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.