I have just returned from Guatemala and am trying to recuperate from a virus that has kicked half of my teams butts in the last few days. It feels good to be home but I happy to say that this was the most amazing trip of my life… despite the terrible sunburn and flu bug of course.
Two or three years ago I received a prophetic word from Luke Holter from Prophetic Sheep Ministries that I would be taking an adventure in the jungle. At first I thought this was supposed to be some kind of metaphor because missions, especially in a third world country, wasn’t even remotely on my radar at the time. I was with a ministry that didn’t really talk about that stuff. We traveled within the states but that was about it. So when I heard that my church was sending a team to Guatemala I felt the Lord on it. I waited a couple of weeks thinking I didn’t have enough time to get the money together and wondering if it was really from Jesus but I felt Holy Spirit say to me one day that in order for prophetic words to be fulfilled, we have to take steps to see them happen. Within a week I had my plane ticket money for the trip and had more than enough for the rest of my funds.
It was truly a powerful experience and much needed at the time of departure. The last couple of months have been confusing and difficult for me as I’ve struggled to resist some decisions that weren’t lined up with the will of God. I felt fresh vision and new perspective for my life which helped me move on and rediscover His promises. I had a lot of fun getting to know my team. As much as an introvert as I am, I was able to not completely lose my mind being around the same people 24/7 for ten days and it was great getting to know them all in a different setting. Most of all, I loved ministering to the people. I loved to see mighty miracles but even if they didn’t occur, I always felt the presence of God and saw broken hearts being healed. Sometimes, this is even more powerful to me.
I am sitting in the lobby of a hotel in breathtaking Panjachal, Guatemala. This is the most beautiful city I have ever seen. My team and I will be returning to the States tomorrow after one of the most life-changing trips of my life. We have spent the last nine days ministering in and around Jacaltenango, a small city in the mountains and home of many Mayan Indians who speak only their tribal languages. To give you just a taste of what I experienced I will tell you that I and two of my team members prayed for a two year old who was paralyzed from the waste down. But when Jesus was done with him he was running around so fast that his mother couldn´t keep up with him! I will post more stories and photos when I get home tomorrow night and fill you all in on the rest. ç
Update! Since my last blog quite a bit has happened here in Little Rock! I have decided on joining an awesome church family called Grace Fellowship. Grace is about 35 minutes from where I live so it probably isn’t the most convenient church for me to attend but let me tell you… it is definitely worth the drive. The Holy Spirit is allowed to move, people are encouraged in their giftings, leadership is transparent and pastoral, and the Kingdom is on display ALL THE TIME! I love love love love this place and am so glad I found it!
On top of being involved on the worship team at the church, I am also taking a very exciting adventure to Guatemala with a great team of people from our church body. Grace has traveled to this area of Guatemala several times and has had great success. The people in this particular mountain region have a history of being very hostile toward missionaries and it has been plagued by witchcraft and witch doctors who have exerted a lot of control over the people. But when my church shows up apparently they get so much attention from the dramatic healings and miracles that take place, they have to rent a soccer stadium to fit everyone!
I have my own personal history in this part of the world. During two successive summers in high school I traveled to El Salvador with Ambassadors in Missions and had an incredibly life-changing experience. El Salvador sits right beside Guatemala in Central America. It was there that Jesus first spoke to me about the nations… in fact I enrolled in Bible College after these trips so that I could spend my life on the mission field but for those of you who know my testimony, I eventually chose a much different route which Jesus is now redeeming. He has also given me so much love for the Latin American people in that area of the world and I am thrilled to be able to minister to them again.
This trip has been prophesied over me at LEAST three times now. And even though I am a little over a week away from my first deadline, Jesus has lined everything up. My job has miraculously given approval for me to take time off. There was only one spot left on the team… you name it, Jesus has done it in less than a day. There is one thing is left for me to do and that is to come up with the money. By SEPTEMBER 10 I need 600 dollars for my plane ticket and 850 more by the end of September. Please consider contributing to this awesome Jesus movement in Latin America! If you feel led, please make checks out to Grace Fellowship and send them to my home address at 2300 Rebsamen Park Rd. Apt C207, Little Rock, AR 72202 OR you can send it through Paypal to email@example.com
This past month has been one of the best that I have had in a long time. I’m finding my life reflecting the title of this blog. Life is coming full circle. How strange. Eight years ago this month I was moving from Little Rock (the town that I now live in), wanting to escape a relationship break-up. I know I’ve covered most of the journey the Lord has led me on but I find it so strange and coincidental how much has changed in my heart and yet how there seem to be so many links and connections to significant moments in my life… it seems to all be coming together.
If I went into all of the strange things that have been happening this month or this summer even I would probably take up most of the space on this entire blog. So I’ll spare you most of the details. Connections between old friends and new friends, old dreams (since high school) that He has replanted in my heart, relationships that he is helping me to evaluate, and new prospective relationships that I am learning to enjoy and relax in… I am really taking joy in my life right now.
I went to World Mandate this weekend. It’s a church planting conference in Waco, Texas which is the fourth one that I have attended over the years. Antioch Community Church has planted house churches all over the world and it wasn’t until this fourth time in attendance that my heart was actually stirred toward what the Lord was doing on the earth… though I am thinking about these things for the future, I realize I’m not entirely ready for whatever my role is in this.
Instead, I had my usual favor from God that I seem to be getting a lot of lately. I had heard that there would be sign-up sheet for prophecy rooms at this conference and signed up for a slot on Saturday afternoon. I just needed encouragement, direction… anything that might help me to move forward. The fascinating situation I discovered but was not told until later, was that these rooms were only for pastors and missionaries. I asked my friend, a leader at Antioch if I should go back and take my name off the list. She encouraged me to keep it on, thinking it was probably just a ‘God thing’ that no one had told me the rules.
So I did go to the rooms on Saturday and basically wept through the entire ordeal. No direction really… just a confirmation of my calling, His heart for me, my identity in Him, divine protection over my life (yes please!), and a specific anointing that was called out again and confirmed (music). There was an even an incredibly awkward moment where all of the people in the room stood up and applauded me and celebrated me, signifying how proud the Father was of me and how He delighted in me. Yes, I blushed a little but I very much needed that awkward moment.
I guess right now I’m not excited about all of the adventures He has in the future… or the tasks or assignments He has for me… or the leadership positions He might give me or the bands that I get to sing with. I’m just excited that I get to rest in His arms and be loved by Him. I’m excited about the ways He is going to meet me in the future. I’m excited for the late nights I’ll get to spend with Him speaking to me in my dreams. I’m excited for the ways He’s going to speak to me through others and how I’ll hear His heart for them as well. I’m excited for all of the people He is placing in my life right now and how we’re walking out our friendship with Him together. I’m excited about the increase of joy I’m receiving just because He’s beside me.
Even though my dreams from high school might be very similar to the ones I have now, they are coming from a different place in my heart… a different place of rest… a more developed purpose. And some day, I will share with you exactly what those dreams were/are.
God doesn’t see as man sees. Imagine yourself as an older brother with several runts below you in age and stature. A famous prophet comes to your parents home looking to anoint a new king. Of course, you’ll get the title. The king is ALWAYS the firstborn. Everybody knows this. There is no question that you are the most qualified. But instead the prophet comes, sizes you up, and moves to the next oldest brother… then the next… then the next… then the next. After he has made his way down the row (and you are still seething that he did not choose you at first glance) the prophet asks where your very youngest brother is. The puny little brother, David. This is the brother that is so below you that his job in the family is to hang out with the smelly sheep all day, which was almost equivalent to a slaves position in that day. You try to rationalize why in the world God would choose David, of all people, and you finally come to the conclusion that the only reason David is chosen is because he’s a good-lookin’ kid… which makes you even more angry. So what do you do to make yourself feel better? You accuse him of pride and arrogance. I mean who does he think he is? He thinks he’s soooooo spiritual hanging out in the fields singing to God all day. He really thinks he’s something else. Spiritual pride. That’s what David has.
…… and this is the reason God did not choose Elia, David’s older brother. In fact, Elia had the same spirit as that of Saul, the current wicked king. What a train wreck Israel would be if Elia had gotten the position that he had wanted. He was full of jealousy and pride, himself… and God knew exactly what the state of his heart was.
David, on the other hand, had qualities that his family refused to acknowledge. But God saw them and chose Him because of these qualities. God looked at David’s heart and his family rejected him for it. God saw that David’s desire was to please Him and Him alone. His desire was to be holy… to not trust in his own accomplishments or talents but to trust that everything he had was given to him by God. David sought the Lord instead of the power and prestige of man. God chose David for His own pleasure. He knew David loved to sit under the pleasure of God and He knew David was grounded in the identity of His delight. This is what God looks for in a leader.
Over and over I have seen God choose those that others have rejected. In fact, in most cases, God chooses on purpose, and anoints those that have experienced rejection… at least the ones that refuse to have a bitter spirit. I have seen it in my own family, in fact. My great-grandfather, John Turner, was rejected and kicked out of his own home… he was ostrasized from His family as David was because of his true encounter with the living God. God went on to choose my great-grandfather to be the first spirit-filled missionary to northern India where the Lord used him to bring many to Jesus. Joseph, in the Bible, was rejected by his family and accused of pride. Every single one of the true prophets of Israel were rejected because of their rebukes to the leaders of Israel and accused of pride… and often murdered for speaking truth.
Bob Sorge in his book Dealing with Rejection and the Praise of Man, says that if you have a prophetic call on your life, chances are you will be rejected time and time again by religious leaders. Rejection is a training period for those who have a prophetic identity.
I know in moments of rejection in my own life… and I am currently still dealing with some of it that has happened recently… I have to really run to the Lord to learn how to walk out love and to continue to position my heart before the Lord, being careful not to grow bitter or to allow offense in my heart. It is rather difficult and I have repeatedly messed up but I know that without allowing the Lord to change my heart and help me to grow in love, I will not be pleasing to the Lord.