The purchase and use of the castle in Friedsrichwerth, Germany is evidently a big event on God's calendar - He is instructing us in amazing ways. In fact, He has been laying out the details in such a way that it would be hard to miss. Please allow me to share this unfolding story...
San Antonio is a very interesting small town-city. Soon after we moved there in 1992, I began having dreams about a large, old building that God gave us. I did not have a clue as to the purpose, but it was so real that I would spend time driving around the town looking for a large, old house. I knew that the building was old because the wood was dark and aged. And also I just knew... in my dreams there are some things I just know. This was one of those cases - old and large. In these first dreams the house also had some old furniture. It was scattered around with even more in the attic and I was walking around trying to decide where to place the antiques.
I continued to dream this very dream with small variations about every three or four years, not very often. I suppose it is important to note that I very seldom remember my dreams or consider them significant. These dreams stuck with me - I can still see the windows and the gray day that was on the other side of the pane. There was significance to these dreams. In fact they were significant enough for me to spend time and resources trying to figure out the puzzle.
In reality, I suppose I could go back even farther to a time when my children were small. Ann was about 10 (1984?) and we were in Georgetown visiting momma. We had taken the kids to the Georgetown Park to expend some pent-up energy. I was sitting on top of a concrete picnic table watching them swing and slide to their heart's content when I began to have a vision of sorts. Not an "open" vision as some have, but a dawning, a realization. (Let me take a moment to also explain that I do not remember many specific episodes, even as an adult, but this moment is burned in my brain.) I began to have a desire for a place that people working hard in the ministry could come and rejuvenate - come and "let their hair down" and play, without fear of reprisal. No schedules unless they chose. If you know me, you know that I am not a person "given to hospitality." So that would definitely not be something that would come out of my own head!
Being a visionary is not one of my strong giftings, but that day I saw it! Not the place, but the purpose.
Fast forward to 2005. It was about that time that my dream activity regarding this place began to increase dramatically, although I still did not make a connection between the dreams and visions.
The next dream was of a building with at least two stories. The second story had a landing with a banister that went all the way around it and it looked down into a ‘great room' on the ground level. It was similar to many governmental buildings that have a dome. Our Texas capital building is like this. You can stand on the porch-like landing that is circular and look down into another level. Or at least I think it was circular. I know that the landing was there, but it may have been just on one side.
The next dream did not seem to fit with the rest of the dreams that I had received concerning a building. In this dream I was standing in a big, industrial kitchen that looked new - not old like the other dreams. It was painted in bright, light colors and had commercial-sized, stainless steel appliances. After leaving the kitchen I found myself walking to the back of the property to a stream and was talking to two men about purchasing more acreage. They were standing on the opposite side of the stream and they may have been on horses - I am not sure. There were some trees.
As I talked to them in the dream about the purchase of more property, my mind was racing... "Are you crazy? We do not have the resources to do this!" And no sooner had that thought entered my mind when the Holy Spirit interrupted my thoughts and spoke very plainly to me. "It will be as easy as the first time!"
From that we can deduct two things: 1) The first purchase will be easy. 2) There will be so much activity there will be a need for more acreage! Pretty cool.
Please note that even with all these dreams we had absolutely no hint that we would be spending extended time anywhere - Germany included. We had been praying for God to help us open a school of ministry and had tried to do that very thing in India. Then we found out that foreigners can not own land in India and everyone there seemed to lose steam concerning it. Other people tried to convince us that we should be in China or Thailand and we just could not get any peace about either one. It may sound crazy now but neither one of us connected the dreams that I (and others) were having to overseas.
Well, the more recent part of the prophetic picture took place in Germany.
(This actually happened; it is not a dream.) First of all, after spending two different periods of time with Manfred and Gabi Obst (the last being about three weeks), Manfred said to us, "Have you considered spending more time here in Germany? At least several months... we really need what you are teaching." He also mentioned several places that he could set up meetings for us. Yes, we sensed a connection being formed, a covenant relationship, coupled with the favor we were experiencing in this part of Germany - that is something that we are always on the lookout for. Where is the favor and who is God aligning us with?
The second part was somewhat more spectacular. I was in the car (once again - this actually happened), driving with our friends Frank and Biata to an outreach some miles away. A group of young people had formed a Christian punk band and we were on our way to their debut, and Wade was going to be the guest star! He had gone ahead of us to help set up. I was enjoying the scenery on the passenger side of the car when Frank said to me, "Linda, look! That will make a very good prophet training school."
I turned and looked and saw the castle and the Holy Spirit rested on me with an intensity that I had never sensed before. And I must say that I have sensed the presence of God many times in my life - but never like this. So I prayed in the Spirit for some time trying to figure out what was going on. It did not abate and obviously it was that building that God was pointing out to me. So, I asked Frank what it was. He replied that he did not know... he was just talking.
Now please understand that there are big empty buildings all over former Communist Germany. Big boxes built by the Communists for training, offices, etc. If I had decided to buy a building for a ministry center, one of those architecturally blah, very practical buildings would have been my choice. Not because I liked them, but because they would be practical, easy to maintain, cheap to operate - practical! Not a huge (beautiful) monster building built in the 1600s! Not one that was ornate, hard to heat with lots of grounds to maintain.
So, when I arrived at our destination I found Wade and told him what happened and he said that same thing happened to him! Then he told me to go and tell Andreas what happened. Andreas is about seven feet tall (or it seems to me!) and imagine him jumping up and down when I told him what I had experienced. He said that God had laid it on his heart to pray that it would not sell until the right buyers came along. We had a high time of rejoicing.
A few days later we were able to find the man with the key (with Andreas' help) and were able to go into the castle. Actually we almost missed the appointment because the guy with the key was waiting in the back and we were waiting in the front. Thank God one person in our team was thinking (Wade), but by the time we found the man we only had thirty minutes left of the hour that he had promised us. I had such a crazy mixture of feelings as we waited because, of course, finally we began to put two and two together. Combined with the not-so-gentle tap on the shoulder that the Holy Spirit gave us and the dreams it began to dawn us that this was the "old building."
Would it look like my dreams? Dreams are generally shadows of the real thing - pictures that sometimes mean something different than the literal thing that you dreamed. But sometimes it is exactly as you saw it...
Back to our tour of the property. As one enters the castle to the right is a very large receiving or great room, just exactly what you would imagine a castle to look like. On the ceiling were beautiful plaster images that had amazing detail. Fruit of every sort, people, trees... all were looking down on these strangers from another place who had come to check them out. In the left corner was a very large fireplace - not the walk-in type, but very large. But as we continued, it seemed unfamiliar. I guess I expected to walk in and feel at home - a feeling of warmth and familiarity. But, alas, it did not happen. It just seemed like a big, old, beautiful building. The good thing was that from the second floor up it had already been renovated by the German government. That floor (along with the third level, which we did not see, but our new friend assured us it looked exactly the same as the one we were seeing) did not look like a castle (or at least the ones in the movies!), but they were perfect for ministry, family camps, Bible schools, and anything else. They had been renovated for dorm-type living - gleaming dorm-style showers, toilets, and periodically a room for a group leader. (This is very important because in the process of researching the subject of ownership we found out that because this is a historical building the state has to approve what can be done and what can not be done. And Raymond [you will read about him later] says that the state can be a hard task master. Since the state made these changes - what can they say? Nothing!) On each floor there was also at least one mini kitchen.
Where were the things I had seen? We had seen almost the entire castle and not one thing I had seen in my dreams! What was up with that?
In fact, I had seen a stream. A dirty stream on the side of the castle overgrown with weeds taller than me. I reluctantly took a picture of it, thinking it must be THE stream that I walked to in my dream where I talked to the two men. But it was not right - it did not fit! Where were the trees? (Could it be that I mistook the weeds that were taller than me for trees? No, neither I nor the men could stand on either side because of the underbrush. And I KNEW I went behind the building - not beside it!) Oh well! Dreams are vague, right? (NO. I knew the details of these dreams and this did not fit any of them.)
The castle was old, it was big, and we saw aged wood - that all fit, but where was my gleaming kitchen? Where was the room with the balcony that looked down into the first floor? Where was my stream?
We learned some interesting facts. The bell tower had obviously recently been renovated. The man told us that the roof had just had a 2.5M euro makeover (whew!). The other floor was redone in a similar manner to the second floor (dorm-style), because it was currently being used as a rehabilitation facility for male juvenile delinquents, although they were all being moved out at the end of that month. Good timing, huh?
Even though there were amazing renovations - millions of euros, which would be translated to even more dollars (1.4 euros for every dollar at that time), I had only seen a very small portion of the very distinct things from my dreams. Now I did thoroughly enjoy the bottom floor - especially the right wing (sorry there's no east/west - I have been directionally challenged all my life). We first walked through the coolest little coffee shop/cafe. It featured all wood detail - very lovely and very cozy. Our tour guide told us (in German, of course) with a big grin that the men of the village had built it for recreation. My translation of his statement was that the men of the village had built it so they could play poker (or whatever German game men play) and smoke cigars away from the women folk. Whatever the reason, it was very cool!
That led to a large conference hall. In reality it was built as a chapel by the original owner! A king built a chapel in his summer home... he must have been a believer that honored God. Not a church in the middle of town so everyone would be impressed with all that glitters, which was the common thing of that day, but a simple, yet beautiful chapel in their home.
Well, I just thought the other ceiling was beautiful! This ceiling had an amazing wow factor. There were Bible characters teaching fat little angels (children, next generation?) along with the fruit and leaves in even more detail than the other ceiling. That certainly made me smile - but still very little from, what I felt very strongly were prophetic dreams.
Our guide quickly led us out the back door. (Remember we had squandered thirty minutes of our hour waiting for the man who was waiting for us.) We crossed the now dry moat which was a weed bed. It was exactly as one might imagine - going all the way around the castle (with the exception that it was dry and it had no draw bridge).
I asked Wade, "What in the world would you do with a moat?"
With no hesitation he replied, "I know exactly what I would do with it. I would create a beautiful garden with picnic tables and piped-in music. It would be something the people from the village could enjoy. I'd bet people from all around the region would come and enjoy it!"
Wow! What a great idea!
Beyond the moat there were several buildings that I assumed were not a part of the property, but our host headed right toward them. Assuming they would be a future purchase, I was less than enthusiastic. They were not old or big compared to the castle. As it turned out they had to be a part of the original purchase. First of all the heating system for the entire castle was housed in one of the buildings. And quite a heating system it was! It looked more like a plant operating room! Man oh man! It was very modern - not at all 1677-ish. That perked me up a tad.
One of the other buildings was a place for crafts training (plumbing, carpentry, etc. not scrap booking and crochet). Across the way was a building with a hallway going about halfway down the middle. On each side of the hallway were classrooms (either four or six, I am not sure). The back half of the building was a large dining room that smelled of German cooking. As we walked to the rear of the dining hall, the gentleman asked if we wanted to see the kitchen. Sure.
We entered a door to the rear left of the dining hall. On the left side of that hall was a kitchen - a small kitchen... then another... and still one more. That opened up into... a white, gleaming kitchen with large, stainless steel commercial appliances! MY KITCHEN! I had to turn my eyes away from our host because my eyes were leaking profusely. I had been there! I found my warm fuzzy "at home" feeling.
Although I had not yet found my stream or my great room with the balcony - I had found my kitchen that had not fit my other dreams.
Next to the castle was what would be by most standards a very large house, although compared to the castle it was small. We learned it was also empty and for sale. In fact someone laughed and said that the entire town was probably for sale. Behind it was what appeared to be an agricultural center because there were barns, stock areas, etc. Not huge like a ranch might be, but more like the size of a family farm.
It was about this time that Wade mentioned that he had the number $300,000 floating around his spirit and felt that was the number we should offer them for the property. Okay - that was not what I had dreamed in one of the very first dreams - it was given to us, but we will see what God is up to.
That day we sent an email to Linda McCormick, Jeanie Pearson and Penny Drexal. Each of these women regularly intercedes for us. In fact, they sometimes know what is happening in our lives before we do! In that email I included pictures of the front and the side of the castle. The next day we received another amazing confirmation. Linda wrote back saying, "Don't you remember about nine months ago I told you about a dream I had about a property? In this dream the building had lots of windows all in line and there were at least two stories, but I was not sure how many. I only knew there were two. It looked like a high school. I was showing someone around and I told them, ‘This is the property God gave to Wade and Linda.'"
Well..., yes, I vaguely remember that. Yes! I do, in fact I had asked Linda to write a couple of paragraphs about it so we could hand them out at a meeting of the people in our area that pray for us.
So we continued our time of ministry there in Germany with a sense of destiny and awe but also with the knowledge that we had an assignment in front of us that had to be finished and finished well. These beautiful German people deserved nothing less than our very best.
After I arrived home I sat down with Linda and since she had only shared bits and pieces of the dream God had given her, I asked her to share in more detail.
She began, "I was walking with someone, showing them the property. We walked toward the barns..." (I had not mentioned the barns to her or anyone else because I did not consider them to be significant. In fact I had purposely not told her anymore because I did not want to influence her memory of her dream.)
Continuing on, "...past picnic tables where young people were sitting and eating."
Picnic tables!?! Like Wade saw? Young people? Yeah. Young people have always been a part of our lives and we love it (most of the time). The next generation has always been a high priority for us.
Linda continued, "And as we walked, this person... I think it was a man, I said to him, ‘This is the property God gave Wade and Linda.' Then he mentioned $300,000 and I responded by saying, ‘Wade will never have to pay that.'"
As previously stated we had purposely not told her the other details. But this presented a dilemma. Although her dream confirmed many things, it also created some confusion. In her dream and mine it was indicated that the building and associated grounds would be given to us but it also confirmed Wade's number of $300,000. So, which was it? Given or $300,000?
After several weeks it dawned on us that we had befriended a man that is a banker with in-depth knowledge of the finance/banking systems. He also was on the recovery side of medical leave; therefore he would probably be open to doing some research for us on the subject. Raymond and his wife Geva have helped with much of the work, including research and translation.
When we wrote Raymond asking if he would be willing to help us, he wrote back with the following information. (As you read this please remember that he had none of the details that you have read thus far.) He said that some of the properties such as the castle had been purchased in Germany using a contract or proposition where the interested party lays out certain benchmarks that they purpose to implement. These benchmarks would be designed to help the people of that region in some way (jobs, job training, etc.). If the said benchmarks were met at the end of a predetermined time, the money offered would be abated.
That brought it all together! It reconciled all of the details - the $300,000 and the prophetic dreams that said it would be given to us.
One of the more interesting parts of this is the desire to aid Jews - more specifically Russian Jews - to relocated to a safer area and possibly even to Israel. The believers of that area had been praying for some time for an avenue to do that very thing.
A few weeks ago Janet Garcia asked me, after seeing a picture of the castle, "How many sides does the clock tower have?" I was not exactly sure, but she reminded me of a dream that she had in 2006. She wrote it on a Wal-Mart receipt and gave it to me. She dreamed that she saw me (Linda) in a five-sided room. It was obviously my office because there was a beautiful oak desk in the middle. I found that Wal-Mart receipt and it will soon be stapled in my journal.
Bob Cheshier a dear friend of ours told us that last year Teal prophesied to him that he would be teaching in a Bible school in Germany. Please understand that Bob ministered overseas - but in Africa! Never any other place as far as I can remember.
Not one person has had a negative reaction to this story, not even the people that we were sure would have a less than positive reaction.
By the way, remember the stream at the back of the property in the dream? Although we never saw a stream when we were there, later we looked on a satellite map and saw there is a stream at the back of the property with trees on either side
According to the prayer/believing of German believers:
1. The property will not be sold until the right people come along
2. It will be an "underground railroad" of sorts
According to our prayer:
1. Raise up the Joshuas and Calebs
2. Bring the property back to its destiny
3. An Army of people
a. Psalms 110:3
b. Exodus 28:3, 31:3-6, 35:3