(This painting,"Whom Shall I Send,"is used by permission
of Joe Hostetler of Huntington, Ind. {Self-Portrait as Isaiah}

My life as a Christian, actually began in the fall of 1975. I was in college, and had reached a time when I had run out of the "answers" to life's questions. I had been trying to find answers to life's questions in Tibetan Buddism and Transendental Meditation. None of this, had proved to fill my empty void; in fact, it caused more apathy, and didn't give me the peace of mind which I so desperately was seeking. I had been raised in a loving, Christian home, but somehow, I had needed to find the answers to life's important questions on my own.

One evening, while with a friend, I left and walked down, what seemed to be a very lonely sidewalk in my home town of Lindsborg, Kansas. After coming back to the dorm I was living in, I reached up my hand into the air and said, "Jesus." He was there immediately, and the lonely darkness in my soul, was filled at that point in time with his light and life-giving spirit. During this time, I remember the Holy Spirit showing me a scripture in Luke 1:76: "And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go to prepare the way for him..." Now, I knew that this scripture was speaking about John the Baptist, but deep down inside of me, I knew that this was also something which the Holy Spirit was sharing with me personally.

During these years, from 1975-1978, I was involved in college studying art and other subjects. I also became involved in a local Bible study group which was open to the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and where we all had a chance to participate, study, and pray for each other. I remember many prophecies coming out of the study at this time, from a friend of mine. I remember seeking the Lord for the "gifts of the Spirit" at this time. Although He had blessed me with a love for the word and the ability to speak in tongues, it seemed like "years" before He actually began to develop those gifts which have now been manifested in my life over the last several years. I knew that there was a call on my life, and that my steps were directed by Him, but often times, it seemed like the way was paved with obscurity and trial and error. While He had developed discerning of Spirits and wisdom in me, the other prophetic gifts were long in coming, and I had to wait years before they were developed. I remember looking back now, that much of what went through my mind and spirit at the time, was a sense of looking at a time in the future when He would manifest Himself more to me, and that somehow, there was a place for me in the body of Christ. There was also someone else who came to the group who was a prophet. I remember him during one of my visits, showing me this scripture from Ezekiel 33:30-33, "As for you, son of man, your countrymen are talking together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying to each other, 'Come and hear the message that has come from the LORD.' My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice. With their mouth they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrment well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice. "When all this comes true--and it surely will--then they will know that a prophet has been among them." I visited his home from time to time, and talked about various things concerning our group, and events which took place in our small town. Although he didn't "prophesy", he taught many Biblical truths to our group, and imparted insights and revelations about us and our walks with the Lord.

During the summer of 1978, my family and I left for Colorado Springs. I had finished college, and had decided that it was right for us to move and to find employment in the art field there. Over the course of several years, we went to various types of protestant churches--Christian Reformed, Calvary Chapel, and Lutheran. We eventually settled in a Lutheran church where I was elected as an elder of the church. About 5 years after we had settled in Colorado Springs, my wife decided that she wanted a divorce. Nothing could have unsettled me more, nor caused me more grief or depression. Over the next several years, I slowly adapted my life to that of a single parent. I also found my only stability could be found in my relationship with God and through his word. During this period of time, I focused my attention with my two children who were young in years, and also spent time with my artwork. All of this, gave me a purpose and reason for my existence.

I came to realize that there were things in my life which I could not control. I had to wait upon the Lord, for Him to bring the right person into my life. In 1989 He finally did, and that void was filled. She has been a great blessing in my life, and has taught me much about what "giving" is. It seems that God purposefully brings couples together who are "opposites", and who can and should, balance each other out. We became involved in a local fellowship, (church) which also practiced the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I became more and more involved in seeking Him for what he wanted me to do. It was not always clear, but He was always there, continually speaking to me, and filling me with his Spirit. As time went on, I would receive messages, (words) for others in the church, along with prophecies for the church. I would write them down and tell that person that I had a "word" for them from the Lord. I was always sensitive to the "timing" of when and how I should do this. These "words" were almost always received, and oftentimes, they were concerned with not only comfort, edification, and exhortation, but they involved direction, and illumination for the person. I was always writing down the prophecies, to make sure that they were accurate, and that I had them "right." Also, because of what Habakkuk 2:2 says, "Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablet so that a herald may run with it." I remember fixing-up a little shed in the back of our house, which was actually, a pumphouse used for watering the lawn. I decided that I would put up colored burlap curtains, and use it for a prayer room. Here I could come early in the morning and seek the Lord. It seemed very dusty and unkempt, but was a quiet retreat from the outside world. During one of my times there, the Spirit showed me the various containers in the room, and mentioned about 2 Tim 20: "In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble." I remember there being many visions during these times spent in seeking him there. At this time, I also had become involved with The School of the Prophetic, which equipped Christians to be able to hear from the Lord, and to train them in the prophetic. This school was headed-up by Dr. Kevin van der Westhuizen. This gave me some more foundational truths and helped me understand what all of this was about.

After being with this church for 2-3 years, the pastor left to do missionary work in Hong Kong with his wife and family. Another man was elected and ordained as pastor of the church. The church split, and people went in various directions. Just before a lot of this happened, my wife and I left because I sensed that it was time to leave, and we became involved with some friends who were in the ministry. They encouraged me to become ordained, and I was recognized as a prophet and teacher with them, and with others. During this time, I taught various Biblical studies from the Major and Minor Prophets. We were also affliated with an accredited Christian Seminary. So these classes could be used for credit at this Christian Seminary. We helped get a church started with these friends, and enjoyed good times of fellowship and praise with them. Oftentimes, the Lord would use me in speaking prophetic messages to us for the group, individuals, and in various ways. Much of the thrust of this fellowship and church was Messianic in nature. Although we became very close with each other, in time we realized that God had something else in store for us to do. After about 2-3 years, we left this church, and became involved in another local fellowship where the Lord gave me prophetic messages for the church. The Holy Spirit eventually lead us out of this church, and we spent about 6 months to a year going to various churches in the Colorado Springs area. Many times during this period, I would receive a prophetic word for a particular congregation and church, and the Lord would instruct me, and my wife to go there and deliver it. This was not always easy, nor did my wife always want to go; for she thought that a lot of this was "weird." So I had to contend with many obstacles, and wondered at times, if I was doing the right thing. I would come up to the pastor of the local church or assembly, and tell him that I had a "word" to give for the church. So when it was time during the worship service, I would stand up and deliver it. And yes...usually it was received, and it would bear witness to their spirits, and would confirm something about the direction or "flavor" of that particular church.

Some serveral years ago, the Lord directed my wife and I to a small Lutheran church here in town. What, a Lutheran church you say? Yes... I was brought up a Lutheran, and my father was a Lutheran minister, who died when he was 30 years old. My mother remarried, and moved us back to where she had gone to college, in Lindsborg, Kansas. At any rate, that is where we go to church now, and yes, I have given some personal prophecies to a couple of people there, but over-all, my mission has been to teach an adult Bible class on Sunday mornings. Here, over the last two years, I have taught on the "Gifts of the Holy Spirit", the book of Revelation, and other subjects. Before we started going to this church, the Lord told me, "Now I have brought you full circle." We love the people there, but I miss the freedom of worship which we've experienced at other fellowships.

I will continue to "write the vision down," and I will continue to paint and create. "For when you create you are giving glory back to Me, for I am a creator. I created the heavens and the earth, and I knit together man and woman, each in their own way, and in their individual parts. For I am also an artist. You look upon the substance of things with your eyes and your senses, but I have created out of nothing and of the void. I have hollowed out a place inside of you, a creative center, where my inspiration flows and the sparks fly. This is my plan, for in this way, you are showing forth the image of the creator, which I Am." For graven images are an example of creativity gone eschew." (Prophecy found in Section 2.) By profession, I'm an art teacher and who has also taught English and Drama, in the local high schools. It seems that it is all a journey, and that there are perhaps, "seasons" in our lives. We need to be led by the Spirit, to know where he wants us, so that we can do his work.

I find that there are two primary types of churches, the ones that ignore the "things of the Spirit" and follow the "traditions of man", and those that perhaps, recognize the "things of the Spirit", but treat them like "candy." I realize that there are many bodies of believers who are well-balanced and scripturally based. Perhaps this assessment doesn't apply to them. I believe that this word recently given to me, sums up what I'm trying to say, 6/13/98 "My church has gone through many changes. It has gone through the time of the Reformation, it has seen the great revivals of England and other countries, it has seen the great evangelists, and the time of the teachers, that came out of the 60's and 70's. And now, over the last 10 years or so, a great prophetic wave has come into the church. It has been ignored by some, it has become entertainment for others. My church has needed revival in it for a long time. The traditions of man have taken over what my Spirit would bring. And yet, some of my body would ignore the things of my Spirit. They would say, 'I have no use for these things. That those things were for the time of Pentecost.' My book, this word of mine, was not meant to be just a history book, but it is to be my living word. And yet...many have gone after these things as if they were "candy." You see, my food was meant to be a balanced diet. Not just the gifts of the Spirit and "candy," but the raw meat of my word. So, how can my body come together as one? How can it partake of the things of my Spirit and the traditions of man? And how can it find substance in its knowledge of me and my word, by just eating "candy"? My prophetic wave has come, and has swept over the land. Will my people be ready for me? Will they be able to hear the trumpets call, or will "candy" be their desire, and not my word?" This prophecy is taken from Section 5.

So, the journey continues, and He has led me to several different churches in the area here to give a "word" for them as a church. This has been received, and opened doors for fellowship, worship and communication between me and them. Now, Carol my wife, has decided to join me in this quest for following Him wherever He would lead. I knew that she would, largely in part, because He told me that she would. She has wanted to find a "church home", and I have prayed about this. It seems at least for this season, there is a purpose in "moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling." I remember at least more than once, hearing the Lord repeat to me that portion of scripture which was spoken to David through Nathan, saying: "Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling." 2 Samuel 7:5-7. I am accountable to others I know, and am part of the body, and knited together with it wherever we go. I have found several friends and connections on the Internet. Through a national Apostolic and Prophetic Newsletter, which is moderated by a gifted lady from the state of Washington, and through various Christian friends and ministries across this nation, and around the world, I have come to realize that we as the body of Christ, are joined together as one large community in Him. He is leading His body forward as an endtime army, being equipped to battle against the forces of darkness. His Apostles and Prophets are being raised-up in these days, as never before, and new life is being breathed into the church. Will we be ready for His soon return? Will we be about the Father's business, or will we continue with the stagnant traditions of men? We need to be alert and ready, and always be listening to that "still small voice," which calls us ever forward in this day and age. I for one, will not look back, but desire to heed the high calling of God, and press on to this high calling in Him.

The Summer of 1999, has proven to be a pivotal time for me and others. I was involved in a prophetic conference in Kremmling, Colorado during the last week in August. Here, several people who have been involved with the prophetic, came together, and spent a weekend at Faith Tabernacle, speaking, praying, prophesying, and simply, enjoying each other's company. It was a tremendous time in the Lord, and one in which I will remember for a long, long time. None of us had met each other in the physical, but had known each other primarily through the internet. Only God could bring together something like this. Callings and ministries were confirmed, and insight was given to many. I will treasure the time which was spent there, and getting to know the various people whom I have grown to love over the last 1-2 years. Bill and Marsha Burns, the pastors of Faith Tabernacle, proved to be the loving, wise servants, whom I had always thought that they were. We had known each other after the "Spirit," it was now time to get to know each other after the "flesh." Long will these relationships stand, and deep will the waters flow between us, as we walk through the days which are ahead of us.

Just after this, on the following weekend, there was yet another conference here in Colorado Springs at the World Prayer Center. Approximately 15-20 people from all over the country, and also from Norway, were gathered together for a National Church Strategies Conference. Both my wife, Carol, and Destiny, our foster child, were present. We walked away with a fresh view, and also, were strengthened with new assignments given, and different viewpoints concerning the church, fellowships, and what exactly the "church is" in light of God's word. We were also enlightened as to how we can in our own individual ministries, affect it in a way which is pleasing to God, as well as being obedient to Him, in a church which oftentimes, can be quite traditional, as well as stagnant. I hope that what we learned, we can all put into action, and develop a "game plan" for these last days which we are living in.

I find that there are many "seasons" which we as individuals and as a body, go through in our lives. The important thing is to be able to discern the times and the seasons which we are living in. Not only the "seasons" which show themselves in the world and the affairs around us, but to know the "seasons" which we are in as individuals. This becomes paramount as prophetic words are uttered concerning each of us, and knowing, when indeed, these things will come to pass in our lives. This is true wisdom, and this is necessary, if we are to carry the torches and retain the oil that the five wise virgins had. For it is not only in hearing and being given revelation knowledge, but it is in knowing how to "apply" what we have heard and seen, which will help us to "walk through" the valleys and the mountains, which our lives will take us through.

We have finally found another church home and family over the last few months. I had kept seeking Him for where that place might be, and always "listening to that still small voice" within me when we went to a particular church. It seems that He would lead me somewhere, and in the midst of the service, while waiting upon Him, He then would speak and confirm that that was not the place for us. My wife has learned to accept this, and now, her patience has been rewarded. I sense that this will be our home for a while now. There seem to be few places that still accept the prophetic office in their midst. There is a right and a wrong way to approach a church. I have found for me, that when the Lord directs me to a particular church, He oftentimes, then gives me a word "beforehand." This I write down and pray over, asking Him to confirm what has been spoken to me, so that I am certain as to its content and anointing. Then comes the time for "when" to give it. This also is something which I believe, is crutial to the prophet, or the prophetic minister. Knowing what to say, and when to say it, are "key" I believe. Remember that there is a "time for everything, and a purpose for everything under heaven." As mentioned earlier, the Lord has seemed to give me something to say "beforehand," and I write this down. If the church or pastor does not know me, and even if they do, I usually approach the pastor and say that "I have a word from the Lord," and believe that it needs to be shared today." This is a good way to approach a church, and I think, adds credibility to the prophetic.

Now, that is not to say that the Lord has not given me something or shown me something, while in the midst of a service--He has. One needs to be sensitive to what He is speaking and sharing with you at the time. Is it something personal which concerns only you, or is it something which would benefit the body of Christ? These are important considerations to make, and ones which perhaps, are learned over time, through trial and error. Also, is this word specifically for that particular church, or is this something for the body of Christ at large? Obviously, there may well be something in every word which has application to the body of Christ at large, but is the real "meat" and content for someone or some church only? Also, and perhaps, finally, how does one then conduct themselves in giving personal words from the Lord to those in their midst at a church? Here again, I believe, wisdom is key, and important. Obviously, if someone is praying for you, and suddenly has a word from the Lord, and then speaks it out, this is something which needs to be weighed carefully. There may be other times when He speaks to you in the midst of a service concerning someone there in your midst. I usually then ask Him when would be a good time to share this with the person, and He will let me know. (These then, are just simply some good rules of conduct for those involved in the prophetic, and hopefully, helpful guidelines to follow. Remember that there is big difference between the "gift of prophecy" and the office of a prophet. I have learned over time that His main intention is to work His life into me. When I've given a message to the nation then soon afterwards, I have found that He is working that word into me. It becomes fused into my spirit so that I am to take on its character. We are to become more like Him, but the prophet is to become the word. We don't always know where and how He is leading us, but in time, we will see ALL of the pieces come together.)

A couple of years ago the Lord directed me to have use move to New Mexico. We had been quite settled in our home in Colorado Springs, but at the same time, the hussle and bustle of the large city was getting to be a bit much. We moved to a very remote area on a Navajo reservation in northwestern New Mexico, which was about 100 miles or more to any city. We were alone except for one block of street that had perhaps 10-12 people living there who were also teachers. We managed to settle-in there but we felt separated from the world so to speak. After a time, we noticed that our 7 year old daughter, Destiny, was facing all types of ridicule and abuse from fellow students. Destiny was diagnosed with situational depression. She was the only Anglo child out of about 300 Navajos. The prejudice ran deep. So, my wife wanted us to move away and find a place where she would be more accepted. Around dinner time one evening, we had a friend over to be with us. The principal at a middle school in southern New Mexico called me out of the blue and wondered if I was still interested in an art position there? I said yes and I got the job. This has proven to be the most difficult time of my life. The 8th graders in particular, were some of the rudest group of kids I've ever worked with. They had been used to the previous teacher being there whom they loved and missed. Here I come and ask more of them, and throughout the entire school year, I was ridiculed, and not accepted. Throughout the year a prophetic intercessor kept telling me that God had sent a prophet to them and I was exposing them, and that the real battle was in the heavenlies. I know this to be true, because every morning I would anoint my head and pray that He would equip and strengthen me for what the day had. I found out that I was facing some of the same issues that our daughter Destiny had faced at the Navajo school. Was God actually bringing me through this trial so that I would know what she had endured and faced? It seemed so. I was told that the art position was ending due to budgetary reasons by the principal and superintendent. I found out later on that they had been lieing and were very deceitful about this. Towards the end of May I had gone to Ft. Worth, Tx. to see our other daughter Sarah, graduate from med school. She is now officially a PA (Physician's Assistant.) They are in the process of moving to St. Paul where she and her husband both have jobs. When I got back from the graduation, I discovered that they had already hired a new art teacher for the coming fall. The superintendent had also "found a way" to finance the art dept. Now I have searched throughout New Mexico and applied to various districts, but my wife has wanted me to search out Colorado, where she can be near her family again. God is doing it all it seems: Our house is getting sold, I just had a phone interview at a charter school in Colo. Spgs., and we go off again to look for housing. So. I can ask why the Lord led me to New Mexico, because I certainly believe that He did, and yet we return back to our home state and city. Perhaps He wanted us, as He does all of us, to trust Him more. Maybe He needed to take me to the desert so that I could lean on Him more. He did this with Paul, and others. Don't be surprised if He does it with you. Would you be willing, or would you rather stay in your comfort zone and remain there?

We live in a time when war could break-out at any time on our borders or our coastlines. We have experienced the upheaval of many natural disasters around us from hurricanes, to floods, to earthquakes in various parts of the globe. The birthing pangs have been going on now for some time. We know the times that we are living in for the hour is late. Remember that judgment must first begin with the household of God. I believe that this process has begun and it will continue, as many fall, and yet others, will rise to the occasion. In spite of all of these things, we must continue to look for "that blessed hope" and to remain steady in spite of the upheavals and the wickedness all around us. Will we be prepared and ready?

Stephen Hanson