HIS GLORY REALM DANCING! ~ For the Nation of Austria ~ May 2000
Given to: Myk Herndon, Gresham, OR, USA
Given to: Monika Koller, Graz, Austria ~ November 2001
Scriptures: Exodus 33:18; Psalms 30:11-12, 149:3; Luke 15. Handmade by Betty Leach and Jennifer Lynn Easton Joy
October 2001 I have to admit that I did not have the same expectation that Jennifer had when I agreed to take the Austria Glory Ring with me to Austria on a business trip. Having had no real experience with them in the past, except to see Jennifer worship with them, I didn't know what to expect. I certainly did not expect what was to come.
To accurately begin this story, I should describe myself and my relationship with Jennifer and tell a short story of something that occurred shortly before she left.
I am an elder at the Vineyard Christian Fellowship in Gresham, Oregon, and have, for the past year provided a prayer covering to Jennifer as a member of our church along with one of my fellow elders, and as a friend. I work in the software industry, specializing in software for the microelectronics manufacturing industry. It was in this capacity that I was asked to go to Austria to install a system for a company there.
At the church, one of my covering responsibilities is for the ministries of worship and intercession, and I lead the prayer meeting we normally have on Sunday evenings at the church. On the evening that Jennifer originally intended to give me the Glory Ring for Austria, one of the members of the church shared a particular need that sent Jennifer into intercessory travail. She tried to be discreet under the circumstances, and graciously stepped out of the room at a mere hand signal from me.
The next day, she gave me the Glory Ring, and I returned her Bible to her that she had left at the meeting. I left for Austria two days later.
I arrived in Graz, Austria on Friday, November 9th, 2001, and did a day’s work at the electronics company, with the idea that I would spend Saturday, following God around the city of Graz, looking for the divine appointment Jennifer was sure I was to have. Late that day, looking through the web, I found the address of the Emmanuel Vineyard Church in Graz, and noted the address and the time of their worship service, which happened to be Saturday afternoon.
Not wanting to limit what God might have in mind, I got up early on Saturday and went down to the old city of Graz, to an internet cafe' there and wrote to Jennifer telling her that this was the day. If the Ring had a home, this was the day I would have to find it. I spent most of the rest of the day walking around the old city. I could spend another whole page here describing the history and the architecture of Graz, but that is not my purpose. I will say that to walk the streets of the old city is to step back four to six hundred years in the hill country east of the Alps, and into a marvelous old culture.
Shortly after lunch, I went looking for the place where the Vineyard meets in Graz, and actually arrived at the building three hours before the service. I decided to walk around the neighborhood, and found that like many cities in Europe, there are communities of immigrants from around the world. I saw Chinese, Turkish, Arabic and even American restaurants (McDonald's). I spent the next couple of hours walking, sitting in parks, making myself available to whatever the Spirit wanted to do, focusing on Him and on the people around me.
Eventually, I turned back toward the Baptist Church where the Vineyard meets on Saturday. I arrived a little early and just sat in the back listening to the worship team prepare. Songs I didn't know in English, except one. Songs I knew, but were sung in German, except one. People came up to greet me, including Andreas Perndanner, who seemed to me to be a leader, but who was not the American pastor, who is back in the States at a conference.
For some reason, I felt it was appropriate to show Andreas the Glory Ring. Little did I know that he was the leading elder of the church in charge of the service. As soon as he saw the Glory Ring, he invited me to present it to the church as a part of the service that was about to start. I did not have the language to refuse him, nor do I think I could have talked him out of this course of action. He said he would translate for me.
He introduced me to his wife and said that she would translate the German service for me, and so Irene sat down next to me, and made sure I understood everything that was spoken from the front.
I then sat down and reviewed the instructions Jennifer had given me concerning the Glory Ring. It did not seem to me that I was supposed to give it to a church, but to a person. Realizing that I was going to have to give it to someone there, I asked the Lord to show me who it was.
As I looked up from that prayer, a woman walked across the front of the platform waving a red flag. Now, I can be dense in the Spirit on occasion, but this seemed all too obvious. I asked the Lord, and He told me just to watch. I watched what the woman was doing, and I saw that as she walked the platform, she waved the flag, and prayed, and it seemed to me that she washed the place of ministry, the altar area in the blood of Jesus for what was to come there. She obviously had understanding in matters of intercession and worship. Not wanting to jump too quickly, I asked Irene who is this woman. "She is Monika Koller," Irene said, "She is an intercessor here, and leads our prayer team that prays for the leadership here."
During the announcement phase of the evening, a younger woman, named Karen, stood up and said that she was just back from a Youth Workers convention in Vienna, and told of her experiences. Then she invited the children up front and asked the adults to surround them to pray. We do this all the time in Gresham, so I take my place in the circle. Andreas prayed, and then passes the microphone to a couple of others, and then makes a point of offering it to me.
I am just humbled by the act, but I feel it appropriate to extend to God's children, a prayer we often pray over ours in Gresham. I tell them of the Psalm where children are referred to as arrows in the quiver of a happy man (Psalm 127:4-5), and I pray that these dear little ones would be guided straight and that they would hit the targets they were intended for. As Andreas translates, there is a murmur of “Amen's”, which are the same in any language.
After we sat down, Monika was called to the podium, to deliver a word of prophesy she had received the week before but was unable to deliver. As it turned out, the word was directly in line with the worship for the evening and the message that was brought by a guest speaker. Still, I wondered whether Monika was the one.
Worship was an interesting experience for me. I had taken German in high school many years ago, so I was able to read the overheads for the songs, without understanding but only a few words. This allowed me to sing songs in a language I did not know. I asked the Lord about it, and He was quick to assure me that I often said things without understanding.
Andreas then introduced me, and something in what he said caused the congregation to applaud as I brought the Glory Ring to the platform. I'm not sure why, but it caught me off guard, and I told them, through Andreas that I was nothing more than an errand boy, sent with a gift from a friend of mine in America. I then turned and asked Monika if she would hold the Glory Ring for me, as I wanted to share a couple of verses to explain what it was.
The moment she took the Glory Ring, she went into travail. I am confident that she had never seen a Glory Ring before. I later asked Irene, "Have you ever seen her do that before?" "Monika is very sensitive to the Spirit," was her reply.
I turned to look at Andreas, and at that moment, the Spirit moved on both of us as well. In a way, I felt a little disoriented. This was certainly not what I had anticipated might happen, but the doubts about giving the Glory Ring to Monika vanished in that moment. Having completed my assignment, I was now looking for a graceful way to get off the platform. I know now that it was the wrong impulse to respond to, and when that kind of thing happens to me again, I will be a little better prepared.
When Andreas told me I was to present the Glory Ring publicly, I decided I should be prepared to say something, so after asking for a little direction, I went to two places in my mind.
The first was to a little plastic tag that Jennifer had attached to the Ring, and to her book, Have Glory Ring will Travel! On the tag, I chose one of the four passages she had put there, Psalms 30:11-12. In the book, I looked up the meaning of the color turquoise, the bride of Christ, and a verse came to mind from a series of verse the Lord had given me that morning, from what now seems to be a word for the nation of Austria, Romans 8:18.
I told them that the Glory Ring was prophetic in its construction, but that I did not understand it totally. I told them, through Andreas, that there were verses attached to it, and that I wanted to read one to them. Actually, what I did, was ask Andreas to read, Psalms 30:11-12.
And he read, "Meine Wehklage hast du mir in Reigen verwandelt, mein Sacktuch hast du gelöst und mit Freude mich umgürtet, damit meine Seele dich besinge und nicht schweige. HERR, mein Gott, in Ewigkeit will ich dich preisen (ELB)."
"You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness, that my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever" (NASB).
The Lord's presence was still heavy on the stage, and as Andreas read, I turned to check on Monika. The travail had subsided, but as Andreas continued to read, Monika began to cry, the tears flowing down her face. It was one of those moments where you could have heard a pin drop.
I explained to them what little I understood of the Glory Ring itself. The handle was wrapped in cords of red, white, and turquoise. I was prepared to speak of the blood of Christ, purity, and the bride of Christ, but as I stood there, it occurred to me that the flag of Austria is half red and half white. The Ring spoke of the Bride of Christ in Austria. I was to find out later, that God is moving in that church to be a bridge building church in a move to unify the churches of Austria. In what little I knew, I was able to confirm the current direction of the body of Christ in that nation. Monika continued to weep, and if anything, only harder.
I asked Andreas to read Romans 8:18, "Denn ich denke, daß die Leiden der jetzigen Zeit nicht ins Gewicht fallen gegenüber der zukünftigen Herrlichkeit, die an uns geoffenbart werden soll (ELB)." "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us" (NASB).
I spoke to encourage the spirit of that Church, not really understanding as I would later, that the church I was speaking to had only recently passed through a time of intense persecution, being labeled a cult by other churches in the city. It only seemed to open the floodgates for poor Monika. She was totally overcome.
I had no idea where God was taking me, and to be honest, I'm not sure I really took the time to find out. I gave them a greeting from Jennifer and from the Gresham Vineyard and I sat down. Looking back, I wish I had been more patient with the Spirit's moving. I will always wonder what might have happened. However, I do know I will be going back. That's locked up in a business schedule somewhere. The guest speaker gave a wonderful sermon based in the story of Moses striking the rock in the desert, which Irene patiently translated for me.
Afterwards, Irene and I went to speak with Monika, and I attempted to apologize for what had happened. If I had moved earlier, it might not have been a public event. Though she spoke very little English, Irene let me know that she would have none of it. She was still overcome with the greatness of God, and with His grace toward her in such a magnificent gift.
While we were speaking, several other ladies came up to speak with me, each meaningful in their own way. The first was a bright-eyed elderly saint, named Gertrude, "Gerty," she said. She had fairly good English and she was very animated in her thanks for my coming and for the Glory Ring. Looking back, she seemed important to me because she was old enough to remember the Second World War as a young adult. It was clear to me that this woman had walked with the Lord for a very long time, and it is always an honor to meet these rare ones.
She was followed by a couple of women, one serving as the translator for the other. She introduced her friend and told me that she was blind. It was apparent that she had been blind from birth. Her friend had asked if she could touch me. Now, I'm not sure what she expected, but it sent shivers through me as she took my hands in hers for a moment. There is something there for me at some point, but at that point there were still things to observe. The blind woman then asked to touch the Glory Ring, and as she ran her fingers through it, she spoke. Irene and her friend then asked if it would be appropriate to wave the ring in worship. I nodded, and it was obvious that the Glory Ring had found a home and that they already probably understood more than I could teach them.
They went back to examining the Glory Ring and Monika took my hand, and tried as best she could to say thank you. From the remnant of German in me, I could make out the occasional "Danke" as she persisted in expressing gratitude. I protested a little, saying that I was really not responsible, and just an errand boy. And this went on for some time. I was without Irene, who was still taken up with the Glory Ring, and was a little uncomfortable because Monika would not let go, so I refocused, and the Lord said to me, "Shut up, and listen."
Pardon me, but sometimes He has to speak to me that way to get my attention. And so I listened to what Monika was saying. Many years ago, I had experienced the gift of interpretation in a meeting, and it seemed that this was what God wanted out of me now. And then it was clear. Monika was saying that she wanted me to be sure to say thank you to the one who had sent the Austria Glory Ring. She was intent that I understand that, and return from my errand with appropriate gratitude.
Irene must have seen my struggle because she came up and confirmed the interpretation I had been given. I think it startled her a little when I responded to her translation, "I know." She continued to translate for Monika, as Monika told me that for the past month, she had spent an hour every day in intercession for the nation of Austria. The coming of the Glory Ring had profound meaning to her. As I left, I made sure Irene had the printed material that Jennifer had sent with the Glory Ring and a promise to translated it for Monika. Andreas and I made plans to have dinner later that week. Then Karen, the youth worker, who had spoken during the service came up to me and said, "Do you like cake?"
In her hand, she had a tin with ten small apple strudel squares in it, and I had to confess that I did like cake. As she gave it to me she told me in as much English as she knew that she appreciated the prayer offered for the children and that it meant a lot for me to come forward to do that.
Andreas told me at dinner, later that week, that the meeting was significant in the life of that church, if for no other reason than it meant a lot to them that someone would come looking for them, much less give them something like the Austria Glory Ring. He had picked up on the fact that I had received a word the morning of that meeting and he wanted me to give it to him, and he brought a note pad to write it down. I told him what I knew of it, but that it needed to bake a little like the piece of bread he was holding. Perhaps next time such a thing happens, I will be bold enough to speak it when God opens the door of opportunity.
Looking back on the trip, nearly a month ago, I am still amazed by it all, knowing that it will take me a long time to sort it all out. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as Jennifer's errand boy, and very appreciative to all those that prayed for me as I traveled.