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."

Thursday, 28 June 2012

A New Season

Uruguay.
What I have noticed since being in this country is that the more satan tries so hard to come against our team the more God blesses us. I love that. The team moves into an amazing house where we can be all together, Owned by a beautiful couple from Texas. There is hot water, heat, internet, and a nice kitchen all for a reasonable price! Things like these seem so simple, but when you go without them and live out of a suit case you realize how much you have taken these simple things for granted. After 9 months of living like this I still get amazed at the ways God shows up, but now the only difference is I expect Him to show up. Opposed to wondering if He will. Lately God has been speaking to me about fasting and intersession. Before this journey my views on both of these topics were... Well you could just say not favored. However, it is not about me it is about sacrifice and teaching my body and soul that my spirit is in charge. I am, willingly, giving up something that brings me comfort in a day as well as using the time I would normally spend thinking about my problem and praying into things that are very much on God's heart. I mean does the Bible not say Jesus intercedes for us? And if He is supposed to be our role model in life does that not mean we should be interceding for each other as He dos for us? Well needless to say I figured if God is trying to teach me something I should just go with it. So I have been working my way up to a 21 day fast. Our first week in Uruguay I felt I was supposed to fast again putting me at now at a 5 day fast. By the time we moved into the house I was in the middle my third day of no food and actually feeling great. By my fourth day once again struggling and having trouble actually functioning in everyday tasks. One of my sisters on the team who knew I had been fasting asked if she could pray for me. Of course I excepted the offer. While she was praying I was being totally distracted from what she was saying by some nagging words going off in my head saying “read the book of Joshua!” Over and over again it replayed like a song on loop. Finally she finished praying and me having very little of a clue of what she said in the prayer I thanked her and walked away a little frustrated. I was frustrated because I was in the middle of the gospel John and I wanted to finish it before starting a new book, but I knew it would just keep playing in my head if I didn't just read it. So I went outside found a sunny spot and started to read the book of Joshua. Now If I were to be honest, which I try very hard to be in these blogs, I could honestly say I had never actually read through the book of Joshua. I just never seemed to get to it. As I sat and read not even the entire first chapter through yet, I began to weep. It was as if while I was reading God was reading it over me telling me this is just a small part of my calling and destiny. Unraveling some part of my DNA that I hadn't yet discovered. While back in Mozambique in 2010 at my Harvest School David Wagner prophesied over me saying “I was called to be like a man in the Bible from Exodus 11:33 where it says “and Moses got up to leave the tent of Meeting and Joshua the Son of Nun refused to leave the presence.” Now to my knowledge I thought that was the only scripture in the Bible that actually talked about Joshua the Son of Nun. I never having read the book of Joshua, never put those to people together! Never realizing they were actually the same person and that there was an entire book about this amazing man. I had taken what had been an incredible word about my identity and watered it down so much that I honestly thought my whole purpose in life would be to just to sit in the presence of God and never do anything with it. Settling for not even half of my destiny. Now hear me right. I am not saying there is anything wrong with just sitting in the Presence of God, in fact it is one of my favorite things to do, but that is not all we are meant to do with it. We are meant to Live out of the presence not merely sit in it and be content. We are meant to be so full of Jesus all the time that we over flow with Love on to the people around us. Not just hide in our prayer closets for a few hours to get enough presence to make it through the day. God said himself, on several occasions, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So why walk away from Him once we think we have had enough for the day. That is not what a true relationship is. We have all heard the saying “You were born for such a time as this” What does it look like to live that out. If we live out of the presence opposed to just sitting in it when we feel down or need a boost. We could be walking in our true Identities as sons of the God who created the universe. Do you know what Kind of Dad you have? In Joshua 10:13 God literally stops time in order for Israel to avenge its enemies! Time stopped for an entire day. Account after account God leads Joshua and the Israelites through impossible victories. Joshua started out from the presence, but he learned that in order to do the things he was “born for such a time for” he had to carry the presence from the Tent of meeting out to the people and except the mantel of Moses God was giving him. Living from a place of knowing God lives inside of us so much s that wherever we go the presence goes.
From that point on God has been carrying me through a new season. The last season I was in He was stripping me of my flesh. This new season He is walking me through is Him replacing all the flesh that was previously ripped off and replacing it with true identity in Him. Who I was created to be. A Son (even though I am am daughter I am receiving the inheritance of the son, thus I say son). Not only seeing myself as a son, but actually, finally receiving the once “head knowledge” to “heart knowledge” that He is my Father! When I excepted Him into my heart I switched blood lines and I am no longer under any influence of my earthly father or mother Not the fear I learned, the generational curses, or the, once truth to me, that I have to take care of myself. So no matter what happened to me in the past I have a new Father and a new provider. Thus giving up my rights to be angry or hurt by them. Making only love for them come out not rebellion, but pure love knowing they did the best they could with what they had. My relationship with God can now become Him showing me what a true daughter is and what “all authority that has been given to me” really is. This was all just a bit of what all God has been doing in my spirit just in the past few months! I promise I will update you soon on what all the team has been to doing and the amazing blessings w have received through the German Mennonite church here in Uruguay! Miss and Love you all. Many blessings to all of you who have stayed with me and prayed with me and supported me financially. -Rachael Michelle

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Into Uruguay

When a Christian is Squeezed what comes out. Jesus? Or everything else? Leaving YMCA Bright and early to make our way to Uruguay! To be honest I was so excited to be leaving Argentina and was greatly anticipating Uruguay. It was about a 4 hour drive to the border with only 2 more hours to go we run into a police road block. We pull over and they ask us for our insurance. Well when we entered into Argentina they told us it was not required to have insurance so we never bought any. Apparently we were misinformed. The police men seemed a little irritated but not as much as we were. They told us that we had to pay the $600 dollar fine for not having insurance. This is money that we don't just have. We knew that if we had to pay the fine we would not be able to get very far in Uruguay because we would be using our gas money. With the team struggling financially really having to trust God Literally for every penny, this was very stretching for us! As we were praying about what we should do one of the girls said she had a word for one of the cops. So she began to prophecy over him and tell him things that only God would know. Shocked by this the police man asked “what about him” pointing to the police man writing up our ticket. She began to say things about his character that God sees and the first police man looks even more shocked and says “ yea you are right he is like that.” This lead to him allowing us to pray for him and with that he gave his life to Jesus and you could tell he was trying so hard to hold back his tears. He said he couldn't take away our ticket, but he wanted to help. He told us there was a gas station just down the road he said that if we went there we could tell the man there that he sent us and he would fill up all our vehicles for free! Now we didn't pray for this man to get something out of it! But because God loves and always has things to say about his children if we just get past our own self and our own problems God can use us to do amazing things. When we step out in faith and obey Him, He will always provide. Finally we arrive at the border. Everything seems to be going fine. Everyone gets there stamp and we are just waiting for the cars to be approved. After we have waited for a while they tell us we can't get the cars through without insurance. Well we have no way of getting insurance for the vehicles because there was no place there at the border to get it and we can't go back into Argentina because they have already stamped us with exit visas. We were stuck with only one glimmer of hope. They decided to pass one of our Vehicles through so we can illegally (without insurance) go into Uruguay to get insurance for the rest of the vehicles. So the people with their names on the titles of the vehicles leave. Leaving the rest of us freezing cold stranded at the border. Luckily, we all have been fasting on Mondays as a team, which is what this day happened to be, so we didn't have to worry about food. Finally, after what seemed to be an age New Wine, our camper van, returns with insurance and an amazing story: Only about eight kilometers down the road they found an insurance office where they were greeted and helped more than they expected. The process does take some time, but after only a few hours they have the insurance and can head back. Well as soon as they walked out of the door to leave a guy on our team begins to feel the pull to go back in and pray for everyone. So that is exactly what they do they march back inside. The office workers seemed confused. Then Liney one of our Colombians and native Spanish speakers begins to yell “We want to pray for you if you want prayer come over here.” So everyone, the office workers, people in line, the janitors, and even the people in the back office all race to the center of the lobby. They join hands and Liney begins to pray for them. The phones began to ring, but no one left the prayer. Some people were crying others seemed confused, but all were so hungry and blessed. As they left people were thanking them and hugging them. God can always change the dullest atmospheres into Kingdom bearing ones if we are just willing to obey. They get back to us and the insurance people had given them information for a cheap hotel that would have room for all of us. So we headed out for Fray Bentos, Uruguay! We find the hotel the insurance people had told us about we go in and the insurance people had called and told them that we might show up so they were ready for us. We stayed there one night then headed out for our next city on the way to the Capital Montevideo. To this point we still had no clue where we were going or what we were doing. So our first morning there, in Uruguay, we prayed together as a family before leaving. What we didn't know was that many of the things that God was telling us and speaking to us about was about to be fulfilled. In Colonial, Uruguay we found a place to stay, but it was a lot more expensive than any of us had so the majority of us slept outside in the cars parked on the street outside of the hostel. Colonial is a beautiful city that reflects a really old almost European city right on the coast. We spent one night there. Me and one other girl slept in the Suburban and it actually wasn't so bad other than it being extremely cold. Finally we were ready to head out again to make our way to Montevideo. We drive for about 2 or 3 hours then New Wine, our camper van, begins to rattle. The people riding in it feel they are to pull over right then and someone would get out and look under it. As soon as they pull over the entire front Axle collapses and breaks off. The timing of it was perfect. If they hadn't pulled over it could have been a really severe crash and if it hadn't fallen off right when they pulled over the person that was going to look under it would have been smashed like potatoes! God is so Good that just shows His timing is perfect. Thankfully we were not far from a gas station/mechanic! So our caravan headed to the gas station. We got out and made ourselves at home in this gas station. It was so Cold and it was a very cloudy day and we waited. We waited for a good 4 hours before we decided we would just leave New Wine with the mechanic and come back for it later. About 45 minutes down the road Our RV and Caravan leader, Open Heaven, Breaks down. Because of all the extra people and weight from taking everything out of New Wine. So now Council and Might, our Buick, and Over Flow, our Suburban, have to go out and find the first place we come to, to stay for the night. Well the first place we come to we knew would be cheap... Also known as a Sex Motel. They are always on the outskirts of town and you pay a small amount by the hour, apposed to by the night. This was not our first motel like this we have stayed in and they usually are the most convenient at the time. So we book 6 rooms giving us 4 girls with a one double bed per room all the guys in one room and Jesse, Tanya, and Zoe (our leaders family) there own room. We work out a deal giving us a much cheaper night. We unload everything and begin to make trips back and forth to get the rest of the people and there stuff. We find out we are only about 30 minutes away from the airport. Which is going to come in handy since 3 of our guys and one of our girls were leaving that next day to go home and visit there families for a few weeks. Making us 3 men to 15 woman. Missionary Ratios. The next day many people leave early to head to the airport. The rest of us discover we are about a 5 min walk away from a gas station with a cafe and wifi. So we ask if we can extend our stay a few more hours until we hear something about our vehicles and can find somewhere else to go. We had planned to stay until 3pm. In the mean time one of our girls had been diligently sitting at the gas station searching for some form of a contact we could work with and maybe have a place for us to stay. The first guy she comes across (randomly online) tells us he knows of someone, but was very much stuck on the fact that they wouldn't help us so we shouldn't try. However, for some reason he emailed this ministry anyway. And just like that we had a contact that was willing to receive us. So we fit as many people as possible with all our stuff in our two working vehicle to go meet this guy that has contacted us. We arrive at the house of Andreas, the man that wanted to help us without even knowing us, and he had coffee and tea for us then his wife arrives home with ingredients for sandwiches. We talk with him for a while and another man arrives, David, who is going to show us to the house they have set up for us. So we say our thank you's and goodbyes and load up once again. About 20 minutes down the road Council and Might, the Buick, begins to over heat. So we pull over causing us to loose Over Flow, the suburban, who we were following to our next location. So we let the car sit then head back to Andrea's house. Andrea's is able to call David who was riding with the people in Over Flow to get them there. They have successfully arrived at the cabin and are heading back to pick us up. Well on there way back they call us to meet them at the airport because they have gotten pulled over for there break lights not working. By the grace of God the cop doesn’t do much just warns them not to drive anymore then leaves. So we meet them at the airport (a central place) and follow close behind so they won't get pulled over again. Finally arriving at this beautiful house it is now after dark and with our vehicles we don't think it wise to go back out to try and pick up the others we have left behind at the sex motel. We get a hold of them over facebook. They were not so excited to stay another night there, but they understood. Only down fall being was we had a lot of there stuff and they had a lot of ours. And that was just our first week in Uruguay. We knew God would have a lot in store if all this would happen just in the first few days in this country commonly know as “the missionaries cemetery.” Many Many Blessings and much love! Please keep me updated on your lives as well I love hearing from you all. Rachael Michelle.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Argentina Once again! Leaving Chile for good this time entering into Argentina for the 9th and hopefully last time this trip! We have no contacts, but are expectant on God to provide. Two days of travel to get to our destination in Buenas Aires. One of those nights we crammed into a few rooms at a trucker motel, another days drive away from the city. The next day was spent all day driving and working out contacts. We had somewhat of a contact through YWAM, but with a lot of miscommunication and confusion it didn't work out and became very lost in a not so great area of Buenas Aires. With no hope of anywhere to stay for the night and the team really struggling financially we didn't have the money to put ourselves up in a hostel in the area because they are more expensive than anywhere else we have been. With no clue where we were and the time was going on two in the morning we find an alley with a big patch of grass surrounded by trees. We decide to set up camp there for the night and asked a neighbor if it was alright, he was skeptical at first, but then told us it was fine. All the boys slept in between our two giant blue tarps, some of the girls slept in the vehicles, some on top of the vehicles, and me and two others set up a tent. All of us very exhausted from the 15 hour day of driving it didn't take long to fall fast asleep. That morning we woke up to the sound of to men talking very loudly in Spanish. I sat up in my tent to see what all the commotion was about. Two cops were standing over the the boys asking who they were, what they were doing, and who said they could sleep there. The only two that woke up from the noise were two that do not speak very much Spanish! Finally David one of our Colombians who speaks Spanish woke up and explained to the cops who we were and why we were there. The cops were so confused asking us if we were stupid. Telling us that this was a horrible area and we could have been robbed or killed especially because we were foreigners. We told the cops we would be leaving soon and for them not to worry. They left us laughing at our ignorance so we all laughed, what else are you going to do in that situation? Before leaving two of our team members went to go pray for the neighbor that gave us the okay to stay there. He wasn't there, but his wife answered the door and allowed them to pray for her and her husband who happened to be very sick. She was extremely touched and walked away with tears in her eyes. Stinky and dirty we got up to try and get ready for the day (using the bathroom where ever we could do so without being seen). We decided since we were in the area we should just go to Claudio Freizdon's (an extremely well known revivalist in South America) church in the city. We were very excited because this would be one of the first churches to visit where we didn't have to do the service in 9 months, we could just receive. After grabbing some food at a local mall, using there wifi and bathrooms to get directions and brush our teeth. We leave for Rey De Rey igleasia (King of Kings Church). We arrived after the first service had already started so some people went to go sit in a cafe others just hung out in the RV while me and the rest went to sit in the service. Claudio's son-in-Law, Chad, from Canada, was speaking so we were able to understand most of his message. After the service me Ben and Taylor went up for prayer when he got to us he began to pray in Spanish so Taylor asked him to pray in English. Surprised, he asked where we were from and we told him we were missionaries with Iris Ministries and he prayed, blessed us, and told us Claudio was speaking the next service so we had to stay (apparently he is not there very often). Well one of the girls on our team had been contacting this church and had a friend who works there. So she got us a seat in the 3rd row from the front of this giant mega church with little headsets to translate so we could all understand what was being said, that in itself was such a blessing! A few minutes after Claudio had been preaching he looks to us and says “do the Iris Team of Missionaries want prayer?” We all shout “YES!” and he calls us down front. We stand in a row and he begins to bless us and everything we are doing. Then he says “I am going to pray over you the same anointing and mantel I received 20 years ago.” With that he started laying hands on us going down the line. Almost everyone fell out in the spirit. He said “receive in Jesus name” and with that he told us all to sit back down. So incredibly blessed we sat through the rest of the service in amazment. The one contact we had wanted us to work with the church and we told her we would be more than happy to, but we needed somewhere to stay we could camp outside, but in the city that is not realistic with our giant American vehicles. They told us of a hostel that was only $20 dollars a night, but most of the team does not have that kind of money. So we said we would find 10 people that could pay that and the rest of us would sleep in the vehicles. They found out we had slept on the side of the road the night before and really wanted to help us so we didn't have to sleep out in the cold again. Maybe we were just naive, but everyone seemed really concerned with our well being, as far as sleeping outside in the city. They leave to talk and come back and had decided to put all of us up in the hostel they had made reservations for, but by the time we get to the hostel they hadn't kept the reservation. So they put us up in a different hotel. We told them they didn't have to we were more than happy to sleep in the vehicles. However, they told us they wanted to put us up so we graciously accepted it. The hotel we stayed in was one of the nicest hotels, to be honest, I have ever been in, in my life. Easily $100 dollars per person a night and they put us up for 2 nights allowing us to come to there homeless ministry during the day to feed us. And we willingly helped out with the ministry doing whatever they asked of us. That is where I met 2 of the sweetest men ever, Roger and Michael. I sat and talked with them for hours. They asked me and 2 other girls to share our testimony with them and so we did. They listened intently and had so much input, Truly some of the wisest men I have ever met. They were such beautiful people and knew more about respect and honor than most. We prayed with them then had to leave to have a meeting with Chad. One of the nights in the Hotel me and the girls in my room felt were should spend the night praying for direction for the team and Argentina. What started out as us just praying for our family turned into full on intersession with repenting, crying out for team members, and for Argentina. God really showed up and it was a very sweet time. That next day we didn't know where we were supposed to go or do... Everyone was feeling a lot of pressure and confusion. In the end we decided to Go and stay at a YMCA someone had found and contacted because it was out of the city, and those of us that wanted to rest could and those of us that wanted still do ministry in the city could. A lot of time there was spent together as a family worshiping, praying for each other and talking about what was to come next as far as Uruguay. Over all the time was not waited, we were able to rest, reconnect, and do our own forms of ministry. While there we visited La Boca, Argentina, known as the Tango capital of Argentina. It was a beautiful city with Tango dancers in the streets you can watch and take pictures with, colorful buildings, and lots of beautiful art. One of our girls, Liney, saw some kids on a field trip with there school and she asked the teacher if she could have 5 mins to talk to the kids. The teacher agreed and Liney began to preach and talk to them about God and there destinies. The teacher said “okay that is enough” and Liney said no 2 more minutes and she began to pray over them and lay hands on them before the teacher could get them back in there line and walk off. We spent the day walking around the city ministering and site seeing. Because we took public transport it took 2 hours to get there and almost 3 hours to get home by train and bus. By the end of the day were were exhausted, but somethings are worth it! God has been doing so much in my heart these last few months I can't wait to be able to get my thoughts collected enough to write about it all. I am so honored to have all of you praying for me and keeping in touch with me! Please let me know if there is anything I should be writing more about or what you want to hear. Also I really would love to hear from all of you as far as what is going on in your lives. Keep me updated so I know how to pray for you! Blessings, Rachael Michelle P.S. Pictures coming soon I haven't gotten them uploaded yet.

Monday, 11 June 2012

THE END OF THE WORLD

After a month of travel exiting and re-entering into Chile and Argentina about 6 times, thus far. We left our knew families in Punta Arenas Chile on a cold dreary Saturday morning and headed further south! All the way to the The southern most part of the world! Our 12 hour bus arrived in the beautiful, but very cold Ushuaia on the Island Of Tierra Del Fuego around 9 pm. Once again we had no idea where were to go or where we were going to stay, but one thing that was on our minds.... Food. As always we thought it be best to find a place to eat and then find a place to stay for the night. Luckily for our sake these southern most areas have built a culture around night time living, everything is open late and everyone stays up late. The 3rd meal of the day in the south instead of supper they have what they call “Once” (pronounced Own-say like 11 in Spanish). Which is basically just bread tea and coffee after 8pm. After we had prayed and we begin to walk away from the bus stop a man runs up to us and asks us if we are the missionaries coming from Punta Arenas. To our surprise we were being waited for by a church that was contacted by someone from the last church we were at. They had accommodations and food waiting for us just a few blocks away! God is so Good and definitely takes care of us. Trust God people because he Knows! They set us up in these beautiful cabins used for church retreats in the woods for 2 nights. I had some good quality God time in those woods even though it was freezing cold. Our first day there was a Sunday and they had asked us to Preach. So we, like usual, didn't plan just waited to see what Holy Spirit wanted. Breck one of the men on our team says he has something on his heart to share after a few others had shared about who we are and what we are doing. The usual. What Breck shared was amazing and God used Breck to not only touch the church, but I am pretty sure more than half our team was crying as well, including myself. Well what we didn't know was in the crowd there was a few YWAM people visiting that church. So after the church we were able to have lunch with them and meet with them and through that they offered for a few of us, if we wanted, to stay at their base for free and even teach in there DTS (Discipleship Training School). After those two nights in the cabins and church members driving a church van to pick us all up and take us to there church to do ministry and services we were moved to a ladies home and a few of us moved into the YWAM base and a family offered a free stay at their bed and breakfast. I was staying at the YWAM base with 3 other team members and 6 YWAMers. We were a full house, but were so blessed with food and free lodging we didn't mind! We got to teach 2 of there classes on Identity! It was amazing I was able to share and when I teach I learn do much more for myself. God really showed up for all of us. The YWAMers were amazing and showed us so much Love! Ushuaia is amazing and beautiful we got to climb a mountain to a glacier over all a 6 hour day of hiking up and down one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. While on the mountain we took communion and worshiped God in the high places Covered with Snow. We also were able to go to the National Park in Ushuaia that is considered the complete end of the world. You can go no further south than that point. It was only an hour away from where we were staying. After many days of Treasure hunting, ministering with the church seeing God show in people lives like never before, it was time for the first time in the whole 8 months so far, to start heading north. As we headed north God allowed us to stop in Punta Arenas once again to visit and be blessed by the Grace and Peace Church that had blessed us so much just a few weeks before. Just like before they welcomed us back into their homes and families. We were able to speak in their beautiful church once again and just simply be apart. Our last Sunday visiting with this church they washed our feet and prayed blessings over us. We have never been held up in so much honor. Then we were able to pray over our families and bless the people that housed each of us. It was a very special time for all of us. They taught so much about true hospitality, honor, and family. Through all that we were able to really be united as a team! We left our new found families once again with high hopes of someday coming together once again. Back to Santiago Chile to finally reunite with our vehicles, Suitcases, and 2 new team members Nicole (Harvest school 15 from the U.S.) and Carol (Harvest school 14 from Brazil). As a girl on our team said “living out of a backpack really makes you miss living out of a suitcase!” Overall, our time throughout Argentina and Chile consisted of 6 ferries, 14 buses, and 8 border crosses between Argentina and Chile. Which over all comes to 154 hours of just travel time alone! Back in Santiago we stayed at the church that hosted us before for a couple of days. We were so honored to have, once again free meals, a place to stay, and being surrounded with a community that is so loving and generous! Finally We left there to get back to the YWAM base we had stayed at before an hour outside of the city. Where our vehicles had been parked. We took a few days there to “down size” and re-pack things and just be with each other praying and taking time to seek for more of God before moving on to our next country or city, which at that point we were not sure where that was! God has been doing so much in me and in this family we are more of a family than ever before. For a traveling Iris base, as we are that works the way we do this is huge. He is bringing us up and showing all of us what it looks like to live like what we say we believe. Thank you all so much for the prayers and all the support I have gotten. I would Love to hear from any of you that would like to share with me what is going on in your lives and anything I can be praying with you for! Also if there are things from my journey that you would like to hear more of please let me know. I tend to leave many things out in efforts to not make my blogs like books! The Much Love and Many Blessings, Rachael Michelle

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Santiago and Punta Arenas. It took 4 days to get to the YWAM base in Santiago, Chile. We stayed in a Hostel on the beach an extra day along the way to celebrate Easter. Once arriving at the YWAM base we settled in and met together to worship and pray about what God wanted us to do. We felt God wanted us to stay in Chile for a little while longer so we got a contact from a team member, David, who knows a pastor of a church further in the city of Santiago. After contacting them, the church was very excited and welcomed us giving us with so much hospitality as well as the entire sanctuary of their little church for all 23 of us to sleep on. They also provided and prepared (by members of the church and the pastors family) food for us 3 times a day also letting us shower in their homes. Showing us so much love and hospitality that we hadn't experienced anywhere else before that time. We ministered with this church every night in the Church and in the streets and God showed up. God is going to use that church in a mighty way because of there openness to Holy Spirit and willingness to learn. We saw many get healed and our own hearts were postured in a completely new way to receive. As we felt Holy Spirit Move we left our knew family. Little did we know that was just the beginning of God using us to help spread revival fire to the southern regions of the world. After taking many buses, many long ferry rides, staying in many hostels in so many different cities finding God's little treasures all along the way. Seeing Him heal people on the street and Him touch there lives through us is still and will always be a huge honor. 2 weeks of traveling we finally came to a stopping point. Or so we thought. We arrive at the bus station in Rio Galleos and we have to decided where to go next. Go on to Ushuaia or make a stop in Punta Arenas. So right there in the bus station we stop, wait, and listen for what the Lord was saying. The majority felt we were to stop in Punta Arenas which meant jumping on another 8 hour bus right then, right after getting off a 10 hour over-night bus. Listening to Holy spirit as tired as we were we jumped on the bus. Finally we arrived in Punta Arenas no clue what we are doing or where we were to stay. We find a hostel in our price range with heat, hot water, and internet that was a miracle in itself. We plan to stay 2 days, with no idea what God had waiting for us right next door. Our first morning there we all sleep in and our leader Jesse hears Hillsong worship music coming from the church next door (which we didn't even recognize was a church the night before). Jesse didn't feel he was meant to go over so He told Taylor, a guy on our team. Taylor wanted to go over and just sit in the worship because up to this point we had not been in a church service we weren't leading. As Taylor was sitting there in the back row the pastor pointed him out and asked him who he was and where he was from. Taylor begins to explain he is a missionary and all about what our team is doing in south America. They call him to the front to pray for him. God gives Taylor a word for the church and he asks if he can share it and they let him. When he sits back down they asked if he had any contact information he could get so he runs back over to the hotel to grabs some. When he walks back into the church they call him forward once again. While he was at the hotel they had taken up the offering and felt God say to give it to him! Little did they know that morning Taylor had just run out of money and didn't know what he was going to do as far as the next leg of the trip. Praise God! After the service he brings some of the church members and the pastor over to meet us. We were all amazed at the God appointment set right before us! We made plans to minister with the church and it was an instant connection! The church decided to House us and feed us. We were divided into different house's of families from the church. I was in the Pastor's house with 4 other team members. They fed us so well 3 times a day, gave up there beds for us to sleep in, and really brought us into there families. Before this time we had not been so welled received by any one else. That week we ministered with the youth doing treasure hunts in the streets, had services, and home groups. On the day we went treasure hunting with the youth our group was not having much luck and everyone we approached turned us away, but before we went out we had prayed for clues and as we followed the clues they lead us to these three homeless drunks. We stopped to talk with them. As we talked and explained how God had brought us to them walls began to break down and we asked if we could pray with them. As we prayed and heard some of there stories God began to break into their hearts even more. We found out that Marcelo, used to be a worship leader in a church and was a man walking with God until his wife and son died and he began to drink. We sat in the cold on this street for probably 45 minutes to an hour with them. They were all weeping by the end and said they wanted to re-commit their lives to Jesus and said they would start attending the church. Amazed at all God was doing through us and them as we worked together God showed up. This truly was a divine appointment. Revival is coming to the south and that church is going to be where God will start. I know those are big words, but when you see true humility and true hunger like those people had you know the presence of God will continue to poor out in big ways. Grace and Peace church truly are readying themselves for an incredible out pouring! After a week we felt it was time to move on so We got a bus heading to Usuhaia. A very Hard Good-bye, but we all felt we would be reunited with this church in the future.