My IHOPKC Experience: Mike & Laurie’s Story
by Mike & Laurie Ditto
We started coming to the International House of Prayer back in 1999 when it started in the trailers. I (Laurie) had received a postcard in the mail inviting me to a women’s conference. Interesting enough, we later heard that IHOPKC didn’t send postcards out; and a postcard that would go randomly to a person who had never been to IHOPKC and lived in Upper Michigan leaves something to ponder! Struggling with depression, I still felt led to come visit—a trip that would forever change our family.
A funny point on this. Driving to the prayer room for the first time, I first saw a large complex and spied the sign “International House of . . . Lloyd”! A nice, huge building like that would be the Lord’s house of prayer, right? But just down the road was a much smaller and interesting house—the house of prayer built out of combined trailers! It makes sense now, thinking of how Jesus first came to see small beginnings that would change hearts. But what a shock at first.
I was taken in a vision to heaven on this first visit and met Jesus who would heal me, deliver me, and save me. Everything changes when we meet Him. That day would start a chain reaction of salvation in our family, starting with Mike and continuing with both of our girls, Krystal and Desiree.
From that point forward, we brought our kids and youth groups to every Onething conference (since the first one). Both our girls got saved, along with multiple kids from the youth ministry we ran from our home. We would make several trips a year to Kansas City just to come to the prayer room, bringing along anyone who might’ve been interested. The prayer room felt like home to us—we had a longing in our heart every time we had to return home from a visit. It would be another six more years until we would get the call to move to Kansas City.
Both of our daughters came to IHOPKC to do an internship. Krystal did Fire in the Night (FITN), and Desiree did One Thing Internship (OTI). Both internships deeply affected and blessed them. Krystal had procrastinated on her application, but we decided she was supposed to be here anyway, so we headed down to Kansas City without having her internship acceptance. Krystal was accepted the day we got here, but she couldn’t get into an apartment right away, so we loaded all her stuff (500 lbs of fasted lifestyle she couldn’t do without!) into Stuart’s car (bless him!). She waited all day in the prayer room until FITN started that night.
Krystal met her husband, Andrew, while he was doing a four-year program at International House of Prayer University. Both of them served in the Children’s Equipping Center (CEC) for a while until they grew to their own full-time “CEC” with 10 kids! Desiree has served with CEC for over 12 years while working in the marketplace. CEC has always been a part of her family. We so appreciate Lenny La Guardia and his team for what they do!
For me (Mike), a favorite memory from past years is when I would go into the back of the prayer room while the worship team would do a worship with the Word set, and I would take a little “prophetic” power nap. I know we don’t do that anymore, but it sure was an anointed place to get a prophetic dream.
We had a large amount of prophetic swirl on the move here. I (Laurie) had a dream of moving and saw our house that would eventually match where we moved into. Mike woke up night after night at 1:27am, being led to Psalm 127 each time. The Lord told us to only use that number for our new house and get ready to move. We thought the number had to do with how much money the house would cost, but His ways are not our ways. You know it—we moved to 12700 10th Street in the house the Lord had shown me. Psalm 127 would eventually play out more in our lives, and it still continues to. We were in the right place.
We started the Intro to IHOPKC internship with the idea that we would get immersed here and be part of the family. But then I (Mike) had to go back to work in the marketplace and could just attend church and the prayer room. Intro to IHOPKC was the most intense and fulfilling time we had had in a long time. We were in a group of over 100 interns.
One day at church, Gary London was on the stage, sharing about a need for an operations manager for the Forerunner School of Ministry, and Laurie leaned over and nudged Mike, “That is your job. You need to interview.” Mike, a man of faith, says, “I really doubt that!How will we make it!” Needless to say, I (Mike) followed Holy Spirit (and Laurie!) and we have been here since. I remember how intimidating it was when the only seat at the meeting was next to Mike Bickle who leaned over to ask, “Who are you?” As the years have passed, it has been so wonderful to know how much Mike Bickle really cares about people and to see his father heart towards the Body of Christ.
Knowing my call was to go tell others about Him, I (Laurie) started serving with Hal Linhardt in the Evangelism department. Our family soon fell in love with Hal and his family. I had the privilege to be a leader in Evangelism since then; today, we love our group of evangelists at the Kansas City Evangelists’ Fellowship (KCEF), as we continue to share the gospel of Christ in this city. Together we now oversee KCEF as zone pastors and also our own ministry, My Father’s Reputation. I also head up Operation Save Kansas City. Prayer and outreach go together just like Jesus said! For us, it all was birthed in the house of prayer.
Throughout the years, I (Mike) have worked in the Operations department for the Forerunner School of Ministry and as dean of students for the same school at IHOPU. I now serve as the facilities director at IHOPKC.
We are so blessed to be able to be here at IHOPKC, with the presence of the Lord all around us daily. Everything we gave up diminished quickly in that reality and the blessing we now receive. We have struggled in finances, health, and some rejection from family and friends by accepting this assignment, but would gladly do it again. We have learned and grown so much from the leadership here. And then, to be sent out from a place of prayer to reach those He loves is beyond what we ever could imagine or deserve. It excites us to see what the Lord is doing and that we are part of seeing a billion+ souls come into the kingdom. We see the house of prayer as a critical part of fulfilling the Great Commission and proclaiming the beauty of Jesus and His glorious return. Thank you, IHOPKC family, for all you have done for us! Thank you, Jesus, for everything!
What are you believing God to do in your family?