Those of you who have been following this ministry know that we have been in a time of transition. My dear wife Maxine, who had been in failing health for the last two or three years, passed away on March 30. For some time prior to her death we had been planning to return to Bozeman, Montana. But I returned to Bozeman alone on June 8. While it is great to be back in the beautiful mountains of southwest Montana, the breath-taking scenes cannot heal the hurt or fill the emptiness left by Maxine’s death. However, I am comforted knowing that she is with the Lord and free from the pain she suffered for months leading up to her departure. I am also comforted by the prayers and expressions of hundreds of you dear ones who expressed sympathy and support through letters and cards of condolence. Many of you over the last twenty years have prayed, encouraged and supported this ministry financially, and we are so appreciative. I am also comforted by dear family members. It was difficult to leave my son, Tim, and his wife, Billie Jo, in Dothan, Alabama, where Maxine and I had lived for the last ten years. But it is good to be with our daughter, Pris, and her husband, Ron, and my granddaughter, Anna, here in Bozeman. And I am delighted my son, Steve, also decided to move from Pensacola, Florida to Bozeman. He has consented to assist Pris in some of the computer setup and programming as she helps me in the work of this ministry. We are both grateful to Steve for his help.
Since returning to Montana, I have been revisiting and walking my old prayer trails here in the Hyalite Mountains near Bozeman and praying with various groups three nights each week at the Big Sky House of Prayer in Belgrade, Montana. It is very clear to me that the Spirit is leading me to trust God for the spiritual anointing and physical strength to go on with the ministry of calling believers to Spirit-anointed prayer, to holiness of heart and life, and to faith for a mighty spiritual awakening in our nation to turn back these end-times tides of darkness and delusion affecting both the church and the world. In order to do this I find myself crying out for “a double portion of the Holy Spirit,” as Elisha did.
Ministry Transition, News and Prayer Requests
I am grateful to the ten members of our CHRISTIAN RENEWAL Board of Directors who share my vision and passion for being led of the Holy Spirit in carrying out this ministry. They all live in or near Bozeman. They just recently approved unanimously the nomination of my daughter, Priscilla (Pris) Larsen, to succeed Rachel Kuhn as my Executive Assistant. Rachel served this ministry efficiently and faithfully for eight years, but she has chosen to continue living in Dothan, Alabama and has found employment elsewhere. Rachel reports that she is enjoying her new work and she continues to pray for and support this ministry. Pris will be equally devoted to this work, and it is a joy to have her at my side. Already, she has been instrumental in re-establishing the ministry in the State of Montana, registering us in with the proper institutions and securing a U.S. Postal permit for bulk mailing. She has been in touch with accountants for counsel in bookkeeping and reporting to both the Federal and the State government. It appears that we are now cleared for operations, and it is with gratitude to God and to all of you that we bring you our first issue of the Journal since our transition.
Our readers and prayer partners will understand that the year 2006 has been a most difficult one. There were a few cancellations of meetings prior to Maxine’s death, so that we have only had five events so far this year: four revivals and one School of Prayer in Tennessee, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Texas and Alabama. Every one of these events was blessed with the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, as we sought to be faithful to the Word and the leadings of the Lord. Four more meetings are being planned for the rest of the year: Schools of Prayer in Oxford, Pennsylvania and Tiffin, Ohio, and a Crusade and School of Prayer in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, South America. A strong church here in Bozeman is considering hosting a School of Prayer this fall. Please pray that other churches will schedule either revival meetings or Schools of Prayer or conferences on the Holy Spirit so that we may have a full slate throughout 2007.
Alarming word is coming to us of late out of South America that President Morales has declared himself a hard-line Communist, and in agreement with President Chavez of Venezuela, they have decided to decree restrictions against Christian ministries and practices in their respective countries. As of this date my host, Bishop Jack Terry, declares the Crusade is still a “go” for Santa Cruz, Bolivia. But, again, I urge that much prayer go up for the entire continent of South America, where the Holy Spirit has been poured out for nearly a generation now in many countries. But on this trip to South America, I am wondering if I will find the same restrictions on my ministry that I experienced in East Berlin before the Berlin Wall came down. By the grace of God and with your prayers, I mean to go to Bolivia under the anointing of the Holy Spirit and declare the message of Salvation and Holiness and Prayer that He lays on my heart.
Praying for America
In closing, allow me to set forth my main concern and my most resolute purpose: First, my greatest fear for America is not terrorists’ attacks, an economic depression or natural disasters. My greatest fear is that because of the sins of prayerlessness, unbelief, pride, self-righteousness, and coldness of heart among professing Christians, the American church will miss the great full-scale spiritual awakening that God has planned to give us in these last days! Our greatest sin is that of prayerlessness. Sincere praying will clear the way for the Holy Spirit to come, and when He comes He will convict us of the other sins. As The Spirit convicts, believers are then enabled to repent of their sins.
As Christians lead the way in repentance, the Spirit will pour out in revival power. Then the world will sense its need for God, and sinners will repent. When professing Christians lead the way in repentance, and when men and women of the world follow in repentance, healing will come – lives will become whole, homes will be united, churches will begin to love and forgive one another, communities will come together and we’ll see something of heaven on earth.
I am writing these things in the full confidence that God has not yet given up on our nation. The most convincing evidence of this is the discovery that here and there across the nation there are signs of a growing army of prayer warriors who have an increasing hunger to see the glory of God manifested in their lives and families and churches in revival power. Houses of Prayer are being formed. Prayer meetings are being called. Pastors are starting to meet weekly for prayer, and they are willing to encourage their members to join in community and interdenominational prayer meetings. Denominations and parachurch ministries are calling for seasons of prayer and fasting, and a few are calling for solemn assemblies of repentance.
I am resolved by the grace of God to walk daily in fellowship with an ungrieved Holy Spirit, to pray in the Spirit, to bring every thought into the captivity of Jesus Christ, to obey God rather than men and to personally engage in militant intercessory prayer for the revival that God wants to give the church in these last days.
Every revival, beginning with the Pentecostal revival in Acts 2, can be traced to a prayer meeting. Surely, it is time for all of us to pray with Charles G. Finney, the American evangelist of the nineteenth century, “O God, send the Holy Spirit! Give us both the breath of spiritual life and the fire of unconquerable zeal. O, that You would send the wind and the fire! And I believe You will do this when we are in one accord, when we are all believing, when we are all expecting, when we are all prepared by prayer! AMEN!”
From Nicaragua to Kenya
Rev. Tharp’s granddaughter, Anna Llanes, is a senior nursing major at Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho. Rev. Tharp asked Anna to share some of her experiences on the two mission trips she participated in this past year.
In March 2006, I went on a Medical Mission to Nicaragua with Pre-Med & Nursing Students from Northwest Nazarene University. We saw 800 patients in five days at six clinical sites we had set up. The weather was hot and some of our team had traveler’s sickness. We dealt with parasites, anemia, infections, diabetes, and cancer. We struggled with exhaustion – mental, emotional and physical. We saw such brokenness and poverty among the people. This is an experience that will never be forgotten.
The joy on the children’s faces and the ear-to-ear smiles as they greeted us captivated my heart. They loved to pull our arms and raced to get their picture taken with us. The little ones wanted us to hold them and the older ones laughingly tried to communicate.
The doctors of Nicaragua had been on strike since November, leaving some of the most poverty-stricken Nicaraguans with no medical help for several months. Because of our style of clinics and our short stay we could only see these patients for a few hours, give them a diagnosis, some information and some medications and send them on their way. We struggled to remember that God was in control and had to put our trust in Him to take care of these people who were in extraordinary need. I believe in miracles!
In August of 2005, I traveled to Kenya, Africa on a mission trip with ROC (Reach Out and Care) Wheels to deliver over 200 wheelchairs and to fit specialized wheelchairs to kids with severe disabilities. We had a team of 24. I also got to spend a day with community nurses doing a well baby clinic (checkups and immunizations) for about 125 babies.
We visited the orphanage at Dagoretti that also housed an abandoned baby center. There were 72 babies under the age of four, and one-third of the babies had HIV/Aids. We picked up crying babies from their mats and loved on them. The toddlers came to us with their arms reaching high, begging us to pick them up. What a joy to hug and play with them.
On this trip, Dickson and Susan, who are both my age, really touched my heart. Dickson is very disabled but he is full of joy! When I met Susan she was in tears. I talked with her, took her picture and gave her some pens and a note pad. Her smile blessed me. I got to be the first to write on her pad. I wrote, “Jesus loves Susan. Anna loves Susan. Susan has a beautiful smile.” She was my friend for the rest of the day, giving me a huge smile whenever I spoke to her. I have learned that smiles are one of God’s greatest gifts – and the most beautiful.