Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Evidence All Around

Today was hot. From the beginning. Hot.
When you walked outside and into the sun, you knew it...because it slapped you in the face.
You didn't have to wait for someone to tell you.
There was evidence all around.
Sun piercing your eyes.
Sweat pouring from you skin.

And now, looking back, this was a picture of our day in the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit has been progressively turning the heat up on our work and ministry here-
and His fire was blazing.
The spark of inspiration to engage in this mission work ignited the fire months ago.
The flames have been burning and fueled along the way with faith, prayer, petition, His Word.
And it was a raging inferno.
It was hot-mucho calor!

As we ministered in the barrio, sharing Jesus with to families and children, feeding poor,hungry, malnourished children...
As we put our hands to the construction of the feeding center and latrines...
As we ministered to women stuck in prostitution...
As we spoke on the radio and TV stations to lost souls, growing believers, youth bound by sin and addiction...
As we testified...
As we preached...
As we sang...
As we prayed with people for healing...
As we worshipped... one had to tell us that the passionate fire of God was there.
It was  evident all around!
The Son pierced our souls and the souls of the lost!
Our spirits overflowed with His love and power as we remained in the presence of the Flame.
Yes, there was evidence all around today!

And praise God- the Fire rages on!
Tomorrow we continue in the work.

My prayer is simply this, Lord:
Keep turning up the heat through the fire of Your Holy Spirit! 
Consume us and let our lives be evidence of You in all that we put our hands to!
Hot. Burning with You.
For every breath that is to come, let that be the forecast!
For Your Glory Lord!

"...for our God is a consuming fire." Hebrews 12:29


The children place their bowls to mark their place in line for lunch at the feeding shelter. Then, they take off and play on a slide nearby or just with each other.
They were serious about their place in line! Especially because this day they were getting a hot meal from the shelter and not just fruit loops and oatmeal which is often the case.
Poplar Springs family...know that you purchased this food through your Holy Spirit inspired generosity!
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This is a photo of volcanoes from the rooftop of the hotel in Cinandega.
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Feeding Shelter

This photo is of the children and women in line for the feeding shelter in the barrio we had been in Tuesday morning.
We had opportunity to spend time with many of the children and share Christ with them as food was prepared.
It was a humbling experience to see them so appreciative of what we wouldn't even eat ourselves.
These families were just precious.
We saw several come to Christ in this barrio! Praise the Lord!!!
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Ladies Conference

Wow what an awesome experience we had sharing with these local female pastors, pastor's wives and leaders in Chinandega!
This is a photo of the women who came forward to experience the transformation work the Holy Spirit brought down in that place Tuesday!
I preached and sang and our women pushed past language barriers and ministered to the by laying hands in them and praying for them as the Spirit led.
It was such a powerful time of freedom for these women and for us! We believe God began a mighty thing through these beautiful women.
We went to bless but ended up receiving just as much of a blessing ourselves!
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Nicaraguan Circus

Jarrett preaches at the close of a Nicaraguan circus. No animals, etc in this circus. It was more a variety of acts and skits...but it was LOUD! Jarrett brought the Word boldly and in Holy Spirit power even with the craziness that was happening all around!
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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Oh ME of Little Faith

Oh ME of little faith.

How boring life would be if God only asked us to do the things that were comfortable, easy, or routine.
Yet...I all too often cringe as God asks me to step out rather than allow excitement to envelope my spirit.
Yes, I usually trudge forward, with the motive of obedience-but faith is lacking.
Because if I had the fullness of faith found in the grace of Jesus, I would stand firm on the truth that anything and everything He has asked me to do is overflowing with His transforming power.

Yesterday, the Lord asked me to display His attitude, responses, and choices in situations where letting flesh show up would not only have been easy, but it would have felt good to vent! He called me to do some things that were unfamiliar and new, rather than allowing me to pass that responsibility to someone else.

What did I do? 
I displayed His attitude as best I could.
I stepped out and did what He asked me to do.

So...what does that have to do with today? 
Yesterday, I saw the reality of what God can do when you come to the end of yourself.
Because of that, today I was able to walk forward in faith, with the assurance that He would do it all if I would just trust. Even when I think I need to do God a favor and help Him out, I just have to let go and let Him do the work through me.

"The one who calls you is faithful and He will do it." 1 Thessalonians5:24

Whatever He has asked, He has already released the fullness of His power to equip you to accomplish it!

That is the truth that the Holy Spirit has been planting in me as we have moved further into our Mission journey here in Nicaragua. And I look forward to all that He has yet to sculpt in me along the way here!

Our Tuesday began early!
We split into 3 teams. Some went to help construct a feeding shelter, some went to help prepare food at an existing feeding shelter, some went to construct a latrine, and a group went to speak on the local Christian radio program.
Wow! That's a lot to do!
But we all embraced our day with God driven excitement!

The construction team was also interviewed for TV during their day today. Michael did a great job I heard!:) They  worked so hard all day, until the downpour came in the afternoon. They dug holes, mixed concrete, painted and set poles for the structure today...and man were they dirty! Maybe that rain was a good thing!

The radio team today consisted of Shirley, Nancy, Kevin, myself and Jarrett. Everyone did great speaking and sharing their heart.

The latrine team completed their task today! Onto another one in need of finishing tomorrow!

The food team did everything from cutting Yucca, to watching cow intestine skins be put into soup, to playing with children who lined up their bowls for the 
blessing of food. Others from our team  in this same Barrio(community), went door to door carrying the love of Jesus and Message of life and hope to hurting and desperate people.

After a later lunch, the women went to a Ladies Conference where I preached and sang to local female pastors and leaders from area churches.
What a powerful connection the Holy Spirit made between our group and theses women! So many made life transforming decisions! We had an amazing ministry time where we were able to speak directly into their lives as we layed hands on them and prayed for them. 
We all truly felt that we left there having received so much more than we could even tried to give away .

Our final ministry opportunity of the day was definitely unlike any other!
We went to a Nicaraguan circus...but not what you are probably imagining.
Think circus as in...a variety of performances.
None of the stuff you would assume, really, except that it was loud. Very.
Five minutes after we walked in, I found out I was going to sing in the midst of the chaos! It was a neat experience for sure!
Jarrett preached a powerful evangelistic sermon and even in the craziness of the setting God, was SO in that place!

So now we are all in our rooms-tired but full, empty physically for the day, but so full spiritually.
I am nodding as I write this and my eyes are crossing. I'm actually looking forward to laying down on this extra firm mattress:)!

Wednesday, I am sure, will hold new discovered treasures that the Lord as gone before and placed on our paths. 
My resolve is to have unwavering faith to seek and find them, no matter what else the world places on the path to distract!

Oh ME of little faith no more!

Father, help our expectations rise to the level of the people we encounter, wholeheartedly believing that God can and will do a mighty work through us!
Make us unashamed and fearless as we take hold of You and overflow with YOUR LOVE!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Nicaraguan Traffic Jam

A herd of cows slowed our progress just a bit, as their owner waved a stick in the air. Hilariously interesting. :)
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Como se dice FLEXIBLE??

That has been the word of the day. Well, the past two days, actually.
All I know to tell you is, the enemy sure must be scared of where the Holy Spirit is leading us because he has tried hard to block our path and slow our progress. 
But our team has a resolve to live out Galatians 5:25 and keep in step with the Spirit! We were aware that the enemy had a strategy against the work we were setting out to do for the Kingdom, but we have been determined to keep our eyes on the Holy Spirit's strategy because that is our victory!

So you may have heard by now about our flat tire on the bus to Atlanta turning our 3 hour trip into 7 hours.
But did you also hear that God kept us from driving into horrific storms in the Atlanta area during the time we were sitting and waiting safely outside those storms? He even sent us a rainbow!

Arriving tired and relieved to our hotel at about 11pm,  we eagerly grabbed our numerous heavy bags and backpacks, ready to fall into bed...and then had to lug them up 4 flights of stairs because the elevators were broken.
But no one complained( course at that point it may have been because we were gasping for air) and we found comfortable beds and several hours of rest awaited us after that unexpected climb.

After waking up at 5am, the next part of our day was seamless: eat at 6am, airport at 6:30am, unloaded and through security by 8, plane departure at 10am, safe and early arrival in Managua 1:30pm EST,  Nicaraguan buses loaded and ready to pull out 12:30pm. Pretty good for 21 people.

At this point in the day, we were all hungry and tired. 
Oh, and did I mention we were hungry?
We ate at the most Nicaraguan of restaurants: Pizza Hut! Lol!
It was so, so good. No I mean really. It really was! 
And I don't even like pizza! ;)
A we waited on our food, we found out that when we arrived in the city where we will be ministering that we would have the opportunity to speak on a radio and TV show that evening, as well.

We then set out for Chinandega which is  about a 2 and a half hour bus ride...that is if you are not with Poplar Springs Mission team, a.k.a. " We kill tires" mission team.
Yep, you guessed it: the bus blew a tire!

I don't even think I can explain the place we stopped to get it fixed on the side of the road, except to say it was a shack with a guy laying  in a hammock on the front porch. We all hung around outside the bus, talked, played with a little girl who lived beside the tire place, and waited.
Even the bugs came out to greet us!

And still no one complained.

Plans changed moment by moment as we saw our arrival time in Chinandega slipping further away.
The tire was finally fixed and we headed to Pastor Osvaldo's home which he opened to all 21 of us for a wonderful meal of rice with peas, meat with onions, vegetables, mashed potatoes, and tortillas.
The pastor's wife Rosa was so welcoming and humble. Her hospitality was such a jewel in our day! And as if that weren't enough, they are going to feed us for the next two days as well!

We checked in to our hotel, Hotel Balcones, at 7:30pm(9:30 EST) with just enough time for 6 of us to change and head to the radio/ TV station for about 2 hours of on air ministry. Jarrett, myself, Ashley P., Jade K., Tony Q., and Jim R. ventured into the unknown!
I have to say I had no clue what to expect and I was exhausted.
On the way there I prayed, "Holy Spirit, this is all You."
And what did I find out? 
Where I end is simply where His greatness can truly begin.
God showed up in a mighty way!

Yes it is true...Flexible has become our theme for Mission Nicaragua 2011.
God is writing the details of the story, letter by letter, word by word, line by line.
His purpose is great,  His power is evident, and His people have chosen to embrace those truths here in Nicaragua, come what may!

Continue to lift up prayers on our behalf to the Father!

"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10

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Where I end is simply where the greatness of God  can truly begin. #Nicaragua2011


This is a photo of Jarrett, Jim and Tony from the control room monitor at the TV n radio station. God did a powerful work there!
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Off the Road Again

This is the road side service station where we got the Nicaraguan bus tire fixed....finally.
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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Nicaragua Mission Team 2011

We made it!
God spread His promises across the sky for us tonight and renewed His joy in our midst...even when we had to climb up 4 flights of stairs because of broken hotel elevators.
Hey, I was excited to get in an unexpected workout! Yay that!;)
Sleep calls because 4:52am will be screaming my name before long.
Thank you for your prayers on our behalf!
Will update again as I can!

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We are more than conquerors.God with us=VICTORY assured.Count on it.Live on it.

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Mission: Nicaragua 2011

Planning. Preparing. Gathering. Packing.
Now what?
As I write, 21 of us are on the infamous big brown bus to Atlanta packed and ready to catch our plane in the morning.
The excitement is palatable with chitter chatter all around!
Just the physical planning and prepping in getting here has been full throttle, trying to anticipate needs and situations that may arise.
But as I travel this time in-between the planning and the mission itself, I am wondering: did I do all I needed to do to prepare spiritually?
When I encounter a situation and the Holy Spirit asks me to step up, to be an empty vessel, will I be ready?
You see, in the spirit just as in the physical, there has to be more than just a plan or good intentions.
The work of preparation is vital.
The patience required in gathering His promises is vital.
The diligence of packing that Word in your heart is essential.
And then...the going: the willingness to step out and be available for the Holy Spirit to use you- wherever you are.

So really, although my mission and your mission may be in different countries, states, or continents even, it is the same.

We are all called to plan, prepare, gather, pack, and then embark on our specific God inspired mission with excitement and anticipation whether its in the next yard over or two countries away.

His Kingdom calls:
Believer, this is your mission, if you choose to accept it...

Mission: we come!

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Prepare yourself to be an empty vessel 4 the Spirit 2 fill and pour out in ur mission 4 the Kingdom!
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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

In the Course of Time

1 Samuel 1:20
"So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, 'Because I asked the lord for him.'"

Every step of faith, every breath we utter a petition before the Lord, we must realize that there is a course of time.
God ordained the course of time for human pregnancy and birth.
We understand that and accept it because it is known.
It is generally understood that nine months are needed to grow and birth a baby...

But what about the thing you have gone to God about and have fully believed him for and have been assured it will be provided, yet the pregnancy lingers on?

These are the days, months and years that weigh heavy...because we do not see the end in sight.
We don't have a pregnancy calendar or tracker to tell us what developmental stage the thing we are giving birth to is in...we simply must move forward each day in FAITH.
We must keep making choices that bring health, life and growth to the promise that was planted in us, that we carry deep in our bellies, so that we are ready for labor and birth and the LIFE is to follow!

Faith that there was a planting.
Faith that the seed is growing.
Faith that labor will begin.
Faith that birth will happen and we will survive it.
Faith that it's life will be gloriously God's......all in the course of His time.

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Make faith choices 2day that bring life n growth 2 specific promises God has planted in you. #trustHistiming

Monday, June 13, 2011

Reluctant Beggar

I am a reluctant beggar.
And my guess is maybe you are, too.

It may be pride that stands in our way. It may be a sense of duty that rises up and convinces us to try harder, telling us that with just a little more effort we can see those results, find those solutions.

It is so easy to seek our own answers to our places of need, our areas of infirmity.
Try everything else...then maybe Jesus.
Healing and restoration seem so far out of reach that we never even come to the place where begging is even an option.
Our hearts cry out,
"Jesus isn't in this place of struggle! Jesus is too far away from my point of need!"

We fail to stop, look and listen in that place to recognize Jesus as He moves into this area of need in our life.

"And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed."
Matthew 14:35-36

The life changing encounter these people ultimately begged for all began at the point of recognition. Recognition positioned them to cry out for, then receive the healing.

Recognition led to
Declaration led to
Action led to
His presence led to
Desire led to
Petition led to

When is the last time that I begged, petitioned for Jesus?

Do I want Him so badly that I beg for Him...that I will do whatever it takes to get nearer to Him because I know that He is the answer to my need and desperation?
That kind of longing only comes out of someone who KNOWS the reality of the very thing they are begging for...they cannot live without it...they are determined to not live without it!

Desiring, craving Him because you know nothing else will do...

The moments in which I find myself swept away first and foremost in the "doing" of ministry, of life, of kingdom living...those are the moments I find myself a reluctant beggar.

I cannot recognize a face I am not looking for.
I cannot declare truth I haven't take time to know.
I cannot take action when I resist receiving direction.
I miss out on the sweetness of His presence when I am constantly choosing to go my own way.
I dilute my desire when I pass by those moments of encounter.
I become a reluctant beggar.
I come in the proximity of healing yet never receiving it.

Wherever you are, Jesus is there.
Whatever need you have, His provision is far better than your best intentions and self sufficient strategies.

Beg for Him.
Beg for Him!

I want my life to be marked by my desperation for more and more and more of Jesus.
I want my life to unashamedly beg and plead for the Father to reveal and pour more of Himself out to me and in me.

What about you?
No more reluctant beggar.

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I want my life to be marked by my unashamed desperation for more and more and more of Jesus. #NoMoreReluctantBeggar #ForHisGlory