Rich and Full.

“I don’t feel like a human,” I told Tyler last Monday  as we were walking in the compound here in Kapenguria. It seems like a strange statement, but it was the only way I could think to express how I felt inside. The night before our team had a memorial service for what happened to Laura & Ebel—maybe that’s what sparked this weird feeling of non-humanness. Later that night I went into the tiny kitchen we get to use here. Ari and Ty were cooking, listening to lovely folky music. As I stood there watching them cook & laughing with them over something seemingly insignificant, I’m sure…I realized what I had been feeling all day: nostalgia. I felt nostalgic over nothing specific. I imagined that this night, cooking, listening to good music, the cool African night and having the privilege to eat dinner again with my “forever family”—-this was something, one day I was going to feel nostalgic over.  After dinner we all stood around the kitchen and porch area while the dishes were being done, listening to music and simply enjoying each others company. I had the overwhelming urge to twirl like a little girl in a pretty dress. It all felt like a nostalgic movie scene from a Cameron Crowe film. Like when Penny Lane & the gang sang Tiny Dancer in Almost Famous, or Orlando Bloom jumping in with one hand in the air in Elizabethtown. I almost felt as though I could cry, I wanted to stop time.  My twirling led to the boys seeing how many spins they could go with their forehead on the broomstick & then walk straight. It was absolutely hilarious. At one point Nicholaus was spinning when all of a sudden the power went out. We all screamed in laughter–especially when the lights came back on and Nick was just laying on the ground against the wall of the house. “I thought it was the end of the world,” he got out in between laughs.  To add the movie-esqueness of the night; Tyler, Nick, Michelle and I listened to The Album Leaf as we stared at the Milky Way that shined so bright in the African sky. We talked about nothing much at all, just soaked up the beauty of it all.  While we were laying there Tyler whispered “better pay attention in life, or it’ll pass you by,” after I missed a shooting star. It was a joke, but it hit a nerve. I realized in all my revelation that Lord has been downloading about His gift of FULLNESS—a fear had crept in. I’ve become fearful in every decision I think I might make–scared that I’m making the wrong one and I’m missing the fullness–which in turn paralyzes me.  The next morning Nick played the song in my previous post —“Train song” by Josh Garrels, God started working and damaging that fear:

“And I’m steppin’ out the door,
I’m doin what feels right,
followin’ my Lord through the darkest night,
And when the path gets narrow,
I follow Him…
He said “sing it on the mountain high,or in the valley low
‘He’s my God and He never let me go.”

The fear of missing out on the fullness will in turn guarantee it. I’ll come back to this in a moment….There’s only 2 short weeks left here in Kenya and as we were praying over this time here in Kapenguria we received words of fullness–that each day would be RICH and FULL of LIFE and that’s exactly my heart’s cry. On this past Sunday we had the privilege to attend the opening of church in the Pokot Tribe area, about an hour away from where we are staying. Please read up on the Pokot Tribe if you are curious…but some of the basic culture…The Pokot are polygamous normally having four to five wives.

Although it is against the law (which isn’t enforced properly) they still practice female circumcision (FGM). Boys are circumcised at age 15 and then there is a celebration called “sapana” for them in which they are then declared “real” men.The culture is under such strongholds of tradition and witch-craft so you can imagine the joy it was to see the freedom the Lord had brought to so many of them. It was such a joyous celebration that I am not sure how to put into words. To be part of a church being planted in an unreached people-group area was so surreal. The service was packed full of all kinds of dancing and fellowship–my heart was just “boiling” as Ari would say to express the feeling of peace and “this is right” you get when you know there’s no where else in the world that you should be except right there in that moment.

“This day couldn’t get much better, ” I said. Boy did I not even know what was coming….  On the jam-packed jeep ride home I had an “If This Were A Dream, What Would It Mean?” moment. All four of us girls were sitting on the middle bench, while the two Icelanders, were sitting up front and the boys were in the back packed with way to many Kenyans than should ever fit in a car. Ariel and I were listening to Jonsi in one ear while the sound of the Kenyan girls singing streamed in the other. It was as if Iceland was in one ear, and Kenya in the other. To top it off it started raining, really raining. Which is quite a big deal because they’ve been in a drought here. I smiled and thought about the day getting better and better.

When we arrived back at the compound Fanney had been busy making us french-press coffee and delicious coffee desert! Wow!

We spent some incredible time at their house and then headed back to ours for some rest. All four of us girls were just sitting in the living room enjoying each others company; it was only when Nick called us to dinner that I realized we hadn’t seen the boys all afternoon.  As we walked up to the table we realized that there were only four place-settings. There was a bright-burning candle and flowers all over the table. We sat down only soon to be crowned with princess crowns and African celebration necklaces. The boys proceeded to serve us salad and delicious pasta Milano, we just sat in awe. With every song that came on the playlist we said “awww..” The reality that this time, this season would soon be over hit us all this night. I was holding back my tears but then lost it when the boys surrounded us individually to pray and speak life into us! It was such a sacred time and the spirit was heavily there with us.

We were then guided into the living room for warmth and served chocolate cake and coffee! Oh it was so beautiful. The night came to a close with a movie and letters on our pillows :) A night (and day!) I’ll never forget.

So, going back to my fear of missing out on fullness…as soon as I laid it down to the Lord and let him take my cares, worries and fears…I’ve been able to enjoy this fullness that he’s been pouring into each day!

We head to Mombasa in a week…we’ll get to see the Indian Ocean!! I love my life.

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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.
 

Meme nakupende Kenya.

In the past few weeks God has been growing, stretching and challenging me and the rest of our team tremendously.

We’ve been working with Janjaap (aka: Jayjay) & Esther (the couple we were led to by Peter). We’ve been working with their ministry with street women & street boys. It’s been so rewarding! Praying, loving and just spending time with them. We’ve seen physical healings, outpourings of the Lords joy and peace,  & realizations of God, the Father’s love for them personally.

Louise, one of the street women.

Some of my favorite moments have been with the street boys; one Friday we were teaching about the Holy Spirit–which was just an incredible day. The boys were open and asking for us to pray with them so they might be able to receive the Holy Spirit! How awesome is that? Me & Ari prayed for this one boy named Francis. After we had been praying for a little bit he started rubbing his forehead really intensely. He told us that he just had felt something leave his body, the translator said “Oh it was probably just a demon” really nonchalantly, ha. But then he said the prayer of salvation and gave his life to Jesus!
Bwana ase five! (Praise Jesus! in Swahili)

I’ve loved that we can’t walk into the city without stopping to spend a moment or two with the women on the hill. We’ve built real relationships with them and its been incredible! Just loving on them–they have such a hunger to be loved. What breaks my heart though, is seeing the boys (10+) sniffing diesel & glue to escape the realities of life. We’ve been trying to speak truth and life into them. To remind them to dream BIG! They’re at pivotal points in their lives where they can either sniff glue and accept the life of living on the streets or fight for more–knowing that they are sons of the Most High–and God has better in store for them; this is what were praying that they realize. So if you want to pray for them, some of their names are: Silas, Virginia, Peter, Bogwa, John, Kennedy and Purity. :)

Also this past week we were robbed at our hostel. Which shook us all up a bit. They took my cameras (Canon 5D and Canon Rebel XTi film), Michelle’s computer & camera along with Gilli’s computer and phone. I have been extremely bummed, bu God is good (All the time) and He’s used this to teach us to lean more on His understanding more & more. And to trust Him.

We’ve been blessed with some amazing times of soaking, rest and refreshment. After the night of the robbery, the next day we went over to Jayjay and Esther’s from some incredible, and much-needed soaking time. While we were there, God first just washed over me with peace and rest–then he started assuring me that he’s going to fulfill his promises of provision and is going to take care of me. When we were praying after soaking, God showed me this picture of me eating the crumbs of financial worries and future worries —he was showing it to me like a chart and I was eating wayyy at the bottom and where He wanted me was wayyy at the top at the banquet table. There is where I can really share His heart and do ministry–living from the banquet table! I felt such a sweet release! Ah it was wonderful. With that release came hunger that I’ve not experienced before. hunger for more and more of God pouring into me!

Michelle’s birthday was also incredible–we went out to a fancy Japanese restaurant for sushi (yummm) and then spent time in park praying over her new year, eating cake, and resting…it was magical.

God’s been teaching me a lot about the goodness He has in store for me (and you!) and A LOT about trust and reliance on Him.

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield
The Lord gives grace and glory
He does not withhold the GOOD
from those who live in integrity.
HAPPY is the person who TRUSTS in you,
Oh Lord of Hosts!” Psalm 84:11-12

I love living this adventure with Papa and sharing His love. It’s truly wonderful.

Out in the Bush Bush.

After 24 hours of traveling we finally arrived here in Kenya on Thursday. Our eyes squinted and even hurt when we walked out of the airport to see the bright African sun. We’ve been so used to barely any sunlight in Iceland (only 4 hours at best, normally cloudy) and it was so wonderful to finally see the sun in full! We were picked up by one of the base staff here at YWAM Athi River, and we drove out to the bush bush where the base is located. The van blasted some pretty sweet reggae-MIA-esque music through some blown-out speakers; a great soundtrack as we made our way. Just from staring out the dusty van window I caught a glimpse of the people of Kenya….there were many people walking along the road and everyone seemed so friendly–waving at every person they passed.

We were greeted with so much hospitality when we arrived here on the base, breakfast was prepared–peanutbutter and jelly! As we were washing our dishes in plastic baby pools I heard a little wimper. BACKSTORY: I got my first puppy when I was 11 or so and I fell in love, it (Maxxwell) was my comforter…it sound silly, but I guess only true dog lovers would get this love. Ha. Ever since Maxx I’ve always had a puppy/dog in my life–just a tangible  comforter.  So my time in Iceland seemed like the longest time I’ve ever spent without a puppy around. ANYWAYS, you can imagine how happy I was to see a puppy running up to us..oh it was so adorable. Just another way that Papa was showing me how much he loved me (I think).

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The next day we took a long walk into the bush…we saw giraffes, gazelles, cows and goats! Oh it was so wonderful. I’ve really fallen in love with the simplicity of life here. Every night I find myself looking at the stars before bed with such a thankful heart for Gods beauty.

IMG_2476We went on a prayer walk through the closest town to the base, just opening our eyes to what life here is like. It was definitely eye-opening to say the least. Little kids kept pointing at us and yelling “Mzungu!” which means white. Whats so beautiful is the joy the people who I’ve met here in Kenya have. Pure joy not interfered or dependent on what they do or don’t have, or based on the new iphone.

                I’ve really connected with the Kenyans here on the base. Benard was sharing with me about the young women here; how they grow up without a dad or with an emotionally absent dad. Then when they get older they have affairs with much older men because they are looking for a father figure. Hmm…this sounds a bit familiar, eh?       Gods really been laying the topic of purity on my heart—and my heart just breaks when I hear about young girls just giving it away to feel loved and accepted. I was just pondering and praying about this though and I just realized how the enemy is using the same tricks everywhere. The spirit of rejection, the spirit of abandonment, feeling unworthy, etc. These are all things we struggle with in the western world, the enemy doesn’t have any different tricks up his sleeve. We may live in riches, technology, opportunity in the western world but we are wrecked with spiritual poverty and lukewarmness. Here they deal with much more  blatant poverty but the joy and hunger for Love is so great.

Ebel and Laura, one of the couples living here on the base have an amazing testimony filled with great adventures with the Lord; I wont share it completely but basically they had a vision to build an orphanage  type community that allowed children to grow up in a family setting. Here in Kenya they found a place to make that vision reality. So what it will look like is eight houses filled with eight couples. They will have a few of their own children, then they will have nine or so foster children. They don’t want any westerners living there, they want it to be as naturally Kenyan as possible, just allowing room for orphans to grow up in a family, not just another institution full of westerners. And WE got to be a part of making this vision real! We helped in replanting the garden in the back of the first house, weed-wacking, lawn mowing, cementing the bottom of the water tank (well, the guys did this one):

We also helped out in another womans vision for an orphanage..called the Amadeo Home for children. She bought the land and everywhere around her land doesn’t have access to fresh water—its too salty—but after putting the pump in her ground she found that she has fresh water! Hallelujah! God provided a way for her to help pay for this orphanage that is in the making! We dug holes for planting trees out in the hot African Sun, but it was so worth it–its funny how by digging holes all day we’re indirectly helping little children have a home.

Lastly we spent some time at an all-girls High School where we set up a field-day. We had different stations, each with a different game. We also had a testimony station in which me and another girl got to share our testimonies with the girls. I finally got to share the purity message that has been on my heart.

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

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

 

Oh just shoveling some manure

Oh just shoveling some manure

IMG_2895I forgot to mention earlier that another DTS team from Germany was also staying at the Athi River base while we were there–it was amazing to make new friends and hear about their lecture phase and hear what God had been doing in their hearts. So before we left, both of the teams had communion together. It was one of those times that you can’t put into words. God was so there  with us as we went around a circle and shared what Jesus was to us. As I listened to what everyone had to say I was just overtaken with joy to see how personal He is with us–everyone has their own encounters that are custom to them, and their needs. I was also just so happy to be in fellowship with so many incredible people…..kingdom-mindset people that love the Lord!

I could say so much more, but our time spent there was just an incredible beginning to this outreach, where God really met each one of us individually and ministered to us–preparing our hearts and depositing a peace at our core.

Papa is just so good. *Hopefully I can add more photos soon!

1 Peter 1:3-9,

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!

Out of the city.

This week has been full of exciting things….

During the first week I was here I was able to attend a Bethel healing conference being held here in Iceland. While I was receiving prayer I received a word that I was going to mother many of God’s children. I wrote it in my journal and tucked it away. Within the past week I have had a desire to have kids of my own, or just to be around kids. I didn’t really understand why this desire was arising when it was obviously not the time or the season for me to have kids. Haha.

On Sunday Kathrin and I were walking to church and talking about our desires for after DTS and my mother heart started pounding. We got to church and it was baby-dedication Sunday! After all the baby dedications the message was out of Galatians 4, when Paul is quoting Isaiah 54:

“Rejoice, O barren woman
who does not give birth.
Break forth and shout,
you who are not in labor,
for the children of the desolate are many,
more numerous than those
of the woman who has a husband.”

It was then I was awakened to the fact that I do not need a Husband to have a mother heart for Gods children.

On Wednesday night the staff showed us a video which told us our outreach was Kenya!

At first I thought they were joking because we have been bugging them to tell us where we are going for outreach since we got here. My heart was beating so fast when they went on to share with us that we will be traveling all over Kenya working in orphanages and wherever needed our help. They are still working out all the details though. I felt a peace but I was initially in shock–ha, I know God will continue to prepare my heart but at first I didn’t think my heart could handle it!

On Thursday we had Paul, who is from Kenya and attends the local church here, give his testimony. It was heartbreaking the things he saw but such a testimony as to what God has brought him through! He now lives here in Iceland with his wife and they also run an organization in Kenya (I forgot the name) that we might be working with when we go!

Also this week was teaching on the Holy Spirit and intimacy with God, taught by Ronald Botha. It was good to learn about the personality of the Holy Spirit and his role throughout the new and old testament. As well as the intimacy that God desires to have with us. It was definitely a great lecture week.

I ended the week with a beautiful day out of the city! (Finally!):

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What a wonderful day and week.