Thursday, June 30, 2011


I was at a loss for what to write about today, so I asked Brooke what was the first thing that came to her mind when I mentioned the number 10 and she said 10 fingers and 10 toes. Immediately the ideas began to flow.  Thanks, Brookie!

When our Creator designed our bodies as He did, I think what He had in mind was for all 10 of those fingers to be lifted in praise to Him and to be extended in service to others, and for all 10 of those toes to dance in praise to Him and travel wherever He calls us to go and tell the Good News.

I pray that the fingers of the Mozambique team will tickle children, feed the hungry, write testimonies, count blessings, touch the sad, carry someone's burden, heal the sick, and wrap around the hand of the lonely.

I pray their toes will experience the soothing warmth of the sand, leave prints for others to follow, and be shod with the Gospel of peace every step they take.

I pray that during the next 10 days they will stand on their tippy toes, reaching up their fingers to Papa God and allow Him to pick them up and carry them in His strong arms, where every need is provided for and every burden is lifted.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


The number 11 makes me think of the "Hall of Faith" found in Hebrews chapter 11.
Just as Abel offered a better sacrifice, each member of the Mozambique team has had to sacrifice something in order to go on this, time, summer fun, selfish desires, etc. Just as God was pleased with Abel's offering, He is pleased with your offering of yourselves to Love The ONE and love the one.  He will honor your sacrifices. 

Just as Enoch truly pleased God, each of you truly please God, simply because you are His sons and daughters.  There is nothing you can do to earn more of His love and nothing you will do to lose His love.  Rest in that and allow Him to take you to Heaven in your spirit, just as Enoch was taken to Heaven in the natural.  He has amazing things to show you!  

Just as Noah listened to and obeyed God, listen to and obey God.  One of our pastor's favorite phrases is "hear, trust, obey". He really is speaking.  Are you really listening?  Even if what He tells you doesn't seem to make sense as I'm sure it didn't to Noah, who had never seen rain before?  Do you trust Him enough to obey Him?  You listened when He called you to go on this trip.  You trusted.  You are obeying.  Continue to do so every single moment and He will accomplish much through you!

Just as Abraham believed God's promises, you can too. What promises are you believing Him for during this trip? Stand on them!  Act upon them!  Receive them!

Just as Isaac blessed Jacob, God wants to use you to bless the one in Mozambique.  Ask Him to show you what sort of blessing you can speak over someone.  Your words have power!

Just as Moses saw God face to face and was called God’s friend, His desire is to be intimate with you - face to face.  He is your friend who will never leave or forsake you. Spend time with Him until your face glows with His glory and people are drawn to His light shining from you.

Just as Joshua obeyed and the walls came down, your obedience will cause walls to come down!  The spirit of darkness doesn't stand a chance!  The wall of sickness will come down!  The wall of death will come down!  The wall of depression and hopelessness will come down!  The wall of loneliness will come down!  The wall of poverty will come down!  Be ready to make walls fall regardless of how ridiculous the method He chooses for you may seem!  

Just as Rahab was an unlikely person to be used by God and receive His blessings, you may be wondering how in the world God can use you on this trip.  God doesn't look at your outward appearance and think you're too young, too old, too weak, too sinful, etc...He looks at your heart...He looks at the blood of His Son which covers you and all He sees is righteousness...all He sees is someone who is willing to be used in any way He chooses to use you to love the one. 

Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, and David were all warriors for God’s people.  Each one sought God and God gave each one the victory.  You too can do all things because Jesus strengthens you!  Seek Him, see yourself as His warrior.  He will give you the victory!

Samuel heard from the Lord and delivered His messages. You too can hear His voice. He has called you to deliver His message of love.  Sometimes this will look like a word He gives you to deliver and sometimes it will look like giving someone a hug.  Sometimes it will look like feeding the hungry and sometimes it will look like praying for healing.  I pray each one of you has ears to hear His voice.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1
Lord, open up their eyes to the things unseen, which is the greater reality. Show them how to bring this greater reality to earth...Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as in Heaven.
And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. Hebrews 11:6
Thank You, God for rewarding those who seek You. Each of these team members has sought You.  Each one believes that You are...You ARE the Great I AM.  You ARE the answer to every question, the solution to every problem, the All in All.  
To You be all glory for everything You will accomplish on this trip.  Bless You, Lord!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


12 is a number repeated several times in scripture, so we should pay attention and see what it is God wants to reveal about Himself through it.
In the Old Testament God gave Jacob/Israel 12 sons who became the 12 tribes and were called children of God.  In the New Testament Jesus chose 12 disciples to follow Him.  They established the first church and were called children of God. 
The OT describes the priestly garments as having 12 gemstones representing the 12 tribes.
The NT describes the New Jerusalem as having  a great, high wall with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and the names of the Twelve Tribes of the Children of Israel written on them.
It goes on to describe the foundations with the names of the 12 apostles on them.
The number 12 is also mentioned elsewhere in scripture, such as the 12 year old girl (young woman) who Jesus raised from the dead (Mark 5:42), just as He will raise His church from the dead as described in Revelation chapter 12 (coincidence?  I think not!), where a woman is described who is holding 12 stars.  
In Matthew 26, Jesus mentions 12 legions of angels He could call upon to do battle for Him.  Again I ask, coincidence?  Nope!  Who is it He has called upon to put on our armor and do battle against the spirits of darkness?  It's us!  His church!
Mark 5:25 tells one of my favorite stories, the one about the woman with the issue of blood.  How long had she suffered with this condition?  12 years.  She touched Jesus' garment, which represents the garments of righteousness He puts on us.  Her blood was made right by Him and we are made right by His blood.  Wow!
I think it's a pretty safe assumption to say that in scripture the number 12 represents the church.

Now, are you ready for THIS???  I copied this from a We Will Go newsletter regarding those going on the Mozambique trip:
"We are taking 12 on this team = Lancaster family (5), John and Marci Ferguson, Drew Crenshaw, Jennifer Cofer, Ed and Kay Darnell, Brooke Perry."  Can you believe it???

He has called His church to BE the church and do what He commanded the church to do:   They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.  Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.  All the believers were together and had everything in common.  Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.  Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,  praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47)

I pray for these 12 team members to devote themselves to godly teaching, to fellowship together by eating together and praying together.  I pray they will do many signs and wonders.  I pray for unity among them.  I pray they will be sensitive to ways they can share what they have with one another and anyone who has a need.  I pray they will gather with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of the people.  And I do pray that the Lord will add to their number daily those who are being saved.

Thank You, Lord for revealing hidden things to us when we have hearts attentive to Your voice.  Thank You that there is nothing insignificant in Your Word. Thank You for revelation.  I pray that each of these 12 team members would discover new revelation as they prepare for this trip over the next 12 days and that they would go deeper and deeper in Your presence.  Show each one how to Love The ONE and love the one.

Monday, June 27, 2011


This number often gets a bad rap, but it always reminds me of "the Love chapter", 1 Corinthians 13.  Given the title and purpose of this blog, it seems like the perfect scripture to meditate on today.  It's one of those chapters most of us have read or heard quoted so often that sometimes we sort of gloss over it as being so familiar there's no need to meditate on it.  When I find myself going there, I like to read it in a different translation than what I might ordinarily choose.  Here is how it reads in The Message paraphrase:

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.  If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing.  If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.  Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. Love doesn't strut, Doesn't have a swelled head,  Doesn't force itself on others, Isn't always "me first," Doesn't fly off the handle, Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,  Doesn't revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,  Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.  Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit.  We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete.  But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled. When I was an infant at my mother's breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good. We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!  But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

I SOOOO love the way this is worded!!  I pray this scripture over each member of the Mozambique team and over each one reading this blog (including its writer!)
I find myself thinking of the Steven Curtis Chapman song that says, "It's all about love, love, love, love, love...everything else comes down to this, nothing any higher on the list than love, 'cause after all it's all about love...".  

Seems so simple, doesn't it?  One of the most "profound" things I heard Heidi Baker say at VOA last year was also the simplest message I've ever heard.  She was describing a speaking engagement she was invited to where there were great theologians present and she felt very much out of her element.  She said as she awaited her turn at the mic, she fervently prayed that God would give her something, ANYTHING to share with these very studious and religious-minded people.  When she took her place at the podium, all she did was place her hand on her head and state, "Too big.", then she placed her hand on her heart and said, "Too small.".  

Does God want us to "check our brains at the door"?  Of course not, but He tells us to set our minds on things above (Col. 3:2) and to think about whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8).  When our minds are set where they should be set and our heart buckets are turned up to His heart, His love pours in, so we can pour it out on others.  

As 1 Cor. 13 says, we can speak, give, and serve, which are all good things, but if those things aren't done in love, we have somehow allowed our minds to become bigger than our hearts.  When we speak, give, and serve out of love, it's going to have a much bigger impact in the Kingdom.  My prayer for each of us is this:  that we would all  Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

14... in 2 weeks!  

Putting on Love
With next week being 4th of July weekend, we won't have regular church services, but will have a church family picnic instead and the Sunday after that is when they leave for Mozambique, so today we commissioned Ed, Kay, and Brooke for their trip.  It was an emotional, powerful, wonderful day!

The message was based on some of Heidi Baker's teaching from VOA.  It was all about loving The One and loving the one.  It was a wonderful reminder that we can only truly love others when our heart is overflowing with God's love.  
In true "Nest style", we had a skit to illustrate this truth.  First a little girl's kitty was stuck up in a tree.  Along came Super Girl to the rescue, but for some reason she wasn't able to use her powers, so she went along to the next citizen - a little old lady who had a tree fall on her leg.  Once again Super Girl's strength failed her and she was unable to help.  Finally, she came to a lady (played by yours truly!) who had been tied to a railroad track, but she was unable to "hey-elp" her either.  Disheartened, Super Girl goes through her "super hero checklist" to see what she's forgotten, only to discover that she had forgotten to "put on" her super hero cape.  She puts it on, then proceeds to rescue the little girl's kitty, lift the tree from the the little old lady, and free the other lady from the train track just in the nick of time!  The point was to give a visual for Col. 3:14, which says above all else, put on love.  Love is the source of the power.  God is the source of love.  In fact, He IS love!

As we moved into a time of prayer for Ed, Kay, and Brooke, we surprised them by playing video messages/blessings/prayers from Ed and Kay's daughters and son-inlaw, and Brooke's cousin Jill.

Several of The Nest kids got pictures and words from the Lord, which they wrote down or drew and gave to them and we took turns speaking prayers and blessings over them as the Spirit led, anointing them with the power of the Holy Spirit to go and tell all about Him in Franklin, in Tennessee, in Mozambique, and all around the world!

God had a special surprise just for me today, which I'm not sure I can articulate, but I will attempt to.  You see, while those of us in the skit were waiting in the foyer for our cue to go on, a visiting family arrived, which was quite comical given the fact Venita was standing there in her Super Girl costume!  We introduced ourselves and realized that this is a family who recently moved here from Brandon, MS, where we lived for 4 years in the '90's and met David and Amy Lancaster.  They were introduced to Rachel Jones of The Nest through a mutual friend and we couldn't believe what a small world it is when we realized they had been members at Crossgates Baptist, which is where we went when we lived there and where God did such an amazing work in Eddy's and my lives. 

Well, as we prayed over Ed, Kay, and Brooke this morning, I was suddenly overwhelmed as I realized that this sweet family could have visited any number of other times, yet this particular Sunday was when they chose to.  You see, God reminded me that as an infant we dedicated Brooke to the Lord's service at Crossgates 17 years ago.  God knew then that this day would come, when we'd be commissioning her to go on this trip and He arranged it so that this family from that very same church would be there this morning!  Brooke and Jonathan Lancaster played together in the church nursery and God knew back then that in 2011 the two of them would be part of the same team going to Mozambique.  We moved to TN and in the 6th grade, Brooke was in Ed and Kay's Bible Drill class.  God knew back then that the three of them would be going on this trip together.  

As I reflected on all these moments...all these puzzle pieces...I stood amazed in the presence of my great big God who established these events long ago.  What He establishes is firm, unshakable, and true.  Although it's hard as a momma to let my girl go across the world with little to no communication, I can rest in The One Who had this planned long, long ago.  His plans are good because He is good.  And for that reason, I can trust Him.

14th book of the OT: 2 Chronicles
Chapter 1, verse 4:  Now David had brought up the ark of God from Kiriath Jearim to the place he had prepared for it, because he had pitched a tent for it in Jerusalem.
The Ark was where God's presence rested. David prepared a place for the ark. He prepared a place for God's presence.  I pray that each member of the team prepares a resting place in their hearts for God's presence and that Hid presence goes with them to Mozambique and that they return with hearts even more full of His presence than when they left.

14th book of NT: 2 Thessalonians
Chapter 1, verse 4: Therefore, among God's churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.
While we certainly don't like thinking about it, the enemy will try to trip us up with persecutions and trials, but I pray that each team member will persevere and keep the faith as those times come.  I pray that they will each remember that LOVE WINS!

Saturday, June 25, 2011


 Then the family heads of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and Levites--everyone whose heart God had moved--prepared to go up and build the house of the LORD in Jerusalem. Ezra 1:5
That's the 15th book of the Old Testament, chapter 1 verse 5.
Lord, I thank you for moving the heart of each one going on this trip. I pray that you will continue moving their hearts closer and closer to your heart. I pray that you will give them your heart for the precious people you will place in their path.
The 15th book of the New Testament is 1 Timothy.
The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 1 Timothy 1:5
What command? Paul tells Timothy in verses 3 and 4: As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God's work--which is by faith. 
I pray that each member of this team will be able to do this in love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

Lord, move their hearts to truly love The One and love the one.

Friday, June 24, 2011


While we were in Jackson last week, the Lancaster's sent us home with some stuff they have collected for the missionaries at Iris.  Amy asked what they needed/wanted from the states and did her best to provide it. Team members will evenly distribute everything among their suitcases to ensure it all gets there.  Everything was in boxes, which we packed into our van and then Ed's truck.  Last night Ed and Kay went through the boxes to see what was in them and get an idea for how to fit everything into their and Brooke's suitcases, yet still keep under the weight limit.  Goodness!  Either they will need to get really creative or God will have to shrink the items!  ;)
There's everything from homeschool books to kitchen knives in those boxes.  How fun will it be for the missionaries to receive these precious items most of us take for granted?  
Please pray that all these things will somehow fit into their suitcases and that Brooke, Ed, and Kay will recognize what's really important to take of their own stuff and what's ok to leave behind.  Pray for no stress or anxiety over how and what to pack.  Pray that the next 16 days will be focused on being filled with the Holy Spirit, so that they overflow with His presence to all with whom they come into contact.

Yesterday was so much fun looking up scriptures around the # 17.  Let's see what God wants to show me today involving the # 16...
The 16th book of the Old Testament is Nehemiah.  I looked up chapter 1, verse 6.
Let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father's house, have committed against you.
Yes, Lord, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear our prayers for the We Will Go team going to Mozambique.  Thank you that when we confess our sins, you are faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from unrighteousness.  You are so good to us, Lord!
Now for the New Testament...
2 Timothy 1:6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
Ooh, how I love this word picture!  This verse begins with "for this reason..."  What reason? Verse 5 tells us that Paul is reminded of Timothy's sincere faith which he received through the example set by his mother and grandmother.  Lord, I thank you for the sincere faith of each member of this team.  I ask you to fan into flame the gift of your presence and the spiritual gifts you have bestowed on each one. The rest of this passage is one of my favorites:  
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.  So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God,  who has saved us and called us to a holy life--not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,  but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.  And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher.
Lord, remind each member of this team that you have not given them a spirit of timidity.  You have given each one a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline.  I pray each one will not be ashamed to testify about you, Lord!  Thank you for saving each one and calling them to a holy life.  Thank you for your grace!  Jesus, you have destroyed death and have brought life! You have now appointed these team members as heralds and apostles and teachers.  Equip each one to do exactly what you have called them to do and to Love the One and love the one.  Bless you, Lord!

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Just checked my calendar and realized there are only 17 days left until Brooke leaves for Mozambique!  Goodness!  I thought about waiting a week until there were only 10, so the countdown would be more "proper", but no one's ever accused me of being proper, so there ya go!
It did strike me that Brooke was born on the 17th day of February and she is 17 years old, so 17 it is!
She has been busily preparing for months now, so thankfully there aren't a lot of details left to do...just preparing her heart and body for all that God will do in and through her.

Something I like to do as far as numbers go is to look up scriptures related to dates or in this case a I went to the 17th book of the Old Testament - Esther.  Since Brooke's birthday is 2/17, I went to chapter 2, verse 17.  Here is what it says:
 Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.
Brooke has found favor with The King.  He has set a crown of authority on her head to go to Mozambique and minister in His Name.
But wait, there's more!
The 17th book of the New Testament is Titus.  There is no chapter 2 verse 17, so I used the digits that make up the number 17, 1 and 7 and looked up chapter 1 verse 7.  Here's what it says:
Since an overseer is entrusted with God's work, he must be blameless... Titus 1:7
Both of these scriptures are about authority.  Esther found favor with the king and he placed a crown on her head.  The overseer is entrusted with God's work. I believe God is entrusting Brooke with something far greater than she can imagine, just like Esther never dreamed in a million years that she would become queen and ultimately save her people. 

Please pray for Brooke to walk in the authority God has crowned her with as His daughter.  Because He first loved her, she can love The One and love the one.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Forever Changed

Thursday we worked hard, cried some, and laughed & loved lots!

We began the day in the worship pavilion where Amy L. shared with us some stories of their missionary journeys.  WOW!  We then worshiped together by proclaiming Psalm 91 over the city of Jackson as well as singing Chris Tomlin's song, God of this City.

Afterward we got busy in the soaring heat, doing yard work and picking up trash around both bases.
The first day Amy L. had told us she had one rule and that was "Do not state the obvious", such as "I'm hungry!" or "It's hot!" or "My feet hurt!".  I was so impressed with our hard-working Nest kids.  They all worked like busy bees without a word of complaint or whining!  Really!  After all that hard work, we returned to Peace House sweaty and stinky but happy and ate lunch while some of the We Will Go kids shared with us what life was like for them living and serving there.  What amazing young men and women!  We also prayed over the Mozambique team, then the We Will Go kids prayed over The Nest kids.  Such a powerful time of prayer!

Once our tummies and spirits were full and we had cooled off, we headed to Faith House to form an assembly line and pack snack bags to hand out to those who need them.  Every bag contains easy-to-open snacks and either biblical literature or hand-written scriptures, so the recipients are nourished both physically and spiritually.  Many hands make light work, so soon we were off to Love House, where we organized the food pantry and made up several bags full of canned goods and other non-perishables.  These are handed out by appointment only, which Marci handles.  Since her husband John was out of town and she has three little ones to take care of, we blessed her by cleaning her house for her.  Yes, even the KIDS cleaned house!  And they did a good job too!

One of the things I have loved about our time at We Will Go is that there is a constant state of prayer.  We prayed as we worked,  we stopped and prayed for people as we came across them, we prayed in-between work and projects.  We Will Go is TRULY about people and prayer more than projects.

It was with full hearts that we said goodbye to our friends in Jackson.

We had soaked up so much of God's presence while there and had learned so much about living what we say we believe and God had our first assignment waiting for us at the restaurant that evening for supper.  Our waitress was named Terry and as it turns out, she also was the one who served us breakfast at the hotel where we stayed.  She works three jobs, yet constantly has a smile on her face and a kind word on her lips.  As she served us, Ed noticed that she had a brace on one arm and asked her about it.  She said she thought it was probably carpal tunnel and it acts up from time to time.  Ed asked if we could pray for her healing and she agreed.  After he prayed, she thanked us sweetly, then went back to work.  A few minutes later, she passed our table again and we asked if she had noticed any difference in her wrist.  She smiled and started moving her wrist around in a circle and said she hadn't been able to do that before.  She assured us she wasn't just saying that to make us feel good either!  She actually felt the healing!  Praise God!  Glory to His Name!

As we left the restaurant rejoicing, we looked up at the sky and it was as if the heavens were rejoicing too.  There was a glorious cumulus cloud with the sun radiating through it.  Stunning!

Thank You, Lord for this wonderful opportunity to be doers of the Word and not hearers only.  May we never pass up an opportunity to practically love The One and love the one.

Jesus truly is worth it all!

Thursday, June 16, 2011


I love words.  I enjoy doing word studies when reading the Bible and find it hard to believe that not everyone does.  I remember doing a Beth Moore Bible study one time and a friend asked which one I was doing.  When I told her,  she said she didn't like it very much because there were too many word studies in it!  I just stared at her with a does-not-compute look in my eye...!  Of course, I'm only kidding. I realize we are all wired differently and have different learning styles, personalities, etc. and that's what makes life so interesting.  But I am one of the ones who loves reading poetry, in song lyrics, in a good novel, in a biography... I love writing words as my thoughts pour out in my journal and occasionally on a keyboard as I update my blogs.

However, this afternoon as I attempted to write my thoughts about all God has done today, words failed me.  I'm not sure I can find words to describe it here either, but I have yielded my hands to God, so we shall see what pours forth...

As a reminder, we are in Jackson, MS on a mission trip with our church, The Nest.  We are serving at We Will Go Ministries, which is run by our friends from long ago, David & Amy Lancaster.  We were blessed today to meet other missionaries who live on base there.

I know words will not do this justice, but I will attempt to walk you through our wonderful day with the Lord today.

We arrived at We Will Go at 9 a.m. where we met with David & Amy, and a few other folks who serve here.  Amy L. (I'll refer to her as this, since we at The Nest have Amy S.) shared with us the story of We Will Go...Oh my!  That story alone would take up the rest of this space, but the short version is that God called them into the mission field, which they assumed would take them to another country to live, but God had other plans and called them to love the drug addicts, prostitutes, homeless, and other "untouchables" in downtown Jackson, one of the most poverty- stricken places you could ever imagine.  God miraculously provided them with several small former crack houses, which now house them and the missionaries who serve with them, as well as teams coming for short-term service.  Oh, how I wish I could share all the details of their story here!  OK, moving on...

From there, Amy took us on a tour of base 1, which consists of Love House, Faith House, Peace House, and Hope House.  Love, Faith, Peace, THERE are some good words!  Now you need to understand that when I say "tour", I mean sooo much more than just showing us around.  I mean story after story of God's goodness, provision, faithfulness, and miracles.

Then we walked to the next block, where base 2 is located.  On the way, we ran into Miss Wanda.  When Amy L. asked her how she was doing, she shook her head dejectedly and started walking away, but Amy persisted and asked how her job was working out.  She said she'd lost her job, so we prayed for her right there in the street...we prayed for God to be the Lifter of her head and for her to see her true value in Him.  We prayed for Him to provide her with a job.  But mostly, we loved on her.  The further we walked, the more run-down the neighborhood seemed to get.  Amy L. took out some old photos of what base 1 used to look like and those photos looked much like what we were seeing as we got closer to base 2.  Run-down shacks that looked like they hadn't been lived in for years...broken out cans and broken bottles littering the yards...and then Amy L. pointed out that people actually lived in them.  People.  People who once were sweet little babies and innocent children.  People God Most High created in His image.  People who for whatever reason - many because it's all they've ever known - have turned to drugs, alcohol, prostitution, living in filth, depressed, hardened, with physical, emotional, and mental challenges.  People.  Heart-breaking to say the very least.

We stopped and chatted with a man named (I believe his name was Joseph), then moved past a house Amy L. pointed out as a drug house.  Here a car pulled up and a woman got out, went to the house, and cam back out to her car, where she sat with it running and loud music playing for at least 20 minutes.  On the side of her car was airbrushed the name "Icylicious".  Now I do not know for sure what she was doing in that car all that time, but I have a pretty good idea, so I prayed my heart out for her, unable to hold back the tears as Amy L. pointed her out and said she had children.  I wondered what had happened to her to cause her to believe she had no other choice but to turn to drugs and who knows what else...what lies from the enemy had she believed?  How could this cycle be broken before passing it down to another generation?  Oh, Jesus!  Only YOU, Lord!

We stopped at the corner and she shared with us that a little 9 year old girl had been run over and died at that corner awhile back.  That's when it struck me that here where senseless death had occurred, there was new life, for there across the street was a huge community garden.  Yes, I said GARDEN right in the middle of the 'hood!  And I'm not talking about a poor, pitiful barely surviving garden either, I'm talking about a HUGE, thriving, beautiful vegetable garden, where the neighbors can come harvest veggies to share.  For many of them, these are the only source of healthy food they will have access to.  The garden isn't the only source of new life here at this corner, for there across from the garden is the home that the Lancaster's now live in, called appropriately Restoration house.  Next to it is Victory house and Freedom house, which are used by missionaries.  We prayer- walked through each of these houses and my heart was especially tendered toward a young man named Stephen, who is the brother of one of the missionaries there.  Though raised in a Christian home, they believe he is not saved, so we prayed over his bedroom that he would have a life-changing encounter with The Living God before leaving We Will Go.  Life, Restoration, Victory, Freedom...Good words!

Behind these houses which make up base 2, there is a row of shacks, which were practically given to the ministry.  I'm telling you, these houses look like one puny wind could blow them right over, but Amy L. reminded us that the other houses they had re-built and re-named once looked like those too.  You see, they see the potential where others only see condemnation.  They see beauty for ashes.  They see what God sees and then bring it into being.  Oh, Lord, give me Your eyes and Your heart.  As we walked the ground in front of these houses, lyrics to John Waller's song, Our God Reigns Here kept coming to mind, so we began to sing it over the neighborhood...Spirit of death, you have no place here! I command you to leave In Jesus' name! Spirit of fear, you have no place here! I command you to leave In Jesus’ name! You’re not welcome here, so go!  Spirit of doubt, you have no place here! I command you to leave In Jesus' name! Envy and jealousy, you have no place here! I command you to leave In Jesus' name!  Go back from whence you came!  Our God reigns here! Our God reigns here! We claim this ground In Jesus' name, ‘Cause our God reigns! Our God reigns here! Our God reigns here! The battle’s won! Have no fear 'Cause God reigns here! Anger and rage, Guilt and shame, I command you to leave In Jesus' name! Depression, Anxiety Addiction, infirmity, I command you to leave In Jesus’ name! Go back from whence you came! God reigns here, there’s no doubt, He has overcome the world!

As we headed back to base 1, we stopped and visited with "Boss Man", a big, jovial man who once hated white people until Amy L. and We Will Go loved him into the Kingdom.  Praise God!  While visiting with him, a car pulled up to the side of the road and we met a man named Keevan, who was from another town and was here to visit his children.  Melissa (a 17 year old girl who went to Peru with We Will Go and is here for a week) and Brooke (my 17 year old) witnessed to and prayed with this man.

We then went back to base 1 for lunch.  During lunch, Marci (We Will Go missionary) shared her family's amazing God story with us.  We spent some time praying for the extended families of the missionaries who live here, because they don't understand why their families would choose to raise their grandchildren in such a "God-forsaken place".  It was a beautiful time of agreeing together for their eyes to be open to Kingdom realities.

Next most of us went and sorted clothes in their clothes closet, which is really the size of a large garage.  The men helped David put together a shelving unit.  As we sorted clothes, we prayed for their recipients and their donors.

Finally we ended up at Love house, which is where We Will Go began and used to serve as the Lancaster's home.  Marci and her family now live here.  We prayed over their family and ministry.  Very powerful presence of the Lord here!

My emotions had been building in me all day and though I did shed a tear here and there throughout the day, when I got in the shower at the hotel, I could no longer hold it back and had what Amy S. calls a "burst", where I just let it all out and wept, not even sure if they were happy tears, sad tears, or a combo...not being able to put into words all I had just experienced, but oh so thankful to a God Who has called me to love The One and love the one.

I must go now, but will update more later.

Thanks for reading these words and praying for us.

Once again, my apologies for the lack of photos.  Hopefully I'll be able to figure out this new phone soon and can get them to upload.  They are on facebook, so if you're my friend, you can view them in my summer '11 album.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Promises, Promises...

Saturday evening we attended the wedding of our nephew, Sam and his beautiful bride, Courtney in Texas.  My favorite part of the ceremony was during the lighting of the unity candle.  My sis-in-law, Dixie and her husband, Gerald sand a lovely song about meaning what you say when you say "I do" other words - keeping their promises to one another.  Sam and Courtney lit the unity candle, then Sam whispered in her ear and together they bowed their heads as Sam began their marriage by offering up a whispered prayer heard only by the two of them and their Heavenly Father.  Such a holy moment...
From TX we drove to Jackson, MS, where we met up with some other members of our church, The Nest Church, who had driven down from Franklin, TN.
Somewhere in route, Mary began having severe neck pain from a chronic issue she deals with from time to time.  It hurt so badly Amy had to take over driving her car as they caravanned down here.
Earlier this afternoon, since our family had arrived before everyone else, we went to prayer meeting at We Will Go Ministries in downtown Jackson.  One thing I remember Amy Lancaster praying was for Jackson's healing, so Brooke and I went into the hotel room where Mary was curled up on the bed in pain and we began praying and taking authority over this nasty little trick of the enemy, who would love nothing more than to distract Mary from the work God has called her to do while here.  See, here's the deal...Satan is mean and nasty, but what he seems to often forget is that we are on to him...something else Amy L had declared this we simply exposed his scheme and brought it into the light, then proclaimed Mary's healing with the authority we have inherited as His daughters. His promises are TRUE and REAL!  He has promised that by His stripes, we are healed, so we simply reminded Him of His promise.  Brooke began singing the song Healer as I continued to pray.  I began feeling a tremendous heat radiating from Mary's neck as I prayed,  and next thing you know, Mary says, "It doesn't hurt anymore!"  Just like that!  To GOD be ALL glory!!!
Afterward we went out to eat and the Wendy's across the street had emergency vehicles pull up in front of it with their lights flashing.  Brett grabbed Blake and Brent and headed over to see what was going on and to pray.  By the time they got there, the emergency workers were leaving and said a female employee had gotten overheated and passed out, but seemed to be fine now, so Brett asked the lady if they could pray for her.  She agreed and they prayed, then a guy came over to them and asked if they were Christians and said he too was a Christian...
Anyway, I just loved seeing the ways God was connecting the dots today...Amy L's prayers stirred up my faith and I prayed for Mary's healing.  The boys' faith was stirred by Amy's prayers and hearing the testimony of what God did for Mary, and they willingly went with Brett to pray for someone.
God makes promises.  God keeps promises.  Do we live as if we truly believe that?

Needless to say we are VERY excited to see what else God has in store for us!  I mean, they mission trip doesn't even "officially" begin until tomorrow morning, yet God is already very much at work!

Can't wait to Love The One and love the one this week!

Thanks for your prayers!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

To Be Continued.....

Through this whole journey, I've grown to love the little things dearly. From shopping for travel size toiletries, to getting a bunch of hand held fans, to praying and growing everyday, I'm loving every second of it.

I feel like God is really starting to prepare me physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I had a really amazing encounter with Him the other night at church where He gave me a comforting picture. It was Him and I holding hands and walking around and skipping and having a good time. Then for whatever reason I looked away and got busy doing something else, then I started to feel sick and worried and stressed. I turned back around and Jesus was still standing there with His hand held out and was like "what are you doing? I never let go, I'm still here. Just take my hand and trust me, it's that easy." So I did and I felt 100% better. He was like "just stay with Me and everything will be fine, don't worry about whats going on around you." We then started dancing and having a great time and I never let go again.

It's the little things like these that are getting me more and more excited and prepared. It still doesn't seem real to me quite yet. It probably won't hit me till I'm stepping off that 14 hour flight and onto the African soil. But that's ok with me. As long as I keep my eyes on the prize (Jesus) I know I'll be ok. :)

Today I was at Kohls in the checkout line and they had a shelf of these really cute zebra stuffed animals for like $5. They caught my eye at first and I was like oh that's cute. Then God gave me a picture of me giving one of those zebras to a sweet child in Mozambique. I didn't really think much of it and was going to continue on through the line but for some reason I couldn't stop thinking about that little zebra. It was one of those moments where you know if you don't get it, you would be thinking about it for like the rest of your life..... so I bought one.....
Not sure who is going to receive it or what will be passed on to him or her through it. It must be something good though because I could not stop thinking about it! haha!

So all this to say....... God has begun the work and the rest is to be continued...... (: