January 2014 Newsletter Update

Onething Conference Kansas City

Onething 2013December was an extremely busy month here at the missions base. At the end of each year, IHOPKC hosts an event called the Onething conference. The name of the conference comes from Psalm 27:4, where King David declares, “One thing I have desired of the Lord, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord, And to inquire in His temple.” For the past few years, we have had over 25,000 people in attendance who share the same heart-cry as King David, to see the beauty of the Lord and to minister in His presence with prayer and worship. The Onething conference is always a very special time for a number of reasons, but this year was especially precious for the IHOP-KC community because we had the honor of hosting guest ministers Francis Chan, Matt Redman, Jesus Culture, and Banning Liebscher. We were humbled by the way that these esteemed international Christian leaders came to Kansas City to share some different facets of God’s heart concerning prayer and missions. All of the conference sessions are currently available for viewing and listening at www.ihopkc.org/onething/. We would especially recommend listening to Francis Chan, Allen Hood, and Benji Nolot’s conference sessions– they each were very timely words of exhortation.

New Changes in Intro to IHOP-KC Internship

As many of you know, Intro to IHOP-KC internship program is the department that I (Stuart) work with here on the missions base. Within Intro , I have the opportunity to serve the prayer and missions movement by being a small-group pastor (called a core leader) to groups of interns as they go through the internship program. I have been so blessed to serve in this department for the last year and half because it has been a wonderful venue for Stephanie and I to walk out our calling to love Jesus with all of our hearts and prepare people for His soon return. A little over three months ago we experienced a transition in the internship as the executive director changed departments and a new director took over the role. My new boss, Matt Candler, is such an amazing leader and he has been bringing some new focus to the internship that I would like to share with you all.

The Intro to IHOP-KC internship is a consecrated season where interns come to Kansas City to experience a short-term missions trip. For six months, they live as intercessory missionaries by serving the Lord in daily corporate prayer meetings for twenty-four hours each week. In addition to serving in prayer meetings, our interns receive practical and academic training to help them lead enjoyable prayer meetings and serve the global missions movement through intercessory prayer. As you might imagine, this is a very intense and unique season for every person that participates in the internship. Our desire is that each intern would understand and personally experience God’s value for prayer in relationship to His divine plan in raising up people from every tribe, tongue, and nation that minister to the Him in unceasing worship– unto the return of Jesus to the earth (Malachi 1:11, Revelation 22:17). As our interns complete the program, they are equipped to lead a 12-week Bible study about prayer and to build a team that can lead 2 hour corporate prayer meetings with worship music. We are excited to see the Lord send people from all around the Globe to our internship program. The photograph I have included with this letter is a picture of all the new interns in my small group this track. In total, we have around 40 new interns that started the program in January. I have been assigned leadership to the 9 shown in the picture. Please feel free to pray over them and God’s plan for raising up a prayer and missions movement in the country that they come from.

Christmas, New Years, and Beyond!

John chillin by the poolThis past Christmas was full of exciting “firsts” in the Keisman family. This was our first year of celebrating Christmas at home in Kansas City, of buying our first legitimate Christmas tree (a Charlie Brown tree doesn’t count), and of celebrating the holidays with our first child. John enjoyed shredding the Christmas paper off of his toys and promptly putting the paper in his mouth. It also was the first year that we celebrated Christmas with Advent in mind. Stephanie and I read a daily Advent devotional by John Piper and really enjoyed keeping the first and second coming of Jesus at the center of our celebration. We are looking forward to more doing more Advent activities together as a family in future years.

At the beginning of January, we were treated to an amazing family vacation in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We were really blessed to spend some quality relaxing time together as a family. During our vacation we took lots of walks in parks and on the beach, shared lots of meals together, read, and played by the pool. John went swimming for the first time and he had mixed opinions about the experience. He also made his first real attempt at crawling as he wiggled across a hotel room floor to reach his favorite toy: a plastic water bottle. Now that we are back in Kansas City, he is very mobile and we have to keep an extra close eye on him. He also started cutting his first two teeth which, surprisingly, aren’t causing him a lot of noticeable pain or distress. We are really enjoying all of the rapid changes that John is going through as he is quickly becoming a big boy, though we wouldn’t mind if he slowed down a bit so we can make his baby years last as long as possible. 🙂

November 2013 Newsletter Update

Evangelism Outreach

The week before Thanksgiving I was given the opportunity to train our interns in practical ways of how to share their faith with others in public. This is the second time since I joined the Intro to IHOPKC team that I’ve had the privilege of teaching and leading outreach evangelism. I have to admit, when I was first invited to do this, I felt very intimidated and massively unqualified, not to mention a little petrified. Despite these feelings, I sensed the Lord directing me to accept the invitation to teach and lead our evangelism initiatives. Though I have devoted my life and occupation to the love of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I am not much different than the majority of other western evangelical believers. Publicly approaching strangers to engage them in conversation about such important things as their spiritual beliefs and eternal destiny– either in communion with God in heaven, or in separation from God tormented in hell– has historically filled me with great anxiety. Whenever I’ve met another Christian who seemed to be experienced and comfortable in public evangelism, I’ve thought of them with bewilderment, wondering how they managed to find that secret key of getting strangers to talk about God. Additionally, when I see Christians holding confrontational, “turn-or-burn” style signs and yelling on megaphones to audiences that didn’t request a Sunday School lesson, I often experience an awkward mix of emotions. These feelings range from me feeling angry at the impersonal method of evangelism, to feeling ashamed at my comparative lack of boldness, to feeling confused about what Jesus meant when He said, “Preach the gospel to every creature…”, to feeling a sense of admiration toward the Christians holding the signs, because at least they had the courage to say something. I certainly don’t feel like I was chosen to lead these evangelism outreaches because I am an expert with an answer.

Through this experience, I have seen the wisdom in God choosing a weak, timid, broken vessel like me to lead others. Praise be to Him for the amazing ways that we’ve seen people’s lives touched with the Gospel, and for the ways that our interns have stepped out in new skill and boldness in sharing their faith! As a praise report, this last outreach we had 19 interns share their faith at a local shopping mall. This was the first time many of our interns ever went on a public evangelism outreach. During our short time at the mall we collectively approached 79 people with the Gospel. Of these 79, many were prayed for, one discipleship connection was made with a young man that just gave his life to Jesus a month ago, and one person surrendered their life to Jesus! Praise God! After our outreach, I spent some time debriefing with our interns and asked them what their experience was like. Many of them reported a testimony similar to one of the ladies named Amy: “This was the first time I shared my faith with complete strangers… it was so fun! I’ve never felt so free. I even did some evangelizing when I got home by sharing with my family the testimony of what God did that day. I am definitely walking in a new place of freedom and boldness since that day!” Personally, I feel a lot like Amy. Although I was given the responsibility to teach and lead, I know it was God who worked a miracle of grace in all of our lives by giving us fresh vision and freedom related to sharing this glorious Gospel with the lost.

War on Grumbling

This last month, as we were anticipating the Thanksgiving holiday, we listened to a woman at our church share how God had put on her heart the need to lead others in a “war on grumbling”. At first it sounded like a cute little way to help Christians be less grumpy and more pleasant, but as she shared her vision I quickly became aware that God is very serious about his disapproval of grumbling and His prescription of gratefulness. When we look in the scriptures we see multiple times when God has punished His people because they were full of complaints and ungratefulness. Also, there are scores of occasions when God commands His people to “give thanks”, “rejoice”, “sacrifice with praise” and so forth. The problem is, I have often disregarded the importance of those verses due to the shallow platitudes that float around Christian circles such as “Praise God! Glory to God! Hallelujah!” However, God is worthy of all of our praise because He is so good, kind, gracious, and merciful to us. He deserves way more than our nit-picky, trivial complaints and our thankless disregard of His sustaining and kind hand that upholds the very breath of our life. As a family, we committed to hold each other accountable to refrain from grumbling. Whenever one of us begins to let complaints, criticism, or unthankful speech come out of our mouths, we are quickly redirected by the phrase “Nope! War on grumbling.” This has been a very fruitful, fun, and sometimes annoying journey, but I can honestly say that I am happy we are committing to cultivate an atmosphere of thankfulness rather than grumbling in our lives. Pray for us (and join us!) as we continue to wage war on grumbling!

Personal Update

This past month has been the first since John has been born that Stuart, John, and I have been regularly attending the Prayer Room as a family. Before John was born, I always imagined that, even after he was born, we would immediately be going to the Prayer Room together at least weekly. That goal was a little ambitious, but I am so thankful that we are able to do it now. It is a great joy to us that some of John’s earliest memories will be in the House of Prayer worshipping Jesus with so many others who have left everything to give themselves to day and night prayer.

We just spent Thanksgiving in Des Moines with my family and some of Stuart’s family. We had such a wonderful few days of all being under the same roof and soaking in each other’s company. Now we begin the Advent season and celebrate the first coming of Jesus as we anticipate His second coming! Historically, we have traveled all around the midwest during the Christmas season, but we’ve decided this year to slow down, to make some family traditions, and to limit our traveling. This means that we are going to miss many of you in Illinois this Christmas, but we love you and expect to see you in February!

John turned six months in November! Each month we are in awe of this precious gift God has given to us. John captures hearts wherever he goes with all his sweet baby sounds, smiles, and cuddles. His little personality emerges more with every passing month. He loves being around people, roughhousing with Dad, jumping, and playing peek-a-boo. He thinks young children and live animals are hilarious. He sleeps very well most nights, and loves to talk/sing in the morning. His yawns (and accompanying sighs) are just about the cutest thing ever. Teeth have yet to make an appearance, and he is still working on trying to crawl. He is a very sweet and active little guy, and we just can’t get over the fact that we get to be his parents. 🙂

October 2013 Newsletter Update

Praying For The Protection of The Unborn

A ministry mandate that we aim to live up to at the International House of Prayer is “24/7 prayer with 24/7 works of justice.” This simply means that as we set ourselves before the Lord in the place of intercession, we believe that God will send us out in power to bring transformation to our culture through works of justice (making wrong things right through the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ). There are many ministries that have developed out of the house of prayer that seek to bring God’s justice through mercy deeds. Exodus Cry is combatting human trafficking and sex slavery. The Zoe Foundation is seeking to make adoption more accessible for low-income Christian families in the Kansas City area. Hope City serves daily meals to the poor in the inner city. IHOPKC Evangelism seeks to bring glory to Jesus through inviting people to respond to the Gospel message. These are just a few examples of how intercessory missionaries in Kansas City have committed to reach out to bring transformation from the place of prayer.

Another way we seek transformation in our culture is through ending abortion, contending for life, and increasing adoption in America. Our interns get to participate in a silent prayer meeting led by a ministry called Bound 4 Life outside of a Planned Parenthood clinic. Bound 4 Life is a prayer movement that contends for the ending of abortion through prayer, through ministry to expectant mothers in crisis, and through silent prayer meetings called life sieges. A number of years ago, one of the leaders of Bound 4 Life had a dream where he saw a multitude of people standing in front of the Supreme Court building in Washington D.C. wearing red tape over their mouths with the word “LIFE” on it. God spoke to his heart that He was going to use this image of intercessors in silent prayer, crying out for justice on behalf of those who don’t have a voice, to shift the current state of abortion in America. From that dream was birthed the national prayer conference “The Call”, which had it’s first meeting of over 400,000 people gathered in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington D.C. on September 2nd, 2000. Corporately, churches from all over the nation gathered in a sacred assembly to cry out in repentance for the sins of our nation.

Over 55,000,000 of our precious babies have been killed in the womb since the passing of Roe v. Wade in 1973! The blood of our innocent children cries out to the Righteous Judge of all creation just as the blood of Abel cried out to God from the ground to which it was spilled by rebellious hands. It is not okay that we are sacrificing our unborn children and we, as a nation, as a Church, need to repent and tremble before the Lord with a contrite heart over our corporate and national sin. God’s eyes are not blind and His ears are not deaf to this terrible tragedy happening in our land. He is being patient and long-suffering desiring that we would repent lest we perish in our sinful ways (2 Peter 3:9).

Life SeigeGod has a better way! God’s way is life abundantly and bringing children into the family through adoption. However, God will not bring an end to the sin of abortion in America separate from the Church rising up as the solution. What would our nation look like if the 51% divorce rate in the church was no longer the sad picture of how christians represented the sacred covenant of marriage? What if we actually lived out our Biblical Christian values at home 7 days a week rather then just within the 4 walls of a church building on Sunday morning? What if husbands and wives actually loved each other just like Christ loves the Church? What if we raised our children in the love of Christ and the training and admonition of the Lord with humility and gentleness? What if half the families in our church communities began to adopt just one child as a new, and full, member of their family? I think if we were to see these things take place we would see the beginning of the end of abortion in America.

Update in the Keisman Family

October has been a (relatively) low key month in the Keisman household. Fall is our favorite season, so we have been trying to get out and enjoy the autumn weather and festivities! Stuart began Track 2 of the Intro to IHOPKC internship at the beginning of this month. He is leading the same group of interns as he did in Track 1, with a couple new additions. The internship schedule and locations have changed under new leadership, so we have been adjusting to those changes as a family. We have been hosting a weekly Life Group at our home this track with Stuart’s interns, which has been such a blessing to us. We love having people in our home!

In less than a week, Baby John will be six months old! It’s amazing how quickly time has passed since his birth, and yet it feels like he has been a part of our family forever. In just the past few weeks, his mobility has increased quite a bit. He doesn’t crawl yet, but he’s able to wiggle, scoot, and roll around a little. He LOVES roughhousing with Daddy– swinging him around upside down is a sure way to get some giggles! John also loves to jump. If you hold him in your lap for any length of time, you will discover that he is a spring-loaded baby! We have really found a sweet spot with sleep this last month, too– John goes from about 10:30pm-6:30am without needing to eat nearly every night now, so Mommy is catching up on some much needed rest! This little boy has so much personality and brings so much joy to our hearts! He melts our hearts with every coo and every snuggle.

 

September 2013 Newsletter Update

Praying For The Persecuted Church In North Korea

Rapid Fire with JohnFor the last 3 months, I have had the privilege of working with a team of intercessors in leading the Global Prayer Room in strategic prayer for the persecuted church in the country of North Korea. Why North Korea? This is a really great question that I have been asking the Lord over these last few months.

I know that there are persecuted believers in many nations all over the globe, but the latest statistics show that North Korea is the most dangerous place in the entire world for a Christian to live. This country is an isolated and closed nation that lets very few people in and never lets any of its citizens out, for any reason. Many North Koreans who attempt to escape the oppressive Kim regime are killed as they try to slip past razor wire and high-voltage electric border fences which are surrounded by landmines and armed guards under the cover of night. If anyone is discovered to be a born-again Christian, found worshiping in a non-state sanctioned church (which are completely corrupted by the government and do not resemble true Biblical Christianity at all), or be in possession of a Bible, they are immediately imprisoned with every member of their family in Nazi-style hard-labor camps for a minimum of 15 years. Those imprisoned for their faith in Jesus rarely serve their entire sentences because they are unable to survive 15 years of beatings, starvation, and torture. All of these tragic circumstances are great reasons to pray for the country of North Korea, but none of them come close to the greatest reason, the most severe injustice being committed in this nation.

Persecuted Church in North KoreaAs I’ve asked the Lord why I should pray for North Korea, I sensed Him put in my heart to pray for North Korea because Jesus is worthy to receive worship from every tribe, tongue, and nation! The greatest injustice taking place on the earth, let alone this nation, is that Jesus spilled out His blood so that men may be reconciled to God, and yet they do not worship Him! In North Korea, many proceed to worship mere men as if they were gods by praying and offering incense up to pictures and statues of the Kim dynasty. Since the Lord put this revelation in my heart, I have committed to pray Malachi 1:11 over this nation: “For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down, My name shall be great among the Gentiles; In every place incense shall be offered to My name, And a pure offering; For My name shall be great among the nations,”Says the LORD of hosts.” From a natural perspective, things look hopeless in this dark country, but God promises in His word that Jesus will receive an inheritance of worship from every nation and that promise certainly includes North Korea. Join with me in praying for God’s Kingdom to come in power. Heavenly Father, we ask that you would raise up lovesick worshipers of Jesus in North Korea and that you would glorify Your name in this nation. Awaken many hearts to the beauty of who You are and turn the hearts of every leader to yourself. Let day and night prayer and worship arise from the mouths of this people. We pray this in the mighty name of Jesus!

A Visit Back in Illinois

Baby DedicationThis past month we spent about two weeks traveling through the Des Moines and Chicagoland areas to reconnect with family, partners, and friends. This turned out to be one of the most enjoyable trips we have ever taken, full of true fellowship with so many whom we love! On this trip we learned that we will have another niece or nephew around April 2014– Stuart’s sister Carla and her husband Andres are pregnant! Woo Hoo! We are so excited for John to have more cousins! We also had the privilege of having our Little John dedicated to the Lord at Torch Church on September 8th. We are so blessed to have family in Christ both in KC and in the Chicagoland area who are committed to praying for and helping us to raise our children in the knowledge of Jesus. There is no greater gift you could give to us!Baby Dedication 2

August 2013 Newsletter Update

Evangelism Outreach

Evangelism TeachingThis month I was invited by our Intro leadership team to teach our Track 2 interns about how to share the good news of Jesus with the lost. Along with being given the opportunity to teach I was asked to plan and lead two public evangelism outreaches in the Kansas City area. When I was given this assignment, I felt a wide range of emotions from great excitement to sober responsibility. I also experienced a touch of anxiety, and a sense of lacking qualification. Though I knew this would seriously stretch me out of my comfort zone, I really sensed the Lord directing me to accept this assignment. As I prepared my teaching notes, I could tangibly feel God strengthening me with His grace in boldness, peace, wisdom, and spiritual insight regarding how He has equipped the Church to reach out to a lost world. I titled my notes, “Demystifying Evangelism: How to Share Your Faith Without Fear.” I was so blessed to see how God emboldened our interns to reach out to the lost and publicly give invitation to be reconciled to God through faith in Christ. Please pray that the spiritual seeds that have been sown will produce a harvest of salvation for many!

Personal Update

Cutie JohnI am so shocked at how quickly time has flown by these last few months. It is hard to imagine that John is almost 4 months old and is growing by leaps and bounds every day! We are definitely experiencing the truth of Psalm 127:3 “Children are a gift from the Lord, they are a reward from Him.” We face the great challenge of learning how to partner with God in raising a little person with an eternal destiny. Wow! What a great honor and privilege we have. Please pray Proverbs 3:5-6 over our family and that we will completely lean into the grace of God as we loving guide little John into knowing who his Heavenly Father is. We are so looking forward to spending a couple weeks this coming month with our friends, family, and partners in Illinois. We have been waiting for an opportunity to connect with our team face-to-face and show off baby John in person. So, during the last few days of August and the first week of September, we plan to come to Illinois for a quick visit. We would like to invite you to an open house event on the evening of Wednesday September 4th at my sister and brother in law’s house in Mundelein, IL, so that we can see you! Please email (stuartkeisman@ihopkc.org) or call me (847-912-0045) to R.S.V.P. and to receive more information about the details of the party.

Testimony of God’s Faithful Provision

by Stephanie

Many of you know that for the better part of the past several years, we have been praying that God would provide the finances to pay off $15,000 in student loan debt that we had incurred. Though we have been making small payments on these loans for the past couple years, both Stuart and I have felt that the Lord has wanted to show Himself as our great Provider in this matter and surprise us in helping us to get out of debt.

Back in April, I had a dream one night where three separate checks were being handed to me in amounts of $500, $5000, and $10000 (for a total of $15500). In the dream, I knew that this money was being given to me to pay off the student loan debt. A couple days after I had the dream, I received an unexpected $500 check from one of our partners. Wow! Then, a couple days later, we discovered that the medical costs for John’s birth were going to be completely covered due to a special approval involving a complicated insurance situation we were facing. We had estimated that paying for John’s birth out-ofpocket would amount to about $5,000, which we had saved and set aside for that purpose. Since those medical costs would now be completely covered, we felt this insurance approval was the $5,000 check. We promptly paid off $5,500 of the student loans. Because of the dream and the clear fulfillment of two parts of it, we were both very excited to see how the Lord would provide the remaining $10,000. One of our partners was visiting us for a day in July, and in the process of talking and catching up, I shared about the dream and how it had partially come to pass. This partner, upon returning home, felt very strongly to provide the remaining $10,000 check! What an amazing surprise! We have officially paid off our student loan debt, and we are blown away by how the Lord has answered a prayer we have been praying for years! We remember that our God has supplied all our needs according to His riches (Phil. 4:19), and we are also humbled by how He used our partners to do it! Thank you so much for your generosity and obedience to Jesus– we are so thankful for you!!

July 2013 Newsletter Update

New Interns

The first week of July marked the beginning of a new track within the Intro to IHOP internship. My previous core team of interns finished the program and have transitioned into their next steps. Many have returned to their home cities carrying a fresh passion and love for Jesus in their hearts; others have remained here in Kansas City to pursue spending an extended season at IHOP. On July 5th, I met my new interns and I am already blown away by how spiritually hungry this group is! They are a such a great bunch of fiery Jesus-lovers! I have heard many of their stories already and I am so touched by the trials, sacrifices, leaps of faith, and the narrow difficult paths they have journeyed to cultivate lives that are fully in love with Jesus. I am really excited to see what the Lord will do in each of them during their time in Intro!

Ministry Update and Vision

Well it has kind of snuck up on Stephanie and I, but it has almost been a year since we first met with many of you to share our vision of how we felt called by the Lord to advance His Kingdom through prayer and equipping believers to be ready for His return. It is amazing how much has happened in the last year! We made a complete occupational change, shared our ministry vision one-on-one with over 120 people, established a ministry support team of amazing friends like you, pastored a few core teams through an intensive Christian training program, and helped lead a prayer missions outreach to Chicagoland! Not only this, but also the Lord blessed us with an amazing baby boy and we are eagerly learning the ropes of being new parents. Our pace of life has been unbelievably fast this last year, but the experience has been so good. Thank you so much for your prayers and support.

It has been in my heart to share once again briefly what God is accomplishing through our partnership with you in ministry. Stephanie and I are confident that God has called us to be passionate worshipers of Jesus who equip the Church in the word of God and help her to fill her “lamp with the oil of prayer” so that she may be ready, and make others ready, for Jesus’ soon return. In this current season of life we sense that God has placed us in Kansas City to walk out this ministry calling. At the International House of Prayer, we have the opportunity to pastor and equip believers who come from all over the globe for a 6 month intensive training program called Intro to IHOP. Within the context of this internship we provide spiritual care and leadership to interns as they are immersed in intercessory prayer, study of the Bible, and outreach to do good works of mercy and justice in the Kansas City area. After our interns complete the Intro to IHOP program some remain at IHOP to minister for a season from the house of prayer, while the majority of others return with new skills, training, and Godly passion to the city or nation that they originally came from. Stephanie and I know that we cannot, and do not want to, do this alone. We are so thankful that God has stirred your heart in desire to be on our ministry team. By your prayers and support to this ministry God sees us as co-workers in furthering the Gospel of Truth! (3 John 5-8)

Personal Update

On July 26th, we celebrated our 4th year wedding anniversary! It was such a day of celebration and remembrance of all the Lord has done in our marriage. We both feel so blessed that we get to be married to each other and we are looking forward to the adventure ahead of us. This anniversary was extra special for us because of the new addition to our family: our baby boy, John. That morning we all went out for coffee and breakfast together as a family (we drank coffee, baby John drank mama latte). John is doing really well and we are amazed at how quickly he is growing. He is a very happy, vocal baby and for the most part is sweet, calm, growing, and sleeping well.

On another note, I (Stuart) could really use your prayers. For the past month and a half I have felt regularly “off” in my emotions and I have to confess that it most likely had to do with feeling unable to perfectly juggle all of the new changes that have been happening in our lives. I’ve felt a bit overwhelmed and I have been pretty hard on myself about not dropping the ball in any important area. I wanted to confess and repent to you for losing sight of God’s vision and perspective. I have talked to our pastor and several friends here in KC and am now doing a lot better than I was a couple weeks ago. Would you join we me in prayer that the Lord would help me to rest in Him, be anxious for nothing, and to not lose sight the big picture? We so appreciate it when you send us notes, emails, texts, calls letting us know how things are going in your life. Please keep us updated with any special news or prayer requests that you would like us to know about.

June 2013 Newsletter Update

Spring 2013 Track 2 Completed

Track 2 Fall 2013On June 23rd, we celebrated the end of Track 2 of the Intro to IHOP internship for our interns! They have given their all for the last 6 months as they have left houses, jobs, friends, families, opportunities, and more for the purpose of growing deeper in relationship with Jesus and receiving spiritual training to be forerunner messengers wherever God places them for the rest of their lives. The Lord has done so much in their lives these past three months, and so much of it we attribute to your diligent and faithful prayers! We look forward to the amazing ways God is going to use these precious men and women of God to impact the Kingdom and to make people ready for Jesus’ return. We joyfully share with you a few of their testimonies of how God touched each of their lives while in Intro.

Testimonies of Our Interns

“So when I first arrived at IHOP-KC to begin my internship with Intro to IHOP, I came broken, insecure, and in need of major healing, clarity, and assurance of God’s love. I can’t fully explain how much those expectations were met and totally blown out of the water. I have been so blessed in all those areas and even more so as Jesus continues to show how much He loves me and that I really do have an amazing destiny in Him! I cannot wait to start my next season of serving him outside of the internship as a vessel completely abandoned to the glory of my Savior. Prayer joined together with knowing Jesus deeply is so key and REALLY does move mountains. I thank God for Intercessors. Glory to the One who sets captives free!” -Mary Ann (Phoenix, Arizona)

“The last 6 months have made an incredible impact on my ever-expanding view of what Papa God is doing here in America and among the nations. I asked Him for an increased understanding of His heart for Israel, for prayer, and what is the “big picture” of His will in this generation. He’s more than met me on this request! The difference in how I see myself, the Church, and the believer’s role in these last days with certainly serve as a guide for the rest of my days.” -Stephen (Missionary to South America)

“My time here has been very transformational. My love for The Word has grown and so has my knowledge of the Word. I have a great hunger to know the Word and to encounter God through the Word. I have learned a lot about prayer and about connecting to God through prayer. I’ve prayed more in these past several months than ever before in my life. I have a deep desire to continue the journey into learning how to connect with God through prayer. Also, I have experienced great financial pressures while in the internship, but God has been so faithful to provide supernaturally for what He called me to do. I was down to my last $100 dollars and I asked the Lord to make a way for me to continue in the program. The next day a couple I barely knew (that did not know the depth of my financial situation) handed me an envelope with $400 cash and a check for $1100 in it! God is so faithful!” -Matt (Grand Rapids, Michigan)

“When I first came to INTRO to IHOP I was a mess! I felt so broken, depressed, and scared to trust people in new relationships. I have only experienced bad relationships with men my whole life, so I have found it very difficult to trust and feel safe. God began to heal my heart and show me that my past hurts don’t have to define all of my future. In my Intro life group God has given me such amazing friendships! I am so blessed that God surrounded me with Christian brothers that have shown me such kindness and love. This has been beautiful time of healing in my life. Now I will return to Costa Rica and begin a children’s day care program. –Delsy (Costa Rica)

Personal Update

We have been so blessed these past two months in our new journey as parents! John gets cuter each day and is becoming more in tune with a daily routine. We are often asked how he is sleeping, and we are happy to say that, at only 8 weeks old, he sleeps in solid five to six

hour stretches at night and on a few occasions has even slept for eight. Thank you, Jesus! We are having a lot of fun, but in some ways still feel a little in over our heads at times. Feeding is going quite a bit better, but John is having some trouble with latching due to an upper lip tie (similar to a tongue tie, but with his upper lip). This has been possibly causing him to choke and suck in air as he eats, which causes him to have painful gas. We are looking into him receiving a minor corrective surgery, so please pray that whatever needs to happen for him to be able to eat better and get rid of the gas would get corrected. Overall, this has been a very enjoyable journey and we are falling more in love with this sweet and happy little boy. He is amazing!

 

The Birth of John Elijah Keisman

The Birth of John Elijah Keisman

We are so proud to announce the birth of our first child! On May 4th at 1:32pm, Stephanie gave birth to a baby boy, John Elijah Keisman. He came out large and in charge, weighing 8 pounds, 6 ounces, and he was 20 inches in length. We are so grateful to God for His kindness toward us as He has blessed us with such an amazing treasure and high calling of raising this little one.

While Stephanie was pregnant with John, we did not know if she was carrying a boy or a girl. However, we had little experiences that made us think that she was going to give birth to a boy. Back in October, in a prayer meeting, I sensed in my heart that the baby would be boy, and we were to name him “John” after the saint John the Baptist. We felt that his name was meant to be a prophetic declaration that the way of Jesus’ second coming is being prepared in this generation. A scripture that has been very important to us has been Luke 1:17. Speaking of John the Baptist, the verse reads: “He will also go before Him [the Lord] in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make a people prepared for The Lord.” As the months of pregnancy were progressing, we second-guessed the child’s gender several times, but we decided that if God gave us a son, his name would be John Elijah. We can now see that this name suits our son very well, as he has already begun preparing the way of the Lord! Because of John’s very birth, the Lord introduced several people in strategic ways that are certain to increase His kingdom!

With this being our first full-term child, we didn’t really know what to expect when it came to the birthing experience. Stephanie wasn’t sure up until John’s birthday if she had felt any contractions, but we did have a few indicators that labor was coming soon. She started having mild contractions at 3:00am on May 4th, but they were so faint that she was able to sleep through them until about 7am. At that time, that the intensity of the contractions began to increase, though we were still uncertain if it was true labor because the contractions did not progress the way we anticipated that they would. By 11:30am, however, we arrived at the birthing center and the midwife examined Stephanie to discover that she was already 6cm dilated! At about 12:30pm, Stephanie began to feel the need to push, and just an hour later, John was born! That’s when my mind was blown! No one can ever prepare for the drama of heavy labor. It is intense!!

Stephanie labored in the water for the last hour, and everything was going near perfect until the last few pushes when it became apparent that John’s shoulder was getting hung up and he needed to turn to get all of the way out. The midwife got Stephanie out of the tub, repositioned her, and one last push finished the job. We were excited to see that the baby was healthy, and we enjoyed holding him in our arms for the first hour. However, after about an hour, mom and dad were experiencing complications of their own. One of the medical requirements to release a mother and baby from the birthing center is that the mother be able to release her bladder on her own. Unfortunately, Stephanie was having great difficulty doing this and the medical staff were busy attempting to assist her. Meanwhile, I became violently ill due to possible food poisoning from the night before. I was so sick that I was incapacitated and eventually asked to leave Stephanie and John at the birthing center so that I wouldn’t make anyone else ill.

At around midnight, it was determined that it would be best for Stephanie to be transferred to a nearby hospital overnight for observation. This is where we really saw your prayers in action. We had friends and family jump to help care for us when we had no idea what to do and when we were unable to care for ourselves. Our dear friend Mona stayed with Stephanie at the birthing center and at the hospital after I had to leave. Mona helped Stephanie care for John the first night, and then Stephanie’s mom and stepdad came to Kansas City the next day and helped us tremendously at home. By the next evening after John was born, Stephanie was released from the hospital and was able to come home with him. After about three days, both Stephanie and I felt mostly physically recovered. We thank God for strengthening us and leading us through such an intense and exciting experience.

This whole experience has been thrilling to say the least and there are many elements that are still settling in. For instance, we are still confounded by the fact that there is a baby living with us! It sort of feels like someone is letting us borrow their child for a couple weeks, but then reality sets in and we realize this boy is on long-term loan to us from the Lord! Though we don’t know much about being parents, we certainly feel the grace of God strengthening and teaching us to care for John day by day. Also, we cannot tell you how thankful we are for our friends and family who have faithfully prayed for us during this whole experience. Things got pretty hairy at certain moments and we know that it was your prayers that carried us through the times when we had no strength to do it on our own. We serve and live for a kind, trustworthy, and proud Papa God!

Please continue to pray for us, that we would grow in wisdom in how to be good parents. We need the grace of God to raise John in a home filled with love and the ways of the Lord. Also, we are in need of physical and emotional energy. Pray that our marriage relationship grows strong and that we would grow deeper in love with one another and with Jesus. Again, thank you so much for your prayers, your love, and support. We love you all so much!

-Stuart and Stephanie

 

April 2013 Newsletter Update

A Good Report From the 2013 Illuminate Chicago Mission Trip

The Lord did such amazing things during the Illuminate Chicago trip! I will share a few highlights with you in this letter, but if you are interested in hearing more testimonies of how Chicago was impacted, you can type “Illuminate Chicago 2013” into the Facebook search bar. Our team had opportunities to lead daily prayer meetings for revival at local churches and houses of prayer, as well as to minister to people on the streets of Chicago. One man our students ministered to on the streets was drunk but became immediately sobered and healed of chronic knee pain by the power of the Holy Spirit. Another woman on the streets was instantaneously healed from injuries related to a past gunshot wound and car accident. Her husband, who was a backslidden ex-pastor, heard her testimony of healing, began to weep, and his heart softened to Christ! Later in the week, we were invited to lead a prayer meeting at Moody Bible Institute, and God united our hearts in faith for a great move of Holy Spirit over Chicago. Our trip culminated in a 24-hour prayer meeting in Lake County. Over 20 different local churches were involved in this event, and eight churches led sixteen hours of the prayer and worship. Being from Lake County, I have never witnessed an event like this where there was such a partnership and expectant faith across several church communities! I recently received word that a few of the churches have been so stirred for prayer that they have requested further training in mobilizing strategic prayer initiatives. Our trip overseer, Steffan, has been invited to fly back to Chicago to facilitate these meetings. We thank God for the opportunity to partner with how he is stirring hearts to pray in Chicago!

Intro to IHOP Spring 2013

I was recently asked to be an internship core-leader for track 2 interns. The photograph you received with this letter is a picture of our amazing team! We will be with them until they complete the program in June. Please keep our interns in prayer as they growing spiritually and seeking the Lord for direction on where to go and what to do next.

Baby Update from Stephanie

Stephie PregoIt’s hard to believe, but we are just days away from welcoming Baby Keisman into the world! What a blessing this pregnancy has been! I have appreciated and felt all of the prayers you have prayed on my behalf, as well as for this little miracle whom we will soon see. With few exceptions, I have felt energized and active for most of these nine months and, according to our midwives, the baby has been developing wonderfully. We are looking forward to and praying for a worshipful, peaceful labor and delivery, and of course for a healthy and hungry baby, full of the Holy Spirit! Thank you so much for your faithfulness in prayer to our family. We are living proof that the God of Heaven hears and answers the petitions of His people– you!! 🙂

March 2013 Newsletter Update

Illuminate Chicago

The Illuminate Chicago mission trip is less than a week away and we have a huge group going! We initially anticipated between 20-40 IHOPU students and leaders, but we now have 52 students registered and ready to serve! We want to thank all of you who have diligently prayed and given to this event. Because of your gifts, all of my expenses are covered, additional students have been sponsored, and our team can now leave a special offering with the Church in Chicago. We have been so moved by the hand of God for this trip! We recently received an update that, in addition to our IHOPU students, between 10-20 local churches will be involved in sharing leadership for this prayer meeting. We know that God is doing something historic in uniting believers in faith and mission and we are so privileged to “wash the feet” of the church in Chicago as we come alongside of them in prayer.

Recommended Resource

Secrets of the Secret PlaceI know we’ve said it before, but we can’t say it enough: we have such a great partnership team! We are blown away by the passion our team has to see prayer fuel global missions and the Good News proclaimed to every tribe, tongue, and nation. Proverbs 27:17 says “Iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” One way we desire to strengthen and sharpen our team is by regularly suggesting a resource that will encourage spiritual growth. This month we recommend a book called “Secrets of the Secret Place” by Bob Sorge. This book is for anyone that desires to know several simple, effective ways to grow in and enrich their devotional life with The Lord. If any of you are like Stephanie and I, you may have encountered several obstacles in developing regular “quiet times” with God such as distraction, boredom, busyness, or not knowing how to be consistent. We have found that this book is an invaluable tool to strengthen our own devotional lives and we pray that it will help you, too. You can find this book at this link http://amzn.com/0970479107

Hope City

Hope City BaptismsIsaiah 61:1“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor…” God really loves the poor and He has good news of hope for them! Hope City is a ministry in the heart of one of the roughest neighborhoods in Kansas City with a mission to share the love of Jesus with the poor and see the Gospel transform lives. Hope City offers a prayer room, daily distribution of food, laundry and shower services, Christian discipleship, and addiction recovery programs to the local residents. Our interns have an opportunity to serve at Hope City every Friday during the second part of the internship when we really train them in doing works of justice. The picture to the right is of a young man who recently committed to follow Jesus and came up out of the waters of baptism. Hallelujah!