Friday, October 27, 2006

All I can say is, "WOW!"
Pastor Troy D. Bohn
Oct 27 2006 04:10AM

…I can actually think of a few more things to say, but “WOW” is definitely a great place to start! This past weekends first annual International Gathering of Raven’s was incredible!

I have been saying all week that it far exceeded my wildest expectations and that my expectations were very high! There is just no way to do justice to the things that we experienced in Christ Jesus this past weekend in Texas. It was just one of those special “God Moments” that cause your jaw to drop as you are just awestruck by His infinite mercy and desire to fellowship with His bride~!

John 13:34-35 says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

The words of Jesus As recorded here in the Gospel of John truly sums up this gathering that brought our “team” or better yet, our “family” together from all across this nation. There were many who came in from opposite coasts and from various places throughout this nation that had never laid eyes on one another—but you would have never known it!

To a casual observer, one would think that it was a reunion of old friends or even a family gathering that was taking place, as people loved on one another nonstop for three long and eventful days of ministry and sweet fellowship. Even the children from the very youngest to the teenaged shared this time of just being the Body of Christ and walking in such unity and cooperation—it was phenomenal!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Thank all of you that prayed and gave financially to see that these missionaries to America were able to be blessed, encouraged, and refreshed in the presence of the Lord for a few days! May God bless and anoint you mightily for your support as well.

Friday: The Raven Banquet! As of last Wednesday we had expected around 110 people to be in attendance for the fajita dinner and presentation of the things that had occurred over the past year and where the Lord Jesus is taking us in the future—well, that number got thrown our real fast as attendance at the banquet swelled to well over 200 guests!

We were blessed to assemble the Raven Reunion Band composed of some of the very first street team members as well as some of our newest additions. The group included: Holly Hill, Leigh Prathaftakis, Nick Castro, Jeurgen Zapata, Pastor Ralph Savala, Sean Mullins, Jeromy Thornton, Sue Scott, Pastor Gary Hobbs, and Angie Blondina! These guys ROCKED!!!

We had several special guests in attendance including a number of local pastors: Pastors Ken Fowler, Herman Castro, Ralph Savala, and Jesse Chavez of Amarillo Christian Fellowship, Pastor & Mrs. Elisha Demerson of Emmanuel Church of God in Christ, Pastor Mark Rector and Pastor Gary Hobbs of Church Alive, Pastor Faye Roberts of River Road Fellowship, Pastor Duane Bilderback of Fox Ridge Church of God, and “Uncle” Bob Dunstan of Life Challenge of Amarillo.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

We showed several videos during the course of the evening including footage from our earliest years when we took nine people 900 miles to New Orleans for our first Raven Mardi Gras Outreach to video featuring our outreaches that have now taken us from coast to coast and onto foreign soil.

Introduced and sharing testimony concerning the things that God had been doing in various regions were our team leaders:

Pastor Sam & Lucy Croghan of Raven East Coast, Pastor Rudy & Lori Gonzales of Raven West Coast, Pastor Don & Sabrina Eskine of Raven Gulf Coast, Pastor Terry & Eileen Shuff of Raven Midwest, Pastor Alex & Holly Hill of Raven Austin, Pastor Meredith & Tanya Lindsey of Raven Fairfield (TX), Pastor Todd & Christy Bohn of Raven Post (TX) and Pastor Brandon & Christy Romero of Raven Southwest and Pastor Lance & Leigh Prathaftakis of Raven Midwest. Unable to attend were Pastor Thomas &Doree Derrick of Raven New Orleans.

Others in attendance were Raven Evangelists: Jeurgen & Jennifer Zapata (Lubbock, TX) and, Don & Robin Dykes (Amarillo, TX). and my dear friends, Max "Love" & Kimber Montano of Amarillo.

I can remember three years ago when it basically consisted of Melanie and myself taking the vision that the Lord Jesus had entrusted us with to New Orleans in obedience to His voice---WOW—it is amazing to see the things that JESUS has done in such a short amount of time! Praise His Name!!

One of the special things that we did during the banquet was to honor several of our guests who have meant so much to Melanie and I on a personal level over the years.

Pastor Elisha Demerson simply put is my friend! Prov. 17:17 says, “A friend loveth at all times and a brother is born of adversity.” This certainly described the relationship that I have enjoyed with the dear man of God. Pastor Demerson is actually a “historical figure”, having been the very first African-American elected to serve as a County Court at Law Judge in the State of Texas! This West Point Graduate is also a scientist and serves as the pastor of Emmanuel Church and as a district superintendent for the Church of God in Christ.

Uncle Bob Dunstan as we affectionately call him is a man with an obvious “Caleb Anointing”. Uncle Bob at just a few years shy of his ninetieth birthday continues to serve as the director of Life Challenge of Amarillo. This is a 12-18 month live in program designed for those looking to be set free from the bondages of drugs, alcohol and other life-destroying addictions. Uncle Bob is a rock! This man, who once served as the mayor of a major city in Ohio has dedicated his life to the Lord Jesus and to helping men beat back the destructive jaws of the devil. He told me that he planned to retire, “When Jesus returned!”

Pastor Faye Roberts is the pastor of River Road Fellowship in Amarillo. I have know this gracious woman of faith since I was a child and there are few people in my life that have carried such an incredible and consistent testimony of loving people and walking in humility and a servants heart. I said at the banquet, “Many people may argue the theology of this woman serving in the capacity of a pastor, but they can’t argue her heart for ministering to people!”

Cornerstone Outreach Center is a local (and international) outreach and missions supporting organization. Headed up by Pastor Joe Kirkwood (who also serves as a local city commissioner) with my friend, Susie King serving as his assistant, these guys were right there to help our team with semi loads of food, water, clothing and supplies in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina last year. Locally they feed and clothe thousand each year through their local ministry center and have established a sister location in Ghana, West Africa as well.

Doris Smith is someone that could easily just “blend in to the crowd.” This retired lady from Canyon, Texas is really what it is all about! Living alone and on a fixed income, Doris is one of the few people who have supported our urban mission’s efforts from day one! Each month she has never failed to send her check for $20 to keep us “in the harvest fields.” There were many time---that we would wait by the mailbox at the first of the month for Doris’ check to come because that would be all the money we had to eat on ourselves!! Additionally she continues to hold us up in prayer and encouragement each and every day!

Saturday Morning we had a women’s and a men’s breakfast.

Linda Hanks was gracious to host our team of women at her local bed and breakfast for a women’s breakfast led by Holly Hill. This was a powerful time as she shared what the Holy Spirit had placed upon her heart and the women enjoyed a special time of prayer and ministry to one another!

River Road Fellowship’s men’s ministry served up an awesome “Country Breakfast” to our men that morning and Pastor Don Eskine shared his powerful testimony of being transformed from a “Prisoner to a Pastor.”

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Saturday Lunch: my parents, Raymond & Kathryn Bohn treated the whole team to a delicious lunch of bbq sandwiches and all the trimmings as Pastor Alex Hill served up an anointed and challenging message to the team regarding “Keep the unity by recognizing and overcoming offenses.”

Saturday Afternoon: I shared several things regarding the past, present and future of Raven Ministries and then we heard from many of our Raven leaders and team members from around the nation. This was an awesome time that could be summed up in the statement of one sister in the Lord, “It is great to be around a group of people that you don’t have to explain yourself to!”

Saturday Night: We had a great time of praise and worship followed by a message that the Lord Jesus had given me called “Red Light Religion: Overcoming Intimacy on Display.” (I will post it on the blog for you to read sometime next week) We then had a special time of ministry, encouragement and deliverance for the five men that Uncle Bob brought from Life Challenge. Pastor Don Eskine, Pastor Todd Bohn, Pastor Alex Hill, Pastor Sam Croghan, and Pastor Terry Shuff prayed for these men and then “washed their feet” just as Jesus had washed the feet of His disciples—there was not a dry eye in the place!

We were also blessed to set five men apart for the work of the ministry that night which was P-O-W-E-R-F-U-L to say the very least. I shared with the congregation that to Raven Ministries, being called “Pastor” was not a title—but instead an enormous responsibility. On this night, we recognized and licensed and ordained (5) men.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Pastor Lance Prathaftakis is veteran of the streets! I tease that if I was a lost person that HE would be the guys that I would want coming after me because of the sincerity of his heart and his “never take no for an answer approach.” Pastor Lance will soon be serving as the director of our Raven Midwest team. He is also the youth pastor of a church in Indiana and operated a vending business. He and his wife, Leigh, have two awesome twin sons, Cole and Layne who are also very involved in the ministry.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Pastor Meredith Lindsey is the director of our brand new—Raven Fairfield. He has a heart to take the vision to “small town America” and see the hand of God move in these rural communities just as we have seen it move in our urban locations. He and his wife, Tanya are a part of 1st Baptist Church in Fairfield and Pastor Meredith travels into NYC frequently to share in some of the cities roughest neighborhoods. They have three sons and a daughter (who also is called to the mission field and just returned from a stay in Africa!)

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Pastor Brandon Romero is very close to my heart! He is my oldest nephew and son of my big sister, Kim. He and his wife, Christy (along with their son, Cole) lead Raven Southwest which is headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Having been set free from drugs, alcohol and other strongholds, this man of God is a walking testimony of God grace and the fruit of a “praying mamma!”

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Pastor Johnnie Thomason has a c-o-n-t-a-g-i-o-u-s smile and the most compassionate hearts that I know. He is the new director of Raven Amarillo and also serves as the youth pastor, and elder at River Road Fellowship Church. He and his wife, Lori have a powerful ministry to young married couples and those desiring to be married. Their daughters, Cheyenne and Caitlyn are also awesome young women of God and regulars on the streets and during outreaches.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Pastor Rudy Gonzalez is a soldier for Jesus plain and simple. Maybe it is his background in the Marine Corp or something, but this guy is a “front line” menace to the Kingdom of Darkeness! Heading up Raven West Coast, he, his wife Lori and two amazing little girls, Madee and CeCe, lead the west coast Raven Team in the regions most desperate neighborhoods.

We are so blessed to have these men join the ranks of our national leadership team. They are powerful men of God and “soul winners” first and foremost!

Sunday Moring our team was blessed to fan out and minister at several local churches:

Pastor Rudy Gonzalez joined Don Dykes and his pastor, Alvin Walker for a great time at Freedom Baptist Church.

Pastor Don Eskine brought the word at Emmanuel Church of God in Christ with Pastor Elisha Demerson.

Pastor Alex Hill was is Hereford, Texas with Pastor David Alvarado and Good News Church.

Pastor Lance Prathaftakis took his team and joined Pastor Ken Fowler of Amarillo Christian Fellowship church.

Pastor Sam Croghan ministered at Fox Ridge Church of God with Pastor Duane Bilderback.

I joined my friend, Pastor Mark Rector at Church Alive!

The reports from each location were INCREDIBLE as the churches welcomed the team members and were the recipients of a fresh word from the Lord and a report from the streets of this nation.

Sunday Night all of our teams joined together one last time as I preached and ministered at Generation Next Church which is pastored by Pastor Tommy Fulgham. This is an awesome church that is raising up a new generation of young spirit-filled leaders to take the message of the cross to what very well might be the “terminal generation”

I preached a message called “The Revolution” and things just kind of EXPLODED from there!! The place was rocking as ministry was literally taking place all over the auditorium as the Body of Christ wept, worshipped and ministered to one another.

It was a fitting end (or beginning) to a true JESUS TIME!

Check out our blog and websites over he next week for pictures and reports from our various teams.

Please continue to pray for us as we “hit the ground running” over the next few weeks. This week Melanie and I are moving into another house as the state has acquired the home in which we are living through imminent domain to build a wider road! They will be bulldozing it in the near future, but God was gracious in allowing us to find another place to live not far from here!

Next month I will be joining Bobby Sullivan of Cutting Edge Outreach Ministries over the Thanksgiving Holiday to speak several times during the Accelerated Impact Conference on Evangelism in London, Ontario Canada. If you feel led to send a little something this month to help with expenses I would sure appreciate it greatly.

We love you and pray that God blesses and anoints you mightily for His Glory!

Pastor Troy D. Bohn

Raven Ministries International
P.O. Box 1897
Daytona Beach, FL32115

No comments: