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12 entries from October 2023

We Need Each Other!

Photo courtesy of and Matheus Bertelli

Hello! Ian from sunny Sydney here. In the last few days, I’ve been reflecting on my observations of the group of us who joined Ann and Lynn for a few days of fellowship and attending the Bethel conference last month.

One point particularly struck me: we need each other. Both within the SUMite community and wider church community in which we may participate.

We’ve often talked about the challenges in our situations of being active participants in a Christian community. For many years, in fact too many, I chose to minimise my engagement in church life. As a result, I didn’t develop any meaningful relationships with other believers. I was doing life with Jesus alone.

And it was hard work.

God’s a Community

God is communal in His very nature- three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And we are formed in His image. We were made to be communal. Irrespective of whether we’re introverts and find greater enjoyment being by ourselves, there is a deep yearning with us to become all we were made to be. This can only be realised with others. We limit ourselves, our relationship with God, and our families and friends, if we choose to walk alone.

In addition, the enemy loves those who are separated from the pack. We see it in the animal world.  We become easier pickings if we are always walking alone. There’s no natural defensive barrier that being part of a group (even a small one) provides. It’s something the enemy aims to do to all of us – separate us. And we SUMites, in some way, can feel we are ‘automatically’ separated from the church community because of our marriage situation. Once again, I believe that is a way of thinking the enemy wants us to believe.

Yes, there are many challenges with participating freely in a church community, of any size. But we can tend to rely on ourselves when God wants us to depend on Him. I did for years. I allowed myself to believe the lies and was easy picking for the enemy.

I know years back when I joined a prayer team at my previous church, my world changed. And I believe that can happen for all of us. If we surrender to God and let Him take charge.

God Loves the Church

We’re not designed to walk this life as a believer alone. Most of us have our challenges attending a church community due to our marriage. For some of us, over time, it’s gotten easier. I’m in that situation. My wife appreciates how it’s healthy for me and will encourage me to attend if I haven’t for a few weeks.

What struck me with the group that attended the SUMite gathering was that it probably wasn’t easy for any of them to be there. For whatever reason. But they gave it to the Lord and He made a way. He does that. Because He loves community. God wants each one of us gathering with other Christians. Why do I know? Because it’s how Jesus lived.

Throughout most of the gospels, we don’t see Jesus spending a lot of time in church. He hung out with the sick, broken-hearted, widowed, and disenfranchised. He had dinner with tax collectors and the like.

However, he had a close-knit group of friends who were believers. His disciples. That group was large when you add all the others that are mentioned occasionally. And yes, many of his close followers were women as evidenced by those whom the resurrected Jesus first met at the tomb.

God wants us to be in relationship with others. He’ll help make it happen if we give it over to Him. His faithfulness knows no bounds.

For too many years, I sat defeated believing I couldn’t receive the blessings from church community because of my marriage. It’s a lie. God will help us if we give it over to Him. Why? Because He loves the church. He made us to be with others.

Please know that God understands our situations. He really does. And He wants us to meet with other Christians.  Maybe, it’s only one or 2 for coffee during the week. Great! Do it. Over time, you’ll see what a difference it makes both for you and your marriage. His ways are not our ways. They’re so much better.

“Living in God’s presence is something we do together. Being connected to the family of God isn’t just an added benefit; we actually need each other to keep living in Him.” – Kenneth Boa

If this post has sparked something in you, please share with us below. If you’re struggling to see how any of this is possible, please share it if you’re able. Perhaps you’re nervous about sharing in the comments. Send an email and only Lynn or Ann will see it. Or message another you know.

There really is a lot of light available in a SUMite marriage … God is so so good and all things really are possible in Him for those of us who believe.

Grace and peace, dear friends

Don't Wanna Do This By Myself!

There's a song that goes -- Ann alone

All by myself, don't wanna be

All by myself, any more.

My friends, that's how I've felt in a SUM. I've felt it so keenly, sometimes.

Don't wanna be, by myself, any more!

Here's a photo that my church popped onto our Facebook page a while back. It's of me, all by myself, standing at the back. A married couple is in front of me. There I am worshipping, solo.

It's a cup I drink. We all have a cup to drink, of some sort or other.

Where I have felt this keenly is in ministry. It is difficult being in ministry alone, and I have found it very comforting indeed to have Lynn, who has the strength of an ox. If I had not had her, it would have been significantly more difficult. She's strong, and you need strong people alongside you.

But, yes, it is the cup that God has asked me to drink: To be in ministry as a spiritually single woman. So, I say in response to that: "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word," (Luke 1:38, NKJV). And I mean it. It's ok. 

Now God is my awesome father and best friend, and he has not left me without encouragement in all this. So let me tell you this rather fabulous story:

One day, about four years ago, I was sitting in my prayer room (the TV room). It was my usual morning time with God, so there I sat on the couch reading the Bible and jotting thoughts down. One thought led to another, though, and I got myself into a state. 

Now, I can do drama well, LOL.

In my bad state I slid dramatically off the couch like a slinky, onto the floor on my tummy, and started to cry. The tears ramped up, and in between hot tears I cried out to God:


I was almost angry. It felt so unfair. I think I'd also just seen on Facebook a poster going round with profile photos of lovely couples in ministry speaking at a conference. Yet there was me, having to do it on my own.

Well, at the moment a name popped into my head:

Winnie Banov.

I didn't know who she was, but I'd seen her name float around on Christian things. So, once I'd dried my eyes and pulled myself together, I got up and looked her up. And there I discovered a beautiful story. Are you ready? It will encourage you, especially if your spouse has left the faith:

  • Winnie and her husband were itinerant ministers who were both on fire for God.
  • Then she lost her faith. She was completely missing in action and didn't want a bar of it.
  • She didn't go to church, she didn't support him, she didn't care for it. So he had to carry on in ministry, and they had a big ministry which involved a lot of travel. Brave man!
  • Everyone else in his world was part of a couple, and there he was, ministering on his own. 
  • She was to him an impossible and difficult lost cause. 
  • The only thing he could do was pray, in desperation. It went on for years.
  • He would put his hand on the wall of their bedroom on the other side of the wall (like my TV room which backs onto my bedroom), and he would pray for her while she slept.
  • One day, out of the blue, WOOSH the Holy Spirit came upon her and turned it all around. Suddenly, just like that.
  • And now they're in ministry together again.

I went to see Winnie and Georgian speak in Auckland about a year after discovering that story. I loved watching them minister together as a couple, knowing that story.

Why did God show them to me, I wonder? 

I still don't quite know; but today I am doing well with my cup. It doesn't grieve me anymore. I accept God's will and timing in my life. But I also believe - fully -- that there can be a cheeky little turnaround. And who knows what God has up his sleeve next.

My friends, which parts of SUM life do you find particularly hard to do alone? 

Lovely chatting,


You're Making Your Family Ready

Happy Friday SUMites! Ready
It's Friday afternoon here in New Zealand, and as I sit here winding down from my week, I wanted to share something short and sweet:
A couple of weeks ago I sensed the Lord tell me that 'families are being made ready'. I believe that through each of you, God is making your families 'ready' in all the ways they need to be ready: Ready for HIM.
SUMites, you play such a big role in that.
We should always be 'ready' for Him. Not sleeping, not apathetic, not lukewarm, but on the ready. Scripture says we should always be ready in case Jesus came back tomorrow. Wouldn't that be amazing if he did.
But it's not just us who are being made ready. We are making our families ready too.
There is so much growth that goes on spiritually in our families that we do not see. It is like roots that plunge deep. So much of it happens underground, out of sight, in the heavenlies and in the depths of our family members' hearts. And this I know: Our spouses cannot stay asleep spiritually when they're next to us. It's not possible. They are constantly being presented with the issue of faith, day in, day out, as they watch us live our lives during the day, and even as they share our beds at night.
Know this: You're doing huge things in the Kingdom to contribute to your family's 'readiness'.
Well, I hope that spurs you on. And have a lovely weekend!

Halloween: What is a Christian to do?

Every year Halloween is tricky for us, given our split households and the pressure we get to engage in it. So, with that in mind here's a post on this topic that was written by Lynn last year. Hope this helps a little -- Keep praying for wisdom, and let's chat in the comments. Halloween

From Lynn:

"I received a call last week from a frantic young mother who was desperate to receive help and deliverance for her very young daughter. After her description of the frightening things going on in her home and with her daughter, I lay awake most of the night praying and interceding for her child.

This child sees bugs in the bathroom and is terrified and refuses to shower. She has been drooling and talking to people who aren't there. She is under tremendous oppression and needs freedom from the Lord Jesus so much. I’ve prayed with her mother and the author of My Child Sees Monsters, has also prayed with her. I’ve referred her to a deliverance ministry in her city.

As I’ve considered this child’s terrible plight, I grow increasingly outraged with the devil.

My friends, the primary tool of the devil is FEAR. So as we are surrounded by aspects of fear in the stores, in the windows and yards of our neighbors, our children’s Halloween costumes, please consider how fear enters your life and that of your child.

Fear is a REAL spirit and at the root of so much demonic activity.

So, some quick notes of advice this Halloween.

  1. Don’t ever force your children to do something that is frightening. What I mean by this is if there is a haunted house on your block and child is afraid, don’t take them into it. Even if you believe it’s just for fun.
  2. Monitor their screen time. SERIOUSLY. I was visiting my sister last week and she put on the new Hocus Pocus movie. I had to get up a leave. The REAL witchcraft going on in that movie was too much for me.
  3. Don’t take your kids to scary movies. IN FACT, don’t YOU go to scary movies. Watching fright blocks the Holy Spirit.
  4. Pray, pray and pray on Halloween because the absolute wickedness that occurs in the early morning hours is very real.

I’m sure you can offer some advice to our community. Share in the comments. And if you have time, read what a former satanist, John Rameriz, says about Halloween.

Blessings and hugs, Lynn Donovan"

The Lost Will Want Help

Hello my friends Lucie and Ann

This is the last post in my series of stories from our meet-up, what a blast it's been writing these. Well, this last story features my fellow SUMite Lucie, from Canada, who was the last one I was left with before flying home.

It had been such a wild few days together, that Lucie and I had much to reflect on. We spoke to each other about how there had been 'God moments at every turn.'

And it was against that backdrop that this final little thing happened. When I tell you about it, it might sound to you like it's not even a God thing ... But to me, it felt meaningful because it came as a kind of finale to a string of 'moments' that week. It was our final thing.

Ok, here's what happened:

Lucie and I were being looked after that final day by Jim Edwards, who has a house in Redding. Jim generously had offered to be our 'taxi driver' while were there, and looked after us beautifully --

(Thank you, Jim).

We had an errand to run: We needed to go and visit a particular lady's house. And so we parked up in a suburban neighborhood, Jim left Lucie and I in the car, and off he went to go and knock on that lady's door.

Lucie and I sat in the car; and I opened the door for some fresh air.

"Do you have pets?" Lucie suddenly asked, out of the blue.

(Funny, as I've just typed that my very own pet, Gizmo the cat, has made a beeline for me and given me a wet-nosed nudge on my leg to say hello)

"I DO!" I said, and pulled out a photo of Gizmo.

Instantly, I felt a wet-nosed nudge on my leg. And, before I could figure out what was going on, a ginormous German Shepherd dog was climbing into the car, on top of me! He was whining, panting, and drooling all over me. A big dog and a small Ann.

"Oh hello" I said, and started laughing, while also trying to avoid his lashing tongue, licks, spit and dog breath, and trying to figure out if he was fully friendly.


So just to recap and pause here: Lucie asks "Do you have pets?" and at the same time a dog enters the car. Isn't that a bit wild?!


The dog is crying. He jumps out, sniffs around on the grass, then heads back into the car. Gets out. Gets back in. Every time he comes back to us he's whimpering.

"I think he needs something," says Lucie. "I think he's upset about something."

"Could be," I said, and out I jumped. "Who does he belong to?" We looked up and down the quiet street ... The doors were all shut; the street was quiet.

"I'll knock on these people's door here, and ask them," I said. And so I did. 

I looked at the tag: The dog's name was Beau, and the man whose door I knocked on grabbed his mobile while we dialed Beau's owner's number from the tag. It turned out that he was indeed lost. His owner was visiting a house a few doors down and Beau had escaped into this strange neighborhood. 

"Come on Beau!" the man said, "Let's get you back to your owner," and off they trotted down the road to reunite Beau with his mum. As I looked at him disappearing down the road he was wagging his tail. A happy ending.

"Ahhh...." Lucie and I grinned at each other. And then we stopped and reflected: "Wasn't that weird that just as you asked me about pets, a dog climbed into the car??"


"He was lost."

Mm. ...

"Is God symbolizing something about the lost?"


"Was God telling us we'll help rescue the lost?"

We mulled it over. And as we did we decided we liked the symbolism: 

The lost will want us.

The lost will come to us for help.

And we will connect the lost with their master.

And on that little quirky story, our meet-up came to an end.

My friends, it's been fun sharing the stories with you! On Monday we have a public holiday and I'm off hiking with a group of friends. So we won't have a post on the blog on Monday ... But I'll see you again later next week.

Loads of love,


You Are Not Crazy!

1 john 4 18 smallSometimes we just need to know we aren’t crazy.

Hi, Lynn Donovan here.

Today, I want to share encouragement with you. This is for all of you who are walking the unequally yoked road. Those who are following behind me, headed toward the victorious life. All of you who have pain. The many who are facing uncertainty about their marriage and doubts about your faith life.

I’m here for you. You are not alone. And you are not crazy.

I’ll be the voice that assures you that your faith is the most valuable commodity in the world. God truly loves you. And He is listening. I will tell you that every prayer you utter is important. I will affirm that each choice you make to stand down fear and live in faith is powerful.

I will be the voice to say: RISE UP. Walk in the authority of Jesus and command evil from your home. I can lead you to know the Holy Spirit is for you and merely awaiting your invitation for Him to enter your heart, home, marriage, and circumstances. He IS the very power that raised Christ from the dead and now lives in you.

I will reaffirm that the Bible is the inerrant word of God. It is powerful and can heal, redeem, restore and create. Jesus SAVES and He is returning for His Bride and WE WILL BE READY.

You are enough, even when life hurts and circumstances are frightening. You are a victor when hurtful words are slung toward your heart. You can become a man or woman of God even in the midst of unbelief that surrounds you.

Do not doubt. Do not partner with fear. Always trust and believe. Speak the Word with faith and become a demon sniper.

Every promise in the Bible is real and God wants us to step away from the lies and walk in our promises, which are all…… Yes and AMEN!


Leave your name in the comments and I will bless you. Leaving your name is a declaration to the evil realm that clearly defines….

Who you are and

Whose you are.

I adore you. Stay strong in the Lord and let’s bring His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. In Jesus name. AMEN

Love and blessings, Lynn

Leave your name and the scripture verse that is important to you today. Hugs.

A Special Child-Like Day with God

... Today I'm continuing my story. For part one, see here. SUM graphics

This story is a playful story. It is, in fact, a story about the joy of the Lord.

My friends, I left off where Lynn and I had just sat down at the back of a room where a man was about to talk about healing. Everyone around us had settled in quietly, and the man walked to the front and prepared to start his talk. 


The room was quiet. People shuffled their papers, chatted to those next to them, then settled into a quiet hush as the man took his place at the front.


The man opened his mouth --

- And BAM!!!!  The Holy Spirit hit me!!! 

My friends, I crumpled in my seat. And this hit of power took the form of laughter and joy!

Yes, God endued me there and then with a full-on case of Holy Laughter. Holy, holy laughter. This is not something I'd experienced before. And honestly, it was the FUNNIEST and most joy-filled experience ever. All I could do was burst into fit of giggles, after fit of giggles, after fit of giggles, all the while feeling God's power. Every time I looked at the man at the front, it seemed to exacerbate things and I could do nothing but collapse in my chair disruptively, while everyone else around me stayed sitting perfectly still, listening to the man.

I was slapping my leg with joy, smacking Lynn on the back, burrowing my face into her shoulder to try and control it. And then I whispered to her, like a child --


'Girl, you're getting more than what he's saying', she laughed back.

I'm told later that the man talked for 15-30 minutes. He played a video and got some people with healing testimonies to speak. Well I didn't notice a thing. It was wild. And all I could think was:

There is absolute joy in healing. It is straight from the Kingdom of Heaven. And I'm going to get to see more of it.


Eventually after all that, we got taken into the healing rooms, me still in a wrecked state. It was a big hall full of beauty. There were paintings to sit beside, worship music, and a section of the room where you could go and get prayed for.

By this point the giggles had subsided, replaced by an intensely childlike state. I wasn't feeling my normal earthly self. Instead, I felt like a 6-yr old girl, and I was behaving like that with Lynn, who was pretty much acting as my chaperone by this point.

Scripture speaks of the beauty of being childlike. Those who receive the Kingdom must do so like a child.

We went over to where people were waiting for prayer for healing and, it was there, in front of everyone, that I started to dance, waving the paper on which I'd written what I wanted healing for. Round and round I twirled, childlike.

Giggling, Lynn snapped a quick video -- here. Go on, watch it and have a little laugh :-)

After doing said dance ((LOL)), I then positioned myself beside a particular painting, feeling full to the brim with peace. I sat for two hours, looking at that painting, and talking to God about my life. I pulled my journal towards me and began to write .... It took me about five minutes to craft each sentence. Painting rotated

As I wrote, I looked down and saw gold dust on my girly green dress. Then there it was, on my hand. Then there was more: It was on the page on which I was writing. And finally Lynn said to me, 'It's on your face'. I went to the bathroom, looked in the mirror, and sure enough there it was, on my lips.

Oh God, what a blessed day. 

I said goodbye to Lynn somewhere along the way on this special day, and was left with two remaining SUMites: Jim, and Lucie, who continued to keep me company in my childlike state in the Healing Rooms. 

It was a true, beautiful blessing from the Father of lights, who gives good gifts to his kids.

Next time I will share one final thing that happened with Lucie and Jim.

Beautiful stories... Thanks for journeying along with me. I love you all.


The Healing Power of The Lord

My friends, today I want to share something personal that happened while we were at the Open Heavens conference. It meant the world to me. Ann San Fran 2

To give you some context: I have never had an experience of physically feeling the power of God, and I've always wanted to.

Others in my life have had that happen to them, but not me. We're all different, and that's ok. I have experienced God in other ways. I've experienced his voice, for example, and I've felt his presence quite often. I have seen others hit by his power, even, but I have not had an experience of feeling his sheer and absolute power myself, physically.

Until the Saturday morning after the Bethel conference, that is!

Saturday morning rolled around, and Lynn had booked us in for a Healing Rooms appointment. You write on a piece of paper what you would like healing for, go into a big room, and a team of three pray for you.

So far so good.

But before you're taken into the healing rooms there's quite a long preamble, and this is where my moment happened.

We started off by being taken into a long corridor, with seats along either side. There were about 30 of us in the corridor, sitting patiently. Then one of the leaders said, "We're going to talk to you a little about healing first, and I'm actually going to show you how healing works."

"Does anyone have any leg, back, knee, or ankle issues?" He then asked. Five people put up their hands. 

"When people have these kinds of problems, there's often an unevenness in leg length," the man continued, kneeling down in front of one of those people. "So I'm going to pray, and ask Jesus to heal, and make the legs equal in length. Would anyone like to come and watch?"

No one got up. Everyone sat still, being socially polite. But Lynn gave me a nudge in the ribs: "You want to, don't you?" And without further ado, I leapt up and ran down the corridor, to stand behind the man and peer over his shoulder. Ready. Willing. Interested. Lynn Ann 2

I do love all things of the Holy Spirit and am up for as much of it as God will allow me to carry. In my experience, he goes gently and develops our readiness. Healing is an area where we need to be up for it to experience it.

"You have to watch quickly!" the man said, before praying. He held the two legs against the palms of his hands, showing they were uneven. And then he prayed. With absolute confidence.

"If you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you." (Matthew 17:20, NKJV)

In front of my eyes, the leg lengthened. It happened fast, but it happened clearly. And as I saw it I gasped.

My friends, this was not a trick of the eye, for my body then testified to it: At the moment that the leg lengthened, my right hand, which was holding a coffee cup, went wild. It start to shake profusely, and the coffee cup started to rotate wildly as power hit my hand. 

But that was not the personal moment I wanted to tell you about. That was only the beginning - A preliminary act, if you like. The man carried on, praying for people, and healing, and I saw in front of my eyes not just one leg lengthening miracle, but FIVE. Each time my hand went wild.

Oh Jesus. 

And these signs will follow those who believe: In my name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents' and if they drink anything deadly it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover (Mark 16:17-18, NKJV)

Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Thank you. Holy laughter

So what happened next? Well, we got taken into a room for a talk (see the photo here), where Lynn and I sat down full of the joys of what we'd just seen. I was starting to feel decidedly.... jolly ... in fact. And it was here that God did something special for me. 

Tune in again on Monday for the rest of the story!

Huge love to you all,


Beautiful Bethel

Hello my SUM friends Bethel group

I'm continuing to share stories of our Meet-Up, I hope you're enjoying them!

So, after spending that day at Lynn's house, where Jesus rang the doorbell (!!!), we drove up to Bethel church, Redding, where we were to attend the 3-day Open Heavens conference.

By now, our crowd had been reduced to eight. Clockwise in the photo here, we have: Lynn, me, Jim, Alyson, Janet, Lucie, Christine, and Laurie.

And over the next two days, together, we worshipped ...

... And we worshipped.

We are all different to each other, but the thing we had in common was this: We love God.

Now, Bethel church carries something special. I had not been before, but I can say that while there I felt the presence of God strongly. Being in a large church crowd does not replace the secret place of our intimacy with him, but it is truly glorious to stand in a room with others who hunger for him. 

Powerful and beautiful things happened in that room, but today I'd like to share two very gentle 'God stories'. These are stories that warmed my heart, and they are just two examples of the numerous things that happened while we were there together:

Story #1

Lynn was in the auditorium walking past a young lady, when suddenly that lady shouts out to Lynn, "I love you!' She then said, "I don't know why I said that."

Lynn went over to her then, closer, and asked her about her life, her family, her marriage. At the word 'marriage', the lady teared up. "My husband and I are not on the same page spiritually."

Lynn pulled out one of our ministry's books, gave her the website of our ministry, and told her to connect with us.

So this lady was a SUMite, and God made her spontaneously call out to Lynn, knowing that it would be a blessing for them to connect. How amazing is that!

God knew. He connects those who need to be connected; he provides help from the sanctuary for those who are hurting.

May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble; may the name of the God of Jacob defend you; may he send you help from the sanctuary, and strengthen you out of Zion (Psalm 20:2, NKJV)

Story #2 Bethel chatting 2

One of our group, Lucie, was queuing in the coffee line. A man was behind her in the line. I paid for Lucie's coffee as I was ahead of her so she, in turn, decided to pay for the man's coffee and food behind her. It was a distinct nudge from God, and she obeyed.

After paying, and after they'd come through the line the man said to her, "You won't believe this, but I lost my job a few weeks ago. I came to this conference out of faith. I've been trusting God to provide for me."

I love, love, love that. I love the fact Lucie was obedient, and that she and I had a little chain reaction of blessing going there. Most of all, I love the fact that God cared for that man.

God knew. He is Jehovah Jireh, the God who provides.


My friends, those are just two examples of things that happened while we were at Bethel. It was a special place, and it felt to me that everywhere I turned 'God moments' like this occurred.

These moments occur anyway in our lives as Christians, but there was something about the environment in Bethel, where so many hungry people were gathered in one place, making the atmosphere one of love and power.

Conclusion: I loved the Bethel conference, and I plan to return next year. I am going to start saving my pennies now, and I'm going to register already. It's worth it.

Will you come and meet me there? 18-20 September 2024. Register here!

Well, next I'm going to share a personal story of something very, very special that happened to me at Bethel. It's something that meant the world to me. Stay tuned!

Love you all


Jesus is a-Knocking!

Hi again friends,  Ann's talk

I am on a ROLL, writing about the meet-up. I have a number of stories I want to share with you about this week that we've just gone through. Why not! So settle in, it is going to be story-time for the next week or so. Yay!

Let's turn now to the morning we spent in Lynn's living room in Rancho Murieta, on the Tuesday morning when our lovely group had gathered.

With us all gathered around, sitting on comfy chairs, I gave a talk. In that talk I shared a story. Here was the story I shared:

Last time we had a meet up was 2019. At that meet-up there was a lovely SUMite called Alyssa who joined us early. Because she arrived early, she came to hang out with us the day before the event, and we had the opportunity to pray for her.

In other words, she was in some strange way brought to our attention.

Well, while she was with us, her husband had a strange thing happen back at their home: The doorbell at their house rang, he went to the door and no one was there.

I said to Alyssa at the time, “I believe that was a little sign from God that Jesus is coming knocking for your husband!”


Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20, KJV)

Well ….. COVID hit shortly after that, and as a result of the fear, stress, and media noise around all that, Alyssa’s hubby started to question his pre-existing beliefs. One thing led to another, and eventually he turned to Jesus!


He began reading the Bible, gave his life to Jesus, and eventually he got baptized. Alyssa shared her testimony on our blog about a year ago, and that was wonderful.

Much to celebrate!

Well, my friends, I have always felt it was significant that Alyssa joined us early at that last meet-up, hung out with the leadership team and helped us prepare. I think God did that because he knew she was going to have an encouraging testimony, later, for all of us: Her testimony encourages us that the impossible can happen.

Our spouses' salvations are only a 'suddenly' away.

So, I shared that story about Alyssa in my talk. Encouraging eh? And that was that.

But blow me down, minutes later, while we were still sittting in Lynn's living room after my talk the doorbell rings. DINGGG DONGGG! Lynn runs to it and answers it, and there’s no one there!!

I cried out at that point “It’s JESUS!” And we all laughed with joy.

But in all seriousness, I felt it was God giving us a seriously big wink. It was as if he was saying, "Yes, that story about Alyssa was true. And yes, I'm knocking on the hearts of these spouses. Like I did with Alyssa's home, I will do it again. Believe it.”

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20, KJV)

Oh Lord. May our spouses hear your voice, welcome you in, and may you dine with them.


Well, my friends, next I'm going to tell you how the trip to Bethel conference went, so tune in again for that on Monday - I have much left to share!

The Heart of the Spiritually Mismatched

SunflowerMy friends ...

Last Tuesday morning, the California sun was shining, as those of us who were already at Lynn’s house (Lynn, Gillian, Jim, and I) set the breakfast table ready for those who were yet to arrive. Then, a bunch of lovely ladies came down the pathway to knock on Lynn’s door. We stood to meet them, hugged, and cried.

Tears welled up in their eyes and in ours. “Sorry, this is overwhelming,” one of them said.

Somewhere along the way, one of the lady’s husbands mingled in amongst it all at the door. He had dropped his wife off. He received a hug too, then left. "I'll leave you to do your thing," he said to her behind the scenes. "You enjoy yourself."

It takes a while to get to that point in a spiritually mismatched marriage!

The thing that struck me the most in the whole day was the tears. The tears came on arrival and welled up on and off throughout the day.

Why so many tears? Well, isn’t it such a deep path, this SUM thing? It’s a narrow path, and one that not many share with us. It’s a deeply felt experience, with deeply spiritual challenges. I’m using the word ‘deep’ a lot. But that’s what it is: Deep.

Deeply felt. Deeply experienced. Deeply spiritual, because marriage is spiritual. Worship meet up

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. (Psalm 56:8, NLT)

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance (Eccl 3:1-4, KJV)

As I said in the talk I gave that morning (which you can watch here if you missed it), we won’t always cry, but there is a season in our SUM life where we do. And the relief of being with others in the same boat when we're in that season of tears is immense.

In the afternoon, having breakfasted and lunched together, we took some time to listen to each other’s testimonies in turn. More tears flowed as we listened to each other’s stories. And from those stories was depth and growth. Lunch SUM 2

Depth in how we navigate all the different challenges that come with a SUM. Growth as we develop our character and wisdom.

One woman shared how her husband has begun unexpectedly reading the Bible. She came into the room one day to see him with it open. “I would be shocked if that happened to me!” I said. “I WAS!” she answered.

Another lady shared how her daughter and husband had given their lives to Christ after a very, very difficult and heartbreaking journey of impossible unbelief.

Another shared how her strength had grown exponentially within a difficult marriage.

And so on. And so on. And so on.

We were twelve God-loving souls together for the day. Beautiful.

Karen, Lynn, Sarah, Jim, Gillian, Cat, Christine, Alyson, Lucie, Janet, and Laurie – Thanks for sharing a great day. 

I have a few more stories to share yet, so stay tuned! 

Much love,


It Began With A Quarter....

Hello SUMites! Ann San Fran 2

I am about to commence my journey home to New Zealand, and I hope to devote this journey to writing some blog posts about what has happened this past week as a group of us met up in Calfornia.

Are you ready?

OK, let's start!

It all began with God saying to us, when I got to Lynn's house, I AM HERE. He didn't say it audibly; he said it through a sign. But it was a great big sign. And that's what I want to write about today: That sign.

First, I'll backtrack:

I landed at San Francisco airport a week ago and had arranged to meet Jim from England and Gillian from Canada, neither of whom I had met in person before. We met, instantly hugged, and off we drove for a three-hour trip north to Lynn's house.

We began talking God, we began talking faith. And all the way up to Lynn'se house it was that way in the car: God God God God God. Faith Faith Faith Faith Faith. And not much else featured except those two things.

It was night-time by the time we arrived, and we piled into Lynn's house.

All the way through our evening snacks at Lynn's we continued: God, God, God, God, God, God, God.

Suddenly, Lynn -- now having fully warmed up and fired up with enthusiasm - runs over to her purse, grabs a quarter coin, smacks it onto the wall at full force and shouts something along the lines of 'FAITH MOVES MOUNTAINS! BY THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT I STICK THIS COIN TO THE WALL'  Coin 2

The coin sticks to the wall.

We all take a step back and stare at it wide-eyed.

Woahhhh, we exhaled, quietly. Quietly. Then Gillian and I grab our cameras. The coin stays there.


Holy awe.

My friends, for the rest of the evening the coin stayed there. It occurred to me to touch it but I dared not. I dared not! I had holy awe.

The next morning it was STILL THERE!!!! "Let's not tell the ladies," we said. "Let's just leave it there as a quiet sign." So we did. But later that evening, they saw, and Lynn spoke to them about having the kind of faith that moves mountains.

The meet-up came and went -- and I will write more about that tomorrow -- But the coin stayed on the wall throughout; and, the next day, as we prepared to leave for the Bethel conference, it was STILL there. Lynn tells me now, a week on (she's home now) the coin is still there. 

I am here, God is saying to us. Are you going to believe?

My answer: Yes, Lord. I will believe.

"Then came the disciples to Jesus and said, 'Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you." (Matthew 17:19-20, KJV)

Bless you all.