Archive for March, 2007

Today has been a great day. God is in a good mood and He is still calls all the shots. Well, apparently Matt decided that after spending a few hours in heaven that he might as well just stick around and chill with Jesus. As much as I would have loved for him to come back, I don’t blame him for choosing a place that doesn’t have the blazing hot summers that Redding does. It is 80 degrees out right now, which feels hot since a few days ago the high was just below 60, but by July that high will be up around 110-115.

Anyway, even with hot weather God is still amazing! I even pulled out my sunglasses and rolled down my window as I drove from the church to my outreach. Boy do I have a lot to be thankful for. God’s timing is perfect too. Twenty four hours before I would be praying for someone who just died God brought me out of a rather pitiful state of depression. Having just dealt with that and coming to the realization that God’s presence is more important than anything, praying for the dead to be raised seemed like praying for someone who sneezed.

Yes, I will never be the same since that was the first time I have ever tried to raise the dead, but at the same time I could have easily let the situation discourage me. He died as soon as my shift began. He didn’t just die after I prayed for him, he died when I showed up. Rather than entertaining the lie that I killed him by showing up, I prayed and believed that he would rise up!

Think about it. Yeah, I was coming to pray for a guy’s healing and he died on my shift. That doesn’t sound too good. But that isn’t the truth. As Pastor Bill says regarding his father’s death, I don’t understand it, but I know that God is good and He will redeem the situation. One student, whose father just died a few weeks ago stood up at the funeral and invited people to come forward to receive prayer for healing after saying that he doesn’t know why his father died but that he knows that God is good. Come on!

On outreach today we had the kids ask God to show them a picture and then draw it. It was amazing. I wish I had pictures of what these kids drew. One of our guys then led one kid to the Lord after the pictures he drew brought up questions about salvation. Oh Jesus, you are good! I can’t wait for the creative miracles to start happening in abundance, the dying to be healed, and the dead to be raised.

Can’t say I didn’t try

Posted: March 29, 2007 in Healing

Well, today at school we signed up to pray for one of our fellow students who is dying of cancer. He is around my age, so obviously this cancer isn’t right. Well, I felt like I should sign up for the 11 pm shift that would last until 2 am. I then had a feeling in my spirit that he would die while I was there so that we would have to raise him from the dead.

Initially, I also signed up for an 8 am shift that I thought would be a back up in case he hadn’t been raised from the dead yet. I ended up giving that shift to someone else who really wanted it.

Well, we get to the house 5 minutes before 11 pm and the previous team tells us what is going on and then packs up to leave. The father also came downstairs to tell us just to pray down there and that he would call us if he needed us. Just a few minutes later we hear the mother yelling for us to come pray, Matt died.

We were trying to give the family space so we just stayed in the area praying in the spirit. After a while of that we left them and went back downstairs to pray. Not too long after that Chris O. showed up and went upstairs with the family. At 1 am Zachary and I went back upstairs to pray for Matt.

I kneeled beside his bed and grabbed his hand like I was giving him a “brother” hand shake and began to pray. I spoke life into his body, prophesied over him, declared promises of God, and commanded him to wake up in Jesus name. An hour and 15 minutes later I got up to let the next team begin to pray for him.

You can’t raise the dead if you never pray for any dead people. Well, now I can’t say that I haven’t tried. God is so good. Not to sound insensitive or rude, but I would have never expected to be smiling and laughing when praying for someone to be raised from the dead. God has given me such a firm reality of his goodness that not even death can stop me from knowing He is good!

Teams will still be praying until the family tells them to stop. So please be praying for Matt to come back to life. I will give updates when I hear the good news.

Running to win!

Posted: March 28, 2007 in Uncategorized

Although I have never seen the whole movie, there is a scene in Chariots of Fire where there is a race. The character falls down at the beginning and instead of giving up, he gets up and busts his butt running as fast as he can and ends up winning the race. It is crazy because it seems like he was down way to long to be able to make up the difference, but he ran with such determination that it didn’t matter. That is what I feel like now.

The past month feels like I have been flat on my face breathing in dust from ground in Mexico. Then tonight after 3 hours of discouragement and me feeling that I was totally wrong in going to homegroup an amazing God-lover found that I had not left and came to chat with me.

Over the course of the next hour she talked me through what I was experiencing and finally said that I need to press in and run hard even though it hurts. That clicked for me. I am used to saying, “only one more mile” or “just one more set” but for whatever reason I had lost sight of that in this season in which God’s presence has been lifted from me.

Then I remembered a dream I had back in December about running a marathon. While resting halfway through the race a friend told me that I was on pace to break the world record. My thought was to then run the second half of the race faster than the first half. So when this awesome reminded me that I was doing great and just to keep pressing in, I lit up and said, “yeah, I’m gonna run even harder than before!”

Coincidentally, Pastor Bill told us in the past week that although it isn’t really halfway, he considers post-mission week to be the second half of the school year. So I am getting up off the ground and my eyes have the look of a lion about to devour its prey.

Thank you God for sending someone to pick me up and to remind me that this is an answer to my own prayers of, “God take me deeper no matter what it looks like.” Thank you Katie for sharing with me your experiences and for reminding me why I’m here.

Fuel for the Furnace

Posted: March 24, 2007 in Uncategorized

I will attempt to do the impossible this morning. I will attempt to be brief and amazing. I am still wanting to get updates from the La Paz trip, but those will have to wait a little bit.

I just finished reading an article from the Tallahassee newspaper that said that the Easter Seals closed down. They were unable to pay their mortgage, payroll, and other expenses. They had applied for but didn’t receive a grant that would have given them $100,000 each year for the next five years.

The first time I went their to work with a client I was scared out of my mind. People were coming up to me, grabbing me, yelling at me and the conditions were just not good. However, it did provide a place for probably 50 adults with disabilities to go 5 days a week to be away from their families.

Unless the two other facilities in Tallahassee somehow decide to drastically expand their enrollment it means that those families will all be faced with the task of caring for their loved one full-time. The other facilities already have a long waiting list to get into them, so the outlook is bleak. God, stretch out your hand to heal developmental disabilities!

Speaking of that, Pastor Bill was crazy good in school yesterday. His main focus was Acts 4:29-30 which says:

“Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

His translation read ALL boldness. Yeah, we could use that. I was just thinking recently how nice it would be if I would approach people without having to try to be bold. It would be nice if it was just instinct and that boldness would kick in for the difficult situations.

Speaking of difficult situations, I had a dream yesterday as I was soaking. Essentially it was me watching a bunch of friends in groups of 3 or 4 floating around a safe little harbor in these small wooden boats. I was on land and was weary of them going out even though it seemed harmless. They were packed in them pretty tight because they were small. Then a huge Disney cruise ship came into the harbor for some reason. However rather than getting out of the way they all just stayed.

I was getting nervous at how close they were getting to the cruise ship. One group was literally touching the ship with their hands as it passed by. Then the ship turned and sideswiped another group. Their boat started to get pushed under water and the wood started to break. All I could think was “Emergency tongues!” So I just started to pray in the spirit, but was also thinking that I had to do something and that praying by itself wasn’t enough, I would need to go save them.

This is all in a matter of seconds that I think that how can I go in after them when it is a cruise ship. The cruise ship could kill me too! Then, while still on the shore praying in tongues, I woke up.

Last night at Awakening Cry I realized that while it is super important to praying for the lost and dying, we have to actually do something about it. We need the radical boldness to go into the situations that seem impossible. It isn’t enough to stand on the shore and pray “God save them, they are drowning!” We must also pray, “God, I’m going in after them and I need your help! Stretch out your hand to do a miracle!”

Yeah. Amen.

Laugh a little

Posted: March 22, 2007 in Uncategorized

I don’t know what has been the problem with me for the past week. Honestly, it has been the most difficult week that I can remember in a few years. It wasn’t that travelling to Mexico was tough on me, well maybe it was, but I don’t think so. Rather it was tough on me spiritually between me and God. It had already been a tough few weeks and this was easily the worst, which stunk since I was doing ministry in another country.

How can it be bad when I saw so many people get healed? I don’t know how to describe it other than just saying that to me it is more important to feel the Father’s love than to see His works. I was not feeling His love and therefore anything else that was good didn’t seem to matter to me.

It probably didn’t hurt that in the midst of me going through this, everyone around me was seeming to have a blast and going to new levels in God while I felt that I had hit rock bottom. I became increasingly frustrated each time someone asked me if I was feeling (discerning) anything as I prayed for someone or went into a situation. I suppose that I was getting frustrated at God, because after our second evening meeting I was so fed up that all I could do on the ride back to our base was cry.

I struggled with so many negative thoughts that I don’t have anything to offer that I really didn’t even want to minister. I also got stuck playing drums (like real drums, not the djembe), which I have realized that I don’t want to do again. Basically I felt inadequate, unwanted, unloved, and like the person that had to do everything that nobody else wanted to do.

Yuck, I don’t even want to talk about it. I hate being in a situation where I just want to be alone but I have no place where I can go and be alone. Even the bus ride back to Redding. Even today at school. I didn’t really want to be there. I didn’t want to hear how other people’s trips went, because mine was hard. I didn’t want to go up with my team to share testimonies so I just sat behind the group as they tried to stand and got drunk in the process. I was pretty annoyed when I got called up to share a testimony. I just wanted to hide.

Even up to tonight. I nearly just left church to go home and sleep because I was feeling so horrible. As I had unsuccessfully tried to soak I knew that if I could just manage to laugh and really mean it that I would feel better. But I could not just force myself to laugh for some reason. For whatever reason I made myself stay and I ended up reading some in the Bible to get caught up.

It didn’t seem like anything that would really encourage me, but the more I read the better I felt. By the time I went to the prayer meeting before youth I was feeling so much better. Still not my normal self, but I felt like I had been raised from the dead. Right before youth started I found my way to the Burning Ones. The youth with the fire that you can feel. They started to laugh, I started to laugh, I felt more like myself again. And now, oh so abruptly, I will go to bed.

So I wound up being put on the team that was all people from the worship team for Sunday morning, er afternoon church. So while everyone else loaded up in our vans, we waiting to get picked up by the pastor. We drove into town down some dirt roads, which was odd since the street would look the same as the one next to it minus the pavement, and picked up 3 men. Now there were 10 of us in the van.

We drove some more and stopped on the side of a street. A few got out to go pray for someone and I was told to stay with the van. So four spanish speakers and two english speakers were left in the van with not much to say to each other. So one of the guys pulls out his guitar and starts to play some worship songs. Luckily my fellow english speaker had learned that song in Spanish and so I played the djembe. We then sang it in English, switching back and forth between the languages. It was great.

After probably 30 minutes of worship we were all getting very hot as there was no breeze where we were. Soon after that the rest of our group came back reporting that the son of one of the men we had picked up was healed of asthma in the waiting room of the hospital! From there we went to the gas station and when the pastor said the attendant had pain in her foot we got out to pray and God healed her!

The drive to the church was an hour outside of La Paz. They told us that the people were migrant farm workers. Knowing this I think we all had very low expectations of what the church would be like. I think these expectations were lowered even more based on the dirt road that we drove on for miles. It is one thing to drive on a dirt road in a city. It is a whole different thing to drive on a dirt road in the middle of the desert where you can see no buildings at all.

I was starting to wonder if they would have any power at the church and I didn’t even think that the church would be in a town, but rather just on a plot of land somewhere. Well, eventually we start approaching the farm land and it wasn’t anything like what I had expected. Other than the desert backdrop, it looked just like anything I had seen back in Florida. Then we approached the town.

It reminded me of hearing stories of people that live on remote islands where groceries and other supplies are shipped in once a week. Even though it was just an hour outside of La Paz, it was remote enough that it probably does face some of the same difficulties as a small island.

They drove us around the town which took just a minute or two but described to us the slave-like conditions of this massive warehouse that provided a garage type home for some 3,000 people. We returned to the church and after quickly setting up their speakers and microphones the service started just after 12:30.

They had me play djembe which was interesting since I didn’t know any of the songs and the worship leader didn’t speak english. It was an interesting experience to be worshipping God with no fewer than 10-15 mosquitoes flying around you.

After worship they brought up a young boy who has been deaf and mute since birth. We began to pray for him and within a few minutes he responded to us snapping behind his head. So while our group leader preaches and our lone spanish speaker translates, the two girls and I take the boy out of the service to continue praying for him. Over the next half hour or so he begins responding with great frequency to snaps and then begins to speak what the boy who had been healed of asthma says to him.

The smile on the boy’s face was priceless. Since it was such a special moment I kept switching between praying for him and getting the miracle on video. Praise God I had a video camera with me! Our greatest moment with him was probably when the young helper sat behind him out of view, spoke and then he spoke what he heard! When we went back to the service we showed the congregation the boy’s progress and then went into praying for the people for healing.

I prayed for one of the young men that rode with us and God healed his shoulder. Then I told him to pray for his mother’s ankle and God healed it too! Since there were only 2 people other than our team member that knew any english I just went around laying hands on everyone without knowing what was wrong. Others did the same. Our two girls prayed for a woman whose ear opened up. At the end of the service 20 people lined up to share the testimony of what God completely healed. Not bad considering there were probably between 30 and 40 adults there (plus another 40-50 kids).

I did pray extensively for a young girl with club feet who was in a wheelchair. I forget if she had any other problems, but even though I felt an anointing there as I prayed, we saw no improvement. Around 4 in the afternoon church was over and we left to go meet up with the rest of the team that had been at our missionaries’ base (different from the base where we stayed). Exhausted, we slept most of the ride back, well, most of the ride after we got back on paved roads.

Once we got back we quickly grabbed some of the left over lunch which was now essentially the time when we normally had dinner. Then we left to go the boardwalk for our evening outreach. They had a worship band that was made up of some of the best worshippers in the city. They were amazing! After a few songs, the local church did a drama, then two people on our team shared testimonies, followed by our team doing the drama. They had no way of playing their music for it so they had me play the djembe and the keyboardist from the band play as well. It actually turned out better than with the CD because I could go with what they were doing and the keyboardist followed me!

Immediately after the drama was over I was introduced to preach. Although there was a crowd gathered I must say that probably all but a few were from the church and most of the ones that weren’t were probably being talked to by people on our team. Nevertheless, one man raised his hand saying that he needed healing when I asked but he had been at our meetings all week.

A little while after I was done I went to get back my video camera from one of our guys and on my way I was grabbed by a woman from the church to pray for someone. The woman had partial deafness in both ears and had rhumatory arthritis in her left foot. I prayed for her foot first for maybe 30 seconds and all the pain left! Then I prayed for her ears once and in under a minute she had complete hearing! Glory to God! I tried to ask how deaf she was but they couldn’t quite figure it out but just answered that it was pretty bad.

As a group that night our team lead 20 or 22 people to Christ including a police officer and another man who had said that Jesus was bogus. That man apparently had refused a prophetic picture and then after I preached went back to the guy who made it for him and our guy led him to Christ and got him filled with the Holy Spirit!

One of our leaders prayed for a few siblings who had all been cursed by witchdoctors and went blind at age 18. Yo, don’t mess around with witchcraft. She started breaking things off of them and leading them through repentance and at least one of them (I forget the whole story now) regained partial sight!

When we were leaving after getting some more ice cream one of our guys stopped to pray for a man on crutches. He had been walking with crutches for the past 6 years due to a knee injury caused from a car accident. After praying for him the man started to walk around so I got out my video camera and got it on tape! Then our guy was asked to pray for a woman with a brain tumor. They were touched and as they left the man gave his crutches to his wife to hold as they walked away!

Women and children

Posted: March 17, 2007 in Uncategorized

This morning we woke up early again. After a short breakfast we headed out to the church of a man who had done first year the same year as our trip leader Joaquin. We spent some time just playing with the kids for a while and then it was time for lunch even though it was still in the morning. After our team did the drama they took the children outside and left the mother’s in the church building (it’s roof was palm branches and the walls were tarps).

Eventually it got so hot in there that they took off one of the walls to let a little bit of a breeze in. After the first of our three speakers they saw 5 people get healed with nobody laying hands on them! Then after the final speaker 5 of the women gave their lives to Christ! Our gals then felt that they should wash the feet of the women. So they lined up and all had their feet washed by the girls on our team.

Our Children’s ministry did much of the same activities that they had done at the orphanage and had their own healing service as well. When it was time for us to go all of the women and children got together with our team for a photo. It was amazing to see how God had knit our hearts together when we came to serve them in love.

After going to our host church to change we headed out to the beach. Although there are some beaches that are very close to where we were, our hosts took us a little further away to go to a very nice beach that had a view of Holy Spirit Island (yes, you read that correctly, many cities there have religious names as they were founded by Christians and never conquered by foreign militaries…La Paz means “The Peace” and we had stopped for ice cream in Todos Santos, or “All Saints”).

The beach was gorgeous. Rather than wearing myself out in the water and out in the sun I just stayed in the shade under one of the little things they had. I have no idea what they are called but are like having a big umbrella but the shade is created again by palm branches. I just sat there and soaked for most of time only stopping to eat some snacks and take a few photos.

We went out to dinner with all of our hosts and afterwards went to get ice cream down by the boardwalk. I must say that their strawberry ice cream is the greatest ice cream of all time! Then before we left the translator who had just given his life to Christ the night before shared with us how moved he was by how we treated the women this morning. He never would have expected us to not only love them how we did, but to also treat them like royalty. The love of God did the trick.