to escape.
Jer 25:36 A voice of the cry of the shepherds, and an howling of the principal of the flock, shall be heard: for the LORD hath spoiled their pasture.

The four beasts and the four and twenty elders, the two witnesses, the hundred and forty and four thousand, are one and all types and shadows of God’s elect, and God’s elect will soon be given “power over the nations… [to] rule them with a rod of iron”. That is not just a spiritual, inward prophecy, it is also an outward, and physical prophecy, and we are exhorted to live our lives as if it were to be fulfilled in the time of our own lives.

Let’s go back to 2nd Peter:

2Pe 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
2Pe 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
2Pe 3:11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,

That was the message we delivered at every stop on our tour. There will be no ‘secret rapture’ from “the days of your slaughter” for the false shepherds of God’s people. The Lord is “spoiling their pasture”, there [are] signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth [there is at this very moment] distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves [are] roaring;

Luk 21:26 Men’s hearts [are] failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: [because] the powers of heaven [are at this very moment] being shaken”, as we hear of the unpayable debt of almost every nation on earth, the invasion of Europe and the United States by the Islamic refugees of Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Etrea, Turkey and many other Islamic countries.

The U. S. is 22 trillion dollars in debt, and those who have brought us to this point know it cannot go on much longer. Truly we are living in totally uncharted waters, and men’s hearts are failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth”, and we are exhorted:

Luk 21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

While men’s hearts are failing them we are to be looking forward to “the redemption of the purchased possession” (Eph 1:14), the resurrection of the firstfruits who will be given to rule with Christ for a thousand years over the nations of this world. That is our hope and reward, and it is incumbent upon God’s elect to declare the birth of the new man through the death of the old man, and the establishing of the kingdom of God on this earth through the destruction of the kingdoms of this world.

I was surprised to note that where we read “When these things begin to come to pass”, both the words ‘begin’ and the phrase ‘come to pass’, are in the present tense in the Greek. The same is true of verse 36:

Luk 21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

The word ‘shall’ and the words ‘come to pass’ are both in the present tense in the Greek. So we are on solid ground when we take the present approach to the fulfilling of these prophecies. Truly “the time is at hand”, and we are very foolish to put any of this off into the future, and fail to see that these things are coming to pass.

Getting back to our tour, after a few days of sweet fellowship with our brothers in Albany, Sandi and I were off to meet our five Chicago sisters we have been in touch with for several years now. You all have heard of them and have actually talked with Marsha and Donica and Liz Meyering and Susan Berndtson who have all been with us on our Sunday studies. But very few of you have even heard the voice of the woman who has been the leader of these sisters there in the Chicago area. Well, Sandi and I finally got to meet all these sisters as well as the lady who introduced them all to this fellowship, JoAnn Simich.

Sandi and I were met at the airport in Chicago by Marsha and Steve Hufford. Steve, whom I had never met, was holding a sign with our name on it, and Marsha was standing behind Steve, so I could not be sure who Steve belonged to. But she revealed herself, and they took us to a restaurant for lunch before taking us to our hotel. We got settled in our rooms, took a shower and Steve and Marsha came back to the hotel and took us to JoAnn Simich’s home, where we finally got to meet JoAnn and her husband Milan ‘in the clay’. What a blessing that was! And lo and behold there was Susan Berndtson, her husband, Bruce, Liz Meyering, and Donica Keogh.

I am sure you can all just imagine the love of Christ that was flowing in that home that evening. Meeting JoAnn and all the flock God has given her to lead after years of communicating by e-mail was just a blessing from God. Sandi and I simply could not see a way to ever get to have that experience, but here we were, by the work of the holy spirit through the body of Christ, meeting brothers and sisters we thought we might never meet in this life. There we were, in JoAnn’s home with all five of the ‘Chicago sisters’ present.

The next day, while still at the hotel, the ladies came over to the hotel. Steve and Angie Crook had come over from Indianapolis to be with us and had checked in to the same hotel. Then Tom and Nancy Post from Grand Rapids, Michigan showed up, and then Brutha D, from Madison, Wisconsin, came through the doors of that hotel with tears of joy. What a blessing it was to see all those beloved brothers and sisters we knew so well, as well as so many sisters we had never before met face to face. Let me note that all of you who know Angie Crook, just think you know her. Unless you have met Angie since the last time you saw her at a conference, you would not know her if you met her on the street, because she has lost so much weight! Congratulations, go out to Angie Crook, the model.

I am happy to be able to report that our brother Tom Post is doing very well following his surgery, and the positive attitude he displayed towards the trying work of the Lord in his life was a great inspiration to all of us.

We went from the hotel back to JoAnn’s home for another absolutely awesome authentic Serbian dinner. It was an opportunity to share our message of the urgency of the times in which we live, and we spent hours just getting to know each other and sharing with each other the “one event” we all must experience in being brought to know our Lord and His Father.

But all good things must come to an end in this age, and the next day Sandi and I were off to snow-bound Ottawa to spend a few days with Tony and Gale Cullen. Upon arrival we had to show our passports, and I had mine around my neck and under my sweater. Apparently instead of putting my passport back into the little packet I had around my neck and under my sweater, I put it between the little packet and my sweater, where it stayed until I picked up my luggage from the carousel. The next morning I realized I had lost my passport, and thus began a week long trial of our faith, as we traveled across Canada using my driver’s license to get through the airport at each stop. I will have more to say about that trial when we get to the time we spent with Michelle Kelly, Deb and Ron Zahar, and Al and Jacquie Roberts in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Getting back to Ottawa, I personally experienced the coldest temperatures I have ever known, and I saw deeper snow than I have seen since visiting Sandi’s parents in Oregon shortly after we were married. Tony and Gale gave us our own room in their home, and we enjoyed exquisite dining both days we were with our brother and sister. Tony and Gale took us up to their home town of Buckingham where they had both attended the same Catholic church. Sandi and I talked them into a public display of affection on the bridge where they met each other again just a few years past and began to develop the relationship which culminated in their marriage. When we left Buckingham, Tony and Gale took Sandi and I on our first ferry ride across the Ottawa River. That ferry could accommodate about a dozen cars at a time, and it was quite an experience to see all those cars drive on and off that ferry. It was preparation for the treat we were afforded by Al and Jacquie Roberts, and by Michelle Kelly, who took us on the hour plus ferry ride from Vancouver over to Vancouver Island, where we met Al and Jacquie Roberts and Deb and Ron Zahar.

But before we got to Vancouver, we had to part company with our beloved Tony and Gale and fly to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where we were picked up at the airport and taken to a hotel by a brother named Jay Hoover, who has been writing me for several years. Jay and his wife Ruki treated us to their native Sri Lankan cuisine for dinner that night in their home. The next day, Jay had a tour of Saskatoon planned for us which included a visit to a museum depicting the history of the settling and development of western Canada. It was here at this museum that Jay and I got to talk about so many things we have in common in Christ. It was also at the restaurant in that museum that we were given by the Lord to hear our waitress’s opinion of Donald Trump and the American elections which she likened to a train wreck which you just could not take your eyes off. Our elections, and the general disgust expressed toward Donald Trump, was a subject that came up all around the world. No one appreciated Trump’s nationalism, or maybe they simply did not appreciate the way he expresses his nationalism.

After leaving the museum Jay took us on a tour of the University of Saskatoon where he is a professor of dentistry. The university of Saskatoon is huge, and we literally hiked much of the campus through the underground halls connecting every part of the university, ending our hike in Jay’s office. Thank you, Jay and Ruki, for making our stay with you such an enjoyable and educational experience.

From Saskatoon we flew up to Edmonton to finally meet face to face with our brother, Brian Bingham, his wife Vesna, and the brother who introduced Brian to iswasandwillbe.com, Ken Smith. I am always amazed at how long many read the web site before contacting any of us, and so it was with Ken Smith. But the Lord had placed Brian and Vesna in Ken’s life many long years ago and when Ken told Brian about iswasandwillbe.com, Brian was soon in contact with us and has been in contact ever since. Ken has printed off and filed every single study done on the web site. He has also printed every FAQ ever posted on the site, and he has them all filed by date in several filing cabinets in his apartment.

The second day in Edmonton Ken was visiting with us in our hotel room when Eskay Ilori arrived, and we got a call from the hotel desk that we had a visitor. While I had very little personal knowledge of Eskay, it was nevertheless a great pleasure to meet another brother with whom the holy spirit is working. Eskay came to us through Mitch’s “Trying The Spirits” web site. The last day we were in Edmonton we walked from our hotel to Brian and Vesna’s apartment, where we spent a few hours in fellowship before having to return to our hotel to prepare to leave for Vancouver, British Columbia in the wee hours of the next morning.

In Vancouver we were met at the airport by our beloved Michelle Kelly. What a blessing to see our sister again. She and Deb and Al and Jacquie, had an itinerary worked out for Sandi and me which included a tour of the city of Vancouver with our guide, Michelle. Michelle had packed a lunch for us which we ate while waiting for the ferry to take us on the hour plus trip from the city of Vancouver to Vancouver Island where Al and Jacquie and Ron and Deb live. This ferry had five levels to it. The four lower floors are all parking lots for cars and trucks of every size, from semi tractor trailers loaded with lumber and sheetrock to Volkswagen beetles. The top level has restaurants, gift shops, play rooms for children and rest rooms. What an experience for Sandi and me, both of whom had never been on a ferry until the previous week when Tony and Gale gave us our first ferry ride across the Ottawa river.

Michelle drove us off that ferry and took us right to the home of Deb and Ron Zahar. Again we were privileged to meet with a brother and sister with whom we had been communicating by e-mail and by skype for years. The next day Michelle went over to Al and Jacquie’s and brought them over to meet us at Ron and Deb’s house. What a blessing it was to have us all together. The following day Ron took Sandi and me to visit with Al and Jacquie. I have been writing and skyping Al for many years, and it was a joy to get to meet with the two of them in their home in Sooke. Al and Jacquie were instrumental in getting us across the waters to Vancouver Island, and Sandi and I are very grateful to that couple for being so good to us while we were there on Vancouver Island.

While we were staying with Deb and Ron, Deb’s son and his wife had a little girl in a hospital in Victoria. It was not an easy delivery and poor Deb had to sit up long hours with her daughter-in-law. I am happy to be able to say that in time everything was taken care of, and they now have a beautiful baby girl. I felt for Deb at that time, but I want to ask you all to pray for her even more now, because her cancer numbers have gone up dramatically over the past few days, and the Lord is trying her in a spiritual furnace of fire. Deb is a sister in Christ, she is part of the body of Christ, and when she is being tried the whole body of Christ suffers that same trial, as we are told:

Rom 12:15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

I will close this part of our review of our tour by coming back to the trial Sandi and I endured while there with Deb and Ron. This was for Sandi and me a very trying circumstance at that time. It is so easy to tell others that God is working all things after the counsel of His own will, but it is an entirely different thing to face circumstances where faith in those words is required, and then just do what you can and wait to see what the Lord will do. Under such circumstances we all tend to say, ‘Lord, did you bring us out here just to kill us?’

As I mentioned earlier, I had lost my passport at the Ottawa airport. It was found on the luggage carousel and was sent by the Canadian customs to the American embassy in Ottawa. As we traveled across Canada we kept checking back with the American Embassy to see if my passport had gotten to them yet. When word finally came that they had our passport, we were greatly relieved, but Fedex did not have the option available on their website required by the American embassy for us to get the payment to them so they could send me my passport. So Sandi had arranged for Fedex to give them the postage to get it out to us in time to make our flight out of Vancouver to the Portland, Oregon airport, where we were to meet Doug Alfred and Chick Whistock. By the time we were informed that Fedex and UPS were not permitted into the Embassy, it was looking like we were going to have to cancel our flight and make new arrangements. Sandi and I were at our wits’ end when we got an e-mail from the embassy telling us all we needed do was to give them our credit card number and they would charge the postage to our credit card. So we did that and gave them Michelle Kelly’s friend’s address as the buzzer to Michelle’s apartment had not been working, and she didn’t want to take the chance of missing that Fedex delivery. Everything now depended on that package getting to Michelle and Michelle getting to the airport well before our flight was due to leave. We could not get through customs to get back into the United States without that passport, so when I spotted Michelle’s beautiful smile coming toward me in that Vancouver Airport with that Fedex envelope in hand, she truly became ‘Michelle the angel of God’ to Sandi and me. Part of the miracle of regaining possession of my passport was that by U.S. Embassy rules if an American loses their passport and it is recovered, it must be destroyed and a new one purchased. We were very thankful that the embassy in Ottawa was so understanding and helpful.

That was nothing like hearing your cancer numbers have gone up, but it was a true trial of our faith which nearly brought my Honey to tears when we were told at the last minute that Fedex would not be permitted to give them the postage needed to ship my passport back to me. We had plenty of time to get through customs and catch our flight to Portland, and you can bet I was very careful from then on about making sure my passport was put back into my packet which I kept around my neck.

I will stop at this point, and we will continue our Grace and Peace Tour with you next week, where we will share with you all those we met in the Dallas, Oregon area, our flight down to San Diego, California, then up to the Los Angeles area, across the Pacific to Fiji, from Fiji to New Zealand, and from New Zealand to Brisbane, Australia to meet the mother and her son whom the Lord had moved to send Sandi and me to meet all of our brothers and sisters around the world to be His witness to all those whom we had never met face to face.

I will share with you how we discovered that the whole world is experiencing the same trials. The details differ, but the trials are all the same the world over. I will also be sharing with you what the scriptures reveal about the outcome of these times in which we live.

I anticipate two more Sundays to share our trip and the lessons we learned with you.

[Video and audio of this presentation are here: ]

Other related posts