Friday, July 31, 2015

F.R.O.G....also known as Fully Rely On God...

  For the past week or so, my mind has been a bit of a muddled mess.  There's just so much overwhelming things floating around in there that I almost would rather not think about anything then sift through the truth, lies, visions, doubts, gratitude, fears, etc bouncing around.  I guess that's what I get for not really taking that much time for myself this past month.  It seems since leaving for the medical brigade in the middle of last month, I really haven't stopped going.  I was there, then I traveled for a few days, then I spent two and a half weeks non-stop prepping for the short term team that came (as well as continuing on with my normal duties), then the team was here for a week, and then I spent majority of this week helping my boss and his wife move.  Not that I am complaining about any of that, cause I'm not, it's just I really haven't taken much time to just sit still and be with myself...and now things have started to add up.
  I know for one thing that God is truly teaching me a lot about myself and who He is to me, this year.  It has become increasingly obvious to me that I am the kind of person who often looks to others to find some sense of approval or acceptance.  In some ways that is a very human thing to do, but in another sense, as a Christian, I know that any real sense of approval and acceptance has to come from God.  People are finicky...one minute you are their best friend, the next their worst enemy.  And no matter how reliable we all try to be, none of us is fail proof.
  I would have to say, in the last month, particularly in the past two-three weeks, I have been reminded over and over and over again that it's only in God and God alone that I can truly trust.  If I look to others, I'm often disappointed by their lack of measuring up to my expectations.  and if I look to myself, I'm often frustrated by my own inability to do the right thing.  Even when it comes to things as simple as needing a little comfort, as much as people try it's never enough.  Only God can truly offer the comfort we really need and are looking for.
  I'm pretty sure this isn't the first time I've learned this lesson.  Like I wrote in the newsletter I sent out to my supporters today, I think throughout my whole life God has continually been teaching me to fully rely on Him, just on ever deepening levels.  The comfort in that is knowing that no matter what is going on in my head at the moment, as I hand it over to God, He will untangle it all and if I allow Him to, He'll make it all into a beautiful masterpiece.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Sometimes all you need is a word....

  Today we went to Cuenca to get some last minute supplies for next week's Vacation Bible School.  While there, we also had a chance to meet and visit with a young couple that we are hoping to connect our ministry with in the future.  They lead a Bethel type school of supernatural ministry in Cuenca as well as two side businesses.  When I first walked in their house I worried that they were too "high class" for me and that because of that, we wouldn't be able to mesh (because I am so not High class material!).  However, after a few moments my fears were proved to be unfounded and from what I experienced today, I can honestly say they are super quality people!  Not only did we get to enjoy a nice meal with them (one they prepared for us I might add), but we also got to share our ministry with them and listen to them speak into our lives. 
  To be honest, I am pretty skeptical about supernatural things.  It's not that I don't believe that God works that way in this day and age, it's just that in my life time I have seen  "supernatural" things go so off track and it's made me a little hard of heart in accepting everything supernatural at face value.  Yet today, our new friends shared some words from God for each of us... basically they prophesied over us... and what they said to me really hit home.
  These past few months have been some of the hardest of my life.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy my time here and all that I am doing, but living on the missions field is hard and it's been extremely lonely for me... especially this past year.  I could sugar coat it, but in reality, I've longed for my friends and family and that sense of community I started to form in the states before I left.  And I have felt  so...very... alone.
  One of the things our new friends shared with me today was that they felt like from the moment I walked into their house God was saying to me that I'm never alone.  I can't tell you how much I needed to hear that!  It was like a breath of fresh air.  A solid reminder that God sees me and He's with me.  I'm NOT alone.  I needed that.  More than I can say, I needed that. They also shared some other things that they sensed were from God for me and it was just such an encouragement to me, especially as I start looking towards where I think God is leading me next. 
  Sometimes I feel like I am a shadow dweller.  Like I am here on earth, trying to hear from God and walk out His will in a way that honors Him, but nobody really sees me (not even God).  I feel like I'm plodding on and plodding on, taking one step at a time, but I don't really know if what I am doing matters or makes any difference.  Today I received the encouragement to keep  moving forward, to keep trusting God and to give Him even more space to move in my life.
  I hope that someday I can be the kind of person that offers this kind of encouragement to others.  I want to be the kind of person that so exudes Jesus that when people hang out with me, they feel like they have encountered God and received exactly what they needed from Him.  That's what our new friends did for me today.  I went to have lunch with strangers and ended up not only with new friends, but having met with Jesus....and it was exactly what I needed!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Love, Compassion and a heart like Jesus...

  So for the past few days I have been trying to write my newsletter for all the people who support me and our ministry here in Saraguro.  I think it's important to keep people informed and in the loop on things.  I for one know that I am not alone in this ministry and every person who has ever prayed or sent in a dollar to help, is a part of what God's doing here...and I never want to take that for granted.  Yet sometimes it's hard to put into words what God is or has done.  I can sit in front of the computer for hours typing and re-typing exactly what I think I want to say, and yet none of it feels right....at least not for a newsletter.  So for now I'm coming on here.  Maybe if I can start the ball rolling by sharing my thoughts and feeling on this blog, that will carry over to my newsletter....if not, at least I've kept some people informed, right?!?
  So... I shared in my last post how while at the Medical Brigade I worked as a translator in the prayer room and how it was so far out of my comfort zone that I felt like I was walking on water in the middle of the ocean.  For the past few days though, I've been thinking how crazy it really is that God even allowed me to be in there in the first place, yet alone that He used me in there! The truth of the matter is, I'm not the most fluent Spanish speaker and I have no formal training in praying for people.  Yes, I asked to be in the prayer room, but honestly I can't help but wonder why God allowed it, knowing my lack of "skill" and all.  But, I think God has started to revealed to me the answer to that why...
  On the second day of the Medical Brigade we had a young girl and her mom come to us asking for prayer.  They had come to get the girl checked out by the doctors because she had been having headaches  and upon meeting with the doctor it was discovered the girl had a tumor (you could actually feel it).  They were in shock and visibly upset, and for a moment I thought, "This is too big...maybe I should wait and send them to someone else....someone who can lay hands on them and through whom, the power of God could remove this thing...what can I do but love them". Yet....when I looked in that sweet mothers eyes and listened to her pour out her heart to me, I couldn't turn them away.  So right there, before God in heaven, I got on my hands and knees and I cried out to God on their behalf...and I mean cried!  I sobbed along with that mother and her daughter.  I felt their pain and fear as if it was my own, and I stained the wood floor with my tears.  I literally carried them on my knees to Jesus in prayer in a way that I never had before.  And while I don't know if I will ever find out what happens to this family, I know that that day, through me, they met Jesus....they encountered the love of the Father.
  And I think that's exactly why God allowed me in that room....not because I have the skills, but because I have the heart.  I've always been a super sensitive person, it's actually one of the biggest struggles I have with myself, but that day and the days after and before, God used that quality of mine...that God given quality...to touch His children and show them that He not only sees them, but He cares DEEPLY for them.  I can't take credit for anything that happened in that prayer room over those 5 days, but I can say that I was so blessed that God would choose to allow me to be there and to literally be His hands and feet, reaching out to touch His children, showing them His heart of love and compassion.  I think sometimes we long for the big stories, like physical healing or some sort of deliverance.  But I am not sure if there is a bigger story than LOVE....for God is LOVE...and we are His!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Lessons from the Prayer Room...

  The comparison game is such an easy trap to fall into.  Either we are looking at others, thinking about how much "better" they are then us, thus feeling worse about ourselves.  Or we are looking at ourselves, thinking about how much "better" we are then someone else, thus forcing them to some sort of rank below us!  It's such a silly thing to do considering we all have things we are going to do better or worse than others, yet we do it anyway...and I think it's one of the biggest schemes of the devil to distract us from what's really important!  I would like to think that I am above the comparison game...but I'm not.
   I shared several weeks ago how God has been speaking to me a lot about just being myself and that I am not called to be "Heidi Baker" or "Todd White".  I just need to be me, and you need to be you, in order for the body of Christ to actually function as it is suppose to.  Yet day one of our medical brigade, I found myself immediately comparing myself to everyone in the room.  I thought....well this one is way more spiritual than me, and this one knows way more Spanish than me, and this one is more trained than me... and before I knew it I was starting to convince myself that what mattered most in a "Prayer Room" was OUR giftings and talents and not the power of GOD.  The funny thing is, the second I repented, and took my eyes off myself and placed them on Him, I saw God do some amazing things in and through me!
  To give a little backstory, when I found out that our part of the team was going to the Medical Brigade, I asked that I could do something other than working with the children.  The truth of the matter is that Children's ministry is something I can do in my sleep and I knew falling back into that comfort zone wouldn't force me to rely on God...and I wanted to be stretched!  So I asked to be in the prayer room, because while I do have a healthy prayer life, I had never been on a designated prayer team or worked in a designated prayer room.  It's something that is completely out of my comfort zone and I knew I wouldn't be able to walk in my own strength...I had to rely on God! 
  Leading up to the trip, it never once crossed my mind that in joining the prayer team, I... the girl who has struggled so much to learn Spanish and feel confident in speaking it...would be translating though.  So during our team meeting about the trip, when I first found out I would be translating in the prayer room, I started to freak out a bit.  This was definitely something even more out of my comfort zone, but a part of me still sort of thought that maybe my prayer partner from the states would know some Spanish.
  When we all arrived at the medical brigade, I quickly realized that my prayer-mate did not know Spanish and that this would be the first time either of us would work on a prayer team!  At that moment a part of me really wanted to change my mind and run as fast as possible in the opposite direction...but I knew I had to be strong and the only way I could do that was to rely on the strength of God....and when I did, God showed up strong!
  Not only did I step so far out of my comfort zone that I literally felt like I was walking on water in the midst of the deepest ocean, and that if God didn't come through I would drown, but I met God out there in the midst of the waves!  On top of that, God couldn't have given me a better partner in crime!  As I said above, I had a moment in the beginning of the brigade where I found myself comparing myself to others on the "team" and it was actually something my prayer-mate said that put me at ease and reminded me that I (we) needed to just be who God created us to be, and God would use it!
  Over the next week or so, as I personally process all that happened in our time at the Medical Brigade, I am sure I will share more stories.  But for tonight, I just want to testify to the goodness of God and to how trustworthy He truly is!  During my time in the prayer room, I was able to see first hand the love that God has for all His children (even those who don't realize they are His) and how when He wants to touch His people, all He needs is a willing heart to work through!  I encourage us all tonight, to be that willing heart, and to allow God to continue to work through us to touch this world, for His glory!  Amen