Well, our third day into outreach and one of the team members has sustained a serious injury....but wouldn’t you know it, that team member is yours truly!! I survived a week of NIKO for crying out loud and now this???? It was stupid in how it happened, too.
It was during our time in the beautiful province of Heredia where we spent two days at the Heredia base where I fell in love with the country feel and lifestyle there. They have all kinds of livestock, their own garden, a huge fire pit and a country like home where students and staff co-mingle each day. Everything is done with an eco friendly purpose and when you are done eating, you wash your own dishes! They fed us very well and treated us like royalty while we were there. It was very difficult to leave. :D
Anyway, back to how the injury happened. We had a ministry activity planned in a national park doing a prayer walk while praying for the people of Heredia. We had a time of preparation before going out, which was located on a miniature basketball court set on concrete. Just as we set out, I was the first to step off of the concrete surface and on to what I believed to be flat surfaced grass, which turned out to be grass with a sharp dip in it. By the time I realized the slope of the grass, I had already felt my foot turn and as I fell to the ground, I heard an audible pop in my foot.
Thankfully, it was not my ankle but I didn’t really know what the ‘pop’ sound meant. In any case, my left foot was completely immobilized while I tried to assess what type of injury it was but the pain became too much too fast and I just had to get my bearings from falling before getting to my feet. Once I came to stand, I couldn’t stand on my left foot at all. It was far too painful. So, while the rest of the team set out on the prayer walk, I stayed behind with two of the leaders and managed to find some ice to put on my foot. Just by the feel of the injury, I just had a sense that it was not good.
Well, today I just had a prompting by God to get my foot checked out after hobbling around all morning. I set out with two leaders and a fellow team mate who was kind enough to translate for me and we came to a Christian hospital called Jerusalem. It only took moments before I was being ushered into the x-ray room and positioned by the tech to have ‘pictures’ of my foot done. After she finished, the doctor was called in and he took a look. I spoke briefly with him and he determined that it appeared to be a tendon issue but wouldn’t elaborate. He also said that he didn’t think there was a break or fracture but that he wanted a second opinion and we began to wait for a specialist to come and take a look at the x-rays.
A long wait and a bit of miscommunication later, we took the x-rays and headed to another hospital, Hospital a la Catolica that was further downtown. There I was ushered in quickly and only had to wait a short while before being taken into another wing where the doctor would first look at my x-rays from the other hospital (yes, I was allowed to walk out from one hospital with my x-rays and take them to another hospital). By this time I had also paid several hundred dollars to see a doctor and to have x-rays taken, nothing else, not even a diagnosis.
So we’re at a second hospital and God blesses me with an English speaking doctor. Thank you, God!! He knew exactly what was needed! :D So, the doctor had a look at my x-rays and noticed that because of the extreme swelling and bruising of my foot that I had sustained a serious ligament rupture. Treatment? Three weeks in a cast or a walking boot that would completely immobilize the foot (I chose the walking boot). Along with plenty of rest, icing my foot three times a day and keeping the walking boot on all the time with the exception of icing and showering. At least my foot was kept stable and I could walk, unlike earlier today when I was hobbling with crutches. Extremely difficult to do in a place that is not handicap or wheelchair friendly. After the three weeks are up, I have to return to the hospital to see the doctor to have my situation reassessed and if all looks good, I’ll have to start on a regimen of rehab. Can you believe it???? A stupid little injury turning into all of this???
But, to everything under heaven, there is a purpose and God did not let this happen to me without a specific purpose. He made it very clear to me why the injury happened to me on Wednesday morning. See, before outreach had even begun, I was feeling quite sure and confident of my spiritual strength within our group and while I was fully surrendered to God’s will on our outreach, I still had some distinct pride about what I thought I could do during outreach and the people I could reach through my spiritual strength.
But when my injury happened and I was taken away from the action of my team members and had quieted myself to resting in the van with my foot elevated while applying ice, God spoke. I had been questioning God as to why this was happening now. Why after a week of NIKO nothing happened but on the third day of outreach I was now out of commission. My first round of questioning was met with God saying, “Be still and know that I am God.” “But God”, I said, “I’m prepared to do whatever it is you want me to do on outreach. I feel strong to do great things for you, why now?” “Be still and know that I am God”, is all He said in return.
At that moment I was humbled and I quieted my heart and was just still. As soon as I did that, God spoke further to my heart, telling me that sometimes He takes those of great service, completely out of service only to have them stand on the sidelines while watching others go out to serve. Wow. I felt as though I had been put firmly in my place by God. My confidence and strength regarding outreach had been revealed to me as pride and in these few moments of rest and pain, God was now dealing with me and my pride by taking me away from service.
I didn’t realize how prideful I had become and I was met with shame and embarrassment at what God was now telling me. So I spent the remainder of the day at the Heredia base while icing my foot, just being still before the Lord and interceding for my team and reading the Bible as God prompted me to do. I have to say that it was the best time I ever had with God out of all my quiet times with Him. God keeps speaking to me about so many things and now with this injury, He keeps speaking. Telling me things about the team, telling me things about His ways for me regarding outreach and just drawing me ever closer to Him which I am completely okay with. :D
So you may be asking, what now? Will I be going on outreach? Well, I don’t even know the answer to that question yet. So much happened in the last couple days, that I really want to honour God in all of my decisions, making sure that they are His decisions, not mine. So I will continue to seek Him each day and wanting to know His next steps for me. If that means me hobbling through the next couple weeks of outreach, then so be it. If it means me sitting even further on the sidelines while my team mates encounter God in outreach, then I will do that. I just want to get rid of this stinking pride that I have, even though I didn’t think it was pride. I serve an awesome God and He always has the perfect way of getting my attention and teaching me what it is He wants me to learn and know because He loves me that much!
So please pray with me for both myself and my team. Pray that God would strengthen all of us, remove any pride that exists within our team and that God provides me with the full restoration of my left foot in whatever way that looks like. Whether out with my team mates in outreach or here, at the base in San Jose.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Some members of my team awaiting to pack up and head back to the YWAM base (Friday morning).
Picture of the home located on the large property of NIKO, near Cartago, Costa Rica. This house is actually part of the property of the parents of one of the base directors, Giacomo Coghi.
I’m back and I SURVIVED NIKO!!!! Five days of intensity, brutality and being stretched beyond imagination while being kept bound by rules that any strict person would disagree with BUT I have been changed by NIKO in ways that could not have happened without going out in the middle of nowhere and being completely dependent upon God for everything. From shelter to strength to our next meal, there were things that I did that I never thought I could do, never mind live through but I did do it, I did it all and only by the grace and strength of God did I do it all!
I’m including some pictures of the location of the camp but I am not able to disclose a lot of information on particulars due to the honoured tradition of NIKO and its ultimate goal, to bring you into a deeper relationship with God while adhering to complete and total surrender of all things. Now when I say surrender, I’m meaning it in terms of coming forward and, essentially, giving up ALL your rights. If you don’t, you will be miserable and you will break without ever learning a thing that this experience is intended to teach you. I did break, not emotionally, but spiritually and it happened the second day we were there as I was still holding on to certain rights I didn’t realize I needed to give up. NIKO broke through all of that and brought me to my spiritual knees and into a greater faith and strength that I never knew could be obtained.
One thing I can tell you, and I’ve included a picture of, is that I scaled a mountain. A LITERAL MOUNTAIN! MY MOUNTAIN I’m going to call it because my teammates and I hiked this mountain from one end of it to the other, following markers that would lead us through. It took us six hours of hiking to get through it and it was brutal to say the least. The hiking up was vertical, I kid you not, and it had us climbing waterfalls, an ant hill and tree roots on the vertical!!! I even had the experience of belaying down the face of a mud wall that was more slimy than solidly formed. WOO HOO!!!! I can’t believe that this old body climbed up and down that gigantic mountain and all the while I prayed....every second we were out there, I prayed. I prayed for God’s help to get me through it all and for His strength when I felt like I just could not press on anymore. Our team leaders kept encouraging me when I was struggling getting up the next vertical face of a path that seemed to go on, vertically, FOREVER!!
One of the rules of the week was that we could not be without another person next to us further than an arm’s length away. For me, a person who truly embraces her personal space and solitude, this was a stretch but that was the point. To take me, even MORE, outside of my comfort zone and challenge me in every way. There were also elements of little sleep, little food and a lot of physically demanding activities that had me working in a team to solidify the importance of working as one body, like the body of Christ. That one part of the body could not work, effectively, without the other parts. As difficult as it was to always remain acutely aware that we had to always be together and no further than an arm’s length away, at the end of the week, I became wonderfully aware that my team had become closely entwined and strengthened through each NIKO rule.
Some ‘highlights’ I can share without giving away too much detail are: being surrounded by mountains on every side while having the view of a volcano and the bustling city of Cartago in the distance; sleeping on the ground underneath a makeshift tent made out of a tarp and a team built latrine not far from our tent; carrying heavy backpacks while hiking; activities with the themes of teamwork and service; and NO SHOWERING during the week! As brutal as some moments were, I couldn’t help but be captivated by the beauty that surrounded me in this place even while climbing my mountain. :D
At the end of the week, I found myself feeling sad about leaving for I had come to the clear realization that I had been taught so much by God in His lessons, that don’t always come in neatly wrapped packages with a pretty bow on top. Sometimes a person has to experience discomfort, brutality and intensity on many levels in order to fully realize that God’s will isn’t always easy to follow and, sometimes, we will be taken far outside of our own comfort zones by God in order to reach the lost or serve the destitute. And those who are thirsty for a drink from the fountain of life may not be your neighbour next door to you. No, they may be in a foreign land, living in a remote village that is located at the peak of a mountain reaching thousands of feet in elevation and they have NEVER heard the name of Jesus Christ and because Jesus lives in you, you are compelled to travel to that person, no matter what the cost may be to your personal health or safety. You may have to leave for the location in the middle of the night and it may have to be done in absolute secrecy because the place you are travelling to is heavily persecuted for any open proclamation of the Gospel. In fact, you may very well lose your life if anyone in that area were to find out you are a Christian.
I learned all these things, and so much more, during my week at NIKO but I survived and I became stronger because I was pushed to my limits; physically, mentally and spiritually. And what I didn’t realize is that I was being observed, by the NIKO leaders. I didn’t come to know this until our last night in camp when I was pulled aside and brought before all the NIKO leaders. They began encouraging me for the transformation they had seen in me during the week and that I had been an inspiration to them. I didn’t know what to say except ‘thank you’ and shed some tears at hearing this from people who had been inspiring me the entire week.
But before this happened, we had spent time within our teams to speak words of affirmation to each other and to pray for each other and I was not only blessed by the many words from my mates but also humbled by the things they said to me. Following are just some of the things I was affirmed in; willingness, strength, mother, strong woman, protector, fighting spiritual warrior in spiritual world as a powerful intercessor, woman of virtue and character, Proverbs 31: 10-31, spiritual mom, biblical warrior and mother, compared to Deborah in the book of Judges, peaceful presence, never complaining, always seeking God, steadfast woman of God, always praying, strong example, God sees me as a special woman just as the king from the book of Esther saw her as being the most beautiful woman of all. All I can still say is, “Wow.” How do you reply to any of that?? I didn’t, I just received it all and was completely humbled by it all.
So God was faithful as always this week, keeping me safe from harm in every conceivable way and He paved the way for me to grow closer to Him while becoming more like Him in this unique week that I will probably never forget. I couldn’t stop looking at that mountain I had climbed and conquered and recalling the verse from the Bible that tells us that we are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus. I had overcome so much in a week and I can still feel the difference in me. A strength, confidence and growth that I would never get in a classroom but that will now help me to prepare for the outreach phase that is to come. Imagine, an almost 40 year old woman doing physical things that I never thought of ever doing but when put in a situation where I had to do it, overcame unbelievable obstacles and obtained great victory! I still can’t believe I did what I did last week!!!! I also decided, on our last day as I looked out at the majestic valley strewn with layers of hills and mountains that I was dedicating the NIKO week to my son.
Speaking of outreach, we’ll be spending our first week in and around the city of San Jose as the base will be celebrating its seventh anniversary on Friday, so they wanted us to be close to the base to participate in that. After this coming week, I don’t know of our schedule so here is what I do know that I can pass on to you all; Monday – Prayer ministry at Irazu Volcano and Roman Catholic Basilica; Tuesday and Wednesday – Ministry in the province of Heredia; Thursday – Local ministry (San Jose); Friday – Debrief of week’s activities and base anniversary celebration; Saturday – Youth ministry in San Jose; Sunday – Briefing for trip to Puerto Viejo for a week to do ministry (Puerto Viejo is a high tourist area with a need for the love of Jesus). As I mentioned earlier, I don’t know what comes after Puerto Viejo but I am hoping that our leadership will give us a weekly schedule so that we can plan and pack accordingly. That is my hope, anyway. Just like NIKO, outreach is a time when we will be stretched, challenged and thrown into the unknown while having to be totally flexible in expecting the unexpected at all times. :D
I just want to take this time to thank all of you who regularly check my blog to read my updates. Even though I may not get that many comments on what I post, I do know that many of you read the posts and I wish to tell you that it means so very much to me that you take the time to see my life at YWAM and share this incredible journey with me. I hope that you have enjoyed the ride so far! There is much more to come and it is my hope that I will be able to take you with me on outreach....as often as I am able to post if for no other reason than to show you pictures. :D
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Everything You have told me,
Everything You have shown me,
Everything You have promised me,
For You are my everything who has everything wonderful in store for me.
You have a plan for me,
It is gonna be wild,
It is gonna be great,
And it is gonna be FULL of You!
Everything You have shown me,
Everything You have promised me,
For You are my everything who has everything wonderful in store for me.
You have a plan for me,
It is gonna be wild,
It is gonna be great,
And it is gonna be FULL of You!
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Yes, the sunsets each night were this spectacular!! Woo hoo!!
A picture of the town of San Juan del Sur where our team stayed for Visa renewal.
Well, last week ended on a great note as the topic was prayer and worship and the fundamentals behind why and how we praise and worship God in our everyday lives. This was coupled with an initiative of building a prayer room that would be used 24 hours a day for five days, beginning last Sunday at midnight and ending at dinner time on Thursday.
It was our opportunity to not only come closer to God within our individual relationships with Him but to also seek Him for new things for our lives. My time in the prayer room brought about great blessing and revelation while giving me a greater understanding of God and His way for me and my life. It was also a time of further confirmation and affirmation of all the things that God has been doing in me and through me during my time here at YWAM. We ended the week by taking holy communion in acknowledgment of what Christ did for each of us on the cross. It was a heart breaking time but then out of that came incredible victory in knowing that with that horrible death came eternal life for us through His resurrection!! Amen!!
Friday then brought us to the beginning of our journey to Nicaragua for our visa renewal process. The trip to the border took us about 4 hours. The van dropped us off well before the border crossing and we were required to gather our personal things and, literally, walk across the border between Costa Rica and Nicaragua. It was an interesting experience in sweltering temperatures as we walked as a close unit into the new frontier of Nicaragua where we were then met with vendors offering to exchange our US dollars for the Nicaraguan currency, Cordoba. After that, we were bombarded by taxi drivers telling us that they could offer us the best fare to get us to our final destination in country.
We settled on a cheap $5 USD fare for each person, packed four persons into each of the three taxis and made our way, quickly, to our accommodation. The radio of the taxi played American music and filled us with the freedom of hip music while being swept away by the breathtaking views of the two volcanoes we passed that looked like they had been dropped from heaven into the middle of a lake. Incredible!! The entire part of this country we travelled in was breathtaking with lush fields of green that went as far as the eye could see, even viewing mountains that were covered in trees and bush every shade of green imaginable!!
A short 45 minute drive later (because the driver was speeding equivalent to the Deerfoot speed once you reach the city limits = 120 kph) brought us to our final destination of a hostel called Pacha Mama in the sleep town of San Juan del Sur. We said goodbye to our driver and hello to one of the workers of the hostel who was English speaking. If any of you have been to a hostel, it is your basic international stop with people staying over for a time, from all over the world. We met some interesting people while there and had the blessing of being very close to the beach. Woo hoo!!
Needless to say the entire weekend was nothing but relaxing, much needed and joyful for me for the pizza and ice cream were cheap and the sunsets beyond spectacular! Unfortunately, I was unable to secure any pictures as we were initially told not to bring our cameras if we wanted to lose them. I was one of those people who didn`t bring their camera as I knew I still had several weeks of outreach to make memories of, so sorry about that folks. However, I`ve done my best to give you some pics of the area we were in so you can have some idea.
I could tell it would be a blessed trip with not only the splendid beach and food but also the amazing sunsets each night along with the famous Jesus statue that resides on a mountain close to the beach, reaching His hand out and over the town. While the hostel was rather noisy late into the night (thank God for earplugs.... :D) the weekend was much needed for many of us and much appreciated and enjoyed. A lot of my time was spent rocking back and forth, on the front patio, in a wood fashioned rocking chair. Sweetness! So many praises were issued up to God every moment that I was there!! There was nothing like rocking and sipping some GREAT Nicaraguan coffee!! Oh yeah!! Overall it was wonderful and hanging out with my fellow homies was an even greater blessing!
Sunday had us leaving the hostel at 10:30 am, taking a `shuttle` back to the border. Now when I say shuttle, I mean a pickup truck with bars to accommodate the seating of 8 people in the back, while 4 people can sit comfortably in the cab (yes, I was one of those sitting comfortably in the cab, hee hee). It didn`t phase my fellow classmates as I could hear singing and yelling in the back as to their delight in the unique trip to the border.
Once we reached the outskirts of the border we were dropped off by the driver, gathered our things and made our way by foot to and across the border, paying both to leave Nicaragua and to enter Costa Rica. By noon, we were retrieved by two YWAM staff, within the YWAM van, on the Costa Rica side of the border and proceeded to make our way back to San Jose.
Only after more than an hour, we found ourselves stopped in a line up of traffic waiting to get through. We found out some time later that a bridge had collapsed and that we had to turn around and find an alternate route back to the base. Turns out that alternate route would take us around a volcano (Arenol) and instead of a 4-5 hour van ride (thank GOD that we travelled there and back in the YWAM van and NOT public transit), we were now looking at an 11 hour van ride due to the winding roads and very poor infrastructure that is common place in the entire country of Costa Rica.
I happened to be sitting in the very back of the van for the entire trip and was feeling the ill effects of it with each extreme bump. So, little sleep, too much fast food (which was seen as a better alternative in terms of cost) and being tossed by each subsequent bump had me completely out of sorts. So much so, that by the time we got back to base, which was after midnight on Sunday, now Monday, I was ready to die a quick death. LOL
I quickly showered and got to bed which was now closer to 1 am. I awoke the next morning earlier than I wanted and felt a clear indication of illness setting in due to lack of proper sleep and poor diet. But praise God because I received a lot of prayer from a lot of people on base and one of my roommates, also my daughter, and one of the guys from my class, also known as my son, told me to go straight to bed Monday night and to forget about work duty and just rest (I have been on dinner clean up duty since arriving at YWAM, a part of their program as a student in the school). So after resting, I awoke to a loud knock on our door and decided to get up and prepare for my Bible study group that was happening that night.
So that about covers my adventures over the past week and, now, a look to the adventures to come! We are slowly preparing for NIKO camp that is happening next week while taking in the final course topic of `Destiny by Design` presented by our New Zealander speaker, Daveed Wright, who now lives in Alajuela, Costa Rica with his Costa Rican wife and two children.
So, just as a warning, I will not have email access next week from September 19-23, 2011 as we will be trudging through the jungles of Cartago. I expect that we will make our way out to the camp area sometime Monday morning and then we are expected to return prior to dinner Friday night. We will be transported in two YWAM vans along with the leadership team guiding us during that time. The camp is, approximately, one hours drive from base. Please pray for safety in travel and for the strength of the LORD on our team as this will be a huge testing and trying time for all of us! Also, please pray for protection against sickness and injury as this place is in the middle of the jungle and will call us to do a lot of hiking and other physically demanding activities during our time there. I know that God will go with us and it is my hope that this experience and this time will bring us closer to God and closer as a team in preparation for our time of outreach that will begin shortly after our return from NIKO!
Volcano Arenal in its active days. It's located in the province of Alajuela.
Also, if you are interested, you can check out a bit of the reviews on the hostel we stayed at while in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. Here is the URL: http://www.travbuddy.com/Pacha-Mama-v436430
Saturday, September 3, 2011
Who knew that I could be so intensely ignited for evangelism!!! This week’s topic was Evangelism and the practical applications of it. Not only were the teachings valuable for me in learning how to effectively evangelise to others without actually preaching to them, but we had the opportunity to go out of the classroom and put what we learned into practice! Let me just say that the Holy Spirit was moving swiftly and mightily through me during that time! Woah!!!
Our first practical application came in the form of Bible distribution to a poor area of San Jose on Tuesday morning. Before setting out, we prepared our hearts, minds and spirits for any opportunities that we would have to speak to people about God. Then we were divided into several small groups, given 5 New Testament Bibles and, once we arrived at our destination, were told to go door to door to speak to people about the Bible and its message. My group, four of us, didn’t have to go far before coming across a couple women who were doing some chores outside. We asked if we could talk to them about the Bible, and after they agreed, they welcomed us into their home.
We set foot into a small house built on the side of a hill, showing bare concrete walls and obviously worn furniture. It was almost immediate that the Holy Spirit started to speak to me, telling me to talk to the women about being mothers, based on my own life as a mother. Then God began filling me with words to speak to the women as to how God saw them. That He saw them as pearls, unblemished and beautiful. Strong women who with great responsibility of raising their families, were valuable to God and loved by God. Turns out these same women, married with children, were Christians and one of the husbands soon appeared and began engaging us in conversation. He told us of the blessings and miracles of God in their lives and in the lives of their extended families who all lived in close proximity of each other. It was incredible to hear the stories and how, even through their obvious poverty, they still saw the goodness and glory of God in their lives.
The husband, whose name I have forgotten, soon told us that he was learning English and trying to learn Chinese and even had a Chinese Bible! Wow!!! Spanish is difficult enough to learn never mind learning Chinese! I was in awe of that and admired him greatly for wanting to learn all of that! Woah!!
God had also given me a piece of Scripture to bless each person we came in contact with that morning. It came from Numbers 6:24-26 and so before leaving their home, we laid hands on them, prayed for them and their families and I prayed the piece of Scripture over them in Spanish. :D I figured I needed as much practice as possible before outreach! Hee hee
After leaving their home, we came across a man with his son whose wife appeared shortly after we started speaking to the man. He already had a Bible but welcomed our prayers over him and his family. I again prayed the Scriptural blessing over him and his family and we left to visit other houses before having to head back to base. Our final house opened to a young woman who brought her son to the door to greet us. His name was Brando. We only had a couple moments to speak to her but we prayed for her, I read my blessing over her and gave her one of our Bibles.
I couldn’t believe how on fire and excited I was to talk to people about having a relationship with God! More so, I couldn’t believe how fast our time went! I could have stayed out there all day! How incredible it felt to have the Holy Spirit move in me that way! Amazing!! Unbelievable! Mind blowing!! It’s funny but people in my DTS class think I’m anointed by the Holy Spirit to speak to people and to evangelise to them. Isn’t that crazy? But in a way I think I might be because of the fire I get burning inside of me to share the truth and beauty of God to others! I just want to rescue the lost and give them hope!!
Well, hold on because that’s not the end of things for this week!!! We had another opportunity on Thursday morning to go out again and hand out Bibles. This time our destination was only a short walk from the YWAM base and brought us to a more affluent neighbourhood. Many of the people we talked to knew about YWAM because they attended a church that several of the YWAM staff attended. In spite of that, we had many incredible conversations and, again, I was filled with the fire of the Holy Spirit, only more intensely this time than on Tuesday!!! So much so that God was guiding me through the Spirit as to the people He had arranged ahead of time for us to meet with and talk to.
Our first divine appointment was with an elderly woman who was sitting outside in front of her house. Now, just to give you all an idea of what life is like here in Costa Rica, every house you will see is, essentially, a fortress. Surrounded by high concrete walls with bars on every window and either razor wire, barbed wire or metal spears at the top of these walls to keep away thieves. So when we came across this woman, she was well within her fortress. So, as our small group leader, Jose, spoke to this woman, God started speaking to me to pray for her but not just any prayer, a prayer of healing. She had come to us limping and she appeared to be in pain, great pain. God was telling me to lay my hand on her and pray for healing so I quickly asked her if we could pray for her and I just started speaking the words that God was telling me to speak with power, boldness and conviction, in the name of Jesus, and with it came the internal fire of the Holy Spirit!!! WHOO WEE!!! Powerful!!!! Totally and completely powerful and when I opened my eyes, I looked at the woman as she wiped away tears and looked directly into my eyes while thanking me at the same time. Words can’t describe how much love I felt for that woman, the same love that God was flooding me with from His heart for this same woman. How precious she was to God! I saw her as God saw her. Wow.
Our next divine appointment was with a woman who was working in a home doing, what I guessed to be, house cleaning or maybe even helping to run a business out of the home with a couple other women. Shyly she approached us and we began talking to her about the Bible and that, as students, we were learning about the Bible and going out to talk to people about this great book and its mighty author. We asked her if she had a Bible and she didn’t seem interested to take it at first, hesitated, then accepted the gift from us. All of a sudden, I felt God speak to me again and He said, “This woman has no hope. Tell her that there is hope in me.” This woman that we were talking to was broken and no longer had hope.
Even though I didn’t know why she had no hope, I obeyed God and began talking to her about my experiences with the Bible and how every time I read it, it blessed me and it gave me hope and joy. Her lips began to quiver as tears began to roll down her face. As God continued to speak to me, I spoke the same words to the woman, telling her the heart of God for her. Telling her that God wanted her to have hope, that He loved her and that He saw her as beautiful. Her tears kept flowing as I kept speaking the words that God was giving me for her. After finishing God’s words I asked if I could pray for her and as she accepted, I closed my eyes and prayed for her as we all laid hands on her. Shortly after we left her presence, God opened my heart to show me the woman’s heart and I broke down, crying and all I could say was that God had shown me her heart and that she was so very broken.
Before reaching this woman’s house, we had passed by an older man who was manning a wheelbarrow filled with large branches of a bamboo tree he had just cut down. At first I didn’t think much of the man when we passed him on the road but then after we finished with the woman, God kept telling me to go to that man, to talk to him, that he had an extraordinary story. So even as we walked away from the man, God wouldn’t let go of what He wanted me to do and I told my team that we needed to go and talk to that man. By that time, half a block now separated us and the man and we had to walk swiftly to catch up to him as he disappeared around a corner. As my steps hurried, God said to my heart, “Don’t worry, he’s waiting for you.” And as we rounded the corner, there he was, stopped with his wheelbarrow.
The story of the man was nothing short of incredible and he began to tell us of the wonderful story of how God rescued him from a life of alcoholism that spanned decades. How through this experience, he was ministering to others while attending AA meetings each week as well as ministering to people in the neighbourhood he had been in all his life. God told me to speak words of blessing on him and I told him that his story would bless others and that he was a blessing to so many people. Again, our time ended in prayer and I spoke the words given to me from Numbers and we parted ways as we shook hands with him, gave him one of the Bibles and wished him well, just like we had been friends with him for years! Incredible!
Another divine appointment brought us to a small business owner, who while open to accepting one of our Bibles, refused prayer. As we walked away from her shop, God spoke to me, telling me to stop, turn around and begin praying for her. That I was to pray for a seed to be firmly and deeply planted into the soil, that the words of the Bible we gave her would come alive as she read them. O, amen!
Our next divine appointment brought us to the home of an older gentleman who lived with his wife and children. He said that he had a Bible and that he read it every day but that it was difficult to read the Bible and spend time with God each day. It was evident that the worries of the world and daily life had taken a toll on him and that he saw more bad than good around him. Immediately, God spoke to my heart telling me to refute what the man was saying and to do it gently and in love. So I began talking to him about how important it was to have a personal relationship with God and to spend time with him every day. That my life had been greatly blessed by the words in the Bible and that because of that book, I had hope and joy and with that hope and joy came the strength to get through any of life’s difficulties that came along.
He then went on to make note of my youth in comparison to his elder age and that it would be easier to have hope at my age. But I again refuted him by telling him that it wasn’t the age that was the issue, it was knowing that because of his relationship with God, that he had the hope of eternal life after this temporary life on earth was over. God was just filling me with words of encouragement for this man, who had come to a point in his life where he saw too much injustice in his own nation to be encouraged or to have hope as he should. Our time ended with him in prayer as I prayed hope and encouragement into his life and the life of his family as well as praying for the hope of the entire nation of Costa Rica, for I knew God’s heart for the nation and it was something I shared openly with the man.
Our final divine appointment brought us to the home of a Christian woman whose name was Carmen. Her son was at home with her and at seeing us, welcomed us openly into her home. She invited us to come with her as she told us stories of the many ways in which God had been and still is blessing her life and the lives of her immediate family. How God had provided a new home for her sister and her and another home directly beside hers, for her nephew and his small children. She just kept telling us the same blessed story over and over again and when it came time for us to leave, she gratefully accepted our prayers for her.
Another incredible evangelism opportunity and another day when I could have stayed out all day!! So amazing our God is when we surrender all and leave Him to use us as He sees fit, not as we think we should be used. When you come before Him with the right mind and the right attitude, being totally willing to do His will alone, mind blowing things start to happen. It happened to me these two days and keeps happening to me each day as I get through each struggle and each test that God brings me to and through. I have to admit that this past week’s struggles were some of the greatest I’ve experienced since coming to YWAM. So great that I was ready to go online and change my ticket to fly back to Canada THIS WEEKEND!!! But after seeking God’s counsel as to what to do, His answer, albeit difficult to swallow, was the answer I submitted to and I continued to seek Him in His word as He guided me to several places in Jeremiah 15 and 16 that helped me to understand what was happening and what God was doing in me through, yet, more struggles.
How can I possibly refute all that He tells me when I know that here, at YWAM San Jose, is God’s perfect will for me even though it’s often a hurricane??? Yes, that mighty hurricane that wrenches me to and fro but sends my roots even deeper into God. I surrender all. I submit to the storm and see it through knowing that this is not the last of the storms that lie ahead for me during my time here but knowing full well because of my steadfastness in holding on to God, He’ll bring me through each one successfully and build an even stronger faith within me.
As a side note, do you remember in one of my previous posts I mentioned that I believed I was coming into a knowledge of God’s plan for my life out of YWAM and that it involved me being a powerful woman of prayer?? Well, I’ve received confirmation of that power, time and again as the very prayers I’ve been raising up to God, are being answered for those of whom I have been praying for those same people have been telling of the answers!! If all that isn’t confirmation of God’s purpose for me, I really don’t know what is! :D Gloria DIOS!!!!!