As we hope in You…

Since I last wrote we traveled to a small town called Sombo–just 30Kil outside Garissa, Kenya in the Northeast. There is a small village way out in the desert bush that is committed to the Lords work among the surrounding villages that are mostly Muslim. By the grace of God they, knowing that the Sombo mission is a christian organization, have accepted them into the area. The Sombo mission provides free schooling to the children in the surrounding villages as well as a medical center. Also in the surrounding desert are 2 unreached people groups! Originally we were going to be living at Sombo while doing outreach to the Somalian refugee camps that were close, but we felt the Lord calling us to a time of prayer and intercession. So instead we didn’t do much but sweat and pray. We did a 24/3 and God gave so many encouraging words to the mission through us. It was challenging to not be physically doing anything but it was such a time of growth in patience and waiting upon the Lord.        The children at the school in Sombo.

The Pastor at Sombo was David Minor, a wonderful man full of the joy of the Lord. He referred to me as his daughter-in-law and wanted me to marry his son. “Freesha, my daughter,” he would say with a big smile. His joy rubbed off on all of us—and his family showed us such an abundance of hospitality! At night the boys and the girls took turns sleeping on a trailer that was out in the compound–falling asleep under the starry African night is something I hope you get to experience one day.

After our short stay there we traveled to the Northwestern part of Kenya where we are now, Kapenguria. We’re nearing the end of our journey, only 3 more weeks in Africa and one more in Iceland–its making my heart desire to squeeze as much life out of these last few precious moments. Here in Kapenguria there is a bible school run by Icelandic missionaries that we are working with. The grounds are beautiful, though you can tell its run by westerners because of the western toilets, showers and kitchen its such an incredible place of rest; cobblestone walkways, beautiful gardens, and real beds! We will be here until we have our debrief week–we will be doing outreach to the surrounding unreached tribes in the area, as well as working with the street boys in this area.

After the long day of traveling on Friday we received some horrible news that I am still struggling to understand. Laura & Ebel, who we worked with in the beginning of our trip, we received a phone-call informing us that three armed robbers broke into their home on the YWAM Athi River base. When Ebel tried to get them out of the house they shot and killed him in front of their two precious children (around the ages of 2 and 4).

I was initially in shock–I wanted to shut down, but I knew I needed to pray fervently for Laura and the children. Before we traveled here to the Northwest we made a pit-stop back in Nairobi to celebrate Esther’s birthday and as we were leaving I felt the urge to ask Esther if I could borrow her copy of “Happy Intercessor” by Beni Johnson. It was literally as we were walking out the door and the taxi was honking. She handed it to me and I ran to the car. So when I felt the need to pray—I had no idea HOW. How do you pray into a situation such as this? The Lord led me to a few pages in the book that helped me to pray WITH Him and into His character. I came to a core peace, like what Steve Berger talks about in Have Heart—core peace doesn’t mean you don’t grieve, but it shuts out the lies and confusion that so often follow tragedies. I’m still consciously having to deny the lies of the enemy against God’s character because I don’t understand–but I also know that I’m not going to. All I know is that this act was the definition, literally, of the enemy. “A thief comes only to steal (robbers), kill (Ebel), and destroy (Levi, Ezra and Laura)–but I have come that they might have life and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) I know that this was NOT Papa’s will and I know that He has a brilliant plan of redemption that will shine His glory.

We had a little memorial service for Ebel here just with our team, reminiscing on the short time we were able to spend with Ebel. His sarcastic, dry humor and depth of wisdom is what stood out to us most. You can tell by the photo below, taken when we were helping to build on his orphanage community dream:

The guys working in the water tank at Ebel & Laura's orphanage.

The guys working in the water tank at Ebel & Laura’s orphanage.

Ebel and Laura’s hearts beat for the Lord and they dreamt with Him—I am so privileged to have gotten to be a part of the dream that the spirit birthed in them to start an orphanage community here in Kenya. I know in my heart that this dream will live on and shine even more of God’s glory.

I remember sitting in the little classroom at Athi River as Ebel shared him & Laura’s love story and dream for Kenya–just eating it up. The Lord used them to continue speaking to me about LIFE–what he came to bring–throughout this entire outreach he’s been deepening my understanding of what it really means. I’ve been learning to dream WITH him and their story was an incredible encouragement on this journey of deepening.

I hope that as you read this, it strikes your heart to pray for Laura and the children with us as we cry mercy. This song is what I keep praying:

In the still passion Oh God
Open Eyes, Mend hearts
Let the harvest fall like rain
As we cry Mercy. as we cry mercy
Oh, Jesus, You must come
Your presence, we must have
Your power, it must fall
As we hope in you
Our only hope
Mercy, mercy
Lord, show us mercy
Mercy, Mercy
Lord, show us mercy.
 
Advertisements

Goodbye Iceland, Hello Kenya!

The first YWAM base in 25 years!

The first YWAM base in 25 years!

WOW! I can’t believe 3 months ago I was getting on a plane to come here to Iceland, last night we had to say our goodbyes to our dts leaders: Carl & Mayke. They are off to Holland to have a beautiful baby!! Some days it seems like these 3 months flew by and other days it seems as though we’ve spent a year or more together. All these wonderful people have been here with me through all the growing and stretching that God’s been doing in my heart–we’ve all cried, laughed and shared sweet moments with the Lord together. It’s been quite the roller-coaster, and now we’re hoping on for another ride–this time in Kenya.

On Thursday we held a benefit concert at the Cafe here, to raise support for our team going to Kenya. It was truly a beautiful night. The amazing people of Mukkaló agreed to give their time to play for the concert as well as our very own Nicholaus Ross & Michelle McEver! After Mukkaló’s  set a few Kenyan ladies that were attending sang some worship songs in Swahili! Everyone started dancing, there were tambourines going and so much joy! It was really freeing. It made me so excited to have many more moments of worship like this in Kenya!

So here’s the wonderful team that I am going with:

Nicholaus Ross, Tyler Dougherty, Benjamin Rave, Þorgils Gunnarsson, Josh Brawdy, Michelle McEver, Me, Kathrin Laurisch, & Ariel Zadai

We fly out in about 16 hours, eeek! We will land in Nairobi and travel to the Athi River YWAM base and stay there for a week. From there we will be working with orphanages, in the slums, widows and their families that have suffered through AIDS and also with two organizations that are in Kenya;  Tears Children and Samband Islenskra Kristniboðsfelaga (S.I.K.). Most of our time will be spent in Nairobi & in Kisumu. Ah so exciting!

During our preparation for this trip we prayed and spent time writing down what we as individuals and as a team want to be about. This is the vision we have:

A family of people clothed in Christ

simply choosing in joy to love,

to listen and laugh

will from fullness pour out hope,

in childlike grace and fearlessness,

led hand in hand by the Father of light,

we will see great wonders and bear sweet fruit,

constantly keeping our eyes on Christ.

As we see ourselves as channels of God’s grace, a workmanship created to do works that are prepared for us in Christ, we see his glory being released through all of who we are. Through our senses, our personalities, our body parts, the way we communicate or behave, the way we touch and the way we laugh, the way we treat each other and those we meet; through us being one body we see his kingdom being released.–We choose to pour out ourselves in obedience, in ministries we partner with or that we initiate, as we follow Jesus.–In all that we do we depend on the presence of God, being lead by the Holy Spirit and simply being obedient to the voice of God, we want to move from a place of intimacy with Papa.

Oh its going to be such a wonderfully sweet adventure with the Lord!

“What I ask during this time is that you just pray, and not only for us as a team, but for the people of Kenya that we will meet; the families that have been through death; the children who do not have a home; the fatherless and motherless; pray for them and hold them in your hearts…they need us.” –Ariel

Financial Update: God’s been good– we raised close to $700 during our benefit concert and money has been coming in for my costs as well. I am still in need of close to $3500–but no number is too big for God!

Thank you all for your prayers and blessings–especially those of you back home–you’ve been so supportive! I will update as soon as I can when we get into Kenya!

I Actually Know Nothing At All.

It all started last week when the wonderful Eleanor Rich challenged me to open my eyes to some baggage that Lord wanted to start healing. It was as if I only wanted to peek, to put my hand over my eyes and peek through the cracks. God was challenging me, once again,  fully, completely, and totally rely on Him; and honestly it didn’t feel so great.

Michelle and I being explorers :)

This revelation, although rough to face, revealed the roots of independence, fear of intimacy, poverty mindset… and as God takes me through this, it will bring more and more freedom!

The weekend came and went, always faster than I feel it should and I found myself wishing there were so many more hours to sleep come Monday morning at 7:15AM. I was excited to see I had a wonderful email from home, oh I miss home, I really do. But this email slightly blindsided me when I was challenged to face another situation I had been trying to shrug off, hoping it would deal with itself. (Haha) This on top of last weeks challenge was pretty heavy.

9 This third I will put into the fire;
I will refine them like silver
and test them like gold.
They will call on my name
and I will answer them;
I will say, ‘They are my people,’
and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.’

-Zechariah 13:9

Then come Tuesday night we had our second Kenya team meeting. During this meeting we found out what our various jobs were going to be; they range from being in charge of the food to worship to photography etc. My stomach dropped when I found out that I was going to be in charge of finances. Finances?! I will be keeping up with the budget and the flow of money. I sat there pretty much pouting the rest of the meeting. Acting like a 5-year-old. I was so angry. Of all the jobs…finances?! God has a sick and twisted sense of humor. You see, I love administrative work. I really do. What I do not love is money.

Come Wednesday I thought I was just going to lose it. Which is what I hate, loosing it. I have a tendency to want to be in control, and keep poised. There’s nothing I can’t face, just a few deep breaths and keep moving forward. This week, my deep breaths weren’t working and I found myself loosing control (in a good way, I’m sure). After talking it out with a few lovelies I realized that I actually know nothing, which makes it rather hard to be in a constant state of being in control of everything. You see we are all under construction, a house not yet fully built. This, if I’m being honest, has always looked like a weakness to me. Because think about a house under construction, if a tornado comes towards the house it will collapse. The difference here is if we are trusting in the Lord, he has us, and the tornado, although might shake us up, will not destroy us. And we are always going to be under construction this side of heaven, so I might as well get over it. I’ve constantly been consumed each week with something new that I’ve decided I want to be healed from…and I want to be healed and move on, I haven’t been accepting that it’s all a process with the Father and its all in his timing.

Ingunn :) Love you..

Once Alyn Jones drew a diagram at emanate; it had 2 circles and the first, the smallest, was the stuff in life we have direct control over (i.e. what we eat, what we wear, etc). Another circle was drawn around the “direct control” circle this is the amount of things we have indirect control over (i.e. how we react in conversations) and then the rest of the diagram was white space which represented everything we had absolutely no control over. He pointed out –most people spend all their time in the white space area, worrying about what they have absolutely no control over.  I’m still chewing on this one.

34“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” -Matt 6:34 (The Message)

I felt so much lighter and free just by accepting these things. And it was like a celebration when I went on a date (haha) with my beautiful friend, Ingunn. We went to her sisters Gospel Christmas concert (yes, they sing Gospel in Iceland) and it was so wonderful!

Icelandic Gospel Choir

Oh so amazing (videos to come). We ended the night on the roof of the guesthouse looking at the stars and talking about the exciting year to come!

The rest of the week came a bit more at ease, I’m still not the happiest camper about dealing with finances for outreach, but it’ll be ok, who knows maybe I have some hidden desire to be an accountant that I never knew about. The rest of the week and this weekend have been filled with those sweet fun moments that you couldn’t plan if you wanted to– with the amazing DTS team I am privileged to know.

Cheers to continual acceptance that God is actually in control, sweet moments with friends, and Christmas.

Love,

Felicia, in repair.

Dreams, Plans & Hearts of Stone.

We started off this week with intercession for Haiti, it made such an impact–so powerful, just interceding for the people of Haiti. Speaking life and joy over the country. It was also touched my heart because a few of my close friends from home (Lauren Ellis, Nikki Pendergrass, and Leslie Watson) just returned from doing a missions trip there!

This week’s theme was discipleship, and what it truly means. It’s sort of one of those topics that we hear about all the time, but this week I’ve grasped a better heart-understanding.

“..If anyone wants to come with me, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me will find it.” Matthew 22:34-40

On Tuesday we had the wonderful Simon Turner as a guest speaker at Seek My Face [every Tuesday night we have a time where we soak and seek more intimacy with the Father]. He led us through the Lords Prayer verse by verse, showing us how to customize it to our lives and praying to the Father.

That night the Lord was downloading a lot of vision for the future. He was highlighting so many instances since I’ve been here in Iceland that I had shrugged off as coincidence or maybe not even noticed at all–and he opened my eyes just to see the obvious. He has been knitting my life together so intricately and he was just giving me a glimpse of the things he has in store for me on the road ahead.

I was so excited yet a little frustrated. We all have these ideas of how are life may play out…dreams we have for the future and the people we plan to spend it with. So there I was being bittersweet that the glimpse God was giving me wasn’t what I had in mind. Basically doubting that God had the best in mind for me. I spent some quiet time with the Lord that night and he just continued to highlight the lack of trust I had in him. Which all stems from my lack of fully comprehending the Father Heart of God—fear of abandonment and all that good stuff.

The next morning I was still struggling with the things in my heart I was holding back from God and lo and behold the class that day was all about giving your whole heart to the Lord not just part of it. We were made to write down all the things we felt the Lord was pointing out that we were holding back from him and we laid them at the cross. Gotta love it.

I then proceeded to listen to Alyn & A.J. Jones message from emanate on having a heart of stone –“A heart of stone is a protection mechanism to keep you from pain. But it also keeps God’s love out too.” I was challenged so much in realizing areas of my heart that I have closed off…numbed as a defense mechanism.

The Lords just been showing me so much this week! He’s giving me vision for the future and what he has called me to. He’s showing me areas where I need improvement. He’s breaking me over the characteristics of Christ that I don’t display on a daily basis–or maybe even never. He’s healing broken areas in my heart that I have accepted–thinking they may never be healed. He’s showing me what it means to live in community and what it means to have compassion for those around me.

TRUST.

That’s the big one. Not only just trust in him, I find that easy compared to trusting his children around me. He’s teaching me to open my heart and share with those around me…not being ruled my fear that they might hurt me or abuse my trust; but realizing that that could in fact happen and taking the risk anyways because he has designed us to live in community–to be open. By shutting down my heart and not letting others in I’m actually shutting out the love of the Father as well.

I ended the week with a wonderful weekend! One of the DTS staff, Tyler, has a favorite coffee mug that he drinks out of every morning. We took this cup for an adventure and took photos with it all over town and with random people!

IMG_4325 IMG_4304 IMG_4287 IMG_4291 IMG_4271

Then on Sunday I took a trip with some friends to a black-sand beach…and the end point of the great Þjórsárhraun. The greatest lava flow on Earth since the end of the last Ice Age!

IMG_1445

IMG_1446 IMG_1527 IMG_1598 IMG_1649 IMG_1687

Looking forward to what this week holds.

FLY

25“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? ”

Matthew 6:25-27