It's official! EWSSM Starts Jan. 4th.

on Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The past couple months have been a roller coaster ride of excitement, fear, hope and tension. We have been considering an opportunity to be part of a Supernatural School of Ministry in Kelowna, BC. The invitation came in November while Graeme and I were still in Irricana, AB with his family. The word of the Lord at the moment was to "Wait". This was a difficult position to be in, especially due to the fact that there were many people waiting on our decision. Graeme was gung ho and excited to move forward, but we couldn't deny God's direction to wait or to be still. So the tension was great between us as Graeme sought permission to move forward and I sought the peace and confidence that this was what the Lord wanted. Much of the need to move forward by several parties involved put pressure on us to search our hearts and press into the Lord like we haven't before. We needed to know what we wanted and where we felt the Lord was leading. We needed vision.

Through much prayer and even confrontation (baring our heart and concerns), we felt like we got the confidence we needed to move forward. We gave our "yes" to Wesley and Stacy Campbell on December 10th. Our yes came in obedience to what we felt God calling us to and the confidence grew in the conversations that followed. A family from KCC heard of our need for a place to land. They were going to be gone for at least a month over Christmas, so they generously offered us their home. On December 20th, we left Irricana to settle in a beautiful home in Kelowna. It is a blessing to have a space of our own for a season. Shortly after arriving in Kelowna, we met with the Campbells and Donna Petch from New Life Church to discuss our roles. Graeme and I have been named Directors of the school and Wesley and Stacy Campbell are the overseers. We are excited about this role and opportunity.

The school is called "Eyes and Wings School of Supernatural Ministry". So far, it looks as if we will have 13 or 14 students. We are thankful for the small class as we have a lot of ground to cover in a short space of time. We are hoping to work our way through 80 Bethel DVD sessions, 4 books and 2 training manuals. In addition we will do some ministry training classes, guest speakers, outreaches, worship, small groups and a missions trip. A good friend gave us a word yesterday that we are going to be squeezed like we've never been squeezed before and it's going to cause us to grow. We can see this coming to pass and the very words confirm a dream I had six months ago. I love that God has been giving me many dreams again that encourage and inspire me as we enter into this new season of running.

The schedule is going to be an adjustment for our family. I am going to be at school everyday from mid morning to 2ish and then Graeme and I will switch places and he will be at school until 5:30pm. Graeme and I will take turns helping the kids with homeschooling and taking them to activities depending on time of day and schedule. We only have one vehicle so this will mean sometimes having the kids at the school with us and we are looking at the possibility of taking turns on the bus. When we are done our stay at this home in Kelowna mid to late January, we have been graciously offered a home in Glenrosa. It will also be a house sitting situation. It is a sure thing for a month and there have been other options in the works to follow. God has been so good to us, providing us with housing and the grace to be here while we wait for school finances to be sorted out. This whole thing has been a leap of faith for everyone involved, from New Life staff and the Campbells to the students and us.

Thanks for all your love, prayers and encouragement. It has been a wonderful Christmas with time to connect with Kelowna friends and family. We have enjoyed the visits, food, presents and Christmas greetings from all over. Graeme is eager to get into school mode and I am getting into that mode slowly but surely. We have started planning the weekly schedule and figuring out homework, ordering books and DVDs, small groups, outreaches. We have been interviewing students over the phone and emailing back and forth. It is exciting and overwhelming. We are confident in this, that this is a season of coming to the end of ourselves and seeing God show up. We are utterly dependent on His faithfulness to come when we call. We'll be calling on Him a lot :) But that's the everyday supernatural life, right? Please continue to hold us up in prayers as our family adjusts to a new lifestyle and new responsibilities.

Many Blessings and Happy New Year.

Our Christmas letter 2010

on Thursday, December 16, 2010

 Merry Christmas 2010

5th times a charm? Lets see if I can get through this letter on my 5th attempt. Once again, not surprisingly, my heart is cluttered and full of things to say, but getting an organized stream of info on the screen has been difficult this year. It has been a crazy year. We started out in Nicaragua, spent a short time in California, returned to Kelowna, moved on to Whitehorse, stopping in Alberta for a while on the way, only to return to Alberta and find ourselves sitting and waiting for the next “assignment”. It has been a season of running, walking, waiting. You name it, we have been there this year.

Our time in Nicaragua was nothing less than miraculous! It was a divine appointment that manifested God’s grace to us in awe striking and tangible ways day by day. It was a season of running, especially for Graeme. In the first couple weeks we were there, God arranged dozens of kingdom connections and the remaining 3 months were spent preaching, teaching and praying in many churches. We were amazed by the healings that happened when we prayed and taught others to pray. There was this constant realization that we were not enough, but we were wiling and we were obedient so God chose to use us. The desperation and hunger in the people we encountered was inspiring. We left with a confidence that we were in the right place at the right time and that God’s hand was on us to make a difference in Nicaragua.

After our time in Nica, we returned to Kelowna for a short season. It was a season of recovery and relationship building. We spent only a couple of months there, but in a very short time, God was knitting us together with other like minded believers at New Life Church. We often questioned what God was doing as we saw an acceleration in connection with several elders at NLC. For the first time in our lives, we felt lead to join this church as members. It was a confident decision, but we were perplexed as to why God was doing this just before we were going on the road again.

In July, Graeme and I were heading for Whitehorse. We were excited to visit family and had already made connection with a small foursquare church there. The church had some hopes to start a school of ministry in the future and we were hoping to work with them toward this goal. It was a beautiful summer. All of my siblings and their families managed to make it to Whitehorse (or be in town for those who live there) for a 10 day family reunion. It was so fun to have all 26 of us together. We enjoyed bbqs, fishing, boating, walks and swims. A great time was had by all and many memories made. The summer was an amazing time of getting to know my nieces and nephews and keep building relationships with my family. I loved the cuddles and the coffees, the board games and the chats. It was a special summer. I hope for more just like it in the future.

Our time with the church in Whitehorse was also exciting. I was privileged to help lead worship for the summer. It was stretching for me, but I loved the extra time I was afforded to practise playing piano and just get lost in God’s presence. Graeme loved every opportunity to preach and teach. He was leading a weekly meeting meant to build up the local leaders. We were so blessed by all that God did in our family and in the church while we were with them and excited about all that God has in store as they continue to seek revival in their own hearts and in their church.

We left Whitehorse in October hoping for an opportunity to return to Kelowna. We knew that God was building something there and our hearts were drawn to be a part of it. Unfortunately, the couldn’t see the grace to be there right away. Finances and lack of opportunity kept us searching our hearts and the Lord for wisdom and direction. The word for the moment was to wait. So wait we did. We have been in Irricana, Alberta now, with Graeme’s family, for 2 months. They have been so gracious, making us feel welcomed and comfortable. We are truly thankful for the homes we have been given all over the world. This season of waiting has given us the time to get to know our nieces better and help Graeme’s sister with her new baby. It is such a joy to be part of their lives.

Our season of waiting has almost come to an end. Graeme and I have been connecting with leaders at New Life Church in Kelowna and Wesley and Stacey Campbell. We have been invited to come and help them with a school of ministry that they are building. Graeme and I have committed to help them through the spring. A generous family that we don’t know, has offered us a place to stay Dec. 20th through January and another family offered us a place for the month of February. They are both house sitting opportunities so we will be alone as a family in their houses which is a treat. We are excited about this opportunity, but a little nervous as well. We have been challenged, once again, to come to a place where we know that the commitment is beyond us and requires our dependency on God to move in power to accomplish what we hope for.

Please hold us in your prayers as we will you, praying for God’s Holy Spirit to work in you both to will and to do according to His good purposes.

We love you.
Chris, Graeme, Caleb, Bailey and Ben

Long time ... no info.

on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Well, first things first. I guess it is time that I apologize for my lack of contact over the past few months. Can't believe it has been months since our last update, especially when so much has gone on over the summer.

The last update I posted was mid-May. Graeme and I with the kids were still in Kelowna, blessed to live with great friends for a couple months. We headed to Alberta for about a week or two to spend some time with Graeme's family in Irricana on our way to Whitehorse. It was some fun catch up time and now we are here in Irricana again. Graeme's sister, Wendy, just had their third baby a week ago. She arrived the day before we did. Her name is Ainsley and it has been such a joy to get to know her and spend some time with her big sisters, Sydney and Mackenzie, and the rest of the family.

In between these two Irricana visits Graeme and I spent a few days in Edmonton on our way to Whitehorse and again on our way back. We have another great friend there. Her name is Lana and we go way back all the way to youth group in the late 80's/early 90's. She has generously put us up a couple times now so we could spend time with her, share her church family and have some family time at West Edmonton Mall. Lana also graciously shared a mechanically inclined family friend with us a couple weeks back when our alternator went on us and we were at the mercy of high priced tow trucks, mechanics and parts. She and a friend, with his family, drove two hours north to meet us and help replace the part. They were such a blessing. Thankful once again for the kindness of friends and strangers. God's got our back.

We arrived in Whitehorse the last week of June. We were there in time for the kids to get a free ride to camp. Bailey and Ben went as campers and Caleb went as a counsellor while I spent the week in the kitchen helping with food prep. It was a fun week. The kids made new friends and had some fun times with their cousins. It was a challenging week for Caleb learning to be a big brother to a lot of unchurched and often rambunctious boys, but he went to chapel every night with the kids and one of the nights he had an awesome encounter with God and it changed his whole outlook. He was excited to go back to camp a couple weeks later as a teen camper. I also enjoyed the time. My sister, Sue, organized our being able to be part of camp and she and I worked together in the kitchen and shared a camper all week. It was fun to chat, laugh, cook and play scrabble together. It was a special time together.

After the kids and I returned from camp, I was on duty. We stayed with my brother, Clayton, and his family. Clayton and Candice had identical twin girls last November and also have 2 little guys so their hands are full. Clayton had to travel several times for work this summer so we were happy to be there to help Candice with the kids. My days were spent on family visits, kids outings and walks, baby feedings, changes and playtime. We loved the time we got with Clayton and Candice and the rest of the family. They made us very comfortable. Graeme and I had our own room as did Bailey, while Caleb and Ben shared a large rec room with their cousins. It was a great set up and we were excited to have some time with my family in Whitehorse.

It was an awesome blessing when my brother and his family and my sister with her family travelled to Whitehorse. We had a 10 day family reunion with all my siblings and their families. We had bbqs and fishing trips and play time at the park. It was special to all be together for the first time in several years.

While Graeme and I were in Whitehorse, we were invited to be part of a small foursquare church there. My parents and my brother's family have attended there for a while. The pastor of this church has been considering starting a school of ministry for some time. The development of ministry schools and equipping the saints is heavy on mine and Graeme's heart so we were drawn to commit to help this church for a few months. We were not sure what role we would play in helping the church out this summer, but were eager to make ourselves available to them. Shortly after we arrived in Whitehorse, Graeme started meeting with the pastor. When he was confident in Graeme's vision and heart, he wanted Graeme to start doing some teaching. Meetings were held weekly on Monday nights already, but the focus shifted a little as the pastor wanted to see his church moving with a culture of honour. Graeme started teaching weekly and was preaching occasionally in Sunday services too.

I was also stretched in our commitment to this church as I took on the role of worship leader for a season. Most Sundays I was leading the worship and a practise on Thursday nights. I have always been more comfortable in the background so this was a challenge to me. Preparing for worship was quite involved for me and usually took the better part of a day to nail down a list of songs and keys for the Thursday night practise. It was easier and easier as the summer progressed and I became more and more comfortable flowing by the spirit. I truly discovered this summer that "I love I love, I love his presence." and that was my heart and focus each time I was choosing songs. It was a growing season for me in this area.

While we were there, between teaching and relationship, we were excited to see God moving in restoration and reconciliation in the relationships around us. It was a blessing to see the hunger and passion on this body for God's presence and to see him move among them. Toward the end of our time in Whitehorse, many people were telling us that we needed to stay. God was moving in such amazing ways, but there was something in our hearts and in the air that said it was time to go. We are drawn to be part of what God is doing in Kelowna and we wanted to take some time to spend with Graeme's family.

We are now in another season of waiting. God has taught us to watch for the grace and so we watch and pray. We are trying to be present where we are at and not always look toward what is not here yet, but still our hearts are longing for an opportunity in Kelowna. We also have hopes and dreams about touching other nations with the message planted in our hearts so we are open to whatever the Lord is going to lead us into. There are open doors for us in a couple of places, but we are yet to feel a confidence that it is what God has for us in this moment. Please hold us in your prayers while we renew our strength and wait on the Lord.


Learning to Love ... And it hurts in all the right places.

on Thursday, May 13, 2010

Learning to Love ... And it hurts in all the right places.

Ooooh, another one of those complicated questions are coming. I can feel it! Those mushy ooey gooey questions all full of feelings and heavies. Too much for you? Can't stand it? Turn back now cuz it's coming ... oh oh ... here it is. "BOOM!"

What does real love look like?

Phew, glad that's over with. But not so fast. There is so much heart wrenching loveliness to discuss here.

Have you ever been in one of those relationships that so oozed love that people were sickened by it?

You know what a mean! ... When you hear a kid lip their mom off and completely disrespect them, manipulate, call names, whine and complain about them and take advantage and you turn around to find mom running to their rescue with open arms because they just took a major dive off their skateboard and figured out they really shredded something up (pun intended :P). Oh ... maybe ... that's ... not the ooey gooey love you were thinking of?!?!

Maybe you were thinking of the absent husband that came home drunk and threw up all over the floor on his way to bed and you turn around to see the wife, kneeling on the floor in her housecoat, washing the floor with a bucket of water, a rag and a tear soaked tissue tucked in her bra. She gets up in the morning to fix him his eggs just like he likes them and a steaming hot cup of coffee.

No, still not the picture you were thinking?

Oooooh, you were thinking of the newlywed couple, who only met a few weeks ago and knew at first sight that destiny brought them together. They love every little thing about their new love. The funny little mole on his chin, the way she snorts when she giggles, can't keep their eyes or hands off each other and they have all these corny little lovey dovey things to say to each other. Then they turn around a few years later asking themselves what they were thinking and trying to find the highest rolling, lowest charging divorce lawyer in the phone book.

Wow, the pictures we have accepted as images of extravagant love!??!  Honestly, it's all pretty dysfunctional and we know it, but where does that furious love of the Lord fit in all of this, in our dysfunctional world filled with misunderstandings, misunderstood, manipulations, control, codependency. 

I'm learning a lot about love. Maybe my lesson is old hat to you, but this is my blog so bare with me while I process.

I've spent a long time looking at dysfunction and looking for the loopholes in all the Kingdom, Jesus, the scripture teach us about love. It's so easy to look at an abusive relationship (controlling, manipulative, passive - they come in all shapes and sizes) and give yourself permission to check out on the love factor.
I know what some of you are thinking ..... soooo Whoah! Hold your horses! I'm gonna get there.

I think this note is going to stir some pots, cuz, I know that there is the whole co-dependency thing, the facilitating thing, head in the sand, aiding and abetting, tough love, boundaries, drawing the line, controlling your destiny, rights! All those get mushed together to make a great big argument that says shutting off the love and checking out is okay.

But where is the love? How often do we counsel our friends or reason through our own situation while thinking of our rights, their rights. There are some people who are really great at keeping the love on while maintaining healthy boundaries and they should probably give lessons, but I really think it has become way to easy to justify withdrawal. Removing yourself from the relationship or at least removing yourself from the responsibility of love.

How many times has that abusive person in your life completely treated you unjustly? ... Too many to count?!?! It really hurt! That wasn't some fictitious pain. And that was totally not okay and it wasn't right ... Thoughts like "they are never going to treat me that way again! I'll teach them! I should've said ..." How many times have we stayed quiet in fear of waking the beast, rocking the boat. Just sit down, shut up, pretend it isn't happening and it will all go away. In fact, if I just walk away right now, it will never have to happen to me again.        But what about this person that you once loved. Oh, I know! They have to want it ... their sickness is not your responsibility... am I my brother's keeper?

 ...But love!  
When we were yet sinners Christ died for us! ... It's the kindness of God that leads us to repentance. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. It's not til we turn on the love and keep it on, that the person can truly get a glimpse of what they can become. If no one loves you, you feel no love. To feel no love means that your life will be consumed by fear and the tragic loss of identity. It's because He first loved us that our lives are worth anything today. And you know what! You are so worth it! a billion dollars! a whole garden of beautiful, fragrant roses, a sunny day, a majestic mountain, a heart warming song, a cool breeze on a hot day, that perfect parking spot when you don't feel like walking or a path completely free of dog poo when you do :)

You are worth it. And it's all because He loves you. It makes me think that an epic river of love that keeps flowing can actually change a person! For sure, I don't always feel like I'm worth it, but the Bible still says I am and who's gonna argue with the Bible? When they understand that they are worth it, than there is reason, maybe for the first time, to change.

I have a millions questions in my heart about what heaven's love looks like in the midst of dysfunction as I'm sure you do too. Or maybe you didn't before, but thanks to me you do now! Haha, I love the power of influence. There is one thing I know, that true love is not afraid to confront ... or maybe it is afraid, but love does it anyway. I was tempted to try to give you tools, but ultimately, the best teaching is Holy Spirit, after that there is Danny Silk ... haha. True! :)

I guess this is a great big note to say "Lord, teach me how to love the unlovelies!"
Teach me how to be genuine in my love, sincere in my action, brave in my communication and to live a life that will testify that I am a Christian.

"They'll know we are Christians by our love."

He loves you because He loves you, because He loves you, because He loves you, because He loves you, because He loves you, because He loves you, because He loves you, because He loves you, because He loves you, because He loves you. He didn't need any other reason.

I love you.

Where we're at.

on Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Well, I have left this far too long. I kept meaning to get back to updating the blog, but honetly just haven't been intentional enough to get down to it.

We left Nicaragua one month ago today. Wow, I just had to figure that out in my head and can't believe that much time has passed already. On April 6th, we flew into San Francisco and a great new friend brought us back up to Redding 24 hours after leaving Nica. It was a long day. Some more great friends left a house key for us when they left for spring break so we got to enjoy their beautiful home along with some peace and quiet, a fun puppy and a wonderfully comfortable king sized bed. It was a fun week, reconnecting with friends, getting in a couple services and meetings, sampling some of our old favourites (Yak's coffee, In N Out burgers, Trader Joe's treats). It was such a joy to have dinner here, coffee there, friends in. Felt so go to be loved and known again. You know what I mean?

After a week of fun we were back to the gruelling chore of travel. Not exactly how I would normally describe it being that I have loved travel so much, but another 24 hours straight felt like a lot! We were in the Redding train station at 3:30am, pulled into Seattle at 8pm and then, with the assistance of our gracious chauffeur, Amie Edwards,  drove on to Kelowna, arriving at 2am. It was so good to feel like "We're here!". Ahhhhh, on solid ground ... at least for a season.

So yes, We are here, in Kelowna. We have been enjoying the company and hospitality of our extended family, the Edwards. The company never gets old :) Many a night spent staying up way too late talking about this and that, sometimes nothing much. It's almost like there is this little fear in each of the four of us that we will miss something if we go to bed before everyone else ... like being the first one to hang up on a phone call. Lots of life giving, friendship .. Like an endless sleepover. LOL We are so thankful for Jamie and Amie.

So what's next you may ask? Haha, well, that is exactly the question. Graeme has been invited back to Nicaragua to do some teaching for a couple weeks. We are not sure when that will happen, but intend on making it a priority. As far as the rest of us? ... and the rest of the year? Well, the last word of direction we received from the Lord was that this year was not going to be an improvisation even though it might feel like it. That God has pre-ordained .. divinely orchestrated it. So, in light of that word and the fact that it is constantly feeling like improvisation, we are trying to lean in ... lay our ears on his heart and try to get our direction from the whispers we hear in the spirit. Every move feels like a risk and at the same time it feels like we can't go wrong. Such a strange tension to be caught in.

For now we have a plan :) ... to stay in Kelowna until June 5th. My nephew is graduating and we want to be here to hoot and holler from the audience for him when he marches across the stage. Every good kid needs a thoroughly embarrassing family to sing his praises at such a moment. We have felt that this would be a good time to burden? ... grace? .. haha another household with our presence. As long as they're ready for us, we look forward to taking full advantage of the hospitality of Graeme's parents and his sister Wendy and her family in Irricana, Alberta. We are still listening to whispers and trying to catch the drum beat of heaven for the exact timing of the next stage.

There are more plans and hopes to head North to Whitehorse, not sure of exactly when or for how long, but again, ear to His heart. Learning to be lead on the trail marked by grace. So far we have seen grace for a stop in Edmonton and some time at a camp in the Yukon for the kids. They are really looking forward to it and time with their cousins.

Well, this update was a long time coming and I'm sorry to those of you who have been left in the dark. I'm going to try to be better at updating this in the future. I go through inspired seasons and dry ones, I hope in all seasons that it's still a good read ... haha.


The Word and Provision for the moment.

on Friday, March 19, 2010

Hopefully this will be a quick one.

I was just so blessed yesterday and I wanted to take the time to share. Graeme and I were on a skype call the other night and the context of the conversation reminded us of something. When we first arrived in the country, we need $25 for a visitors visa and we didn't know we'd need this so we didn't have any cash on us. We had to draw money off our credit card. This would be the first time using the pin number on our card and the first time using the card in Nicaragua so I was very prayerful that it would go through without a hitch. It did, because God is so faithful. A friend did some research at that time and gave us a head up to the fact that when we would leave the country that we would need $30 each in order to leave. The skype call was our first recollection of that fact since the first week we arrived in Nica. We looked at each other with "ohoh" in our eyes. At the moment we didn't have that much left and we still needed to buy food and stuff for the next few weeks.

There we were once again. In that place of standing on the edge, trusting in the provision of heavenly father to come through in just the right moment. I was torn between feeling trapped in Nica and believing that if the money didn't come through that maybe God wanted us to stay longer. But then there are the "buts" ... wasted airline tickets, trying to get extended visas on the spot, could we keep renting our rooms at our present house? We called a friend who was not in a position to give us the money, which we knew in advance. They are the best people to call in this moment because they will either find a way to get it for you regardless of their own circumstances or join with you in prayer to see Papa God deliver you. They prayed for us over the phone and prayed that God would even give us seed to sew into another ministry.

Yesterday, we met a man! He is a crazy guy. He talks really fast and really loud and has a thick american accent. We had spoken to him over the phone once, but his aggressive nature left us a little guarded. He came by just to meet us. He has been a missionary in Nica for many years, coming and going to the states. We came to find out that he really just wanted to support us and start to build relationship with us in effort to partner with us and God in ministering to the nation of Nica and the rest of the world. His heart was such a blessing and spirit power came with him. We were so blessed by our conversation with him that we asked if he would be another of our spiritual fathers. We told him that we felt that our life in ministry would greatly benefit from his 35+ years of experience doing the very thing we are doing and his heart.

But the other part of the testimony??!!?! ... Only minutes after walking in the house (besides offering us "starbucks coffee" which is the first praise report .. lol) He stopped himself and, with a surprised look on his face, said "I have to give you money. How are you for food?" We said, "Well, we are good for food." At this point he had put $50 in Graeme's hand. Then he said "No, I am supposed to give you $150 and I am going to get it to you in the next few days." We then shared with him about the fact that we prayed the day before for $150 to leave the country. He said, "Okay, you keep the $50 for food or whatever else you need and I will get you the $150." He said some amazing things to us about investing in the God in us and knowing what it's like to be on the mission field with your family. He mentioned understanding specific struggles, that we were, honestly, presently in the midst of. He brought both Graeme and I to tears with his love and support for us. Really, we are strangers, but he could discern our hearts and he knew our struggles and he was there to be a pillar in our lives.

Once again, we are confronted with the faithfulness of our father to provide everything we need. I was going to make this post shorter, but even as I wrote it and cried I realized that this post will never mean as much to anyone else as it does to me. So I write it for me and I know I will read it many times and cry every time I do as I ponder the fullness of God's love for me and his intention to meet and satisfy my every hearts cry. My Daddy loves me and so often his provision comes by way of another father in our lives. If you don't have a spiritual Daddy - get one! Get 10! and then let their example teach you how to love like the father. By the way, did you see the rest of the answered prayer in there? He's given us $50 and promised us $150 more - that leaves us with $50 to sew seeds. Should I be surprised that he answers with accuracy?


Time is growing short.

on Thursday, March 18, 2010

Our visit to Masaya Volcano

Well, it's that time again. I haven't written in a while so I should probably jot a few things down to fill you all in. Honestly, I have been so homesick lately that I have neglected the responsibility of being completely present in the moment. I don't know if it is the heat, the waves of boredom or just that it has been way too long since I last saw the people that I love, but my heart has been longing for home.

It is now a little over 2 weeks until our originally planned departure date. In some ways it feels too soon, but we can also see how things have started to wind down by way of access and opportunity. We have realized that we were here to plant seeds and stoke fires and we have had the privilege of getting to see some of the fruit of this already. We had some hopes ... maybe illusions? ... of a school of ministry starting before we left Nicaragua, but the Lord keeps reminding us that we are ground breakers and seed planters and that means that often our ministry comes as an introduction to revival. And then we move on to plough more ground. We will watch and pray ... hope ... and stay in relationship to encouraged local leaders in the pursuit of the kingdom when we leave. There are several people that we believe will be life long connections ... friends :)

This past Sunday was the first time I have done a formal sermon to a congregation. I preached in a church of the Nazarene in Managua. It was an evening service. There were probably 150 or so people there I think ... didn't really count. I was feeling like God wanted to empower the women of the congregation and that was why I was meant to preach. It was pretty cool too when I arrived and for the first time in our 3 months in Nica, there was a woman translator. Kind of a double whammy... lol. It was a little intimidating, especially to deliver some of the complexity of my sermon at the beginning through a translator .... talking about taking old testament scripture, comparing it to the greek, cross referencing it with the New Testament. I think that it was interesting enough but my need to get the idea across properly kept me focused and maybe a little monotone and a little less entertaining.

My sermon was about God's glory and how it was revealed in Jesus and the fact that Jesus gave it to us. Essentially it was this ... Christ in us, the hope of glory. My point was to value the presence and be so filled that the glory of God becomes a natural outpouring of our intimacy with him. Graeme said I was more animated in the 2nd half of the sermon when I wasn't so focused on my notes and just shared from my heart. I was starting to get comfortable up there. I was moved at the end of the sermon when the pastor invited anyone that recognized their need for more of Christ in them to come forward and just take the time to seek his presence. And the front of the church was filled with people who wanted more. I went up to. I may have preached the message, but that doesn't distinguish me from anyone in there! I want more! I want His glory to spill out of me. The pastor asked Graeme and I to go around and pray for people while they worshipped. There was one woman in particular whom I have been building relationship with. My heart went out to her. She needed to be transformed by the renewing of her mind and as I prayed for her she fell under the power of the spirit. She asked me later "What was that?" and I kind of laughed and said "That was the Holy Spirit!" She said, "I could feel my head getting warm while I was on the floor." She spoke to me about brokenness and adoration and the fact that she slept better that night than she has in a long time. She has struggled with insomnia. She felt like God removed some things that were wrong in her thinking and concluded that healing and release mean nothing if not for the presence! Even as I write I want to cry. It was like she could read my heart. All the things that I wanted to get into the message, but could barely get out were made plain to her in one encounter with His presence! Ohhhhh the presence!!!! OOOOOoooooooh the presence. This is what the Christian walk is all about! Connection with the Father. Everything else we need in life or we need to bring to this world will flow naturally from our time in His presence.

After the meeting that night, the pastor and his family blessed us so much. Ben had told their daughter the day before that he wished he could have his birthday in Nica so he could invite her. His birthday is not until Sept, so that wasn't going to happen, but they wanted to make it happen. So they had bought a pinata and filled it with candy and blew up a bunch of balloons. After dinner we went outside and had turns whacking the pinata. Ben was so excited and felt like a million bucks. When the evening was nearing it's end, we asked if we could pray for the pastor and his wife. They are presently at a corssroads in their ministry and during dinner God had given me a word for the pastors wife that was about activation and a powerful role in ministry. It fell in line with the fact that the Lord wanted to do something in the women of that church that night. When we prayed for them, I teased that maybe her daughter should stand behind her in case she falls. She laughed and said that she was a sensible woman. :) ... I wasn't sure what she meant by that, but I had the idea that she didn't think anything was going to happen. Her daughter walked away and we started to pray. And? .... yep ... you guess it. She fell! There was no one behind her and we were standing on a concrete pathway so I jumped forward to catch her ... I don't know if you have ever tried, but it is very difficult to catch someone when you are standing in front of them and they are falling backwards. But as I leaned over her and set her gently on the ground I couldn't believe how light she was! How easy it was to catch her! It was as if an angel? ... the power of the Holy Spirit? ... I don't know! ... was catching her and I was only helping. I felt that this was a message from the Lord for them that they did not have to worry about what road they chose to follow next. Not to worry about falling, for the Lord would be there to catch them. He would be their safety net.

I didn't know for sure how many people my message impacted, but I knew for a fact that 2 people would never be the same because of the way they encountered God that night. I have learned in the past couple years that whatever I do, wherever I go, it will be worthwhile, no matter the sacrifice, if I can impact 1 person. Would you be willing to do it for 1? I have to be willing. I have to be satisfied. Because if I impact 1 and they impact 2 and those two impact 3 and somewhere down the road one of those people impact a politician and he gets into office and impacts a nation!?!?! We can never underestimate the intricacy of God's plan or his ability to take one well invested talent and turn it into a kingdom! Math in the kingdom is far more rewarding that 1+1=2. The language of the spirit is multiplication. It's yes and amen. It's 5 loaves and 2 fish = 5,000+ stuffed people.

I am so thankful that God can take the life of one Canadian girl, born to a mushroom farmer in Kelowna BC and make it into a masterpiece painted across the sky... That's my life, that's yours!  Every conversation, every revelation can change a person. Whether you preach in a 3rd world country or someone overhears your testimony as you share with a friend across the table at Starbucks. Your life changes people when you allow his presence to impact your life. I love my life. I love my God. I love how God chooses to use my life. For we are God's glory. So Arise and shine for your light has already come and the glory of the Lord HAS risen upon you.

PS - There are more new pics in the last couple pages of my "latest pics" album. I think there are 7 or 8 pages in that album now. Click the button on the right if you want to view them.

What I'm learning.

on Wednesday, March 3, 2010

This has been such an amazingly crazy time in my life. I am learning new things everyday. I have been learning things about myself, about Graeme, the kids, Americans, Canadians, Nicaraguans, Christians, the church and my God. Honestly, this is part of what makes my life such an adventure. I love to learn new things, even more than learning would be the ability to retain, but that is diminishing with age, haha.

Just tonight I was realizing that I have learned that I should use a lot less conditioner in my hair when I take a cold shower. Something I never really thought about at home. I've been extremely fortunate and privileged to have only had to do this about half a dozen times so far. I've also learned that at 35+ degrees, without air conditioning, a cold shower can feel quite refreshing, after the first 2 minutes :) I have also learned how to flush a toilet that does not have water pumped into the back of it and to remind myself not to drop toilet paper into the toilet bowl unless I want to have to go and fetch it to put it in the waste basket next to the toilet. I've learned to wash my feet before bed if I don't want to wash the sheets everyday. I've learned to carry hand sanitizer a lot more often. I've learned that local produce is far cheaper and that apples in Central America are priced each and not per pound. I've learned that there is no easy out when someone has prepared for you an elaborate meal, a local delicacy, that is completely unappealing to a North American palate, especially when you have children. I've also learned that my kids have learned to be very gracious.

I've learned that the Nicaraguan people, though surrounded by injustice and poverty, will bend over backwards and spend their last dime to feed you, quench your thirst with an icy coke, take care of you and honour you. In many of these moments I am so humbled by the generousity and I am even more grateful for the fact that my kids are learning to be gracious. There is this one young pastor who is so desperate to see the kingdom come in his city and his church. He makes $300 per month and he pays for the gas once a week for someone to come and get us 2 1/2 hours away to come to his town and teach for one or two nights. He has come and picked Graeme up, returned to his city and then brought him home again the same night. That is 10 hours of driving for him. Last week, when we went to his city as a family, he paid a woman in his church for 3 meals a day for each one of us for 3 days and wouldn't hear of it when we offered to help with the cost of food or gas. Then he called a friend in our city, asked him to come and pick us up and drive us home. They didn't hesitate to oblige, to drive 5 hours to take some strangers home. The young pastor passed them some gas money as we said goodbye.
"Counting the cost" ... whatever it takes, whatever he can give or spend or sacrifice to see the kingdom come and we are the ones that God chose to send! Ahhh .... my God! Be in us! Be on us! Fill us .. consume us. Let us be all things to all men! Let us bring the kingdom that their sacrifice isn't for nothing! I guess this is what it is all about. Jesus, that your sacrifice was not for nothing. Let us bring freedom! True true freedom, true release ... heaven!

I'm learning that the Father knows what we need before we even speak it. Well, actually, I have seen it after we spoke it out mostly, but realize constantly how His plan was already in the works before we started to pray about it or ask. A young couple that were part of some of the first services that we ministered in here in Nica have been so excited by our message. They have heard Graeme speak several times in different churches and been totally impacted. They are really fresh, new believers or at least new in the kingdom sort of stuff. They came up to Graeme last week after a meeting and said, "You look tired. You need a vacation! We want to take you. Have you heard of San Juan del Sur?" ... have we?!?! We have been talking about it since before we came to Nica. We were hoping for an opportunity to go there and enjoy the waves. This young couple have 2 babies, one is 2 and the other is 3. He drives a taxi and I think she stays home. They made it seem easy for them to arrange the time and 2 vehicles to take us for the day to the beach several hours away. Then they treated our family to a great big seafood platter with lobster, fish, shrimp. The kids were so excited! It was such a treat. Graeme and the kids spent at least 5 hours in the water and we all had the rosy glow to prove it. It was an amazing day with some amazing people including a pastor and his wife that came along to offer more space for our family with their vehicle.

I am learning that my God is good, that He is just waiting for the opportunity to lavish His love on us. I've learned that when we invite His presence, if we are willing to wait, He will always show up and every time He moves on me I am changed. I've learned that no matter who you minister to, you just have to get them to the place where they will command sickness to leave and invite Holy Spirit to come and He will show up and heal people. Even if they have bad theology or just don't get it. Because it is not about them, it's not about us. It's all about him. Graeme gave this awesome message this past Sunday night about choosing how you are going to live your life. Are you going to live your life according to your own experience or according to a belief that says "My God is able to do what He said He would do!" He got people who needed a miracle to stand up, the rest of the body to come around them and layed hands. The body was so reluctant. You could just hear the doubts. "I am no healer." .. "I have never seen anyone healed by my prayers" ... "What if I am the one to pray for the person and I don't carry the gift?" ... "What if it doesn't work and it makes the person doubt God more?" I had to practically drag some people out of their isle and over to the members of their congregation that were asking for prayer. Graeme told them to find out what the problem is ... then he told them to pray short simple prayers ... "Command the pain to leave" ... "Invite Holy Spirit to come and minister to them" .... now Stop! ... Stop praying! .... No long winded prayers! Sometimes when he does this I start to feel a little uneasy. Almost like, "What if they didn't pray long enough?" ... "What if they didn't get to the right words yet?" ... "We don't want to offend them by cutting them short!" But that would make it about us right?!?! ... Graeme told people to check themselves out. He asked for a show of hands of people that were healed ... There were like 3 people healed!!! In like 20 seconds of prayer! Then he said, "If they were not completely healed, thank the Lord for any improvement and start again "Command the pain to leave, invite the Holy Spirit!" ... Stop! ... a couple more people were healed! I am once again totally taken back by the simplicity of the way that God moved in the moment. It was like He was just waiting for the people to position themselves in a place of authority over the sickness and take a step of faith to invite Him to move and He comes! in power! changing everything in a moment for people who have been longing to see Him move for years.

I'm learning that the truth is simple, that hunger draws heaven and surrender to His presence brings the love which is demonstrated in power. There were several people healed this week without any prayer. One guy's leg grew out before Graeme even had the chance to pray. A woman's sore feet stopped hurting as she listened to the truth about what our God is able to do. Another woman stood for prayer and felt no healing until the end of the service when we had a time of worship and started to celebrate what God had done with dancing and singing. As she danced, the pain left and she came up at the end of the service to share through tears that God had touched her when no one else was there to say any special words. She just chose to worship and He moved on her.

I am so thankful and so excited to be attending the school of the Spirit. No money could buy an education like this. I hope that no matter where God takes us after we are done here, that I never lose sight of all that my God is in me, on me and for me. I think I'm learning what that song means, "It's all about you!" .... Teach me more, Lord.

Lost in Translation? Not when God's on it!

on Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Pastor Arsenio
and Arsenio Sr.
the leaders
Diriamba from the classroom

I had a dream last night.
I was swimming in deep dark waters along side of large ships. I was nervous because I couldn't see what was in the water and I had no idea what was coming, what was in front of me, what was in the water. Even though I was afraid I was amazed at the fact that I could swim so fast and get so far. Swimming next to the wake of an emormous ship didn't throw me off my path or push me under. I just kept swimming.

This is such an amazing picture of my life in this season. My journey as I move in the things of the spirit, intimidated by the greatness of some of the things I want to teach like healing and moving in the power of the Holy Spirit; ever feeling insecure because I don't know what's in me, can't see deep inside ... But God! Moving with the flow of His Spirit carrying me far and fast to accomplish great distances. It has been such an amazing experience and I am so thankful for the opportunity to swim this river in the season of my life.

It was an amazing weekend in Diriamba. The Holy Spirit came faithful to His promise to show up whenever we call on him.
On thursday night, I shared a testimony of a twisted foot being healed. The presence of Holy Spirit was on me so strongly. I knew God wanted to do it again. The leaders in the class were reminded of a guy, Francisco, who does maintenance for the church. He had a twisted hand. Someone went to look for him and returned to the classroom a few minutes later. I planned to teach the leaders the healing model so took this opportunity to demonstrate it to them. I was holding Francisco's twisted hand with both my hands while I prayed a simple prayer. As I prayed, I could feel his whole hand pivoting in mine while his wrist remained still. It was amazing! When we finished praying I asked him how it felt. His hand was still twisted, but the pain was gone! So I asked him if I could pray again. Once again, while we prayed I could feel his hand pivoting in mine and his fingers and knuckles straightening. It was so good. The translator and I could barely believe our eyes.
This demonstration of God's love set the stage for an awesome encounter with God. The faith of the leaders was growing as they heard the testimonies and watched God touch Francisco's hand and heal a woman's back pain. I spoke with them about words of knowledge and how God highlights a particular thing that he wants to accomplish in that moment. Everyone waited on the Lord for a word of knowledge and several things were called out like bone disorders, bronchitis, ear problems among others. People raised their hands and then I encouraged them to start praying for one another, to invite the Holy Spirit to come and minister to them, to command any pain to leave. It took a few minutes of clarification and reminders to keep it simple and suddenly you could see the joy start to erupt as people realized that they were healed and those praying realized how God had just used them in power. As testimonies came forth, more of the leaders came forward for prayer and I welcomed those who were just healed to pray ... And more testimonies came forth ... and more requests!! It was like supernatural dominoes as pain and affliction bowed at the name of Jesus. At least 9 people were healed in the meeting that night (knees, forearms, bronchitis, sore throats, ear problems, backs). The joy was bubbling over as they gloried in the demonstrations of God's love.
On Friday night, I shared with the leaders about SOZO, focusing mainly on the father ladder. I walked them through the tool corporately to give them a taste of the healing that it brings to walk through forgiveness of people and see the Godhead in a different light. Afterward, I took them on an encounter, a "first date" of sorts, to start their journey with the person of the Godhead that they felt least connected to. It was beautiful to see so many men and women touched by the presence of God, completely surrendered in the hope of knowing Him more. Many people testified after, through tears of joy and release, of a love that they had never felt, a sense of being in a place that they had always longed for. What a privilege it was to listen to their intimate love encounters.
Saturday was the icing on the cake. We learned together about Supernatural Evangelism, getting drunk and then taking the love out to the world. The healing that they experienced over the past few days and weeks had evidently become a new wine skin. The people were courageous and filled with a sense of hope and adventure as they dipped their invisible cups in the river and drank as much as they wanted. They were excited by the accuracy of their hearing when they went out with treasure maps to find the treasure that Holy Spirit was leading them to. One guy in particular, was dancing in the park with excitement when his treasure found him! A man matching several of the clues on his map approached us and asked us to pray for him. He was healed immediately and it glowed in the smile on his face. The team was as happy as he was. Back in the classroom we shared testimonies of people healed and treasures found and the leaders were filled with excitement. They couldn't believe all that they had encountered in the past few weeks.
No matter how many people you touch or encourage, I'm realizing that every outreach is an inreach because every time Holy Spirit moves in power you are once more in awe of the mystery revealed again ... "Christ in you, the hope of glory!"

Happy Valentines Day

on Sunday, February 14, 2010

Feb.14 comes once again. And love is in the air ... ahhhh. But it's not that squishy romantic boy meets girl kinda love, although I still enjoy that too :) Have you heard it? It's in the lyrics that fill our worship and the messages that are preached week after week no matter what country you are in. I believe the message on God's heart this year is love. It's not like it ever stopped being His message because He is love, but maybe we are starting to push back the clouds of fear and punishment just enough to see clearly His perfect love shining down on us. We have heard the message preached time and again that "they will know they are Christians by our love" but never has this message rang as loudly as it has been in the past few weeks.

We visited an "International" (aka American) church today. I had no idea of their theology or their vision, but knew that they had English worship and possibly Sunday School. It's been a tough go for the kids to attend spanish services week after week. To sit through spanish worship and often Daddy preaching has not been their idea of fun. So we agreed to visit this church so that they could feel more part of what was going on. I don't think the kids felt any more part of what was going on. In fact the whole thing felt foreign. It was a conservative service with some hymns and contemporary worship mixed together, which would have been alright. It was hardly the kind of worship we love to dance and worship freely, but it was familiar and some great songs like Everlasting by Hillsong and Indescribable. I knew we didn't quite fit in though when a couple of the youth noticed how freely we worshipped and turned and whispered to their friend and snickered. I thought .. Really? ... Here? ... in church I am going to be mocked for giving God glory? Can you tell it was already at this point that I was starting to get offended? I tried really hard to not be distracted by people and just worship, but the atmosphere was heavy and freedom did not feel welcome.

The guy that preached was in town doing a conference. He spoke to us about how much we allow sin in our life is the true testimony of how much we love God based on the scripture that says "if you love me, you will obey my commands." He had a point and I was trying really hard to get past the fact that he used scripture and words out of context, but when he started throwing shame and guilt into the mix and suggested that each time I fall that Jesus is feeling the pain of the nails driven once again?!?! He even had a guy dressed in a white sheet and then smeared actual excrement on him to demonstrate what we do to Jesus each time we sin. Gross! Poop! and I don't agree with this guy, but I totally understand his stand point. Leaders like this man so want us to make better choices that they try to make us feel dirty, guilty or ashamed enough about our sin that we will change, but they forget that it is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance. Paul called us saints to encourage us to see ourselves as God sees us when he looks at us through the veil of the shed blood of Jesus. Did you know that when you are hidden in the rock of your salvation that God sees you as holy? He doesn't see all the poop. It is meant to encourage us to want to raise the standard that we live by because we love God so much that we want to live up to how he chooses to see us and we can't do this by our own effort, by our works (lest anyone should boast). Holy Spirit is there to help us with the new standard. We are going to mess it up sometimes, but there is no guilt and shame in that. God gives first honour, first grace. In Romans 5:19 Paul says that it is through the obedience of one man that many are made righteous. That is why Jesus says if you love me you will obey my commands. In 1 John 3:23 we are told what Jesus commands are: "And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, (this is the "through the obedience of one man") and to love one another as he commanded us. We are commanded to believe in the name of Jesus and love as he loved us. It is not about keeping the 10 commandments. It is not about being sinless. We just have to believe that Jesus paid the price and realize that no matter how hard we try in and of ourselves that we could never measure up. But we don't have to. Holy Spirit will help us with that. We just have to learn how to love! And how do we do that? We take the time to get to know how much God loves us, how much Jesus gave us. Don't get to know it through guilt, but through gratitude. And what is the best way to demonstrate gratitude for a gift?!?! Use it for the purpose it was given, walk in it, share it. When we love one another and believe in His name, we are obeying His commands and it says in 1 John 3:22 to "... receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him."

I want to know His love so much that it becomes me. If God is love and I am becoming like him than I am becoming love. What does it look like when God's love comes from me? I started to wonder this week. How much of what I thought was love is merely responsibility... commitment ... obligation ...Ouch! I'm not trying to dish out guilt or shame! Don't get me wrong. No condemnation. I just started to wonder. Do I really know love? Do I know what it looks like? Do I know how to give it? Do I look like my Father in heaven when the world looks at me. The answer ?... I really don't know, but I know I want to and I know the Lord wants to show me. So what do I do? .... I have to boldly come before the throne of grace ...  quote Oliver Twist ... and ask "please sir ... can I have some more?" How else will we know it except to encounter it? When we can cast the shame and fear aside, we can see the loving heart of the Father just waiting for us to ask. His cup is overflowing, held out poised to pour out His love on us. Truly, we don't even have to ask. He is standing there loving us, but maybe we need eyes to see it.

In light of my need to see more of His love, I thought I would share a few little things that were a simple testimony of God's love for me this Valentines day. About Thursday, when Graeme was in another town and I was alone with the kids, I started to think about how I had not been away from my kids for over a month now and it was really starting to wear on me. I was starting to pout about how it wasn't going to be much of a Valentines Day this year. I was missing good chocolate, eating out and date nights, icey cold drinks and long walks. I'm not too proud to say that I was having a bit of a pitty party. But my bad attitude was no barrier for God's love. Saturday came and I got on my computer in the morning. There was a message from an American family here in Managua. They wanted to know if the kids could come over to play. They wanted to pick them up for the afternoon. The kids were thrilled and Eric drove up at 1pm followed only 2minutes later by Graeme being driven back from Diriamba where he'd spent the last 3 days. Eric said that they would keep the kids til 8pm and feed them dinner. Graeme got out of the car with take out that they bought for him on the way home. It was chicken and a big icey bottle of coke. We had a great afternoon of lounging in the hammock, watching movies and a nice long walk at the perfect temperature. It was just what I needed and I felt so grateful. God's so good at taking care of all the big things and all the little things. I think I have only seen the tip of the iceberg though so like the adventurer I am, I will continue the pursuit of understanding His love and I know my heart will be overwhelmed with the boundless expanse I discover. But I know I'm not just pursuing it for me but for it in me. I think this is how we display His glory; to be a true representation of His love.

Metanoia Children's Home

on Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The kids and I spent some time at the Metanoia Children's Home in Tipitapa this past weekend. The home has a similar vision and mission to that of the Villa de Esperanza that I shared of previously. They take in children from the local dump (another region of Managua - different dump), feed and clothe them and give them an education and a relationship with the Lord and a hope and a future. The children have at least one living relative so they are not "orphans" per say, but their living conditions left them in dire need of attention. Some from lifestyles of abuse, others neglect and still some are simply the victims of poverty. Their families are without the resources to feed and clothe them or make sure they are educated and cared for. These are the same children that were with us at the church in Rosario. They were the ones who so willingly participated in prophesy and prayer and saw 5 or more people healed when they prayed.

Some kids from a neighbouring community came to the home on Saturday for a friendly soccer match against the children in the home. Our kids joined in some of the fun, but not so much in the soccer. Ben would have played, but we were there barely 10 minutes and Ben fell and scraped his knee pretty bad, left him limping around the rest of the morning. They enjoyed playing in the playground, picking up the baby chicks, having lunch and just hanging around. The home is making a great effort toward raising revenue for the operations of the home. They are growing several types of fruit and beans, raising some chickens and just getting into Tilapia farming. The kids who live there are so full of life and joy. Such beautiful kids. There were some older boys who wanted Caleb's phone number so they could practise English with him and Ben has made friends wherever he goes. It was a full morning.

After our time in the heat of Tipitapa we revelled in the air conditioning of a movie theatre. It is one of the cheaper forms of entertainment here in Managua. We can watch a movie for about $3 a piece. Unfortunately, most of the more family oriented movies that are animated are quite easy to voice over with spanish so the English options for families are not many. We went to see "Old Dogs" with John Travolta and Robin Williams. It was alright, I don't think it would get too many thumbs up from our family, but it was safe and a brief reprieve from the heat. I'm sure we'll go again in the coming months.

Presently our days are filled mainly with homeschooling. I pray each day for an opportunity for the kids to do something so that they don't go crazy with boredom. The preaching opportunities are many, but the touring opportunities are few. There are several people who have offered our family time to spend a weekend at the beach or to visit in a Northern community, but we are waiting for the right timing. In the meantime we take short walks and read and watch DVD's or go to the grocery store once or twice a week and usually have at least one outing a week. We were taken out for pizza after church on Sunday, that was a treat. We are praying for some time at the beach soon. We may ask some friends for a ride.

Graeme is starting a teaching streak of 6 days in a row tonight. Please pray for him for strength and wisdom. He may be away from us for a couple of nights so pray for fun for the kids and I so I don't go crazy preoccupying them :) Caleb and Bailey are looking forward to youth group at the American school on Friday night and we told the kids we would take them to an English service this week. We live a block away from the American school where they hold English services on Sunday. I'm hoping they have Sunday school too.

I have posted a few pics in this update, but click on the "latest pics" link on the right hand side of the blog to see the rest of the album.


Raising up a chosen generation!

on Friday, January 29, 2010

Last night was such an awesome night. We went to a little church in Rosario. I think it's about 45 minutes to an hour east of where we are living. Hard to tell sometimes what direction we are travelling. The church is a young church plant of about 15 members, but other groups joined them to come and hear of all that God is doing. Our new friend, an American guys named John Vaughan was speaking. He shared his testimony of how he once knew God and walked away for a season and then met God again on the floor of his home. He told everyone how God didn't care how long he'd walked away or what he had done while he was gone. God welcomed him back with open arms and started to move in his life. He shared with the church the fact that God doesn't care who you are or what you have done. He wants to use everyone.

One of the groups that joined the church last night was a group of children that live in a ministry run home. The children are not orphans, most of them have parents who have arranged for the ministry to care for them because they come from extreme poverty at the dump and many from dangerous situations like physical or sexual abuse. This is similar to the Villa de Esperanza who ministers in the dump in Managua, but the ministries are to 2 different dumps. There were about 10 children that came and they were soooo present. It was so natural for them to enter in, to worship and to listen to the teaching.  It was the perfect time to activate the children of Nicaragua.

When John was finished teaching, we started a time of releasing prophetic words. Graeme invited the children to the back of the church and gave them a mini lesson on hearing the voice of God. These children are already taught about the love of God and the power of the Holy Spirit by the Christian ministry that cares for them so this was not a huge stretch for them to believe that God would talk to them. I think that the stretch was more for the adults present in the service. Those attending, besides the local members, included staff and volunteers from a large, influential church in Managua and other Christian ministries. Graeme brought the children to the front of the congregation and demonstrated what it looks like to give a word. They were hesitant to step forward, but one little girl stepped out and took the mic. She called out a young woman in the church whom she didn't know and gave a word similar to what Graeme spoke over someone. At first glance it appeared that she might be copying. She said to the woman that she saw a mango seed over her head and that it was green. It didn't seem to mean anything to the woman. Graeme followed the little girl be stating that a seed over someone's head might speak of an idea that is going to grow and mature. The young woman's eyes lit up and she told me after that she had been thinking of an idea and just the day before she prayed and asked God for confirmation that it was the right thing to do. He told her that she must believe like a child to truly know His will in this. So this child bringing a word about a mango seed was exactly the confirmation that God told her would come. A couple more children shared pictures and gave words. It was really good.

After the time of prophecy, we were entering into a time to pray for healing. We wanted to activate the church to pray and not be the prayer team. So we invited anyone with pain in their body to come to the front and then we invited the kids to come up and lay hands on them. Through an interpreter the children were instructed on how to interview the person to find out the problem, to find out how much pain there was on a scale of 1-10 and then to pray brief and powerful prayers by inviting Holy Spirit to move and commanding the pain to go. Some people felt the pain leave immediately and others felt the pain decrease. For those who still felt pain we encouraged the children to pray again and they still saw more improvement. There were at least 5 people who said they were healed at the end of our prayer time. The children were so excited so see God move through them and the adults were surprised and maybe even skeptical, but some believed and were totally challenged. One woman told me that this was an unforgettable moment and it would stay with her the rest of her life. One of the staff from the influential church is a children's pastor and we are praying that God will give him opportunity and courage to bring this message to the children of his church.

There is no little Holy Spirit. It is so exciting to see children learn at a young age to listen to the voice of God and obey because they can move heaven and earth. When they see God move through their hands and their hearts, no one can ever take that encounter from them. No matter where life will take them there will always be that moment where God used them and it will be a moment to draw them deeper into the kingdom for the rest of their lives. To know God loves them and no matter how big, how small, how experienced or inexperienced ... God can use you anytime, anyplace, all He needs is a willing heart and an open ear ... oh ... and courage. Lord, give us more courage! Make us like children ... willing to step out in faith and take risks to see your power displayed through our hands. We don't need to worry about the outcome. God said to Graeme when he was really worried that God wouldn't show up when he prayed ... "Good thing it's not up to you!" We are not responsible for the outcome of our prayers. When we get that, the fear to pray for people is removed. The only thing we are responsible for is to bring someone into an encounter with God's love. They don't need an encounter with our words of persuasion or our knowledge of the scripture. They just need to feel love. We welcome the Holy Spirit and whether we feel him or not, He will always come when we call. And He will pour out His love and that person will leave changed. Just the fact that we risk looking like a fool to show God's love to someone is an act of love. So go, be a peculiar people, look like a bunch of Jesus loving weirdos and see the power of God displayed through your hands and as you display the love of God to the unseen kings. LOL - I think I get weirder everyday and more and more comfortable with the idea at every moment.

This picture is really hard to see, but I wanted to share the moment. We went for pizza after the church service. Ben spent a lot of time at the front of the shop, watching the guys making pizzas and he noticed the owner. She was limping and Ben deduced that one leg must be shorter than the other. He asked if one of the pastors would come with him to translate so he could pray for her. The pastors were cautious so Ben and Graeme honoured their wishes and didn't take a lot of her time, but they prayed none the less and we are hoping that she felt the love and the power.



on Sunday, January 24, 2010

It has been such a full week. Graeme was supposed to speak last sunday morning, but due to some unexpected changes had to step aside. This was the second time his preaching chances were nixed, but he still had no trouble filling the week up with ministry opportunities.

Sunday night Graeme was invited to go out to a city called Masaya. They had invited a whole team of Bethel people to come over the weekend, but the team had been stretched too thin and the leader had to say no to some things. The church in Masaya was so disappointed and phoned our host, Pastor Ricardo, to ask him if there was anything he could do. He spoke with Graeme who was happy to oblige. It meant that Graeme would skip our last team meeting, but it was worth it. God showed up in power and people were healed. It was an awesome time. The day before, I was praying and asking God for some direction about how to minister while we are here and he gave me 1 Corinthians 2:4. In this verse, Paul is speaking to the Corinthians and said to them that when he first arrived, he did not come with words of persuasion, but with Spirit and with power. I shared this with Graeme, but I sensed that he was kind of set on preaching the sermon that was on his heart. He said he would keep it in mind though and consider how to do that. When he got up to the pulpit at Masaya and opened his Bible, he realized that he had forgotten all the notes that he wrote for his sermon and was not prepared to wing it. He was reminded immediately of the verse that I shared with him and him and God had a moment. He started to look to the Holy Spirit for the next move and it was all good. I wrote a little more about this night a couple posts ago if you'd like to read more.

Monday was a great day meeting and spending time with Pastor Arsenio. Wednesday night we went out to his church in Diriamba. Graeme got to preach again and he did such an awesome job of showing the church that everything they long for is birthed from an encounter of love with the Father. I could feel where it was going and was pretty confident that Graeme was going to do to me what he always threatens to do when it looks like he'll have an opportunity to preach. At the end of his sermon, he called me up to the stage and then whispered to me that I could say no if I wanted to. Hehe ... yeah right. I'm standing on stage in front of 550 people and I am going to say "No, I don't want to help you!" Fortunately, I felt the Holy Spirit tugging at my heart before Graeme asked me. It was time to give the church a love encounter. The band was already on stage and playing quietly so Graeme asked me to sing prophetically. I only sang for a few minutes, but it went well. The pastor said that the atmosphere in the place changed when I sang and he asked me if I would teach his worship team to flow with the Holy Spirit like that. I was so nervous, hadn't done anything like that for a while, but it felt right. I hope I get more chances to do that. It's really where my heart is.

Pastor Arsenio from Diriamba has asked Graeme and I to move out to his town. It is about 45 minutes away. He offered to provide us with a house that a church member owns and it would be free of charge. The offer was very tempting, but we really feel that God has established us here at Pastor Ricardo's place. The other house would be much more secluded, harder to get transport from. There are fewer social opportunities for the kids there and we would be less central to some of the other ministry options that are potentially coming up. We were torn in making the decision not to move. Pastor Arsenio is so desperate, so hungry for more. It is a privilege to have such influence and we hope to find a way to get out to Diriamba several days a week throughout the month of February and March to help him train his leaders in Bethel culture and just be available to mentor him or give to him what we know and understand about kingdom culture and kingdom government. Please pray for wisdom for us in this. We really need to know what God wants to help us develop our priorities and a healthy schedule.

On Friday night, Caleb and Bailey were excited to go to youth group with Judith. Judith is part of the Hernandez family with whom we live. She attends an American Christian school here in Nica and youth group there on Friday nights. The kids were so excited to meet other Christian kids that speak English. There was an awesome worship band, fun games and American snacks. Bailey and Caleb are looking forward to going again in a couple of weeks.

While they were at youth, Graeme, Ben and I went with Pastor Arsenio to meet some of his friends here in Managua. They were an American couple who have lived in Nica for 7 years. They had a beautiful home, fed us an amazing steak dinner (no beans and plenty of veggies - yum) and some yummy baking which is a rarity here. The best part was the fact that they have 2 boys and a girl and they are all fluent in English and Spanish. The oldest boy is 10 and him and Ben totally hit it off. We barely saw them all night as they ran around in the dark playing tag and goofing off in the house. We had awesome conversations about the power of God moving, heard testimonies of his power and provision. We had another couple from Bethel with us who stayed in Nica when the rest of the Bethel team left. We all took the opportunity to pray and prophecy over the couple who's home we were visiting and God did some awesome stuff. It was a great night. We were barely out of the driveway when Ben asked me if we could come back tomorrow. The cool thing is that this family brings their kids to the American Christian school only a block and half away from our place. I'm confident we'll get together again and Ben may even get to play soccer with his new friend Spencer when they start in February. I think Ben and Graeme will both be pushing for another visit. Graeme found another external processor and they really hit it off. They could have gone on all night.

Today was fun. Graeme got to preach twice. I went to the first service and he did really well considering he had at least a one hour sermon and he was left with a little over 30 minutes. The kids and I went home after the first service. They get a little bored at church because there are no English classes for them. Graeme was a little disappointed with second service, feeling like at didn't work out as well as first service, but I know however it went that it was truth and God could use it. When we came home, I was right into helping out with a big bbq that the Hernandez family was having. I baked a cake, made a potato salad and provided some hot dogs and buns. They have 2 families visiting from the states with whom they have a lot of history, so it was a good time to celebrate with a bbq. The Hernandez family doesn't have a gas grill or anything so they bbq "flintstone style" they call it. It is just a stack of cinder blocks with a sheet of metal to hold the coals and then they put a heavy duty pan on the top to cook stuff on. Just like a typical North American bbq there was way too much food and all of us are full and thankful for a chance to nap, relax and take a siesta. The kids are having fun playing around the yard with some other kids that are around, climbing the tree, kicking a ball, throwing a frisbee, playing basketball and playing with the dog. It's a great day and a great life. I'm so thankful for it.

It's been a good week ...  full ... impactful  ... and leaves me feeling like we are doing what we're here for. I love that. It's like God had it all planned out or something ?!?! I know he did. Check out some of our pics of the last week by clicking the "latest pics" link on the right hand side of the blog.