Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Perfected in Love

"So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgement, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out all fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. (We love because He first loved us.)" - 1 John 4:16-19

My prayer in this season of life is that God would perfect me in His love. I long to simply abide in Him so deeply that I can abandon myself unto the call of God in a new fearless way. I imagine we will always have fears that arise until the day that we see His face, but I desire for my heart to reach a place of intimacy with our heavenly Father where fear is out of sight and out of mind because I know that I am safe in the palm of His hand. Not only safe, but blessed and provided for - without a shadow of a doubt I long to know with each breath I take that I am my beloved's and He is mine. That is what God has been laying on my heart this week as I have just completed my first 40 hours at Refuge for Women. God has been reminding me that we are called to fearlessly walk with Him in our new identity as children of God knowing who's we are first and foremost. As I have walked along side each woman at the refuge for just a week I can already tell that God is calling me to fearlessly believe in His goodness and grace that is BIG enough to renew these ladies hearts, minds, souls, bodies and spirits. I have realized that the only way I can love these women is through the fearless heart of our Father because He first loved me fearlessly!

My first week at Refuge for Women was a MEGA week for sure. I have seriously hit the ground running since I moved to KY and work was not one step behind at all. This past week we took in two new women at the home and are taking in three more by the end of this week. Needless to say God is a God who is alive and active and He is definitely in the business of rescuing those from darkness and bringing them to the light. It is so phenomenal to see our Lord's hand at work in each of the unique stories that each of these women have when they come to the safe home. I am beyond blessed to get to hear them and to humbly play some small role in their rescue story and restoration process as the Lord weaves it so intricately. There is absolutely no denying that our God leaves the 99 for the 1 lost sheep - there is no doubt that our God calls his children back from the East and from the West. There is no doubt in my mind that our God is relentless and that through Him victory over sex slavery is possible.

All within my first week of work I have seen God healing women of eating disorders, restoring disoriented minds, mending broken hearts, providing funds for the lost to have homes and sooooo much more. I have seen a woman graduate from the program at the age of 19 when she came in at just a mere 18 years old. I have seen a 5k ran by over 300 people to raise funds to set the captives free. My job is not a normal job, my days are not normal work days - I get to see miracles every hour and the relentless love of our savior doing a mighty work. I think that this week above all else has left me completely in awe of our God. He is might to save and his love is deeper than I could ever imagine.

I am so excited to see all that God has for me here in this job and more importantly in these women's lives and in this community in Kentucky. I am excited to bloom where I have been planted - to join God in the ways he is moving here already. Believe me yes I have felt the pains of transition, there are days that I miss NC and there are days that I miss my family and my beloved community that once surrounded me so thickly, but what is true is that when you are walking in what God has called you to do it's all for the glory and the sacrifice seems to shrink and it all becomes worth it. It is because He is worthy of it all. I am learning that daily. He is worthy of my thoughts, my affections, my praise, my money, and my time.

God sent Jesus to make all things new and I am standing in the midst of the maker as he truly takes ashes and turns them into beauty before my very eyes.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ Jesus, he is a new creation. The old has passed away, behold the new has come." - 2 Corinthians 5:17

"For the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashesthe oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness  a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor." - Isaiah 61:1-3

Monday, July 22, 2013

Treasured Jewels

Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep watersj, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I gave Egypt as a ransom for your freedom; I gave Ethiopia and Seba in your place. Others were given in exchange for you. I traded their lives for yours because you are PRECIOUS to me. You are HONORED, and I LOVE YOU.” – Isaiah 43:1-4

Her name is Neema. She is 21. She spends her weeks working in a dance bar in the capital of Kathmandu, Nepal. Her mom and sister who is only 13 live at home and her dad is gone. She works from 5:00 pm – 2:00 am every day of the week to make money in order to support her mom and sister. She loves fashion and would love to own her own clothing shop. She has dreams, she has desires, she is beautiful and she was made for more.

I had the joy and privilege of meeting sweet Neema last week in Bebo Bar. My wonderful team mates and I had the divine opportunity to help out with the dance bar ministry through a group called Agape International Ministries. Every week Agape goes into the heart of Thamel where I have been living for the majority of my time in Nepal and they meet the girls in the dance bars and create relationships with them in hopes of rescuing them and telling them about Jesus Christ. It was incredible to have the chance to enter into this ministry and the work of God in this realm within Nepal. I was terrified at first, but the Lord reminded me ever so gently that obedience is what he asks for and he will supply the rest. So I simply went in with an obedient heart and God was more than faithful to show up.

We did a prayer walk around the city before we committed to going into Bebo Bar specifically. During this time of praying and walking around the streets our leader, Brian (who has been doing this ministry for over 13 years), told us to ask God to give us visions or images or words as to which bar we should enter. So throughout this purposeful time of prayer our great Father aligned all of me and my team mates. At the end of the prayer walk we debriefed and shared what God had been showing us and we all were on the same page about going to Bebo Bar. I specifically had heard from the Lord as we passed by the dance bars, “These are my princesses, these are my daughters, my treasured ones. They are my golden jewels and I long to bring them back from the east and the west. Go find my treasure”. It was so beautiful to hear God’s heart for these women and to carry that spirit in me as we did the ministry. Also the Lord kept repeating to me the color gold and yellow. So boldly we approached the bar, which happens to be right above where we do our laundry each week, and we entered to usher in the Kingdom of God.

The atmosphere is colorful, distracting, loud and hot. We sat down in pairs of two and as we sat the bar workers sent us each a girl to keep us company. The first line of order is to ask the girl what she would like to drink and then to order her simply a soda along with yourself. Most of the girls normally drink alcholic beverages but we stick to cokes in this situation. Then the talking and getting to know each other begins. Neema was a sweet girl. She was beautiful inside and out, but you could tell that her face had lost some expression from being in such an environment. I could see right through her surface level discussions. It was wild to hear that she didn’t want to be dancing, that she only did it to make money for her family and that on top of that her mom had no idea that’s where she was working and would be so upset if she knew where Neema worked. Our conversations were periodically interrupted with dance breaks where Neema would report to the stage that was located directly across from me within the bar. As she danced my heart burst forth with prayers for her precious heart. I prayed that she would be set free from these chains of injustice and oppression, that she would know that she is a princess and a daughter of a Great King. I prayed that she would come to know life and life to the full through our wonderful Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I was amazed as she didn’t even crack a smile as she danced each routine on stage. When she would return I would reluctantly tell her good job and then try to carry on our conversation where we left off even though my heart was shattered into a million pieces due to witnessing all the hurt and pain that lied right in front of me. While Neema and I were talking she gave me her phone number and we talked about hopefully hanging out in town, grabbing coffee or lunch sometime this coming week and ask she wrote down her phone number for me I heard God tell me to ask her her favorite color. So as odd as it seemed to me I proceeded to ask her her favorite color and all to my surprise she said it was golden yellow. God had revealed that color to me earlier on the prayer walk and my eyes filled with tears as she told me the answer I already knew due to our all knowing and all loving Father. As our time at the bar was coming to a close I asked Neema if she liked to read and she confidently responded with yes. At that I pulled out a Bible I had that was Nepali and asked her if she would like to read this book if I gave it to her. She took a glace at it and realized what it was and asked me if I was a Christian. I gladly told her that I was. She asked to see my Bible, which I gladly showed her from my bag. She was interested and gladly took the Bible I had for her. I know in my heart that I cannot move anyone’s heart to give themselves to Christ but the word of God sure can. Right after that I gave Neema a hug and told her we would be in touch and that it was wonderful to meet her.

I don’t know if I will see Neema again – the tendency for girls to give their numbers out in the bar is high and their tendency to actually show up for lunch or coffee is low. I do know her face though, I know her heart, I know her name and I know her true Father, God. I ask you now to pray with me for her, lift her up daily and I believe that these prayers actually hold more power than any ministry I could come up with out of my own strength. God is a good God and he longs to rescue his sweet children. I am humbled and grateful to have had the chance to see God in his pursuit of the trapped and forgotten. God is on a mission and he is drawing his children back to himself and he is sending those who are eager for his Kingdom to come into the midst of this battle equipped and ready.

Do not be afraid, for I am with you. I will gather you and your children from east and west. I will say to the north and south, ‘Bring my sons and daughters back to Israel from the distant corners of the earth. Bring all who claim me as their God, for I have made them for my glory. It was I who created them’ “. –Isaiah 43:5-7

Thursday, July 18, 2013

You Can't Stay Away When Love Starts to Breathe

This morning in Nepal God was moving and his spirit was stirring. God led me and my team through the connection of some other missionary friends to volunteer with beautiful ministry called “The Banquet House” ran by Iris here in Nepal. This ministry is wonderful, so spirit led and operating as the hands and feet of Jesus to the sons and daughters of God in Nepal. The Banquet House is the location where Iris Ministries Nepal serves meals to the street children and homeless people near the capital, Kathmandu, Nepal. As a team we all helped to prepare, cook and serve breakfast for a large group of kids, women and men who live in the streets. They all came tired, drunk, beaten & bruised, wounded, starving and thirsty through the doors of the Banquet Hall this early morning and it was a bit of a heavy atmosphere to be face to face with the poverty that is so present here in this country. The heaviness began to lift as we partook in prayer with the ministry staff as we prepared to serve these brothers and sisters. Also the atmosphere began to shift as one of the students serving at Iris Ministries this summer brought out his guitar and began to strum chords, erupting in worship to Jesus our King. As the Spirit was invited into this banquet hall some of us began to get up and dance and to have a blast embracing the freedom that Jesus gives us. I found myself singing and praying and dancing with the children. My heart began to move from a place of heavy weight to joyful flight as I used my breath to glorify God and as my steps intertwined with some of the least of these who are in desperate need of our Father’s unfailing love. As I scanned the outdoor dining hall that we had set up about an hour ago I found it now completely full of those who Jesus came to save – the lost and the lonely. I couldn’t help but take a deep breath and grab a seat near one of the deedees (which means older sister in Nepali). This sister had just walked in with her family, a man by her side and her baby in arms – she caught my eye and I could see the relief in her eyes to see a smile given to her and a hug given as she entered the banquet hall. Her daughter was precious y’all. Words can’t describe her beauty, her eyes twinkled and her skin glowed. As we sat together and listened & sang to the worship music – both in our own languages I talked to the baby and had the chance to lay hands on her and pray. I noticed that the child had cuts and sores all over her and I couldn’t help but tear up at all that I was witnessing. This beloved one of God smiled and acted as if she didn’t know the cuts or sores were even there although they covered her from head to toe – I began to feel the Lord say, “I love the untouchables and I adore my children. With my touch, with my love healing is in reach for those who believe.” I unashamedly began to directly touch the sores and wounds and let my prayers spring forth like an overflowing fountain. I longed for this family and baby to feel and know God’s love. Who knows if they understood me, who knows if they even remember my name – all that truly matters to me and to Jesus is that they remember him. I repeated the name of Jesus (Yeshu in Nepali) over and over along with Amen and the mom smiled and nodded in return and said the words back to me. It is moments like these that I know the love of Christ is alive and well and dwells within us. My heart is dirty and evil without Jesus who lives inside of me and it is definitely not me who wants to touch the hurt and needy but it is his compassion that flows through us when we allow it to. It is Christ in me that is longing to restore and heal his people and it is so humbling to see God use us for his glory.

After this moment with this sweet lady I returned to dancing with some of the children. There was one boy, Riquez, who I simply adored. He was the best dancer and he was tearing it up out there – so naturally we became besties. I noticed a few minutes after we had started dancing he walked outside the gates of the banquet hall with some of the older men and it made me uneasy so I followed him. As I walked out there my heart broke yet again to find him begging for a hit of one of the older man’s cigarette or pot (I’m not sure which one it was because they roll a lot of their own here so its hard to tell). I couldn’t just sit by and watch this take place, but not knowing what was okay to do in this type of situation I hesitated. In my mind all I could imagine was that Riquez didn’t have a father, he didn’t have a godly man to look up to, so he flocked to these men who were leading him in all the wrong things, but he just longed to be grown up and accepted/included. My thoughts and hesitations came to a halt and all I could do was respond out of God’s love and I walked right up to Riquez and wrapped my arms around him saying “No buddy, come back and dance, please come back, come with me.” Riquez proceeded to ask me if I wanted to smoke and I shook my head repeating, “No sweet one, Jesus loves you, come with me”. It was in this moment that the drunk older men who Riquez looked to for affirmation were beginning to surround me and approach me in not the most comfortable of ways. I kindly and forcefully at the same time said, “No, di (means sir in Nepali) stop” and walked away swiftly with Riquez in my arms headed back towards the gates of the banquet hall. As we walked in the worship music was wrapping up and the leader of the ministry was beginning to have everyone come together to pray over the meal we were about to share as one body. I sat back down on the dust covered cement ground and Riquez sat right in front of me. I put my hands out, palms up and willingly Riquez placed both of his tiny, scraped, smoke smelling hands in mine. As we began to pray Nepali style (in Nepal everyone prays out loud all at once when they pray) I grabbed this beloved one’s hands as tightly as I could and asked the spirit to pray God’s heart over him. I prayed and prayed and my heart exploded for love for this little one. As I prayed out loud Riquez pressed his forehead against mine and I opened my eyes to see him praying as well. In this moment yet again I know God was releasing a little bit of heaven on earth and I firmly believe I could see God coating Riquez in the armor of Christ so that when faces the trials and struggles of the streets he will be able to stand strong. As our prayers came to a close Riquez lifted his head and looked me in the eyes – we both said our amens and I said to him, “Yeshu loves you, Alleluia and Amen” and responded “Yes, Alleluia and Amen”.

Our God is a God of hope. He is a God who is near to the broken hearted and he binds up the wounds of the afflicted ones (Psalm 34:19). The need here in Nepal for revival is real. The need for a Savior to come to life in the streets is beyond crucial. My heart breaks and cries out asking God to take back this nation, for is the Father of all. I hope and pray that you will join me in these prayers. Our prayers move the heart of the Father (James 5:16) who loves us and his children all over the world. I know that at Iris Ministries this morning God changed lives and touched hearts. I also know that what I have experienced here today is only a fraction of the injustice, pain, and suffering taking place around the world so we must beg God to raise up laborers to send to the ends of the earth in Jesus’ name, for his is the only one who can save and bring redemption in all things.

Please pray for Iris Ministries Nepal and the work they are doing as the hands and feet of Jesus. Pray for my friend and brother Riquez. Pray, Pray, Pray (1 Thessalonians 5:17) – not one uttered word or groan goes unnoticed – that which we do for the least of these we do for our Heavenly Father.

I am reminded of God’s promise and cling tightly to this today –

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.”

-2 Corinthians 4:8-12

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Beauty For Ashes

This past week I had the honor of volunteering at a for profit organization called Beauty For Ashes or Hephzibah in Nepal. This organization/business hires women who have suffered from being sex trafficked and gives them the wonderful, restoring opportunity to start working in a healthy environment and a chance to earn a living without having to be exploited. The business is ran out of this dazzling house near Lolitpur, Nepal which is a few minutes outside of Kathmandu. The women come to the house everyday where you can find sweet Glenda, who is originally from Florida and has completely given her life to God in every way and devoted her life to serving Beauty for Ashes and the people of Nepal. Glenda told us when we arrived to help here that she was scared to rent this house because it is so extravagant and then she said that God told her, "Glenda, my love for these women is extravagant." And in response to that she said "Amen."

At Beauty for Ashes we had the joy of modeling the jewelry for their website photos and facebook page photos. It was such a blast to get all prettied up and spend the afternoon with my VisonTeam mates smiling, laughing, and encouraging one another in our unique beauty that God has made us each with. We not only modeled all well but we helped Glenda and the sweet ladies with inventory. It is the end of the fiscal year in Nepal and Glenda definitely had her hands full of work to do. It was amazing and tedious at the same time to count all of the tiny beads in the house. There are over millions of beads and it was such a detailed and humbling task to weigh the bags on the scales and calculate how many were inside each plastic bag. It reminded me of all the grains of sand and how God placed each one right where he wanted them. It also reminded me of all the stars he spread in the sky and how he called them each by name. And how could counting each tiny bead not remind me of the millions of children God has created and all the millions of hairs he has placed on our heads and how he says he has counted each one. I guess since our God is so big and has intimately done so much more than I could ask or imagine, I can make time to count tiny beads for his kingdom.

I think the best part of spending the past 5 days at Beauty for Ashes was the time I spent in listening prayer for each lady who works there. Glenda really believes in the power of worship and prayer and asked us if we felt lead to spend time praying and worshiping in the house and asking God for encouraging words for each woman in the house. It was the morning of the 2nd day and while we were doing morning devotional and worship with the women at the house I felt the Holy Spirit say to my heart, "Daughter come lend your ear - I have truth to say for my beloved daughters here." I knew in that moment that God was asking me to take time out of my day of work to sit in the upper room and worship and pray to him and to simply open my ears and heart to hear what he wanted to speak to his lovely daughters at Beauty for Ashes. It was not the easiest thing to say yes too. As much faith as I do have, thanks to Jesus alive in me, I still worry I won't hear him clearly or that I will not be productive in my time spent before his throne. So as the lies of the enemy flooded my head, "You should keep counting beads, you need to get more work done, prayer and worship don't accomplish anything," I knew in my Spirit the truth. The truth is that my hands cannot accomplish anything without the power of Christ in me. My work doesn't even start to measure up to all God can do when we sit before him and cry out to him. Our worship imprints upon the Father's heart and it beckons for him to move. Our God is one who delights in our songs and our petitions that rise up as fragrant incense before him in the heavenlies when we push aside obstacles and put him first above all things. That day when I went upstairs to seek His face - our Father was more than Faithful. He gave me scripture and words of encouragement for each woman in the house by name. As I lifted their names up it was as if the Father was jumping at the chance to flip the pages of my Bible and his words were screaming off the pages to be shared. It was beautiful. These moments of hearing God so clearly are not always so frequent and I couldn't be more thankful for the chance to share our Father's heart with these incredible women. I went home that evening and made notes for each of the ladies. On our last day at Beauty for Ashes I left the notes of encouragement with Glenda to give to the sweet new sisters I have in Christ half way across the world.

The greatest gift we can give each other in Christ is love, for he first love us that we might love each other. I left Beauty for Ashes feeling loved and blessed by Glenda and her life/spiritual wisdom and from the fellowship of the ladies who work there. I hope and pray that my team and I were just as loving to them as they were to us. For this is the Kingdom.

Until Next time y'all!

Isaiah 62 and 61
1 John 4:19
Psalm 139
Galatians 5

The Perfect Project from the Perfect Father

"For we are God's masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." - Ephesians 2:10

The past four days I have been in between Pokhara and Kathmandu. I have been traveling to all the children’s homes with the sweetest friend and Nepali, Usha, as well as with my dear team mate Kathryn. I have been traveling to the homes and between these two locations in order to work on my focus project for THI.

What is my focus project you are probably all wondering. So, for the first 2 ½ weeks that we were here in Nepal we were learning about the culture, experiencing the lifestyle and taking part in language classes and discussion sessions with each person on staff to grasp their role in the organization. After that first part of the trip we have now moved on to being do-ers and not just see-ers. We are now individually taking our unique gifts that God has given us and using them to bless/help THI and the work they are doing here in Nepal, India and Bangladesh. We took time throughout the first 2 ½ weeks while we were learning all about the org and their work to thoughtfully pray through how we thought we could best mesh our gifts and talents into the ministry. Through this time of prayer and asking God to reveal to me how I could give back to THI and add to their vision he unleashed a beautiful collision of his dreams, my passions, and the children’s joy.

A couple weeks ago now, I prayed in the morning that God would stir up the hearts of my team mates and I for the exact projects that He had for us during our time here in Nepal. I prayed that the Lord would reveal to each of us how he wanted to use us and involve us in his plan for THI. It was on this exact day that I prayed this prayer that God was faithful to respond and reveal himself and his plan. I was talking with my team mate Kathryn about her passion for the healing arts especially with children who have been abused or exploited and it was during this conversation that I told Kathryn about my love of cards and the dream God had given me about ‘Kaity’s Kreations for a Cause’ about 4 years ago. It was really back in high school that I realized I loved to encourage others through my words and God’s word. During high school I would constantly make home made cards for my friends and family whenever I had the chance. I definitely had the desire to start my own card line and thought maybe one day I would call it ‘Kaity’s Kreations’. I knew the Lord in high school, but I for sure didn’t understand how he weaved each desire in our hearts and how intricately he knit our dreams, I also wasn’t completely sold out then and was more interested in just glorifying myself and my pleasure of making cards. It wasn’t until my freshman year of college that I had a dream one night about being in an orphanage in another country where I was making cards with children and then bringing them back to the U.S. to sell in order to raise money for the ministries that were providing homes for these sweet, beloved children. So, it was then that my heart exploded and connected with the Lord’s spirit and realized that this was bigger than just me and my fame – God put on my heart that this card dream should be called ‘Kaity’s Kreations for a Cause’. I have ever since started to put ‘Kaity’s Kreations’ on the back of the home made cards I make for friends and family, but have yet to see the Lord really bring this vision into fruition in a complete way. Well the beginning of this has started. My team leader over heard Kathryn and I swapping dreams and she spoke up and said to me, “I have the perfect project for you Kaity.” I was so elated. I then waited what felt like endless days until we hashed out the details of our projects to hear what Sarah’s perfect project for me was. All this time I thought maybe it had something to do with crafts or similar to what I was talking about – how silly of me because our God is  an abundant and faithful God – Sarah’s project for me was EXACTLY what I had been thinking and envisioning with ‘Kaity’s Kreation’s for a Cause’. Sarah began to explain to me she had wanted to see the kids artwork be used to make cards for THI and then be sold in their store in order to raise funds for the organization. How incredible is our Father??!! I was floored and truly humbled. How sovereign is He who knew sooo many years ago when He planted the seeds in my heart and the dreams in my mind to do card ministry. I am so thankful for his divine plans and that he is at work in every detail of our lives.

So the past 4 days I have been doing just that – I have been walking in the plan that God has had all along for my heart and for THI. I have been going to the children’s homes and watching the kiddos come to life as I hand out paper to them and ask them to draw pictures according to the themes I give them. The beam with the most beautiful light as they get to express themselves on paper with an array of colors! It fills my heart with joy and my cup truly overflows as I sit and sift through the drawings they create after the home visits. The beauty that God has created in them is definitely reflected in the beauty that they have created in these drawings. I cannot wait to see how God continues to be faithful and carry out his perfect plan with these kids work. I am now trying to research and connect with anyone who has a printing company back in the states who would be willing to look at printing these cards as a ministry and business opportunity. I am so excited to see these cards be made for THI and to see God provide for his cause. It is indescribable how divine it is walking in God’s plan even when I feel so undeserving.

I would love for you to continue to pray for this project –

-Please pray for divine appointments with the right businesses and workers who are willing to print and provide services for these cards in order to advance the work of THI overseas and bring profit to the org.

-Pray for my heart to be humble and to walk in awe of all God is doing in and through me, boasting only in HIM.

-Pray for the children’s hearts, that they would heal and mend through the art work and that they would enjoy every minute of time we spend together creating beautiful things.

-Pray for my last 2 weeks here, that I would be present and disciplined in my work in order to bring Glory to God. I long to do all things with excellence for his kingdom.

Thank you for your constant love and support. I am so grateful that you have made this trip possible and so full for me. I miss y’all and love you dearly. For the Kingdom! 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Eternal Waters Spring Up

On the way to Pokhara the Lord gave me a vision – He showed me as I prayed a picture of the dry riverbeds that are all throughout Nepal with me walking up stream in them, but there was no water. I became thirsty and so I started to lift up rocks in order to try and find a spring of water. Each time I lifted up a rock the water would come bursting forth and soak me and start to flow down and resaturate the dry riverbed. I would laugh and be filled with joy every time I took another step and heaved a stone up in order to release the fountains and geysers of water. After I had this vision the Lord spoke softly to me in my heart saying, “My daughter I know this year has drained you and has rocked you. I see that you are dry and you are still trucking up stream to find me and to know me and I see your faithfulness, and you are mine. Behold I am saturating you with my spirit, I have brought you here to refresh you, I have brought you here to know the depths of my eternal living waters.”

This past year was a lot about discovering what God does have for me and what he is calling me to along with what He is not calling me to. Through the ups and downs of that I feel like I was literally sucked dry of all the spirit inside of me. There were definitely seasons of joy amidst the pain and trial and error throughout the year, but it was definitely beyond draining emotionally, spiritually and mentally. I have realized in this week that I have spent in literally one of the most beautiful places in the world that God is for me and he would go to the ends of the earth to take care of me. God has brought me here, all the way to Nepal, for many reasons, but it blows my mind that he is revealing to me that one of the reasons is to refresh my spirit and to reveal the depths of his heart for me and my dreams for me. Our Father is the Father of love and he will do all he has to do in order to capture our hearts and I am so thankful for that. I think it has been a little hard to realize that I am doing a lot less of the impacting and a lot more of the receiving from God here. Every time I hear a child laugh or hear a story about a restored victim of trafficking my heart becomes a little more full, a little more saturated with the goodness of God and his big heart for me and for all of his children. What’s even wilder about all God had to say to me about what He is doing in my heart is that he also spoke it not just in my heart but through the devotional book I am using while I am here – it’s called Streams in the Desert and its phenomenal and I just have to share with you what it said two days after God gave me that sweet vision and word –

“We never know where God has hidden His streams. We see a large stone and have no idea that it covers the source of a spring. We see a rocky area and never imagine that it is hiding a fountain. God leads me into hard and difficult places, and it is there I realize I am where eternal streams abide.”

The affirmation that God has been providing to show me He has me here for every reason and all His good. It is blowing me away and exploding my heart and mind.

So with all of this as the prep for my week in Pokhara I was definitely expectant for God to show up and move and be so present. And our God is so faithful and He was more present than I could ask or imagine in this past week. It was a really sweet time – we did lots of hikes, lots of boating in order to get to opposite sides of the city, mountain bike adventures, moped bike rides, lots of theology discussions with the president of the organization, and lots of fellowship with my team sharing our stories and what God is teaching us while we are here. It was incredible we also got to visit the Dream Center land where the org is building more children’s homes and a school for the kids in this city that is above the low standards of education here in Nepal because the head of the org really believes that in order to change Nepal as a country that the next generation must be given the best opportunities to rise up as leaders in Christ first and then leaders in their communities. We also spent lots of time at the parks with the kids from the homes playing and laughing and celebrating their lives and freedom.

There is truly something about Pokhara that made me never want to leave. I don’t know if its just the screaming evidence of God in every sight I saw or if it was the adventure that lied around every nook and cranny. The streets were a little wider here and the air a little fresher and I think it was simply the perfect break from being in the capital city of Nepal for a week. The same issues remained at hand – child beggars, dance bars, and brokenness all around – but hope seemed more near here. I think also hope seemed closer because we reached the beginning of our third week here and God has started to reveal his authority, care, and sovereignty over the issues of injustice happening in this country and in the lives of these people. The hope wasn’t necessarily rising from the location we were at but from how God has been shaping my heart to understand him more and to also just surrender to not fully understanding him in regards to every pain and sorrow. God has been over time reminding me of the victory we have in Christ in all things and that he sent his only son here to redeem not just my life but all of creation back to its intended beauty and fullness. While I was in Pokhara I also wrestled with God a lot on the balance and concepts of his law and grace. I read through Romans 6, 7 and 8 I don’t know how many times and really prayed for revelation to come bursting through in my moments of stillness with Christ. It has been tough to fully understand but I do believe that God is honoring my pursuit of his truth and revealing piece by piece how to weigh both grace and the law and their proper purpose in my faith.

I am so thankful that my joy lies simply in my salvation (Psalm 51:12) and that our God goes out of his way to pursue and choose us (John 15:5-17) and he also has the heart to give us his best and pleasure and delight that lies in his hands (Psalm 16:11). I feel like I definitely wondered what God had for me and  why did he bring me here and what was this all for – but I know more than ever that I am in the right place in God’s timing and it couldn’t be more satisfying. I’ve always heard people say the best place to be is smack dab in the middle of God’s will for you and I am so thankful he has brought me too it. I am continuing to apply for jobs in the midst of my time here and trusting that as I had to give up my job to come here that God will graciously and sovereignly provide for me when I return back to the states. I do have an interview this Wednesday at 8:00 pm your time with an organization I love, admire and have always dreamed of working for, so if you are reading things please write it down in your calendar, set a reminder on your iPhone, do whatever you have to do to please pray for me at that time on Wednesday! Im thankful for the doors God is opening and his faithfulness.

I hope and pray God is moving in your lives more intimately than ever. He has chosen you, he loves you and he is jealous for more of you and your life. Give it to him – I promise it will be the best decision you’ve ever made, for our God is faithful until the very very very end. Praise Him who is worthy of it all and sooooo much more. I love you all.

As always here are some of the scriptures I have been reading and that God has been speaking to me through.

-Habakkuk 2:3
-Hosea 2: 14-15
-Romans 6:7

Monday, July 8, 2013

Dreams Come True

“For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who walk uprightly.”

- Psalm 84:11

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

- Romans 8:28

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.”

-Genesis 50:20

Today I felt the overwhelming urge to blog. I felt a deep desire down inside of me to inform my followers and supporters on what is happening here in Nepal. The issue is I am still finding myself at a loss of words, and if you know me this is quite unusual.

This place amazes me day after day after day. There is not a moment that goes by that God isn’t speaking and revealing himself. Due to the overload of his voice and presence I am finding it hard to capture everything in a simple blog post, so please bear with me as I go through the things I’ve been doing and the depths of God’s heart that He is revealing to me in this season. It is truly a season of refreshment and saturation and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it happens to be monsoon season in Nepal – for I see how God is pouring out his everlasting, eternal waters into my dry riverbeds of life that need revival each day. Again, this is not coincidence this is divine timing of our good and sovereign King, Jesus Christ.

I will start out with our adventures in Chitwan, Nepal. After the border of India and Nepal my team and I headed for the vast and luscious jungle of Chitwan, Nepal. Here we lodged up in some safari bungalows for 3 days and enjoyed every bit of God’s creation. The place we stayed was called the Gaida Lodge and it had a baby rhino that would sleep in the courtyard, talk about exotic. Chitwan is home to many many national parks and some of Nepal’s most beautiful landscapes. If you haven’t yet please check out the pictures I posted on facebook – God did a good job when he created Chitwan. Amidst the glory of God’s creation in Chitwan, THI also has a couple of street children’s homes tucked away as well. So while we enjoyed venturing out to sight see and go on a 3 hour walking safari, bathed with elephants and slept with rhinos we also got to serve and love on many children who belong to our awesome Father.

I think one of my favorite nights in Chitwan was the night we invited the children from one of the homes with their parents to come to our lodge for family dinner. About 15 kids and their house parents joined us in the small kitchen at our lodge where the chefs cooked up a mass amount of dal baht – which is the most common and traditional Nepali meal – for all of us to dive into. As we all gathered around the tables to share this meal I began to get teary eyed and really believe that God was giving us a glimpse of heaven. The children are so beautiful y’all – I don’t know how else to put it. It’s absolutely insane how clear God’s goodness and faithfulness and love is when you look into the eyes of these kids. God in his goodness and sovereignty loves these kiddos who were once on the street so much that he placed the vision of Tiny Hands into John, the president’s heart, and then God pursued these kids and found them homes and provided for them in every way. Do you know this Father that we belong to? Do you know his love that never fails? His love that sees the lost and chases after his lost sheep – even just one? I do and I thank Jesus for revealing it to me through these precious little ones. We played games with these kids and we shared laughs and pictures and stories. This is the kingdom y’all and the keys are in the hands of God’s children.

Other than the beautiful night of fellowship with the children in Chitwan another one of my favorite things was getting to bathe with the elephants!! If you didn’t know – elephants are my one and only favorite animal and have been all my life. I adore them and it was truly a dream come true to ride one and be drenched in the water from one’s trunk. I know this doesn’t have profound spiritual meaning behind it, but I do think our Father in heaven is sweet to us and knows the desires of our hearts and He loves to give us good gifts and this was simply just that. In the heat of Nepal and the heat of this battle for the oppressed that we are learning about God gave his children, me and my team mates, a break from it all, a sweet moment to laugh and have fun and fill his joy and presence through his creation. Praise God, yeah?!

Lastly while we were in Chitwan we finished up the section about the goodness of God in the book we are reading as a group called “God as He longs for you to see him” by Chip Ingram. Y’all this book and Bible study with my teammates is literally rocking my world, my mind and my heart. Over time as a believer it’s just true that my perceptions of God have been altered by things that have happened to me and my inaccurate feelings. When this happens it is dangerous. Why you may ask? Because I can at least humbly admit that it has lead me to create God into someone he is not and some one he will never be – someone other than the truth that the Bible states about him. This book, which is laced with scripture upon scripture, is rebuilding the foundation of God and his character for me in a most pure way. Also the fellowship that has been birthed between me and my teammates during our small group/Bible study time has been completely a gift of God and lead by his spirit. This chapter on God’s goodness has reminded me that despite my circumstances and despite my feelings – God is good all the time. Not because of what he does, but because it is his nature. And if God’s nature is good then I can trust him because his goodness is inclined towards me as his child.
After such a moving three days in Chitwan we headed on to Pokhara – this is probably my fav part of Nepal so far out of the 4 places we have stayed. It is drenched in God’s beauty every corner you turn. I will leave the next blog post for all the deets on my adventures and lessons learned while spending 7 days in Pokhara. Until next time here are my prayer requests.

- Pray for our 3 wk focus projects that we just defined and are getting started on tomorrow here back in the capital of Nepal, Kathmandu

- Pray for unity and fellowship among me and my team mates as we continue to work together and grow together

- Pray for my heart to be at peace with what God has for me here and to be present and not worried about jobs and the future when I return home, I really want to surrender it into his hands completely

- Pray for the people of Nepal and the children in the homes who have left imprints on my heart for life

- Pray for protection as we continue to travel and safety

- Pray for God to reveal himself to me more deeply, I want to fall more deeply in love with who God truly is

Blessings and Love,