Six weeks have raced by at break-neck speed! If I were a police officer, I would have issued Time a speeding ticket for going waayy too fast! This marks the end of the first half of the lecture phase. Which means in the middle May everyone in the Around the World DTS will be leaving New Zealand for their routes around the world. There is a new familiarity that is settling in, as each of us find our place and life rhythms here. I am finding a passion that burns in my heart as I learn more about our glorious God. The more I learn and experience? The MORE I want to learn about Him! I count myself tremendously blessed to be here. Each week we have a different speaker lecturing on preselected topics—the last two weeks were: ‘Intimacy and the Life of Christ’ and ‘Biblical Immersion’. We have time alloted for devotions, prayer, worship, work duties, and meals—ALL the things we do are centered around God. This journey is an exciting one, and I am DELIGHTED that you are coming along and to share this with you all! Your prayers, wisdom, support, and encouragement are so important to me. Big Praise to God! I found out recently that enough support was raised for outreach fees!! Which means I get to go on Outreach to Southeast Asia!!
I was listening to a song singing about Eve (the first, who ate the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the garden). Eve gets a lot of blame—and we all think, “if only she hadn’t eaten the fruit!?! God gave them ONE rule and they blew it!” There were repercussions from their sin. Ripples… The song goes on to say that if the artist was there? She also would have eaten the fruit. In my imagination I see the fruit on the tree as being incredibly tempting: Plump. Sweet smelling. Soft and juicy—perhaps like a peach? Whenever I read the Bible I used to be quick to think I wouldn’t do the silly or dumb or stupid things they did. I would know better. Lately? I’m not so quick to put myself beyond those situations. I do dumb things all the time! And know my own tendency towards rebellion. I’m sure that I would have been eating the fruit with Eve. And I am learning to really look at my heart. In humility, and when I am honest? I love better. In thinking about ripples, I am also thinking about the way we touch future generations. The responsibility to inspire life or negativity is up to you. We all have influence and point people in different directions.
Think about ripples. Yes, ripples. When you throw a rock into pond, ripples flow out from the place of impact in concentric circles lessoning in strength the further they go out. Indulge me a moment more? Think about the ripples we make as we walk through our lives. The short girl with spikey blonde hair, do you smile at as you pay for your daily coffee? Do you wave at the man with glasses and long hair accidently cut off on the road as you try, despite congested traffic, to get to work on time? Or the hug you gave your child before you shut off the light and tucked them in at bedtime. Was it tender or hurried? The things you do have an impact. The way the barista makes the next cup of coffee. Long hair guy’s driving. The type of dreams your child has while they sleep. What if you were intentional with these seemingly minor interactions? Ultimately you get to decide what kind of impact you make. What if they were ripples that echoed God’s love for you?
The speakers we had the last two weeks were Dalton Lifsey and Angelina van Driel, both were phenomenal. Dalton is the Associate Director of the Tauranga House of Prayer (THOP) in Tauranga New Zealand. His words to us in lecture were almost PURELY scripture. God used Dalton to inspire in me to a deeper hunger in my heart to read and KNOW God’s Word. I just didn’t know how to do that exactly *embarrassing* AND then in what I can describe only as God’s perfect timing, Angelina came. Her lecture topic was Bible Immersion. We were presented with tools to begin digging deeper and discovering more in the Bible with excitement and enthusiasm! If you are curious you can check out THOP’s website at (http://www.thop.co.nz/). There are a lot of exciting things happening at that House of Prayer!
On Base we have intercession prayer twice a week with changing prayer topics. On Thursday we prayed for human trafficking and those fighting to end this injustice prevalent ALL over the world. There is a group of young men and women we lifted up specifically in prayer, began a project which resulted in a book entitled Sex and Money. This blurb is from their website along with a movie trailor(http://www.sexandmoneyfilm.com/): “In 2007, a group of student photojournalists embarked on a journey through 20+ nations on every inhabitable continent, motivated by their love for photography and their passion for justice. At the outset, their experiences seemed diverse, even random. However, a common thread of human suffering would soon emerge as their travels exposed them to a dark, seldom discussed side of humanity– children being bought and sold to satisfy the sexual pleasures of other humans.”
We were praying for the entire situation—The oppression. The slavery. The injustice. The hopelessness that these little boys and girls are experiencing. The deep roots of this issue: greed, lust, poverty. I’ve shared this already, but while we are in Southeast Asia, our team will be working with victims of human trafficking and prostitutes. We are preparing to go by compiling testimonies, bible studies, sermons, and dramas. Most important though, is the prayer. I am SO appreciate of your prayers regarding this situation, these women, our team, and travels.
Back to preparation, one of the dramas we were learning is one that I had never seen before. Entitled ‘Everything Drama’ check it out if you haven’t seen it—mini warning: I did cry when I saw it. (http://www.youtube.com and type in “everything drama”). This was powerful to watch, and HILARIOUS as each of our groups learned various parts. Team Southeast Asia only has 6 people, and one guy. We thought it would be best if our guy played Jesus. So I get to be two parts: the boyfriend, and the beauty. Not sure how confusing that will be for the audience, as I am two different genders but we are optimistic! (For those of you who go way back with me, remember my debut as ‘the mail boy’ in Oliver Twist!) We accidentally gave our girl a bloody nose on our first go through, so we are working on being a little less aggressive when we fight with the Jesus in our play.
In closing I have to tell you how exhilarating it is to know that I am exactly where God wants me to be. There are difficult aspects of this journey as I am stretched, challenged, grow, learn. AND it is ALL worthwhile. In our community here, I look around and see the body of Christ, we are learning so much together and from one another. We encourage, comfort, and challenge one another. We are walking together. On Tuesday, after evening worship I was journaling and drawing (yes I AM drawing again!) something very special happened. I have been praying about learning my identity as God’s child (John 1:12). Not just reading it, but heart knowledge of who I am in Christ. God revealed to me that my desire to make art and love to create was never meant to become my identity. An ‘artist’ is not who I am. YES it is absolutely a blessing from God BUT my identity comes from who I am in Him—His Daughter. When art is not my identity? My self-worth isn’t challenged whenever I make something wondering about other people’s approval or *gulp* disapproval. God is walking me through healing and freedom with this revelation. I am reflecting on what it looks like to make art for an audience of one, for God, as His daughter.
How you can pray?
Southeast Asian Team (Nelson, Anna, Noelle, Rachel, Sara, and myself): Preparation of the hearts for loving the men and women we will be ministering to with love BIGGER than our own—with God’s love, and asking God to use us in mighty ways. Health. Unity of our group.
Favor with contacts along our journey, open doors, and openness in the hearts of the people we meet.
Focus on God, pursuing Him, and heart revelation of His love and my identity as a child of God– that I may share it with others.