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Wishing you M Chris-wAngel

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CHRISTMAS,  CHRIST  THE  SAVIOR  IS  BORN !

 

Jesus, the wellspring of joy! Who can make us as happy as He does? But is the Child in the Manger your most precious Christmas gift? Are you waiting for Jesus, for His coming?

Each one of us needs Him, the Child that gives Hope and brings Restoration to us and into our families. He wants to fill your life with joy and peace. He asks you, “Receive Me! Don’t leave Me standing in the cold, as it happened long ago when there was no room in the inn. Expect Me for Christmas, for I love you and I want to help you.”

So let us hurry like the shepherds, to the Child in the Manger.

The Shepherds

 

             O holy night, filled with songs of joy and gladness! Let us all rejoice together; earth receives her Savior, sinners find their Redeemer!

 

 

 

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A Child lies in the manger, the Prince of peace. He came upon this earth to bring mankind salvation. Rejoice and be glad, for you are loved by God. Put away your sadness, all that troubles you. Jesus is coming to you.

 

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Therefore, let us kneel down at the manger and say to the Child Jesus, “Lord Jesus, I come to you. I believe You can make all things new.

 

 

 

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And if we have already experienced the saving power of this Child, let us, this Christmas, bring Him our thanks and say, “I thank You, I  want to tell others what You have done for me, my Savior, just like the shepherds joyfully spread the message of Your birth long ago.

YES, CHRISTMAS HAS COME!

If you would like to listen to more songs by Mother Basilea, CDs are available at our store. Below is one of our Christmas videos for you to enjoy.

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Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is such a happy time on Canaan. We Sisters make sure that none of our little family is missing, no one out of town. We all want to be together for the occasion, and often we have some guests. Thanksgiving is special for us. During the day some Sisters go to minister and distribute encouraging leaflets and gifts at various dining rooms in our city, for example the Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul etc. There a wonderful thanksgiving dinner is served to many people. When the Sisters return to Canaan, it is usually time for the Thanksgiving Service in our Chapel. Here we sing and thank the Heavenly Father for all His goodness. When we come into the dining room, the tables are beautifully decorated and we have a joyful Thanksgiving meal. After dinner comes a very special time where every one shares something personal that they want to praise God for.

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Sisters thanking for RAIN

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One Sister shares:

The Song on the Wall

This story is about our Radio programs and fits for thanksgiving. (See Realities in the Desert – 40 Years of the Heavenly Father’s Loving Care, page 106. It reminds us of the joy we had when we began working with our new audio station. Rose, our faithful coworker in this department, proved to be a fast learner. Yet, as soon as we thought we had the worst behind us, another big problem arose. Due to new technological advances, radio stations now required that all programs fit within an exact time frame. Our programs, however, ran up to two-and-a-half minutes over this new standard.

Song The Trusting Soul Web This new regulation was quite a blow to us. It meant that our 600+ programs would have to be edited to meet the new requirement. It really seemed like an impossible challenge for both of us. And our only refuge was the song we had pinned to the wall of our radio room. We were desperate for God’s help. Each program varied in length and we had to do a lot of intricate calculations. Sadly, neither of us was good in mathematics. So we sang our song every day for months and that gave us strength and perseverance. When the “math mountain” seemed insurmountable for us, we sang this song several times a day. And God answered!

 After four years, finally, to the glory of God, all our 1-, 5-, 15-, and 30-minute radio programs were completed in the required standard format – to the second! Moreover, we were able, for the first time, to produce masters for our branches in Australia and the United Kingdom and also for our Motherhouse. Now, all over the world, messages are broadcast proclaiming God’s love and grace, such as: “God lives and works today! He wants to glorify Himself through us and let us experience His wonderful miracles. But perhaps your need is so great and everything seems so hopeless that you almost wonder if God can help at all. This is just the moment when God can do His greatest miracles….”

This message closes with our song:

The trusting soul inherits all

 

Enjoy a Thanksgiving Video

Giving “Thanks” means to receive. This reminds us that for every difficulty in our lives, the way to receive help is to give thanks. There is tremendous power in thanking the Lord. When we give thanks something happens whether we’re in a hopeless situation or in the midst of money, job or family problems. When we say, “Lord, You always have a way,” we praise the love of God which finds a way and carries us through. MB

Our Attitude Towards Natural Disasters

As early as the 1960s Mother Basilea had drawn our attention to the growing frequency of natural disasters. She saw them as preliminary events. Over the years she sounded the call to repentance. Above all, she prayed, encouraging believers to do the same and to prepare their hearts in the light of impending judgment (see Matthew 24).

When in 1995 a flood hit one of our foreign branches, swamping part of their property, she helped us to find the right perspective. This proved to be a key experience for us in view of catastrophes that have since affected various parts of the world — or are yet to come. At that time she shared with us  :
JRK-angel-w-bowl-SMALL“Many natural disasters are coming upon our world. Any moment they may strike…What we are seeing at this time is God reaching out to us through judgments that warn us of the beginning of the apocalyptic age… Holy Scripture says, ‘Does evil befall a city, unless the Lord has done it  ?’ (Amos 3  : 6 RSV). But we also read, ‘He does not willingly afflict or grieve the sons of men’ (Lamentations 3  : 33 RSV). This speaks of the Lord’s grief even in judging.”

The Bible clearly sees a direct connection between sin and all kinds of calamities. Consider, for example, Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the Temple  : When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because your people have sinned against you, and when they pray… and turn from their sin because you have afflicted them, then hear from heaven… When famine or plague comes to the land, or blight or mildew… whatever disaster or disease may come, and when a prayer or plea is made by any of your people Israel… then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Forgive and act  1 Kings 8:35-39 NIV …

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Unless God has given a prophetic insight, we should not presume to say  : ‘This is God’s judgment for such and such a reason.’

What, then, should our attitude be when calamity descends upon us as a people and we don’t understand why  ? In the face of disaster we are to humble ourselves under the sins of our age, in which our own are included. Daniel 9   gives us guidelines.

Daniel was not personally to blame for the destruction of Jerusalem. But he does not sit in judgment over others. One with his people, he shares the blame for sin, confessing, ‘We have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled  ; we have turned away from your commands and laws… O Lord, we and our kings, our princes and our fathers are ­covered with shame because we have sinned against you’ (Daniel 9  : 5, 8 NIV). He humbly acknowledges the rightness of God’s dealings.

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We are the ones who have sinned  ! This is the confession Jesus is waiting to hear from us, as we can see from His reaction to specific calamities in His day, such as the Roman massacre of Galileans and the collapse of the tower in Siloam  : ‘Unless you repent you will all likewise ­perish’ (Luke 13  : 5 RSV). Jesus does not condemn the victims. Rather, He challenges the rest of the population, who were not personally affected, to repent, humbly confessing personal and national guilt…


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Recently I came across something the Lord had shown me nearly forty years ago. At the beginning of the end times God would raise up souls to lament with Him and bring Him comfort.
This group of mourner-comforters would have all the qualities we need today. Before the anguish of God reaches its peak, we need to pray that these qualities will become ours. These souls do not just respond to God’s judgment – with their whole being they are a response. They never lose confidence in the love of God.

They will share God’s anguish (Genesis 6  :  6 RSV) for a morally and physically polluted world, for a world of contaminated soil and water, of depraved minds, stifled consciences and blaspheming tongues. But they will also grieve over their own sins as no previous generation. Because they empathize with God, they can genuinely mourn over what they have done to God.

These mourner-comforters will lament for the multitudes on the road to hell. But when they grieve for the lost or for those hit by disaster, they weep with a priestly heart, just as Jesus wept over Jerusalem when His city did not recognize the hour of its visitation (Luke 19  :  41-44 RSV). Even while suffering themselves from the effects of divine judgment, they will join in the song raised by the heavenly hosts at the throne of God :

Yes LORD-Word

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If Only I Could Weep Lord

Text: Excerpt from “Sown in Weakness – Raised in Glory” by M. Basilea Schlink
First two songs: from “My Father, I Trust You” by M.Basilea Schlink
© Sept 2017 Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary, USA

 

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Lofty mountains, grassy meadows,
Peaks for ever veiled in snow,
God their Maker magnify;
By the beauty that they show us,
And no rest nor peace do give us
Till we too our hearts do raise
All in worship, love and praise.

Excerpt from the DVD: FILL ALL THE WORLD WITH SONGS OF PRAISE

Rushing streams, grassy meadows, towering mountains and rocky shores – all of nature unites in a symphony of praise to God. A symphony in which man plays a vital part, as Mother Basilea Schlink shares with us today.

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O Father, how fair is this world You made
The forest, the meadows, the lakes!
Fill all the world with joyful songs;
For unto God the world belongs
Praise Him, Hallelujah!
Praise Him, Hallelujah!

Mother Basilea, together with Mother Martyria, founded the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary after World War II. Their headquarters, Canaan, in Darmstadt, Germany is also the home of the Canaan Franciscan Brotherhood, which was established in 1967.

This small piece of land has drawn visitors from all over the world. Here they have experienced something of the reality of Jesus’ saving power and the greatness of God. A “foretaste of heaven”, as they say, for the kingdom of God begins to manifest itself where Jesus’ Lordship is acknowledged and people live in joy and reconciliation.

One of the ministries that God has given to Canaan is of special significance for our times and for this generation – the Praise Ministry. In the mid-nineteen-fifties Mother Basilea, who is staying at Aeschi, Switzerland, writes a letter to her daughters.

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Later this Praise chapel was built in Switzerland

“…If only I had  a hundred thousand Swiss Francs, I would build chapels at all the beautiful scenic spots and send out Sisters during the summer months as praise singers, troubadours of God, to praise the heavenly Father everywhere they go, so that many others would hear it and join in giving praise! Yes, God must be glorified!”

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O Father, how loving was all Your care       
To make this world winsome and fair!
Filled be each valley and each height
With praises unto You by right,
Praise Him, Hallelujah!
Praise Him, Hallelujah!

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Mother Basilea storms heaven with her prayers. The impossibilities of this commission are great. A way is found to make  plaques which are inscribed with a Bible word and a song verse.  If God gives you a commission, He takes responsibility that it comes to fulfillment. Today there are hundreds of praise spots in many countries. Each one has its own miracle story. Who is like God!

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Mother Basilea continues: “I must say, my heart is really grieved to think that any human artist who has created something beautiful receives honor and recognition and praise. But God is often forgotten – yes, nowadays He’s even despised and mocked. And there should be praise singers everywhere. You are to be the first ones. But you’re far too few. We need many praise singers in all the countries, who will counterbalance the campaign of destruction and of evil in our times.

And these praise singers need to be stirred into action. Let them hear the call to put up signs everywhere that will be a challenge to give glory to this almighty God and Maker in the beauty of His creation. And people catching sight of these signs will have to stop and say, ‘Why, yes! – that’s true. We should give praise to this great God!’ then they will start singing. And songs of praise and worship will be heard everywhere.

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O Father, Your plans are beyond compare
Sweet birdsong  and flowers so fair!
The sky, the mountains seeking,
Of God’s great glory speaking.
Praise Him, Hallelujah!
Praise Him, Hallelujah!

Soon the manifestation of the evil one will be seen everywhere. Yes, in the end times when the sins of mankind are greater than ever and divine judgment is impending, we can help to hold back the holy wrath of God a little longer with our praise. Let us live to honor God in the measure that He is blasphemed, mocked and degraded today. For who is like God? None can compare with Him! He alone is immortal. He was and is and evermore shall be. Yes, He is the One whose wisdom is unsearchable and whose counsels are wonderful and always end in glory. And to glorify this Lord is our purpose in life.”

We praise and we worship
and laud Your name,
For ever we’ll sing of Your fame.
Creator from eternity
To You our praise and glory be!
Praise Him, Hallelujah!
Praise Him, Hallelujah!

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Mother Basilea shares in The Holy Land Today,
“Like the rush of a mighty wind the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Godhead, comes down to earth…he seeks out specific people, the disciples, a handful of miserable failures, who had lost faith and deserted their Lord during His Passion, for in the poor and needy He can demonstrate His power as Creator Spirit… He imbues despondent and fearful hearts with courage and power to witness. He accomplishes great transformations in the hearts of men.
In Acts 4:31 we read that when the company of believers were assembled in prayer the place was shaken. But what must it have been like when the Holy Spirit Himself descended upon the heads of the disciples, imparting to them fervent love and the courage to suffer, setting them wholly on fire for God and His kingdom. Is it surprising then that the disciples appeared to be intoxicated with the Holy Spirit? The mighty, rushing wind of he Holy Spirit seized them so powerfully that they probably rejoiced and wept at the same time. And being filled with the fullness of God, they were moved to speak in other tongues.
Something of the very nature of God was imparted to their hearts by the Holy Spirit. They were set ablaze with the love of God, a consuming ardour that could no longer be expressed in the tongues of men. Fire was cast into their hearts by the Holy Spirit, setting them aflame with a fervent love for God, which constrained them to tell everyone about Jesus, regardless of the cost…

O Holy Ghost, we magnify
Your power so full and great,
You come from God’s own throne on high,
all life to recreate.

O Holy Ghost, our praise receive
for You sweet grace impart,
to mourn our sins so earnestly
and so console God’s heart.

Spirit of Faith, O Holy Ghost,
we worship, praise and laud;
through You God’s glory we behold,
the wondrous deeds of God.

O Holy Ghost, we bring You praise,
You show to everyone
the Father’s glory and His praise,
the radiance of the Son.

To You the highest praise shall rise,
O pure and humble Dove,
who ever seeks to turn our eyes
to God the Father’s love.

Today the Holy Spirit still comes down upon wretched, needy souls if with one accord they devote themselves to prayer, claiming in faith God’s promises for the Spirit’s coming… Today He transforms people and pours into their hearts the ardor of divine love. As the Spirit of joy He fills the hearts of men today with joy, laughter and singing. Today He unites divided members of the Body of Christ in love of God. Today He bestows His blessings and gifts… He continues to work tirelessly in our hard hearts to remold us into the image of God. Now He is also waiting today for us to say, ‘I believe in the Holy Spirit’, and to reach out for Him with believing, imploring hearts, for Jesus has said, ‘If I go, I will send him [the Holy Spirit] to you’ (John 1:6,7)

Today, when Jesus’ second coming is on the threshold, surely He yearns all the more to grant the members of His Body a new experience of Pentecost…

In the present day and age there is nothing we need as much as the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Ruled by the SpiritWeb 3in

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Invite the Holy Spirit into your life. The book  Ruled by the Spirit will be a tremendous help to experience His power and His gifts.

Click to listen: A Promise for this Day and Age

 

Nothing will bring us closer to Jesus than reflecting on the Passion, for His suffering reveals His heart. It is all about having a fresh vision of the Man of Sorrows and hearing Him speak to the heart: “Do you love Me? Where I am, My servant also will be.”

In her prayers, songs and writings, Mother Basilea bears witness to this greatest expression of God’s love. And wherever the Sisterhood has established a Canaan center, there is usually a prayer garden with reliefs depicting the Passion of Jesus, for a visible representation can help to deepen our understanding.

Jesus longs for us to give Him all our love in response to His love and suffering. This is how in Phoenix, Arizona, a Garden of Jesus’ Sufferings and Resurrection came to be built by the Sisters of Mary with their friends.


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 Come and discover it for yourself…

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Gethsemane

 

Jesus knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. (from Luk. 22 NIV)

Lord Jesus,

You are the Good Shepherd. From now on I am going to listen to Your voice, not to the insinuations of the evil one. You loved me enough to go to Gethsemane, the place of total surrender, making Yourself vulnerable. You did not run away when the powers of death attacked. You wrestled in spirit with them – all because You love me.

Thank You for the assurance that in all my trials and temptations I am in Your loving hands. I want to trust in Your love and follow You step by step in obedience to Your Word and guidance. Amen.

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Judgement

He stands before His judges,

the spotless Lamb divine;

They spit on Him and mock Him,

He bears your sins and mine.

He suffers for my sinning,

My Jesus, Lord of all,

And in my place most humbly

Stands in the judgment hall.

Accusations, spoken and unspoken, bombarded Jesus on His way to the cross. He bore the brunt of our criticizing. He took the place that we have deserved; the place of the accused. What skilled defense lawyers we are when we come under attack. For every criticism, we have a quick retort. Adverse criticism brings out the pride in our hearts. When Jesus was accused, what came out was His humility. He stood trial and faced false accusations without sinning once in His reactions. He lived out His words, “I am gentle and humble in heart” (Matt.11:29 NIV). How do we respond when unkind or untrue things are said about us?

 

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Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matt. 11:19 NIV

Because Jesus loves His followers so much, He has promised to share everything with them, including the fellowship of His sufferings. This is why He said, “Where I am, my servant also will be” (John 12:26 NIV). Suffering with Jesus will yield abundant fruit. Streams of life flow from those who are yoked with Jesus in the fellowship of the cross and bear their suffering for love of Him. Thousands can be blessed by one person following Jesus and carrying their cross. What an opportunity!

 

 

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Crosses w childrenThey came to a place called Golgotha. When they had crucified him, they placed above his head the written charge against him: This is Jesus, the king of the Jews. (from Matt. 27 NIV)

O holy cross, now you stand erected as the tree of life, from which streams of life, Jesus’ holy blood, flow unceasingly, granting salvation to all who come to drink and be filled, to be cleansed of all sins.

Jesus is now wedded to the cross, the symbol of salvation, the symbol of redemption, the symbol of victory, the symbol of all the wondrous power of God.

May You be blessed for ever

By all for whom You died,

Our loving thanks we bring You,

Lord Jesus crucified!

All hail to You, O Jesus, O Jesus!

 

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Burial 2016

We must all experience Jesus’ burial in our lives. While Jesus hung on the cross and spoke, the disciples could still hope that He would suddenly descend from the cross. A miracle could have happened, for was He not the Son of God? But now at the burial, it was all over. The radiance of Jesus had vanished. And in their arms they were holding their dead Lord.

Whether young or old, we must all go through a similar experience in spirit. Jesus has drawn close to us. He has looked upon us. We have sensed His loving presence. And we have said to Him, “I desire You alone, nothing else.” But then we have to undergo trails and temptations, and it seems to us as though Jesus were dead. He does not speak to us. He is silent. When we pray, we do not hear any answer.

Nothing is more difficult in our lives than such a burial experience when we seem to be holding a dead Lord Jesus in our arms. But it is vital that we remain faithful in the night, when not a single star is shining, and believe: Jesus is risen! He is alive! He is Victor!  Taken from Jesus A Portrait of Love by Mother Martyria Madauss

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 Resurrection “With God, suffering is never the end.” MB

 Jesus is risen, as He said!    Matt. 28:6 NIV

 

He is risen! He is alive!

As the Prince of Victory He is standing before us.

When we praise and laud His victory,

Hell will tremble and chains of sin and Satan will be broken.

His right hand will be victorious over all fear in face of the terrors that are to come, if we trust in Him. Sing unto the Lord a new song, for He does marvelous things, transforming disaster into glory, darkness into light, and sorrow into joy, for all those whose eyes are upon Him.

Yes, he whom Easter joy sets free,

His heart cries out his Lord to see,

Though Satan loud may threaten;

My thankful heart the Victor knows,

Hails Jesus, Lord of all His foes.

For Jesus is the Victor!

For Christ our Lord is risen!

Texts taken from these books by M.Basilea Schlink

Behold new

Where new

Leaflet

Book Hard Cover

 

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Excerpts from the Book: REALITIES IN THE DESERT – 40 Years of the Heavenly Father’s Loving Care

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Mount Sinai in Egypt

 The Roots

“Why did you Sisters come to America?” The answer is not so straightforward. To begin, we must go to Mount Sinai.

But what does this mountain in Egypt have to do with a piece of property on 40th Street in Phoenix, Arizona? A lot, because the roots of Canaan in the Desert reach down to the place where God made a covenant of love with man.

In the early 1960s, Mother Basilea perceived the enormous spiritual shift that was taking place in our Western society. It caused her deep anguish. She wrote, “In the past, God’s commandments were widely recognized as moral standards and were a dam against unrestrained immorality. Today we find that this dam has collapsed in most places. More and more, all nations are becoming subject to the same spirit, the spirit of lawlessness.”
She challenged Christians to rebuild the dam against this continuing “moral landslide” which, like an avalanche, would bury many lives and ultimately whole nations under it. Today it is evident how prophetic her deep concerns were.

In the fall of 1963, following God’s leading, Mother Basilea traveled to Mount Sinai, then a forsaken and almost inaccessible place. Here God revealed to her the glory of His commandments.

She wrote, “Even though these commandments of God were so familiar to me, they now cut me to the quick, as if I were reading them for the first time…. He filled me with the spirit of love and compassion for the nations of the world which are facing collapse as the result of their disobedience to God’s commandments.”

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Mother Basilea at the summit of Mt. Sinai

Mother Basilea’s heart burned that these commandments – given to mankind as lifelines to save us from disaster (see Deuteronomy 30:15-19) – be thrown out to the nations again.

So she was willing to take the first painful step, sending some of her spiritual daughters out into foreign countries. Small “islands of light” were to be established in various countries. They would be signposts of God’s love and faithfulness in a world threatened by destruction. There the validity and the blessings of His commandments would be demonstrated.

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Mother Basilea arrives in NY

In 1964, Mother Basilea made an extended speaking tour throughout the United States. In her book-hard cover, Sown in Weakness, Raised in Glory, a chapter describes her difficult yet ground-breaking trip.

Following her visit to California, Pastor Larry C.  of a Lutheran Church in San  Pedro asked our Mothers to send two Sisters to his parish. Under his kind guidance, Sister Lucia and Sister Judith spent a most valuable year there which became a time of training.
Then in 1966, an elderly couple from Phoenix, Mr. and Mrs. St., visited our Mothers in Germany. They asked if a few of our Sisters would take over their property in Phoenix when they retired. Thus their spacious home could further be used for God’s work and become a permanent place for Canaan’s ministry. As a start, they offered two small duplexes on their property at 32nd Street and Camelback.

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Corrie ten Boom with Sr. Rebekka and Sr. Urania

Phoenix? We had to use a map to find it! None of us had ever heard of a city by that name. Our Mothers prayed about this possibility. They asked friends, including  Corrie ten Boom, for their advice and received positive answers.

So it was God who, in His wisdom, led us to this rapidly growing city, unknown to us and yet ideally located for a ministry that would reach out to the whole country. As Isaiah says, “All this also comes from the Lord Almighty, wonderful in counsel and magnificent in wisdom” (Isaiah 28:29 NIV). Today, when we look back, we see more and more clearly how wonderful His counsel is. Canaan in the Desert, however, was not yet in sight.
                                                                       Sister Rebekka

A Detour

In April 1967, Sister Lucia and I moved to Phoenix and we began renovating the two duplexes which the couple had offered us. For several weeks we worked hard, often into the night, supported by new friends including  Pastor E.H. and R. Z., Rector of a large Episcopal Church. Soon the buildings were so improved that we made plans to invite guests  for our first retreat.

Suddenly everything changed! Neighbors complained about “zoning laws” and our having a “soup kitchen.” Sister Lucia went to one neighbor innocently assuring him we didn’t eat only soup. We ate meat and vegetables too! Upon hearing this account  our Pastor  laughed and explained our neighbor’s real objection. Zoning laws couldn’t be changed. We might have to leave. We were heartbroken! Hadn’t God led us here? What about all our hard work? What would our new friends say?

Our friends and we Sisters stormed heaven. We asked everyone in the Motherhouse in Germany, especially our dear Mothers, to pray that the hearts of our neighbors would be changed. Our Mothers’ reply took us by surprise. They gently, but firmly, reminded us that Canaan should be a little foretaste of heaven where peace and reconciliation reign. If our neighbors were so opposed to our presence, we were the ones who should yield. They included a line from one of Mother Basilea’s songs which greatly comforted us:
“Wo Er zerstört, da baut Er auf (Whenever God destroys, He builds anew).”

Our dear American friends received the decision as coming from the Lord. One who had worked especially hard even sent us a donation. Later he became the architect of Canaan in the Desert.

We foolishly thought our neighbors had ruined everything. But oh, how good our Heavenly Father is! He wanted to give us a piece of land nestled at the foothills of a mountain preserve with generous space for a beautiful Prayer Garden open to all.

On the morning of our last Bible study at 32nd and Camelback, we announced with heavy hearts that we had to leave and did not yet know where to go. A lady, attending for the first time, spoke up. She had been busy ironing that morning when the desire to attend became so strong that she grabbed her Bible and rushed right over. Had an angel nudged her? Spontaneously she invited us to move into her family’s guest house, not far away. Rejoicing we moved on December 12, 1967.

                                                                                                                                                                Sister Josepha

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   Finally – Canaan in the Desert

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 It took nearly five painful months (1967-1968) to find God’s place for our future ministry. Sister Lucia and I continually prayed and searched. A kind realtor helped us to look for places which might be suitable. At first there seemed to be a lot of possibilities, but each fell through. For instance, we toured a property with a price we thought reasonable, but the odors emanating from the horse farm next door would certainly deter future guests. Another property that appealed to us included a swimming pool which did not seem quite right either.

Then I thought I had found my dream place – a building with four wings. I even envisioned how each wing could be used: one for Sisters, one for guests, one for workrooms, and one for the chapel. This must be God-given!  However, Mother Basilea, who at that time was visiting us in Phoenix for ten precious days, sensed the Lord’s disapproval. I was convinced this was the only time Mother Basilea had not heard right. Not long afterwards, however, we learned that this beautiful building was termite-infested and had to be pulled down!

We have learned that when the Lord wants to do something decisive for His Kingdom, He often applies the law of the grain of wheat which first has to fall to the ground and die. I remember how Mother Basilea prayed with us that the Lord would show us what stood in the way. In His love, He answered this request, and we understood what was not pleasing to Him. Then He gave Mother Basilea a new idea: not to look for a building, but for a vacant piece of land, just as our Motherhouse had started on an empty piece of land. There we could build our Sisters’ house and a retreat house.

Our realtor began to look for a property in South Phoenix, which was just being developed – but the land was too expensive. Then he looked in North Phoenix which was mainly untouched desert and found a five acre lot. Mother Basilea and we two Sisters went to look at it. We liked it very much, but we needed a larger place.

So our realtor approached the owner of the adjacent property, asking the lady if she would consider selling some of her land. She had no intention of doing so, she said, because it was going to her children and grandchildren. She had turned down many similar approaches in the past 20 years. When the realtor mentioned that he had come on behalf of “Sisters,” something miraculous happened.

Suddenly the lady, “Nana” as we later called her, was very interested! She shared that she had seen three Sisters looking at her property and recalled the Lord saying to her, “If ever you sell your land, sell it to Sisters for a convent and a retreat house.” The realtor became excited, “It’s for those Sisters that I’m here!” When he added, a bit cautiously, “I know they can only make a small down payment. Can they slowly pay off the remainder?” Nana immediately offered to sell without interest! She said, “Whenever the Sisters are able to pay off the land is fine.”

Our hearts were filled with awe and thanksgiving  to the Lord. Quickly we arranged to sign the contract. That was the unforgettable date of March 15, 1968. Mother Basilea celebrated this great day with us. She was the happiest of all. God had again shown who He is. After He destroys – destroying also what may not be right in our lives – He rebuilds. Yes, He gives us something much better! “Expect it!” she said to us.

p-24-canaanfriendsWe are in awe when we think how God gave us Canaan at $4,200 per acre! At today’s prices even a small portion of this property would be beyond our means.

In those days you saw ten acres of almost untouched desert nestled against a backdrop of Sonoran Desert Mountains. The neighboring houses were hardly visible.

This is the unique area where God chose to plant a little Canaan in the Desert with a Garden of Jesus’ Sufferings and His Resurrection!

Canaan in the Desert, this amazing gift from our almighty and loving Father, is the focal point of this book. March 15, 2008, marked the 40th anniversary of the day when God entrusted to us this piece of land.

Sister Josepha

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Mother Martyria visits Canaan in the Desert 1968