M is For May-hem

>What a topsy-turvy May we’ve experienced – God is shaking us up and I’m going to challenge myself to describe it with M words in honor of the month!

M is for Moche \mush\: This French word describes the ugly weather we had all month (as in, "Il fait moche!") Cold rain has dominated, translating to snow on the mountains, so the ski slopes are still open! I am having flashbacks of Scotland.

Martin and Gayle Scott

M is for Martin Scott who came through and shook our church up with his words for Europe. After a serious time of repentance and questioning of our vision, we are still talking about it, as our building plans become a noose around our necks. Could it be God, rather than the enemy, putting on the brakes? We will meet in July to hear the Lord’s voice more clearly.

M is for Ministry in Nantes: Our Sozo team flew to the other side of France to do a training weekend there for 50 people last weekend, half of whom got a personal session. It was a privilege to serve a group of people who shared the same values that we do: community, healing, worship, and intercession. The bonus was that our free day of tourism fell on a clear, sunny day – What a beautiful city!

M is for Mother’s Day: I was celebrated 4 times this year! My mother sent a thoughtful package that arrived early in the month. On the DAY, I got calls from Rachel and Noah. On French Mother’s Day, the 26th, Olivia had the house cleaned for me when I returned from Nantes. And on the 27th, I had a greeting from Oceane waiting for me on the breakfast table. I am blessed.

M is for Miracle: I was beginning to despair that we’d had little impact on Oceane this year when every Friday last month she would turn into a monster with the arrival of her aunt to take her home for the weekend. (She had returned by train most of the year.) A sobering sozo with her aunt revealed why she takes abuse by Oceane, and it won’t be a quick fix. But last week Oceane’s hospital check-up revealed that her kidneys were miraculously improved and she is no longer considered underweight! She is also off of her anti-anxiety meds, thank you Jesus.

M is for "Manif Pour Tous." This is the name for the historic, record-breaking demonstrations for traditional families that continued in full force around the country this month, shaking people into action. Happily, an initiative to propagate the theory of gender neutrality in the schools has been shelved for the moment.

M is for Markedly reduced parking: We don’t actually have a safe pick-up area for our 150 students at the school, which may come as a shock to our readers. Parents wedged their cars between huge trees across the street in an undefined parking zone along the river and crossed a busy street to enter the school grounds. Last month that area was being transformed into part of a village-wide bike path, eliminating most parking. Our church parking is also a huge issue as 4 mechanics surrounding our building fill most spaces in a central lot with wrecked cars and trash. What is God saying in this parking mayhem?! I can’t wait to find out. On a lighter note…

M is for Mary Poppins: Hadn’t seen it since I was a child. Hate old musicals. Bought it on sale as a joke. Watched it and cried. What a perfect picture of the Holy Spirit invading so many spheres of society. The spiritual parallels are so abundant that I may have to write a Sunday school curriculum around it!


And finally, M is for "le M": The freshest McDonald’s hamburger offering I’ve ever tasted – enjoyed a few this spring!

Maternally, Angela

A Dream Come True

The perfect team - TOP: Hostess, Translator, Finances BOTTOM: Technician, Our speakersDo you remember my newsletter that listed all the major events in my life that happened to fall on the month of April ?

Ummm… it happened again.

Our marriage seminar last week was truly a missionary’s dream come true:

Isabelle (center) recovered with supernatural speed after her hospitalization. She finished the written translation and printed the manual in the 2 remaining weeks and was able to translate the speakers smoothly all week with no drop in energy! She also broke off lots of lies that were holding her and her marriage back.

As expected, the couples came with a big fear of vulnerability. It was banished within the first hour of the seminar because the Byrnes model transparency in their teaching in an atmosphere of Holy Spirit-infused love and safety. The small groups we put them were a perfect fit and couples bonded quickly!

Most couples arrived desperate for help with depression, ministry burn-out, anger, shame, hopelessness, loneliness, and lack of intimacy. All 18 couples became fully connected emotionally and spiritually, allowing them to receive a personal plan from the Holy Spirit at the end of the week to begin physical oneness as well.

Our pastor and his wife even participated fully and the 3 other women on our leadership team who had been struggling physically for years were restored and radiant by the end of the week.

Spring blooms on the table represent new life in the couples

The weather was glorious, much to the delight of the Brits! They grabbed their chairs and ran out into the courtyard that was in full spring bloom for every group exercise, basking in the sun while ministering to each other. Another British couple that had already benefitted from the course sent 1000 pounds to bless any European couple who couldn’t afford it. We gave it to a couple that had been coming for sozos from Belgium, but now needed to work through their issues as a couple in order to make further progress. Their identities were completely restored from broken victims on anti-depressants to valiant warriors taking their thoughts captive!

Our couples in love!

And speaking of money, the hopeless couple I described last month tried to back out at the last minute because they still couldn’t come up with the small percentage we asked them to pay. We said they could pay installments afterwards, if necessary, but we really felt that they needed to seed into their own marriage to get breakthrough, since finances were such an issue for them. During the seminar they got an unexpected refund check from the government that covered it and they have come to life!

Three men coming with the most broken marriages humbly volunteered to get inner healing on stage for issues that were affecting their marriages negatively. In 1 hour, the childhood root was highlighted, healed, and tearful reconciliation with their wives washed away years of pain in that area.

Celebrating French-styleThe groups took their meals together at the restaurant every day and towards the end of the week, they were buying wine to toast to each other’s breakthroughs French style with singing, laughing, and dancing while other diners looking on!

Sunday morning was devoted to all the beautiful testimonies, as at least a third of the couples in our church were affected. During worship they were all dancing like newlyweds. After the service, they were all surrounding and praying for others as couples! This huge injection of healing will transform our church and this nation!

And myself? In normal life I am hard pressed to get up early every morning and go 14 hours, 5 days in a row. That week, as hostess for the event, it was painless. David manned the sound and recording table and that was also glitch-free. The joy and love in people’s eyes as they thanked us for bringing this ministry to France was the most satisfying thing I have ever experienced.

We’re already planning another seminar for next year and include their course for singles. We hope to film it in order to create DVDs that can be used all over the country so that the Byrnes can devote their time and energy to plant it in other countries. (The unique principles taught in the seminar are also available in their excellent book!)

Mission accomplished, Angela

Chasing Foxes

It’s that time of the year again when I turn another year older and those springtime verses in Song of Solomon 2 start dancing through my head as sweet birthday wishes from Jesus:

"Get up, my dear friend, fair and beautiful lover – come to me!
Look around you: Winter is over; the winter rains are over, gone!
Spring flowers are in blossom all over.
The whole world’s a choir – and singing!
Come, my shy and modest dove,
leave your seclusion, come out in the open.
Let me see your face, let me hear your voice.
For your voice is soothing and your face is ravishing."

And I reply in verse 15: "Then you must protect me from the foxes, foxes who would like nothing better than to get into our flowering garden."

FOXFox #1: Infirmity. Our Love After Marriage preparations were going smoothly until the other day. Our co-worker Isabelle is in the middle of translating the materials and will be our translator for the seminar. Last week she went into the hospital with facial paralysis and is undergoing testing. The enemy aimed well, as he knows that we cannot pull off this event without her, so this is not a surprise. Also, David was diagnosed with advanced arthritis in the shoulder that he drapes over his guitar, just when our church decided to expand our House of Prayer sessions! He is compensating by buying a flat electric and a tiny travel guitar, but daily pain and reduced range of motion continues. We refuse to worry, but to join with our intercessors and worship God in faith that He is taking care of these visions that He planted in our hearts for France. He will see it through.

FOXFox #2: Insecurity. Like many introverts, I have always been uncomfortable with my social skills and so I give God all the glory for the advances I have made in helping people feel safe enough to confide in me for inner healing. A girl in her 20s even asked me to be her spiritual mother for a season, and this is the generation I relate to the least! But there were still some fears in this area that were niggling me, so I had a Sozo colleague give me a session for it recently. I have quickly gained a new confidence in lovingly confronting lies that people are believing about themselves and God, without nerves shutting me down, (even during one hostile encounter!) And rejection doesn’t seem to come into play for either side! I have also had people tell me that I’m more radiant lately. Could it be that at last "my voice is soothing and my face is ravishing" to more people besides Jesus?? 

I know David is appreciating it the most, as we are enjoying a time of supernatural grace for each other’s weaknesses, paired with a deeper appreciation of and dependence on each other’s strengths. We are nourishing each other with physical affection several times a day and speaking out more words of encouragement than ever before. Combined with the training we got at Bethel last summer, we had the gumption to come alongside another couple being stalked by…

FOXFox #3: Hopelessness.

He grew up without parents and had been depressed for 10 of their 11 years of marriage. He looked like the walking dead and since past counseling/deliverance hadn’t helped, he thought he would just have to live with it.

She had grown up under an abusive father and had to be the strong one her whole life. She was empty and lonely, and there was no way she could continue to "live with it."

Their kids were car-pooling to our school from the big city, and once her husband got his driving license a couple of years ago, he found a steady job and they were able to start attending our church. Last fall they moved to a cute apt. in Soultz.

Then she asked if she could help me with my Janitor for Jesus duties and slowly started sharing her pain and asking for prayer. It was obvious that moving to an idyllic village, regular church attendance, and new jobs weren’t making them any happier. I was getting eager to get to the roots, but she was skittish.

Then one day, when her husband brought up separation, she was at my door in tears and ready to deal with her stuff. After her second Sozo and hearing enough about their marriage to be concerned about her keeping her healing, I asked if we could meet with them as a couple to see where he was at. (This was a big step for us to actively intervene without relationship with him!) A few minutes later, I crossed him at school and boldly asked if he would be okay with us coming over, and he agreed!

Hopelessness was the fox that was destroying their garden, and we chased it out that day with our own testimony of healing. She learned that he didn’t want to separate after all, and we asked them to verbally commit to each other to choose the path of healing and restoration. We asked them to hold hands and say positive things to each other. Their marriage started in YWAM with a heart for missions and it was brutally stolen from them, so we also declared a restoration of their one-flesh destiny. He’d lost his wedding ring 7 years ago and never replaced it, so we prayed that it would be restored as a prophetic symbol.

Before we left, we asked them to ask forgiveness of their children for planting the fear of divorce and prayed for favor from his boss and the provision to attend the seminar, (as God has already provided the childcare!) We reduced their fees to make it more accessible to them, and when Rachel sent in an offering towards this ministry, we gave it to them a few days later.

A week later, he had his first Sozo and he said it was like no other ministry he’d gotten before, and friendship with David will grow because David is training him in sound booth duties. She is ready to continue sessions with me until the roots of her anger are completely severed, and her cleaning help at church really blesses me in return, not to mention her expressions of gratefulness for our investment in them.

These same foxes are also attracted to our "foster" child Oceane, but our fences are strong and high, at least while she in in our garden, and we are seeing positive changes in her. My latest healing has removed fear of her manipulation and I can face her stuff head-on and smother her with kisses at the same time.

I recommend it as a good tactic for broken kids and as well as broken couples.

So our marriage ministry is "springing" to life at last. I see a home group in our future, post-seminar, to keep the couples in our church moving forward.

I think we should call it "Foxbusters." 

Stay tuned for next month’s testimonies from the seminar!! Angela

Kiss the Son, Lest He be Angry…

Have you heard the news? French Christians are coming together in unity for the first time in history, Jesus is clearly starting to woo His French bride, and she is responding!

Let me back up by saying that our own marital relationship continues to benefit from the Love After Marriage seminar we attended 2 years ago. Our pastor was asking for our help in this area, but because we knew that entering a marriage ministry is like picking a fight, we didn’t want to push anything in our flesh and be without God’s covering or outside of His timing.

Then when we were given a generous gift by a couple in our church, we knew it was to be used towards going to California last summer to have more extensive contact with the leaders in the ministry. They saw the Holy Spirit highlighting France and agreed to bring the seminar to our region the following spring! In the fall, we started meeting and praying with another couple in our church who have sensed a call to marriages and they experienced the seminar in Switzerland a few months later. It took 4 months for us to find the ideal place to host, house, and feed 30 couples for a week at the lowest possible cost and the bilingual email invitations went out last week to hundreds of couples in England, Belgium, Switzerland and France.

God was clearly in this timing because just 3 weeks ago, people of all faiths from all over France jumped on buses and headed to Paris to demonstrate their solidarity behind God’s definition of marriage and family. Friends who attended said it was well-organized and joyful. There was no hostility or incident the entire day. When one group got too chilled and left, another group would arrive to take their place. Attendance estimates ranged from 400,000 by antagonistic journalists to 1 million by those that took into account continual arrivals throughout the day. Here’s a 3 min. video summary.

Our new liberal government still seems determined to make France the 12th country to give marriage status to homosexuals, but this quickly leads to surrogacy and adoption issues that alarm the majority of the population due to historically strong traditional Catholic family values. (Surrogate parenting is still illegal here except for married couples.) French psychiatrists, who enjoy a revered status, also support a child’s need for a mother and father, so the reaction is more out of concern for the well-being of children rather than against homosexual rights.

We believe that Christians can only have a voice on this issue if their own marriages and families are a light and a testimony. And that is why the timing of these events is so beautiful: the state of families is on everyone’s mind and living out a joyful marriage covenant will affect the spiritual atmosphere over a nation far more than a demonstration! Have you kissed your spouse today? So we are moving forward on seminar organization with confidence with intercessors covering our backs!

At the same time, we are starting to see houses of prayer and worship (HOPs) spring up at an increased rate in our corner of Europe. This also highlights marriage and the bridal paradigm in the Bible because it is here that spiritual intimacy is developed through quality time set apart to focus solely on the beauty of the Lord. European believers are seeing the urgency of the times and responding by worshipping more, striving less, and watching God fight our battles for us. (An excellent book on this topic is called Bridal Intercession by Gary Wiens.)

Our church has focused more on a monthly tabernacle of extended worship, but after we gave our pastoral couple a book we read 6 years ago called Praying the Bible, translated into French just last year, (another confirmation!) they have jumped on board. We now have the church open for an additional 8 hours during the week so that people can come to be in His presence.

To add more fuel to the fire, our body will also be welcoming back a French Swiss family in May who sold all to spend 2 years at IHOP in Kansas City. Their emails report that they (with their 5 kids) have gone from being dry and overworked church and Christian school leaders to being completely filled up and passionate for Jesus alone, ready to come back as missionaries to their home continent.

Have you kissed the Son today?



We Swiss You a Merry Christmas!

Season’s Greetings, dear readers!

There’s nothing like a snowstorm in the Alps to put you in the Christmas spirit! Here are the highlights of last weekend’s Sozo training seminar adventure:

Annecy-France-WinterOur team of 5 decided to arrive a day early to enjoy a little tourism in Annecy. We drove 4 hours south through Switzerland to get to this picturesque French town. It was perfect: we avoided the weekend crowds at the Christmas market on a Thursday night and the snowstorm didn’t arrive until the next day. We shared a cheese fondue dinner in a beautiful restaurant (on the left in this photo of an ancient prison that sits in the middle of the canal.)

The wife of the pastoral couple has a psychology degree, and she wanted to make sure their young church got off on the right foot by offering inner healing seminars each month. "The Sozo Method" was the final seminar in the series. Friday we had personal Sozos scheduled for morning, afternoon, and evening, plus the first session to teach, but snow throughout France created havoc for attendees. A group from Normandy cancelled and a couple that drove from Paris missed their afternoon appts. Instead of twiddling our thumbs all afternoon, we used them to send messages to our intercessors. And lo and behold, by evening the temps hadn’t dropped and the roads got cleared, allowing us to squeeze in some late night ministry sessions and have a full house for the teachings on Sat.

Annecy 2012 town steeple snowThose of us that did 6 2hr personal Sozos sessions in those 2 days in a building that had serious heating issues were given a lot of grace! My French flowed well and fatigue was minor, even during a 9-11pm slot! One favorite was a woman who got to the root of her hate and saw flames burn it up completely. Another was a man with fear about the future, and after tearfully forgiving his brother, he departed an hour later with a smile on his face, saying that he got exactly what he came for! Another young woman had to confront the lie that she and her family did not deserve to suffer the death of her beloved brother. Jesus gently showed her that He did not deserve to die either. That death opened the door to fear that her husband would also be taken from her, and she heard Jesus promise that she would never be alone, even if she lost him. She was also struggling with infertility without any physical reasons, so she couldn’t wait to hear my testimony in that area, and now that she has a renewed trust in Father God, I’m expecting her uterus to respond accordingly!

I got home before midnight on Sat. night and Oceane returned from her weekend home on Sunday night. We dumped her suitcase and ran over to the cathedral for a free concert by a boy’s choir, hoping to get some rare Christ-centered entertainment. And indeed, the finale was the Hallelujah Chorus, which is a Christmas tradition that I miss terribly here. I could barely sit still since I’d learned the 2nd soprano part in high school choir and they were singing it in English! However, the French audience was so unfamiliar with it that they started clapping before the final "Haaaa-leeeee-luuuuuu-jaaaaaah!!"  It was a glorious end to my Christmas weekend, but along with hearing hours of family pain and abuse, it was also a sobering reminder of the society we are living in.

We are starting to see the realization of some hopes and dreams that I have written about over the last several years. I’ll update you on those in the new year!

Christmas blessings, Angela