Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Bom Fim- THE END

Hello All, First of all, let me apologize for the cliff hanger I left in my last post. so dreading writing that post that when I finished I just left it like that. Secondly, for those of you who haven't heard or seen me I am now officially home in Good ole Franklin Tennessee. The decision to come home probably one of the fasted made decisions I have ever come to.
When my little group of 8 had finally arrived safe and sound in Georgetown and we had, had time to hang out for a few days, catch up on some much needed rest and finally get some quality time with our other family members we hadn't seen in very long. As I rested I couldn't keep my mind off of the decision I knew I was going to have to make. A large sum of the team had made plans to go home for Holiday to see family and finally be back in their homes for a little while. While everyone else, including myself, planned to continue on and finish the 2 remaining countries (French Guiana and Suriname) then wait for the next step from Papa. However, if I have learned anything from this past year is that plans will change, especially when we are following Holy Spirit's lead, and nothing will ever make since (and I don't believe it is supposed to). My issue was, was that I had basically run out of finances and if I had continued on with my team to finish those last 2 countries it would have been just like it had been for most of the year, a complete walk of faith. It was a choice I would have easily made, but something was drawing me home. It was almost as if I could tangibly feel the weightiness of God's Grace for me in this season lifting. When God initially prompted me to go on this trip I had no clue what I was getting into, but I kept hearing a year. Without even knowing what it would look like, when people would ask how long I would be gone I always told them a year. Well that year was up this month November 1st to be exact. God is always faithful to His word. So all of this brought me to the decision to come home. Only problem was I had no money to get home. Well you better believe as soon as I had made the decision in my heart and really felt peace about it ( even though I would be missing a crazy adventure in those last 2 countries) God provided the money. One of my long time supporters a wonderful man who clearly hears the voice of God, sent me an email saying he wanted to send me some money. Now I had not said a word to anyone about this, but God knew! I told my supporter what I was thinking and he was able to get a ticket home for me, from the help of my extremely over-joyed mother. I would be heading home from Georgetown, Guyana within the next 3 days. Those last days were a bit insane for me. A rush of emotions with so many other people heading home as well it was a crazy time. The people I had lived with, bleed with, cried with, got angry with, the people I loved so much, my family, who always held me accountable and I learned so much from, they were all going to be leaving. But I was determined not to dwell on that matter. My last few days in Guyana were amazing. I was able to see most of the city while spending a lot of quality time with my family still ministering where ever I went. My team mate Liz and I went out one day to do some souvenir shopping. We came across this woman who had a prosthetic leg I wanted to stop and pray, but was apprehensive, I definitely should not have been. We start to walk past her when she stops us to ask what the buildings around were. We told her we were not form there and didn't know. She then begins to inform us she is almost blind and is walking around to local businesses asking for money for an expensive eye surgery. I look at Liz and then at the woman and say “well ma'am we are Christians and we would love to pray for your sight to be fully restored.” She agrees and we pray a simple prayer then ask her if there is any improvement she says “a little.” So I ask to pray again and after I prayed a second time she seems shocked and says “I can almost see you completely right in front of me” all while really testing out her eyes, moving her sunglasses and squinting. With a huge smile on her face she says “thank you so much and God bless you” then continues on her way. I am still contending for her complete healing! I believe she got it! Now the day arrived when I was actually flying home it was a strange feeling , then again that feeling could have been from the lack of sleep I had, had the past week. All the many 3am airport runs, staying up late with family, hanging out with the homeless guy that lived outside the door of the hostel. We had met a taxi driver who was a Christian one night and asked him if he would be willing to drive us 2am in order for me to get to the airport by 3am to catch my 5am flight. He was more than willing and well as one of the coolest men of God I have met especially in Guyana. On the drive to the airport he shared with us so much about his life, his incredible testimony, his story of how him and his wife got together, and some serious revelation about the presidential election! Before this time the President Obama had not been announced as the winner. However, God had given our Taxi driver some extreme downloads about it. At one point he just says “oh so Obama has won the election and we all says “really when did they announce it?” to which he replies “ oh they haven't yet, but God told me and he showed me a vision about why.” We all just look at each other. Without going into to much detail of the vision basically it basically entailed that if Romeny had won the country would no longer turn to God for answers, but would look to a man for them, but because Obama had won people will turn more and more to God for strength and shelter in our times of need. I walk up to the desk to check in and that is when I was informed my flight had been canceled due to a snow storm in my layover in New York. I didn't know what to do.. I asked if they had a computer with internet so I could get a hold of my mom (after all this is Guyana and working WIFI can not always be expected). They say the internet is down, but they allow me to use their phone to make an international call. I talk to my mom and she already knew. So we get in a cab back to the hostel. I go back to sleep. When I wake up I begin to try everything. Finally after many failed attempts I get a hold of of someone, who to this day I am convinced she was an angel. All I had to do was tell her my flight info and that I wanted to change my flights to fly out of Miami instead of New York and she did everything else and for free. My tickets were changed and I was flying out the next day and with less layover time getting me home about 5 hours earlier than I would have. Even if it was 4 flights in one day. I was happy to be home. My family had to work so my best friend Shelby picked me up from the airport, bags and all! Now I am here! Spending time with family and friends, working, and loving life!
This time the transition back into American society has been so much smoother and easier it almost took me by surprise just how smooth it has been. I feel as if I have come to a new area of understanding where my home really is. In Jesus. Therefore, I am able to be home wherever I may stay. Being able to love whomever I am around just the same as the rest! So that is where I am at.... Don't worry I still have more to come. Love and Blessings, Rachael Michelle

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Buses, Boats, and Hammocks.

SO much has happened in the last month since I last wrote an update. I am so sorry that I have not had the time or energy to update you all sooner. Better late than never I guess you could say. Fortaleza, Brazil. A time of sewing, a time of rest, and not to our family's liking, a time of goodbyes. I think this is where I last left off. The most beautiful couple, Herbert and Lorelei, for the last few years, have been in the process of getting Iris Fortaleza up and running. I felt so honored to be able to meet them and run with them for the time that we did. Completely unplanned we all settled in at the new Iris base that, for the past week we had been cleaning and constructing. For the first time, in most of my entire 20th year of life we stayed in one place for more than a week. In all, the majority of my team was there in Fortaleza for about 3 weeks. This is where we came to the conclusion the end of our season together as a family was very much near to its end. Especially with how things once were. In Fortaleza we began the process of donating our vehicles to the Iris base there. (which is a lot of work considering it is illegal to give away anything imported into Brazil). By the Grace of God we were able to at least give the vehicles over to the government and having them sign a paper saying they would then in return give them back to Iris. As we all began to talk together about the end and what things were going to look like we decided to have one last family time in Georgetown, Guyana with a set date.
Allowing people to go finish Brazil the rest of the cities in Brazil we had hoped to go to as others waited for Zion, Jesse and Tanya's (our leaders) Baby to be born. Me and 7 others decided we would take the cheapest, yet slowest way to get there (being a little tight on the cash side of things). This way was by bus and boat!
and being the City on the mouth of the Amazon River. We spent 2 nights in a cheap old hostel
It took out group of 8 a while to finally get organized enough to leave, but when we did it was extremely bitter sweet. Saying goodbye to the base staff and the hardest of all, saying goodbye to family members that were flying home early. A group before us had left several days earlier to head to Manaus, Brazil, to go into the Amazonian jungle. We found out after a week or so that some of our family was flying home from the city there and we would not get a proper goodbye, just to make things harder. However, for my little group of 8 we headed first for BELEM known for its ACAI and being the City on the mouth of the Amazon River. We spent 2 nights in a cheap old hostel.
After those two very hot nights in the city of Belem we set sail on the boat ONZE DE MAYO Crammed in hammocks with about 50 other people on the lower deck.
And that is where we stayed for the next 60 plus hours. While on the boat we made many friends. Some hippies from all over South America, some of the sweetest older ladies, and some crazies (as you always do). All kinds of people. We Prayed with them, learned from them and just loved them. Practically living out love in all ways possible. Finally we arrived in Santarem, Brazil having sailed nearly half the Amazon at that point. We hopped off the boat and not even 10 minutes went before God hooked us up. We stopped a lady on the port walking by to ask her when the next boats to Manaus would be leaving. Right then she gave us an offer we could not refuse. She sold us tickets for a boat leaving the next day for very cheap and then offered to give us her office space and the key to the door so we could store all our bigger luggage in so we wouldn't have to carry it around the town. So we packed up the office and started walking into town to try and find the contact we had gotten in touch with before hand about staying over one night. Eventually we found the house and met the contact. He let us sling up our hammocks under his gazebo. We had heard about a little town, from our hippie friends, about an hour bus ride away that had a part of the Amazon you could swim in with White sands and clear waters.
So we took off for this town. Swimming in the Amazon River! The town was beautiful and the water was warm and kinda clear. After a crazy night we got up bright and early to head back to the port. After a long wait we are allowed on the boat and like usual the mad race of hundreds of people trying to get the best hammock spot begins. People can be so cheeky. This boat was much larger than the last on we had been on. For the most part it was hot. Very hot. As in over 100 degrees at midday. This boat was much different than the last. With many more people and less of a community vibe. However, we met lots of really great people and had a lot of fun together. 48 hours later we dock around 8pm in Manaus, Brazil, but we have been out of contact for the past week and a half so we have no clue where to go and no idea where the rest of our family was. We knew there was some of our family in Manaus, but no way of contacting them. We find out we are allowed to sleep on the boat if we want to. So we take that as a God send. A place to sleep for free for the night even though it was hotter than a polar bear in the desert. A couple of us went out to find some food and internet to see if we could find out where anyone from our family was. It took so much effort to finally find internet, but 2 of the other woman who had come into town with us finally found it. The news we received back from the rest of the team left us in shock and aw.
First bit of news we received was that Zion Jesse and Tanya's baby still had not been born yet. Next we heard that some our dear family had already flown home out of Brazil and we wouldn't see them in Guyana, finally we heard that Jesse and Tanya were now moving to Micronesia in January and were not going to the Caribbean. This left us all stunned. Finally we found out that not only were they not doing the Caribbean they were headed back to America that day! All this news hit us pretty hard,but we were not going to let it take the best of us. The next morning being woken up extremely early by cleaners we left the boat headed for the port so we could look up bus schedules. We hopped in a taxi to the bus station then booked our bus tickets to leave that night for Boa Vista. Once again being blessed with someone in the bus office who let us store our luggage so we could hang around the city without the hassle of carrying our bags. We finally were able to catch up with some of our team that was there in Manaus before our bus took off. Getting to the bus station right on time to catch our bus. 12 hours (overnight) to get to Boa Vista and from there we immediately hopped on another bus headed for Bom Fim. At Bom Fim we met some guys that had a mini Bus service and agreed to take us all to Georgetown, Guyana after we crossed the border. Finally after 3 months of being in Brazil we crossed over into Lethem, Guyana. We were directed to a place where we were able to hangout and shower at a local restaurant while we waited. Finally all 8 of us and the 5 others (3 locals, one america, and one Brazilian)piled into our small, dirty, squeaky minibus. What happened over the next 19 hours was nothing that we expected!
The entire road to Georgetown was through the jungle on a dirt road full of potholes. Every so often driving though a plot of fields that had been caught on fire by the lightening storm. We were stopped almost every hour for a passport check to make sure we were legal. The whole journey I was extremely reminiscent of Africa! Around 9pm we pulled over at a place where we just slung up our hammocks under gazebos with all the other travelers, from other buses heading to Georgetown that day. We slept for 6 hours and woke up at 3am to head back on to the road to finish our journey. In total 16 hours is how long it took us to actually arrive in Georgetown.
The only problem was that we had not paid our bus driver yet because of the lack of ATMs in the previous cities. Our bus driver then drove us around for an additional 3 hours to find an ATM in order to pay him. Finally after 2 and a half hours of no luck we were saved by the Scotia Bank. However, while on our mad scavenger hunt through all of Georgetown. Before we had made it to the Scotiabank we were pulled over by a truck load of local police. One police men gets out and welcomes us Americans to Guyana. Assuming we are all American because we are white. He assures us everything is fine and this stop is nearly protocol. In the mean time our bus driver has gotten out and is over by the police truck talking. From our point of view it looks as if they are laughing. When our driver gets back in the van and the police men are driving away. Marcus, our bus driver, is chuckling to himself. We ask him what just happened he laughs and says “man they wanted a bribe and wanted half of your money. So I told them I was trying to get your money too!” We all laughed. God totally saved us from having too pay off those policemen by delaying us from finding money. Once again we learn the lesson of trusting God on everything including His perfect divine timing!
After we have finally gotten our money I realize this was the first time this entire year of travel I have gone hungry from not having money for food and that wasn't even because I didn't have any it was because I couldn't get any! I would say that is a testimony in itself knowing everything I have gone through. This was the first time I had ever gone hungry! God is so good to his Kids. Our driver says he knows of a cheap hostel we can stay at and offers to take us there. We payed 5 dollars for one night, granted it was probably one of the worst we have ever stayed in, and we have stayed in some pretty bad hostels. No matter we were just happy to have had a bed after 2 weeks of sleeping in hammocks and buses. We are finally able to contact the rest of our team that had already arrived a couple of days before. They had found an amazing hostel for not so expensive that was owned by a Christian woman. We made plans to move into that hostel the next day. Where we would then begin our scheduled Fam Fest 2012 as soon as the rest of our family arrived. A time to be together, encourage each other, and say goodbye. Most of the team was planning on flying home from there only 11 people were planning on moving on to finish the remaining countries, Suriname and French Guiana.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Closing Seasons

So much has happened and is happening. To be honest I am not sure where to start with this, but I know I need to write it.  I celebrated my 21st Birthday with my new family was totally blessed by them. Having spent my entire 20th year in Latin America with a group of crazy Jesus Lovers I am and have been truly honored!
To celebrate my birthday I Was able to go Hang Gliding over The famous Copacabana Beach In Rio De Janerio an experience I will forever treasure!
God is so good. I am so thankful for everything that has been going on. The good and the not so great.
The last thing I wrote to you all was about staying in the most dangerous favela in all of Rio. The time we had there was amazing! Getting the opportunity to pray for the drug lord leaders in the area, playing with kids, and getting to pray and prophecy over a very well know Brazilian reggae band at one of the best recording studios in Brazil.
 That is all just a normal week in my life!  My team has been going for 13 months now and I have been with them for just over 11 months of that time. The fastest moving year of my life. Full of wonder and unknowns. The biggest thing I have learned is you never know what is going on and to completely trust God that He does know and we have nothing to fear.  That and how God is so much my best and most intimate friend as well as my husband and my father! 
Uhhhh God is so good! I just want to scream it until someone hears me!  I feel like God fills me with so much righteous anger sometimes that I don't know what to do with it. Anyways... To bring you up to date with how everything is going. The team while in Rio had a cooperate breakdown to say the least. We all, I would say, came to the conclusion it is all ending. And what does "finishing well" actually look like for us. It is not finishing every country, or finishing in one piece. Finishing well for us would mean being even more radically on fire for Jesus and remembering everything we have learned together this past year. As a team we recommitted out last few month of this trip to Him. Cutting off all things that would distract us from really finishing well in Him! For example a few of us have decided to cut out all movies for the duration of the trip, all negative speak, idol talk, and spending more time fasting and letting God tell us who we are in him! In one particular meeting we built a spiritual fire pit and threw out all the things that can take up our time in the day!  As well as, throwing out things that will not bring anything good to our spirits. For our team it was an amazing time to really rest and enjoy each other only doing ministry as it came to us and realigning our focus and spirits on the true reason we are all here! Jesus! 
A little over a week ago the team finally arrived in Fortaleza. After a  1,300 km drive over 2 days to Salvador where we stayed for 3 nights. Then another 1,100 km drive for 2 more days to make it where we are now at the Iris base in Fortaleza.
       While In Salvador we went into the city to place where some of the first black slaves were brought over from Africa and sold. A place whose name literally means "the whipping post."  We sat on the steps of this famous place and prayed as well as ministered to all the beggars and men and women trying to sale their jewelry to us. One woman saw us praying for other people came to us and asked if we were evangelicals we said yes even though we aren't really. She asked if we could pray for her because she had been on drugs since she was 15 and she wanted to get off of them so we stood and spoke into her life she teared up a bit and thanked us then she went on her way.  People are so hungry for God and they just don't realize it. 
In Fortaleza we arrive at the Iris church where we are able to camp out and minister all at the same time.
After 2 nights we move into this amazing mansion that is basically being given to Iris here. The rent is less than what most people pay for a cheap apartment in the states. They should be paying about 7,000 more than the land lords are charging.  We are able to bless Iris here by cleaning it, painting it, helping the leaders (a married couple and their 1 year old) move in and blessing them with our practical services. It's nice to do practical things every once in a while, you get almost instant results.   Along with the practical things we ministered with the iris team to the red light district. Going out around 10pm to the streets to share the love of God with the prostitutes, lady boys, pimps and drug addicts. Those times are always amazing.  The iris base also having a prayer how in the center of a neighboring favela gave us a lot of opportunity intercede for the city and Iris. As well as Ministering in the favela doing house visits seeing many people healed of illnesses.   One night we were even asked to speak in a 3 month course that YWAM holds for Brazilians that have a heart call to missions.  
We had a time of question and answer as well as sharing our hearts and why we have chosen to live the way we do. At one point a girl in the very back row raised her hand and said "I am amazed." to this the whole class of about 40 or 50 people laughed, but she continued.  "No I am serious you all take the Bible so literally and actually live out what it says." We responded with a little chuckle and said "well... yea." After about 5 minutes of us talking people began to cry and by the end not one person was left with dry eyes. Holy spirit had fallen so heavily on the group of people we just began moving around the room ministering to everyone. That had nothing to do with us. That was totally God using our lives to convict the hearts of so many others to live in full trust in God. Many times we do not realize the impact of the way we live because to us it is just life. But when we really sit back and talk about the craziness that we live in on a daily bases we realize truly how amazing it is and can only be by the grace of God!  Now we are still here in the mansion and everything is crazy. Because the end of our journey together as a family is coming to such a rapid end and most people would like to Make it home for the holidays. Everything seems a bit rushed and unnatural.  People are a bit emotional because of this. We all as a whole could use much prayer in this time just so we hear what God is saying to us and we are not making decisions based on our emotions. 8 people have already left for Manaus the city in Amazonia district on the amazon river here in Brazil. The rest of us are waiting on Zion our leaders baby to be born and join our team so we can all be together again one last time before we all go our separate ways. Some of us finishing off the rest of the countries others going home, but hopefully the majority will be meeting back up for the Caribbean in the first week of January. To Top it all off we are saying good by to our 4 beloved vehicles ; Council and Might, Open Heaven, New Wine, and Over Flow. These 4 giant America vehicles have driven all the from Washington state to here in Brazil! Solely by the Grace of God. They have been our constants, our homes, our beds on many a night, and our one place of normalcy. They have carried us for many many miles. However, it is now the end of our journeys with them and we are hopefully, if the government allows us, gifting them to our family here at Iris.
Things are changing and I still have not heard where the end of this chapter is for me, but God knows and I have no reason to stress about it now. I feel complete peace in this and I know God will not leave me stranded! Please keep us in your prayers especially in really critical times like this.  I thank God everyday for my new family and this journey of a life time he is and has carried me on!
This is all I have to share for now. I hope this finds you all in good health. If there is anything I can be praying for you about let me know! My family and I would love to press in for you. Much Love and Many blessings Rachael Michelle

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Most Currently

The last few days have been amazing. We lived in Parada de Lucas which is the most dangerous favela in all of Rio. Drug Lords run those neighborhoods and it is common to see men everywhere with massive machine guns and walkie-talkies. It was amazing to be able to just love these men and the people of the neighborhood praying for them and sharing the love of God. Even just a smile brings joy to their faces. In the area fireworks aRe continually going off signaling other gang members that cops are around because the war is not the hugley between gangs, but between the cops and the gangs. Also there is a law against stealing in the area, formed not by the government, But by the drug lords. If you are caught stealing they will either shoot you or cut off your hand. This all because if you steal then someone will more than likely call the cops and that is what they do not want. It seems a little bit of a contradiction, but for it being the most dangerous place in Rio we were not in much danger of being robbed or shot at. We were not allowed to take pictures and 2 of our team members got into a little trouble with some gang members because some gangsters mistook their cell phone and hand gestures as a them relying information to the cops and taking pictures, but it was all sorted and the guns were put away. Our time in the favelas was amazing just spending time with all the kids that were around 24/7, having services in the streets, getting the opportunity to share stories and testimonies in a public school, and getting to spend the day at one of the nicest most famous recording studios in Brazil with a very well known Brazilian Reaggae band. They let us sit in on their practice time then let us have some time to jam with them in the amazing art facility. It had practice rooms, recording studios, dance studios, and stages. An incredibly beautiful place full of potential and promise from God! Before we left the band and a DJ class that had joined in allowed us to pray over all of them and bless their work in the area! The next day we left the favelas after spending the morning sanding the walls of the YWAM base where we slept on the floors. We had made a contact with a couple, who had a ministry in the dumps and we headed out to spend the day praying and ministering with people who live in and out of other peoples rubbish! A state of living no one is called to! We walked through the many shacks and stacks of rubbish for most of the day. Stopping in homes and praying for people as well as playing with the hundreds of kids that followed us the whole day! That night we set up a film for all the kids on a big screen with a projector. It reminded me a lot of Africa. Finally we headed out to a condo that a family has graciously let us take over in the nicest area of Rio, Zona Sul. Our life is so crazy we never have any idea where we are or what is going to happen, but most importantly we stay open to Holy Spirit's direction and go wherever the wind blows! Thank you to everyone who is continually praying for us, supporting me and my team financially, and really being here with us in spirit! So much love and blessings, Rachael Michelle P.s. for the most current pictures go to my Facebook pictures and look under the instagram album!

Friday, 7 September 2012

It Never Ends.

To be honest I have been procrastinating on writing this update for a while now. So much is going on yet not a lot at the same time and trying to process everything enough to be able to get it out on paper is way more difficult than you would expect. When I arrived in Sao Paulo, Brazil, after having been totally blessed with a month at home, I had no idea what I was getting into. Which in all fairness, is usually the case. I had arranged to stay with a friend of a friend's family with 2 other women from my team.
The two others had decided to stay in Brazil and take a rest for a few weeks while the rest of the team made their way, by bus, through Paraguay and Bolivia. I was a bit disappointed in not being able to make it through those countries with them but, God had a better plan, as well as making it clear He was not finished blessing me yet. The most reoccurring theme in my life for the past year. As well as the one I have struggled with the most. The fact that God wants to bless me in the way He has in my life thus far is mind boggling to me, but it all comes down to identity. I have come to the conclusion that God is going to bless me no matter what I believe I deserve or not. That is who He is. He seeks to bless us all the time because, what good dad doesn't want to bless and spoil His kids? My views of me and God's views are very different and He says I am worth it. Thus resulting in the process of believing what He believes of me as truth. In my last blog I wrote about how God was teaching me how to receive. And it did not end when I left to come back to my crazy unpredictable life in Latin America. I moved in with this family and the plan was to stay no more than 10 days then move into the Favelas (dangerous Brazilian ghetto) where there is an Iris base that was more than happy to receive us. After just a week of living with this incredible Brazilian family an instant bond was formed and we felt right at home. The family happened to be pretty wealthy and very much business minded people. They were continually buying things for us, giving us money to go shopping, letting us sleep in there beds while they crammed into the parents bedroom, driving us 2 and from places, and letting us spend the weekends at there amazingly beautiful beach house 2 hours from the city and so incredibly peaceful!
It didn't stop there the father owns an incredible restaurant and they let us come and eat pretty much whenever for free. In the end we stayed well over 10 days. More like a little over 3 weeks. In those three weeks we were able to do some favela ministry, but also a lot of ministry to the family. However, not nearly the amount we would normally be doing if we were with team. Which I struggled with because, for some reason I have told myself that as long as I am doing ministry I deserve the monthly support and the many gifts God has given me. I know this is in fact not true and a works mantality. Which is and has not ever been my motivation for this trip, but sometimes, if we are not careful, thoughts like these can begin to creep in and we can forget why we has Christians do what we do. Because of Love. What we were created for and the very fabric of our existence. Once the rest of my team had finally arrived in Sao Paulo the family that I had been living with was extremely generous and allowed all 28 (at the moment) of us to spend 4 days at their beautiful beach house to rest before we headed for Rio. Because of our lifestyle, plans never stay the same. Ever. The initial plan was to have ministered in every Latin American country within a year. Well that year runs up in only a few days! So we decided to not stay and minister any longer in Sao Paulo, but to go ahead and make our way to Cabo Frio our next stop right outside Rio de Janiero.
The transition back into the team and the way of living I have grown accustom to was a lot easier than I expected it wold be. It was like I never left. Since we have been in Cabo Frio we have been staying at a girl who is from Brazil and been on our team for several months, house. Her amazing family has opened up their beautiful home and welcomed us with open arms. With lots of ministry opportunities already set up for us. I was asked to share at a church service. That was amazing and Holy spirit totally fell and the church was rocked.
We did some homeless ministry to former drug addicts and ex-drug lords. They were so moved by the Spirit that they kept asking us to stay and share more. We also did some hospital industry where we were given permission to go into a pretty run down hospital and pray with people for there healing and encourage them on that God saw them and was there with them.
Over all the week has been amazing and tomorrow we move onto Rio and then eventually into the amazon! I have no idea when I will be in the USofA again or what He has in store next, but as far as, my journey of receiving and learning who I really am in Him is still just at it's beginning stages.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

A Season Of Receiving

“Do you trust me?” -God
All of us that have been raised in a Christian home, or are a Christian now, heck probably even some non-Christians know the immediate “right answer” response to this common question. “Yes God of course I trust you. I trust you with my life.” Maybe we should stop for a minute. Think about what we just said or even better what we have just agreed to! This has literally been my life the last 8 months. Trust. We Christians say this word so nonchalantly and God wants us to know in our hearts what this word really means and what we are actually saying when we trust God with our life. For me, a lot of my life I have attempted to take care of myself. I had to I didn't see anyone in my life that was suitable for the job. Because of many childhood hurts I didn't trust anyone, but myself and I would take on a lot of responsibilities that were not my burdens to carry. Even before I left for this new journey, which just happened to be the biggest leap of faith I have ever taken, I took care of myself I had 4 well paying jobs a plan for everyday, even a plan for the next year. I was comfortable. I was safe. I couldn't get hurt if I was in control of my life. Well folks. That is not Trust. Not even close. And without trust we have no real faith in God! And without that then what is it that we really believe? Not only have I been on a journey of a life time, but God has slowly and sweetly been wooing me as I learn to really trust Him the way He intended me to. Not trusting Him out of comfort, but trusting Him because He is the only real thing in my life. He is the only thing I need to keep me safe. If I keep relying on myself to take care of me I am eventually going to burn out and then where will I be. A hurt, sad, burned out missionary is not going to get very far and is not what the world needs more of. He is my provider. In everything. He is in control of my bank accounts, He is in control of my schedule, He is in control of whatever I give Him. I have learned, the hard way, that I want Him to be in charge of those things because when He is not it just opens a door for worry and stress to come in, which if you read the Bible is considered a sin. Several months ago back in Peru I was having a hard time, as some of you may know from my other blogs. I began to have re-accruing dreams about coming home to Tennessee, in July to surprise my mom for her birthday! In the dreams I was flying out and back into Brazil, but at the time when we were still somewhat on our intended schedule we would have been way finished with Brazil and in the next countries by the time July came around. Because of the state of despair I was in these dreams were so tempting. However, I knew that if I left the trip and went home without Gods say so, not only would I be disobeying God, but I would be giving up and I was not about to give up. So I stuck with it and in time a release came over me and a peace overwhelmed me and I felt as if I had gotten a second wind. I gained immense amounts of clarity about the season I was just in so I was able to understand and get through it. Over all I had about 6 dreams where I went home and surprised my mom for her Birthday so I knew I was going to get the opportunity to show honor to my mom and at the same time get a little piece of what I had been missing so much back in Peru (I also seem to measure time by country now, seeing as I can never remember dates). As time went on and it became closer and closer to July (my moms birthday month) even though I had, had all those dreams, crazy I know, but I was still second guessing whether or not they were really telling me to go home or not. While in Argentina as time got closer and closer I was really struggling to buy the plane tickets. I bought them anyway and to be honest was kinda stressed out about it. Using the last bit of the savings I had to pay for these tickets. Sacrificing a lot of financial flexibility. Meaning I would actually have to trust God even more than I already was. Needless to say I made it home. After the tickets had been bought and I was less than a week away from my departure from my team I began to feel so overwhelmed. I did not want to leave my team! They have become my new family. With them I feel more alive, more challenged,and more held accountable than I have ever felt in my entire life. I have learned more from this single group of people than from anyone else. I didn't want to be away from that. However I knew I had to go and I had no idea why.
I arrived home on the 4th of July, good ole American Independence day. I spent my first official day in America in 8 months in the heart of Nashville, Tennessee at the river front watching one of the craziest firework shows from the roof of a building right across the street. It was amazing and totally a gift from God! That night I met a Brazilian and a guy who knows a guy on my team! God is funny like that I guess! As if He was saying thanks for obeying/listening. I was able to sleep in my own bed that night because my mom had conveniently gone out of town that night and was going to be home the next day, her birthday (the 5th). That morning I woke up extra early so excited for the surprise. As I am sitting on the chair in my living room just chatting with my little sister we hear a car door slam from outside. I run to the window and scream “She is here!!!” At that point all of us went into a panic trying to bottle up all of our excitement until after the surprise. I run into her bedroom and jump into her wardrobe. Pushing back all of her clothes and making quit a bit of noise. Within a few seconds I am settled in heart pounding! I hear and can barely see my mom and my sisters walking into her bedroom through the crack in the wardrobe door. My sisters tell her they have placed her birthday present in the wardrobe and she skittishly walks over to it slightly joking about something popping out at her. She opens the door and I spring out yelling “surprise!” scaring her half to death, but once she realizes it was me, not just some strange person jumping at her. She burst into tears! I wrapped my arms around her neck and say “Hi mom.” She continued to cry for the next hour or so, getting in a few words here or there about how I got home, what I am doing here, and how did we keep it a secret from her. To that I responded “with great difficulty!”
I had no idea what it meant to my mom that I would fly home just for her to surprise her for her birthday until I took trip to take my sister to Virginia where she would be flying out to go to Italy. After visiting some family in North Carolina on the 8 hour drive home I was able to just sit and talk with my mom about so many things, but mostly what it mean for her, for me to come home. She told me she had never felt more honor or respect from one person in her life and her knowing me and my need to control and take care of myself she knew how hard it was for me to sacrifice the last bit of my money to buy a ticket home especially since I have no idea where I am going to get more money to continue on this journey. Something broke over her that day and she felt a new form of release wash over her and a little piece of freedom that wasn't there before. As if I didn't need more confirmation than that, in one of the 6 dreams I had about coming home I had visited my Church (Grace Center Church). In the dream I am sitting with my mom and Jeff Dollar my pastor gets up and Says “Now it is time for 2 Thessalonians” and “I know this is the right time for this sermon.” Now at the time I had no clue what this was about. I read 2 Thessalonians several times and wasn't getting much out of it. So I decided to email Jeff and tell him about just in case it was important. I didn't think about that dream again until it was Sunday morning, my first Sunday back in my home church. I was sitting with my mom, worship was over and we sat down in our seats. The announcements were given and Jeff gets up to preach and he says “ I am a little nervous to give this sermon because I want it to be heard in the right light and to not be taken in offense. This was going to be the sermon that I gave last week, but because of something else Holy Spirit was doing I wasn't able so I am going to give it this week.” “Now if everyone could please open up to 2 Thessalonians!” Like natural I begin to freak out because it all happened exactly as it had in my dream! At the end of the sermon Jeff said “I know this is the right time for this sermon.” CRAZY! After the service I go to Jeff and ask him if he remembers the dream I sent him on the 27th of April (I had the dream written down in my journal with that date next to it!) He remembered once I told him and was very encouraged that he had heard Holy Spirit right and it was the right time to give that sermon. And for me if I needed any more confirmation that I was supposed to be home at this time, boy did that do it!
My last week home has been incredible. A little difficult at times adjusting and being in America, but God totally blessed me with this time home. I was given all the things I needed and more! Being totally blessed by the people and family I have here! As much as I loved being with friends and family I knew from the minute I got off the airplane America was no longer my home, I am not sure it ever was, but even more so now. I was more than blessed. I was spoiled. In my very last few hours of my time in the US A great friend and father figure of mine went out and bought me a brand new Ipad3. Throwing me into a whirlwind of emotions. God is really trying to teach me how to receive, which is not one of my better qualities.

Saturday, 30 June 2012

A Few Words From Our Leaders.

Here are few words my leaders Jesse & Tanya wrote briefly about our time in Uruguay! I may or may not write my own update, but you know me if I do it will not be... as to the point. As I have said before, I like details. Hope you enjoy! Many blessings!
"We have been ministering in Uruguay for a few weeks now. When we arrived in the country we had no contacts or plans, and we were experiencing a lot of trials with our vehicles breaking down. Within a couple days a Mennonite church had received us and we begin leading services, small groups and other evangelistic ministries. Just yesterday we were able to pick up our last vehicle from the mechanic which had to have the motor totally rebuilt. We ran out of money before we even got to this country but God has totally showed His faithfulness and provided for everything. We even had the brakes totally redone in two cars by faith which cost about $700 and that night two groups came home from leading house church home groups with offerings totaling about $700. Yesterday morning we sent half of our team into Brazil while the rest of us wait for remaining visa and passport details to be sorted out. It was prophesied that God was going to provide us with free lodging and for the past couple of weeks the Mennonite church has put us up in amazing housing with no cost. The people in this country have been so hungry for the Lord and always and everywhere people are being saved, healed and refreshed by the presence of the Lord. He is so faithful. This country is the most unreached in South America with the least percentage of evangelical Christians. There exists lots of occult groups and we have experienced firsthand lots of attacks of witchcraft against us. It just encourages us all the more of what God is doing and that glory of His presence is invading changing everything and bringing about a new day for the people that have been lost in darkness. Please keep us in your prayers as we finish this time in Uruguay and prepare to head into Brazil. We come up against the hords of hell but the king of glory rides with us with His heavenly hosts and the strongholds of darkness are being destroyed as the Kingdom of heaven advances with glory and power."