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